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|"The views expressed by others are not necessarily shared by Colin Andrews personally. All perspectives are respected"
|Thanks to Johanna Sayre (USA)
Embrace the Shadow and the Light
by Parker J. Palmer (@ParkerJPalmer), Columnist
|For all their joys, our individual and collective lives are laced with loss
and grief. But you don't need me to tell you that. This territory called
"being human" contains shadow as well as light. To be fully human,
we must embrace all of it.
That's the message of "The Thing Is" by Ellen Bass:
|"The Thing Is"
from Mules of Love
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.
|I want to add a few words about the power of the human heart to
transform suffering into new life. Like much that I post here, this is "a
memo to self." If it also speaks to you, I'll be grateful and glad.
As I've said before, "Violence is what happens when we don't know
what else to do with our suffering." That's one of the drivers behind
our senseless wars. And often that's what leads individuals to do
violence to themselves and/or others. Show me a person who makes
others suffer and I'll show you someone who's "working out" his or her
suffering by passing along the pain.
But suffering, held in a supple heart, can break the heart open to
compassion instead of breaking it down into cruelty. When we live with
broken-open hearts, our suffering leads us to love life more, not less.
Then we can become light-bearers and life-givers in a world of too
much darkness and death. How to keep our hearts supple is one of
the most important questions we can ask.