“We are travellers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”
You approach the river. It is very fast flowing with a strong current. On the other side lies your destination. You have been there before, but this time it is different. There is a makeshift ferry further upstream and you head towards it. It is a very crude platform, big enough to take two cars and a few pedestrians.
With mixed emotions you approach and then step onto the ferry. As it slowly makes its way across the river you almost have a feeling of déjà vu and the ferry man himself does little to inspire confidence. The far riverbank is still quite a way off. Then suddenly, without warning one of the ropes snaps, the platform lurches and both cars, you and all the other pedestrians are thrown into the violent, rushing water. For a few seconds your mind goes blank. It is as if time stops and the world stands still. You then wake up to the life-threatening reality that you are adrift in a fast flowing river and despite being a strong swimmer have no chance of reaching either bank. But equally quickly, equally spontaneously, you feel a pull towards the near bank, as if you have a rope around your waist. It seems miraculous that despite the mayhem that has just ensued, you are heading towards survival, towards safety, towards a new destination the delights of which you could have only dreamed about.
We are born with doubts, we are born with nothing, our lives a blank slate. We have memories from our parents, our ancestors. We have trauma from our conception, our time in the womb and our birth. We have trauma in our early years or trauma later in life. We have moments, long periods of bliss and innocence; we are loved. We may not be loved but imagine we are. We are loved and are unable to feel it. We are loved and we know it.
We endure betrayals, we are let down. We betray others and we let them down. We adhere as much as we can to a moral code, to integrity and fidelity. For reasons it may take our passing to fathom we meet others who are not who they seem. We blame ourselves, we blame others, we blame God. We fear death, we fear a life when no one hears our song, we leave a legacy, but the legacy is not the one we chose. When we were young.
We miss those who have left us, from our homes, our community, and our country. We miss those, no matter whether their time has come, who leave this incarnation. We silently and secretly rage against the injustice of it all. We work hard to find answers, we support those who we believe may find them quicker. When we find them we reflect: “if I only knew then what I know now.”
We find hidden depths, hidden strength we never knew we had. We confront the persecutors, the abusers, even the rescuers, our frivolous and significant distractions, our lost purpose and the evil ones. We recover, we grow stronger, we let go. We have new filters, new awareness, new tools which ensures there will be no repeat. We have let go, and yet we have let go of priceless parts of ourselves. We close our hearts or keep them partly open, just enough to see what is on the horizon. The horizon is hazy, like an Arizona desert at the height of summer.
We stay focused on all we see, all we hear and what we allow ourselves to feel. The fleeting unease, the splinter in the mind, the quiet desperation, the compulsion to move, to leave, to stay, to endure, to grin, to bear it. We make the best of it. Real friends support us. Our family is our sanctuary. We are OK.
You nearly drowned, and you know what that feels like. You still took a chance in crossing the river. You have realised, now, that against all the odds you were divinely enabled to be saved. You got a mere glimpse of the person who pulled you out. But the true picture of the person is etched into your memory; it was your near death experience that temporarily blocked it out.
You have a vague but life-confirming memory, even vaguer when viewed through a heat haze.
You crashed your car, you fell downstairs. You got knocked out, you lost the plot. You toughed it out, you did what was expected. You upset no one apart from yourself.
You looked to the heavens and you saw the stars. You saw the planets, the sun and the moon. You sought inspiration where there was none and you found inspiration where you least expected it. You avoided drawing conclusions because the river was still flowing. You haven’t been to its source and you will never know its true ending as it blends with the ocean.
We carry on, whatever that means. Enough to sustain ourselves, enough to live. We treat ourselves, we have many episodes we describe as good, even very good. When the background track becomes audible once more, the heat haze rises, the picture blurs.
Our lives rebuilt, our purpose renewed. We love ourselves again, at least we tell ourselves we do, but most of all we have our chamomile tea.
We’ve lost the splinter but it’s left a void.
In the stillness everything happens. We search for meaning, but the restlessness was handed down. We will not let it lie. The dark needs the light, the yin needs the yang, the instigator needs the muse. The etheric rope that saved us was connected to the Divine. We are all sparks of the Divine, we are the Divine.
Our hearts open some more. It’s gone a little cooler and the heat haze has dispersed.
Never again we have told ourselves, never again will we be fooled. Never again will we compromise our safety. Until we realise it is not our safety that we compromise but our very lives. Someone hears our song and even though to us our song sounds pretty ordinary, the person who hears our song tells us it is like a celestial choir.
We retreat once more. But a nagging doubt sets in. Our sanctuary is that little less appealing as we spend more time contemplating the appreciation of our song. We step out, it feels good, and parts of it feel magical, unreal, unexpected in common hours.
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”
Henry David Thoreau
Maybe, just maybe this time. Yes. It’s happening.
Jack Stewart, I love your song. November 9, 2019.