Myth is a manifestation in symbolic images, in metaphorical images, of the energies of the organs of the body in conflict with each other.
~ Joseph Campbell
It was out of the dynamic of cosmic celebration that we were created in the first place. We are to become celebration and generosity, burst into self-awareness. What is the human? The human is a space, an opening, where the universe celebrates its existence.
~ Brian Swimme, The Universe is a Green Dragon: A Cosmic Creation Story
The other day I posted a photo of the Wild Twin I created as part of the Mandala Magic art journaling course I’m taking with Julie Gibbons. I’m not going to repost it. It’s not a great work of art or anything of that nature, but working with the idea of the wild twin was illuminating in many ways. Shortly after I finished the drawing and painting, I started listening to the first part of David Whyte’s 3-part series, Start Close In, and he talked about the stranger within. He said that you always meet ‘the new you’ in the form of a stranger, and that we often push away the stranger for many reasons, including an avoidance of becoming a stronger voiced, more powerful you. In a third piece to the puzzle I’m putting together as I write, there has been plenty of talk about the shadow and working with our shadow in the Bhagavad Gita class and other places.
Yesterday morning I sat down to write something in my art journal to go with my wild twin creation. To talk to her, in a way, and find out what she might want to say to me. It’s part of the journaling prompts, and it was something I was curious about after listening to the story of The Lindworm by Martin Shaw (see my last post for a link to the story).
It occurred to me as I was writing in a stream-of-consciousness way, that there is a theme arising. I don’t think it is unusual for themes to emerge in stories, poetry, music, or any of the arts, especially during times of great stress and duress. I’m also factoring in that where my attention goes, grows. (Kind of like learning a new word and having it show up everywhere.) How we interpret the themes that show up is, of course, up to us. I have learned in my own experience and with my own art (photography, in particular), that the artist’s intention or meaning is not necessarily going to be the same as what the viewer takes away. For instance, the message you take away from one of my photographs is, or could be, entirely different from my intention or the meaning I found in it when I created the image. That is the main reason I never wrote up an artist statement when I put up my photographs on Red Bubble even though I was urged to do so. I want people to interpret them for themselves, not follow my lead.
Conversing with my wild twin in writing, I found my mind directed more towards the collective than towards myself. That might have been deflection from discomfort. I did eventually come back around to myself. But it was interesting to look at the collective first and then zoom in. We are a product of the collective, of our culture, of our society, of the conditioning that comes with being part of this collective. We are the result of our ancestors (stating the obvious, but I’m not sure we spend a lot of time thinking about this).
If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
What struck me at first was the idea that what we’re seeing is the result of all our exiled wild twins coming home to roost (metaphorically speaking, of course). It was eye- and heart-opening to look at the situation in this country (the U.S.), maybe even in the world, in this way. It helped reduce that sense of “us and them” or “othering” that often happens when we don’t see eye-to-eye (and in this case, we are not even close to seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to insurrection, coups, and social justice). Understanding what is happening, why some people are so filled with fear and hate and rage, has been beyond my grasp. Reading all of the explanations and interviews doesn’t seem to help. There are those who say it’s economic. While that might be a factor for some, I don’t think that’s the whole of it. There are people who joined in the assault who are quite comfortable and quite well-off financially (Private Jet Realtor Lady, for instance, who was recently arrested and is now asking for a pardon because she feels persecuted). Some are considered leaders in their companies or states (at least one state legislator was caught on camera and has had to resign as a result) or communities.
To look at this from the perspective of the wild twin thrown away at birth might not be the realistic or factual way of looking at it. However, what it does do is make me think about what it might be like to feel as if you’ve been discarded and exiled from the day you were born. I think many of us have felt that way in some regard and at some point. Usually when we’re teens. So, another interesting take on this is the idea that there are people, particularly white men, who have found that life is not what they expected it to be. Usually these are people who peaked in high school and seem to be stuck in those so-called glory days. They are bored, dissatisfied, and maybe they need more to do in life. I’ve often thought the idea of some kind of mandatory national service would be a good thing. Perhaps if we spent more time helping each other, we’d be less inclined to want to commit violent acts upon each other.
I wonder, too, what it might be like if we all had to serve in the government in some capacity, even if it was just locally. Instead of parties and voting, everyone takes a turn. The way things are now, only those with money run for higher offices. Local offices, at least in my area, are generally taken up by two kinds of people: those who honestly want to help and serve, and those who are on some kind of petty power trip who are looking after their own interests. That might still be the case if we were required to take turns, but it might shake things up a little and make us appreciate those who work hard to do what is right.
I’m pretty sure this is not an original idea. Someone, somewhere, has probably posited the same thing. No doubt there are a gazillion legal reasons why we can’t do it this way.
Once again, I’m rambling with no real point. Just a lot of pondering and wondering. One other thought before I wrap this up. If I were a Republican (for the record, I make no claims on either party), I’d be seriously thinking of starting a third party. The sore loser in the White House and his enablers have soiled the Republican party, perhaps beyond any possibility of cleaning out the stains. If I were a smart and moderate Republican, I’d join with the Lincoln Project to create this third party, a party more centrist that might attract those who are somewhere in the middle. Leave the name “Republican” to those who have soiled and spoiled it.
And in the meantime, while all this stuff is taking up the news cycle and the energy of a lot of people, the pandemic rages on. More than 23,663,000 cases in the U.S. have been reported. More than 393,000 have died. 10.6 million have been vaccinated. That sounds like a lot until you realize that’s only 9.6% of the prioritized population and only 3.2% of the total population. We have a long way to go.
People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.
~ James Baldwin
Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within. I use the word “love” here not merely in the personal sense but as a state of being, or a state of grace – not in the infantile American sense of being made happy but in the tough and universal sense of quest and daring and growth.
~ James Baldwin
Thank you for visiting with me today. I know there are some who prefer to ignore politics and much of what is happening in our world. I understand that, to some degree. I’ve learned, though, that it takes a lot of privilege to be able to do that. I’ve learned that by sitting on that privilege, nothing is going to change. The healing starts with ourselves and with awareness of the conditioning we did not chose. I’ve been thinking a lot, too, about how we might heal our lineage, so to speak. But that’s another post for another time.
I don’t think we’ll see much at sunset this evening, but I’ll be glad to meet you out at the dock to see whatever shows up, if it’s not raining. Sunset is scheduled for 5:08 PM. It’s damp and chilly, and I’d suggest wearing boots. It gets pretty muddy by the dock after it rains or after a super high tide (and we’ve had quite a few of those lately).
Please be safe, be well, and be kind. ♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,681) The sound of hundreds of wings as a large flock of birds lifts up into the air. 1,682) Flight. How amazing is it that some are born with wings and the capability of flight? 1,683) A haircut. I haven’t had a professional haircut in a year. My lovely daughter-in-law cut my hair when we were in Ohio way back in July. Bravely, M took scissors and comb in hand and cut my hair yesterday. We are both shocked at how well he did, and I am thrilled to get rid of the hair that was driving me bonkers. 1,684) Good learning and good rest. 1,685) Coffee sent to us by a friend who lives in Hawaii. It’s tasty stuff.