July 20, 2009

Day 5 Communicate- More Mary

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
- Mary Oliver

The line “Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on.” speaks of my experience today.

Michael and I are finally on our way home. I have spent exactly two days in my own home town since June 13th, it is time to re-root. As we drove for hours and hours, we talked about our lives. I remember hearing once that if you really want to know if you are compatible with someone, you should take a road trip together. Well today makes 18 days on the road, living, working and growing together, it would seem we are compatible. Getting to know each other has been like peeling layers from an onion. As we tell each other our stories, there is a definite order to things. The layers closest to our hearts and sometimes closest to our shame and despair are some of the last to be peeled.

My teacher Soto once said “Every humans deepest desire is to be seen, while every humans deepest fear is to be seen”. The despair that every one of us holds down in our core, stories of childhood, remorse, shame, deep trauma, abandonment, the list of the human condition, are often what we are afraid to share, and yet at the same time these are things that connect us, we all have these stories. The stories may differ in content, for one it may be being neglected as a child, for another being a loner at school, the core of both is abandonment, questions of worth, and anger at not having needs met. These deep layers that take time to reach, and courage to peel, are what allow us to overcome the fear of being truly seen, accept that we are not alone.

I encourage you to find a trusted friend, and be present and supportive for their peeling, and when you feel safe begin to peel some of your own. When shame and hurt see the light of day in a supportive environment, they have a way of transforming, sometimes even melting. This is called growth.

“Who do you feel safe to share your deepest despair with? Why?” is the question in 12 days journal #98

1 comment:

  1. My best friend. I can tell her anything and she gets it. If she doesn't get it, she will ask the appropriate questions that enable her to get it. I do the same for her. She does it all without harsh judgment, and with kind honesty. She loves me for being human as well as for the times when I take the high road. One of my deepest of despairs was losing Ian...and one of my deepest joys is that she was able to come to the hospital and meet him and know him as best she could before he passed away. That's a bond that I doubt can ever be severed. I'm so lucky to have her!