Posts Tagged ‘hell’

Journeying Through

May 12, 2012

Since beginning this blog more than 2 years ago, having written something every day for much of that time, I have not taken so long a break from writing as I have these past weeks. There are reasons for this, which I may write more about soon. I have been abducted into an Underworld Journey for some time which, though I am no stranger to such states, took me rather by surprise and by storm. I thought I had been to the worst neighborhoods of that realm, but I had not. It seems they can get infinitely more chilling and devastating. This has been quite a discovery for me.

You don’t write letters from hell. I have stayed purposely still. Just last week I began to compose some thoughts, but am taking it slowly.

Now, though, to break the silence, in desire to get back into communication, I want to write about one of the most exquisite nights of my life which took place just last night. A couple of weeks ago I saw an ad on TV showing highlights from Cirque du Soleil’s current show Michael Jackson, The Immortal World Tour. In one instant I knew I wanted to take Hannah, my little 5-year-old neighbor who I adore, and her mother Torey, who I also adore, to see this show inGreenville,SC, not too far a drive for us. If I had given myself 5 minutes to consider I might have restrained myself, but I didn’t. I was on-line and had purchased tickets within minutes.

And so we went. On the drive there Hannah said, “I am feeling really GOOD today! Any day that I am going to the circus is a GOOD day, any day that I’m not going to the circus is a bad day.”

I just knew it would be a combo not to be missed, the immense, extravagant talent and artistry that goes into any Cirque du Soleil event, and Michael Jackson’s extreme creativity, heart, vision and flair. Oh…   my…. God…  I wish everyone in the world could experience this show.

Take one of Michael Jackson’s concerts, such as the Live inBucharest, Dangerous Tour one which I own on DVD which completely floors me every time I see it, and magnify that by 1000 and you start to imagine what we saw last night. The show is all MJ’s voice singing his songs, with an extensive live orchestra and back up singers, troupes of too-talented-to-be-believed dancers doing his choreography, with Michael’s style, deeply profound messages and inimitable brand of heart-stopping coolness, with strobe lights, multi-tiered sets, acrobats, costumes and props I couldn’t possibly describe the effect of, explosive energy, with maybe 10,000 people smiling broadly, moving but riveted to the core.

Hannah has grown up on the mountain. Lions, tigers and bears would probably not daunt her much. But this!? She sat on my lap, hugged my neck tight (what can be compared to a 5-year-old angel holding tight to your neck for long stretches?), kept her eyes as wide as saucers and clapped, clapped, clapped – to the beat and then just with awed joy.

Michael’s revolutionary vision in songs like They Don’t Care About Us and his Planet Earth/Earth Song were profoundly imparted in this show. His heartbreaking lyrics in Childhood – “Has anybody seen my childhood?” – bared his soul. There was a two story high image of little 5 year old Michael singing “I’ll be there, I’ll be there, just call my name, I’ll be there.” Man, this event was calling his name and he WAS there. It felt stunningly poignant. The crescendo built to final, AWESOME, joy-filled presentations of “It Don’t Matter if You’re Black or White” (and I’d like to add ‘gay or straight’ to the meaning and message as I know he would), and finally “Man in the Mirror.” “If you want to make the world a better place, just look in the mirror and make that change.”

What a good human. What a night. I want to send as much of the love and meaning and beauty to you as I can by telling this story.

Effects of Shock, Heaven and Hell

May 23, 2011

I believe that the effects of shock may be under-analyzed, under-valued and under-appreciated for the most part in our world, even in fields of medicine and psychology that attempt to treat them. All I have seen in catching up with the news is the look of shock on people’s faces – flood victims, tornado victims, and victims of personal betrayal. A healthy assimilation of such events in the life of the psyche is little understood. Denial, suppression, and thinking on the bright side seem to be all we know how to do to survive.

Life keeps shocking us, personally and collectively. We definitely have to figure this one out. Every new shock triggers old ones. There are songs and stories, songs and stories, songs and stories about how to focus on the positive, eliminate the negative. Who of us cannot say how life-changing these stories have been? Yet there is more.

Ancient myths, even the Bible, as well as mystics of East and West, do not attempt to be so simplistic. The field of depth psychology in the last 100 years also has tried to restore a sense of balance to the trajectory of social and therapeutic methods that lead to dangerous suppression of disturbing experience and emotion in favor of accentuating the positive, looking on the bright side, focusing only on “heaven.” I am a true believer in accentuating the positive, but will say that life keeps teaching me that respecting and even cherishing her dark side, embracing both dark and light equally, is the way to balance. I remember reading the words of Robert Romanyshyn, a professor as well as a friend of mine, that liberated me at a time of struggle: “Depression, then, is a matter of home, of coming home or trying to, of being called home. It is not an illness to be cured. It is the cure.”

The idea he articulated, along with a number of other brilliant thinkers I was studying at the time, is that psychological life, energy and libido get buried under layers of denial and suppression we have developed, and that depression itself leads us into deep chambers to bring golden energy back. It’s calling is like going into an archaeological dig. As such, going down is not an illness to be cured, it is the cure. Dante, Goethe, Shakespeare – all of our greatest thinkers – encourage an awareness of traveling among the many layers of psychological experience with aptitude and awareness.

People who are experiencing shock right now I see with my heart will need strong support and awareness in our larger culture, awareness that is seriously unavailable, that might help realize that going deeply into the effects that these shocks have visited upon them is the only way through. I wish for all of them an awareness that suffering is not necessary to be avoided, but that it carries powerful, mystical, magical and enlightening potentials.

People are medicine. Nothing cures like empathy and love, human to human. We must see each other through this. To meet a suffering other exactly where they are, then walk with them through landscapes of hell leading to a way through is a sacred calling. These are the tour guides that are needed now. How can we do this for another? When we  enter the landscapes of hell personally and discover the way out, like Virgil and Dante.

Collectively we need a new story. We have separated heaven and hell as if they are mutually exclusive. They are not. They are one thing, each part of a great design. I see even on the news that we are groping for a new way and a new story. I know we will find it. I so believe, so utterly believe, in us.