I don’t know how to start this piece. I don’t know if I’m writing what I intend, because I want to inform my reader, relieve some heartache, or praise the beauty of Creation. This piece, I suspect will be a hodge-podge of all of those things. I don’t think I’m gifted enough to tease those things apart. But maybe, I’m reverent enough to just let them be; connected, beguiling, and some mysterious expression of the miracle of humanness. Surrendering before the Mystery of our being here is all I can muster.
What I want to write about is the initiating wound. I don’t know how this recognition of Life’s wily compassion first came to me, but I remember writing an article for a men’s journal in 1985 that held the first seeds of this perception. At the time, I didn’t have the advantage of the perspective granted me by my long life-experience, my years as a therapist, or my dive over the edge of the abyss. But somehow I already knew. Life stained me just right. It gave me the right quantum of agony and uncertainty to deliver me to real richness.
I don’t know how such a thing is possible. I don’t even know if others have anything like this experience. I believe so, but I don’t know. What I do know, because I’ve experienced it, is that I’ve been propelled through many sensitizing moments that hurt like hell, and been delivered to a place where now I can see that what hurt me opened me. What limited me, gave me an outlet for incredible creativity. What was filled with heartache, became a fountain of meaning and poignant freedom.
I now have a strange bittersweet feeling every time I hear someone lament the particular gash Life has doled out to them. I know better than to celebrate, but inside I feel a sense of ironic praise. I know and believe the hurting, the searing cost of being granted a painful gift. My compassion gets so activated.
I can get angry too. I know this is a sign that I haven’t totally accepted this awareness yet, but I rankle, when someone collapses under the weight of what they have been granted. When they spend too much time complaining about how much it hurts. I know I’m in no position to judge. Life has its own rhythms. I still have a lot to learn about sitting in the cleansing fire.
Recently, a guest on our radio show (Growing an Elder Culture on KOWS fm.) said of elder awareness that it contained “the burning of one’s past.” By that I think he meant that the wounds and heartaches of one’s childhood no longer haunt and limit one. I tend to believe him. I don’t think that fate or angels, however, swoop into one’s life and remove them. I think that they morph as one begins to have a different relationship with what once disabled one. What once was full of limitations, failures and shame, through Life’s poignant alchemy have grown into extraordinary sensitivities. Poisonous pain has become the nectar of awakening.
How is such a thing possible? I don’t know a therapist, doctor, or any kind of human healer that aspires to do what Life does. It just happens. Not to everyone, I’m fairly sure. Some destinies, keep us guessing. But some, give us reason to look deeply into the mysteries of existence, and wonder.
It is as if the wondering is some active ingredient in Creation.