My limbs are tethered to a shadowy great wing, unsure whether they are fleeing or willing captives. It’s such a riddle to see one’s own spirit embodied in the illusion of dueling, passionate entities. Is it I or the familiar eyes staring into mine? I see my seemingly private afflictions reflected in every struggle to comprehend romantic holographic encounters. The projection of love- the task of understanding the other only to ironically return to yourself. I, the initiator of vibrational images of unfettered intensity- the woman who loves unconditionally. The story, a brilliant thought-form, materialized as a truth of unmatched authority. How I love, how dearly, packed into combustible cannisters of volatile creative force. My cupboards are overflowing. I am incapable of coming to terms with my own creation. I am a wounded spiritual force, living in fear of its own potential. Is there not some other hologram willing to share the burden? I’m lost on this plane of existence unwilling to extinguish the light that is mine and mine alone. I live as a woman walking circles in the garden of herself. I call out to witnesses with lovely porcelain and sweets. Are they poisonous or liberating? I eat and drink and love him so.
Getting caught up in devastation and timid retreat is a way to avoid facing your own potential. Fear of failure, trembling and shortness of breath take up space where the full expansion of the creative life-force might otherwise dwell. The point of stillness where art emerges is a birth right. Each of us is capable of finding it if we’re willing to put aside all that is untrue. Clinging to falsity is to indulge in the fearfulness of the ego– where we walk away from divine manifestation and ourselves.
The evaluation of achievements and criticism can serve as an opportunity to choose between the thief of creativity or invigorating advancement. Nerves and blackouts, stage-fright and neglect of spiritual routine are excuses. I choose peace. I hear the sound of crashing waves and delicate harmonies instead of the rushing of blood to my brain. I choose to surrender the illusion of control that incessant worry gives us. We can face it all and let our true selves free. Let the child dancing in dress-up clothes and the thrill of a blank piece of paper and new colors remind you.
Who am I? I am not this fear. I do not succumb to a belief in inferiority. I am honest and pure expression. I am tangible energy and stunning craft-work. I am love in its infinite states. I refuse to withdraw or be restrained by any insignificant, demeaning thought-form.
It is gently raining and there is music- the somber ringing of a piano. A candle burns and I am alone with myself. There are rose petals, crystals and images of chiffon. I invite the scene to inhabit my space and coax my mind into a state of present awareness. I can summon beauty from my fingertips and the grace of aesthetic movement. Moving. Breath. Alive. Love. God is in creation. God creates. God is creation. Creation is of God. Love is a catalyst and passion the spark. Beats of a rhythm and the sequined stage lights of the starry sky are the clues to salvation. We are here as divine artists with a lifetime of material.
There is sadness and sometimes the heart ruptures at the sight of illusory death. It breaks open and re-tunes its reverberant strings. How it hurts and how empty it feels, this freeing of space- this destructive force of new beginnings. The shame of admitting the relief in letting go and the reluctance to feel joy in the midst of pleasurable stabs remind us of our inherent darkness. The deepest colors and grayest longings have their place. Tears and loss give us dimension and fill our ecstasy with mystery.
I am blessed with existence and a cup full of discovery and ambition. Even the years spent in despair are rich with introspective pauses and illuminating imagery. We are equipped with the gift of the body when the mind is too preoccupied to connect. We have fingers and silky hair. We have the breath to sing and eyes to peer into other souls. We have closeness and touch. We have embrace. All of these lead us back to love, back to ourselves, back to God. We must care for our bodies and hold our hearts sacred as a shrine to the purity and innocence ironically reflected in the depths of fallen grace.
Treat your art as you would a child, spared from fear and condemnation. Treat your heart as a treasure to behold. Free yourself from the weakness of shame and doubt. Inhabit the space of this life and be moved and ignited. Falling prey to illusion is a malady cured by connection with each other and the freedom of artistic creation.
While moving, twisting and stretching in front of a mirror, something ancient began glistening on her skin. Her dance awakened in her a soreness and longing for something dutifully forsaken. No longer swallowed, given-up or extracted, it began colonizing her movements and burrowing through the fragile layers of deception she wore to maintain sanity. The angelic farce stepped aside in reverence of a deity who dwells in starry night skies and expensive sheets. Something writhing within her insatiable belly displaced every last drop of the guilty plague: the essential unmet need.
She is not cruel, no. She is humbled and overcome, yet free. She bows before passion at liberty and makes legends of every embrace. The confusing glance in the mirror and clinical introspection, diagnosed and dissected, begins to smile. All sickness is a choice and excuse for retreat. What if she chooses to emerge? What if she claims her right to life? Will the scaffolding fall away and the walls crumble?
She is both ends of the cursed dichotomy intertwined. It’s both frightening and exhilarating, scoffing at the scorn and accepting the rightful inheritance of a feminine being. She asserts a secret joy in the delicate art of corruption and the need for adulation. Yes, she demands to feel indispensable, devastating and radiant. She loves with a sense of destruction that satisfies her with recompense for the life stifled in her upbringing. Might devastation be the birthplace of innocence? The place where an invincible and glimmering pearl remains and emerges from beneath the rubble of a battered shell?
Faced with the raging absurdity of repression, the gate must either open or remain closed forever. Will she accept the constellations of her birth? Can she indulge in truth?
“Aber die Stimme sprach vergebens, denn ein nüchtern gelebtes Leben ohne das süße Laster der Träume war kein Leben – das Leben hatte ja nur den Wert, den die Träume ihm gaben.” (Jacobsen, Jens Peters. Niels Lyhne. Reclam, 1984, p. 12).
What Jens Peter Jacobsen referred to as the “sweet vice of dreams” in his novel, Niels Lyhne, I have grown to know all too well. I believe that certain books remain tucked away on a shelf for years and emerge at exactly the right time. I began a project of reading the books that inspired great writers. After finishing Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, I learned that both he and Hermann Hesse had been inspired by Jacobsen’s 1880 Danish work.
The book centers around certain life events of the young man, Niels Lyhne. Throughout his life he endures revelations that portray a gripping literary tension between romanticism and realism. The challenges that surround his confrontations with both emotion and logic come to full fruition in topics such as happiness, religion and love. The characters reveal and speak to an ache in the heart of romantics and idealists who struggle to reconcile their place in a world of ever looming disillusionment.
At 218 pages long and written in an exquisite 19th century stylistic elegance, this book will speak to those of you caught in a world torn between ideals and reality. Those who feel they never quite belong will find solace in the insight and acknowledgement of the “sweet vice” we were born to carry.
Do you hear the sadness that lingers even in the most lighthearted of voices? A desperate longing that never ceases to evade my grasp is seemingly my most faithful companion. A blissful moment slips away, the record ends; even intoxication reaches a dreary limit. Glimpses of brilliance leave me ever wanting; I feel unable to drink even a simple cup of coffee without anticipating the coming void. How do I fill it? How do I dwell in every crevice of each cherished moment? As while counting the coins in the bottom of my bag for a parking ticket, I’m overcome by mundane dread. Scarcity and continuity intertwine.
The finest get lost in overtime and lack of time. Their brilliance fades every time we meet and I can’t seem to conjure up what had so ignited my passion. Stories wear thin without bodies to wear them. Their voices speak to the sadness I carry. There is a vague, sweet acknowledgement of the desperation we bury in a desk drawer or douse in wine. We let it slip away in front of the television. Petty disputes let us forget how great love once loomed.
The infinite lives, from which we must choose but one, haunt our holidays and health struggles. I find an empty journal, like the empty canvas, terrifying. What is it I must do that I haven’t? What is it I’m to feel or create? How do I fill the void of my own existence? How can I love enough? How can I assemble something essential, spread it as far as the mind can reach and yet preserve its immediate brilliance? Where do I stash the despair of my squandered attempts?
It’s not the losses. It’s knowing how to start over with the burden of so much lost time, the beloved enemy.
Opening the heart to a kind of elusive certainty seems so frightening and yet remains the one and only task.
What do we do with our grandeur?