May 15, 2012

Somebody was asking, in connection with a book she’s writing, about the experience of the creative act of writing.  I replied (this was in email),

I’m not really a writer, but when I write, it’s as if someone gives me a boost up into the saddle of a trail horse you ride while you’re on vacation, and then it feels like I’m up in a cloud, only I’m only aware of having been in the cloud in retrospect, after I’ve come out of it, when the writing has stopped.  My (deceased) husband used to tease me about ‘going into letter-writing mode’ — it’s like a trance of sorts, I think.

Then I find myself reading about a horse who collapsed and died just shortly after winning and be honored for winning a steeplechase race.  I cried, I don’t know whose tears, but it got me thinking over what it might mean to me.  I often think of ourselves as mahout and elephant, where the elephant is our greater selves, the part of the same substance as the greater forces in the universe.

Can a soul perish in some way and not reunite with God?  I think temporarily, but then I think the pieces are restored and reintegrated with one another — everything can be healed, but it may take hard work and great dollops of grace.

This part of the process, the understanding, conceptualizing, and thinking part, I do fairly easily, for better and for worse.  But what I can sense here is that I need to grieve the dissolution, the destruction of somebody’s soul, perhaps my own, perhaps the soul of someone I’m helping to heal.

Grieving is its own skill, I think.  Staying with the sadness long enough and not veering into other emotions, staying with the hurt and fear, the horror, and not turning away from them too soon.  If I’ve put the thing on hold for a long time, I have the tendency to leap-frog from the event to the processing without spending enough time feeling my reaction.

I know I’ve done pieces of this work before, I can even remember where I was standing during some of it.  It reminds me of how sometimes the person one needs to forgive or receive forgiveness from is oneself, not someone else.  Here, in this current situation, I wonder if I need to grieve a catastrophic loss I suffered with the same attention and compassion I would were it somebody else’s — which I would do completely and thoroughly if called to it.

I’ve sometimes wondered more generally if my sense of being that spiritual AAA tow truck driver allows me to heal myself indirectly, that somehow I have lost some piece of what would be necessary for a more direct approach to healing myself.  I am prompted to think this way by my resonating with the concept of the “wounded healer” and by seeming to attract wounded but developed old souls into my life.  A benefit I think I would receive from such indirection would be not having my self-consciousness get in the way, not reacting by putting up a wall, not involuntarily compromising my openness, which is so necessary for receiving help from the universe.  It’s related to my sense that I often do my best work unwittingly.  The possibility that I’m healing myself, regardless of whether it’s true, is helpful for me to bear in mind because it keeps me humble.  I have learned in the course of dialogue with others not to try to attribute the feeling to one of us or the other, and instead to say, “I can hear [this feeling] rattling around in here.”  And then we can deal with it.  Maybe we’re both feeling it, maybe only one of us is, it doesn’t much matter; often just naming it makes it dissipate.  Maybe that indicates that all of us are benefiting from the healing, too.  I can feel grateful to these others for sharing their need for healing with me and in this way helping me heal.


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