Friday, January 01, 2010

From Both Sides Now

This is a time for reflection as we begin a new year and a new decade.

I remember a time ago when I felt invincible. I had energy and a spiritual sense that sustained me through everything. Much of this had been attained through incredible experiences including the mentoring by my Father, and an inspiring spiritual presence who touched inside me and transformed my health and my life. Also a meditative inquiry has served to inspire my actions and my being.

As my father aged, his philosophical perspective deepened, but he shared with me the angst that all of us feel since although we are born of communion, we die alone. The genius of our psyche is that somewhere in the depth of us we believe we shall never die. He described his growing angst as though he were walking in the sun and there was no shadow for everything was in front of him, bright and buoyant. But as he grew older the sun had passed overhead and now he saw his shadow growing longer and longer, merging into the unknown darkness that loomed ahead. My last time with my father as he lay dying, he hugged me from where he was lying in bed with such immense power and whispered "Goodbye, John... we have had such a beautiful adventure together." There was a pause... "It's time for me to go." I knew he didn't want to leave us, but he also believed it was not the end of his journey.

So now I have passed from the bright sun to the other side. I feel the lengthening shadow, and I am still in the throes of denial about my mortality. Even though death is seemingly alone, we are sustained by the community that defines us. In the past several years I had rationally planned for my own demise--- I felt the inevitability of the process and even created a time-line that dictated that I start to wrap things up. I was, as the Gershwin song puts it, "Just Biding My Time." No more songs from me. No need. I fully understood the "Hemingway Solution," an existential statement that underscored that we do have power to make a decision about our mortal destiny. Yet, I don't think this is the path for me.

While living out my abbreviated time-line, I focused on working with my younger constituents, of taking joy in their journeys, hoping that I might challenge them to discover their dreams and help them come exciting time for me. I guess I couldn't know that this new community sustaining me would grow... there would be those whose energy and triumphs would inspire me, and I would find myself engaged in a renaissance of creativity, not quite so willing to surrender my mortality to a time-line of two to three years. A few became so close as to perhaps unknowingly reach deep inside of me and awaken the skills and creative energy that had always sustained me until recently. Having resigned myself to the loss of huge chunks of my work and abilities, recent encounters have awakened this inner world that I left abandoned. I found I still have things to say.

I still have songs to sing ---

In spite of silences

So long imposed by emptiness;

Sweet melodies

Still echo and twist

Through corridors long boarded up

And left abandoned.

I still have songs to sing ---

In spite of noises

So intense and interrupting;

Brave harmonies

Still assemble and bound

Beyond the walls so awkwardly erected

And left decaying.

I still have songs to sing ---

Although the world is deafened

And songs must linger in fading tones

Like declining half-life radiation

Dwindling to the aural dimensions

Deciphered only by the inward ear.

So I struggle within myself, for I know that inevitably I must pay the piper for this lovely twilight dance, my winter solstice sarabande. I am nourished by the Spring and Summer creatures so abundant and so full of vision and inspiration, who still dare to dream. The difference from my earlier days is that I was a loner then, but now I feel the need to share a dialogue where utterly new ideas and sensibilities can be born. This collaborative process and possibility has emerged in such a way that I am refreshed by the prospect of dialectic exchange.

I had something of a scare tonight on this first day of a new era, and I was abruptly reminded of my mortality. For a moment I wondered if I would see my friends again, and now the attack has passed. But I realize how sad I will be if I must leave these dear companions before I complete this cycle of renewal. But the joy and the amazement is in this moment and in the doing, in the immediacy of spirit, and the rapport with those close to me who value the journey as much or more than I. Yet, we are now in the midst of winter, and those that know me know how enchanted I am by snow...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

celina passed by ; ) beautifully written... and yes you have lots of songs to sing... by the way, why don't you compose a music piece for me? if you do, i want something beautiful, melodic and tonal. i'm tired of extended techniques not extending anything really important...