Once upon a time, there was a little boy
who didn’t fit in, wasn’t good enough, felt abandoned, betrayed and punished by the world around him; he tried to be different, he tried to fit in, he tried to do what was asked of him and failing that he built walls around his heart, cut himself off, turning to rage, sarcasm and a false sense of superiority and to cope with the side affects of that, he turned to booze and drugs. Over time, he lost faith in mystical things, listening as his humanity, his soul and imagination whimpered and starved, caged off behind walls of fear, shame, guilt and loathing for everything including himself. All of those feelings of inadequacy, hurt and fear followed with him in his heart, making even accomplishment and success taste bitter.
I was that boy and though I am undergoing a process of recovery and there are very specific steps to healing that have been laid out before me, even though while I am actually doing the work and following those steps I can feel the pain, doubt and self loathing lifting from me, as faith, hope, courage, humility and gratitude take their place; I find from time to time, that I get distracted and pause in the process, and when I pause in the process I find fear and the moment that happens, that little boy hops into the Captain’s chair in my mind and suddenly everything that the day before was so beautiful, acceptable and right, turns dark and sinister and ugly.
I am in the middle of what are supposed to be the most transforming steps in my program of recovery and I paused because I allowed other things to seem more important and now I am suffering, now I am afraid. Now I am wrestling with what must seem to be a ridiculous question of faith to some and I am terrified of letting go suddenly of many of my character defects, because they have been like an armor to me, a cursed armor that has been killing me even as it protects me, but none-the-less it has been protective. To trust, really and truly trust other people, indeed to trust god and myself has a ring of horror to it. It is such a ridiculously simple thing, what it all boils down to in the end.
Come to trust and accept that all is as it should be, learn to relax and embrace myself and life itself, finding serenity on the other side of that surrender
or, reject that continue on in pain and misery.
What is the nature of my crisis of faith? I fear people will laugh and not understand, but it is very real to me and is not some kind of melodrama.
Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must”, then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. – Rainer Rilke Letters to a Young Poet, Volume One
Though beyond the odd poem or blog, I have written very little over the last 6 years or so, I have always considered myself a writer because I cannot stop the impulse, cannot stop thinking about it and it has been that way since I was in grade school. It has been known to me from a very young age that this is God’s universe and that I have been given these gifts for a reason. This is the cornerstone of both my faith and my current crisis. A little over three years ago, driving to an AA meeting in North Carolina, I had a spiritual experience, my first legitimate one since childhood. It suddenly struck me that I had not only wasted my talents for writing, using them for nothing but making money; I had chosen drinking and drugs over my gifts that mission that I was given. I was so moved that I had to pull over and weep. I made my apology to my own divine trinity, The Word, The Muses and The Divine and Beautiful.
I soon forgot, circling back from time to time, expecting some sort of order, for the Muse to tell me what to write, though I have had little conscious contact with them or The Word. I have many ideas, many impulses to write, but I left them alone, shrugging off time constraints or paralyzed by uncertainty which of things in my head are a part of the mission. Painfully, I see today that there is a possibility that all of it, any of it, could be what I was meant to put down. There will be no moment where Brigid or Gabrielle or any other muse or angel will appear to me and announce the instructions to my mission.
And here is the final bit that I hide from everyone I know, myself included: I believe – I am a believer, a mystic, transcendental poet, capable of working words like a prophet, with the heart of a child and the trembling soul of one charged with illuminating a divinity I myself could not possibly hope to understand. This is why I cry when I watch or think too much of Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh, or Alice – because while my head my have turned from faith, from the mystical truths and power of belief, my heart, locked away in the dungeon I created for it, never did and somewhere, I knew I was betraying my heart and the God’s that created it.
- Anything, anything conceivable by the human mind is possible
- That there is not a force more powerful or important in this Universe or any other more powerful that love. Which means it must be the very essence of our creator
- I believe in the power of words, that they are more powerful that medicine or weapons; so how we speak to ourselves in thought and out loud to others is of great importance. Negative words, construct negative ideas and drive negative behavior..from the choice of words to care with which they are spoken and cadence that they march out of us, every syllable counts
- I believe being awe struck, filled with wonder and incorrigibly optimistic are some of the best food for the soul
- I believe that every single thing in the Universe is beautiful and divine, and a part of a system created by the The Word that is perfect, that all apparent systems within in are copies of the larger system and that if you understand one of those systems, you understand everything.
- I believe in the muses, I believe that they not only work to inspire and illuminate for me, but actually push the message of the word through me, whenever I get out of the way
- I believe that all acts of communion among human beings are divine and wonderful, this includes acts of mercy, consenting acts of passion and sex, kindness, community prayer and worship, rituals, family gatherings and so on
- I believe in the message of Christ, of Buddha and other great religious figures
- I believe that Martin Luther King and Gandhi where recent avatars of God
- I believe requirements for faith are not God’s concern, that turning from your creator does not make his/her ego bruise, but will cause you suffering, because you must go through everything frightened and alone
- I believe that I should be writing more
I believe that if I can let that scared and angry little boy grow up to have trust, faith and wonder again, that great things are ahead for myself and for everyone else in my life. I believe too that since it will not leave me alone, one day, I hope sooner rather than later I will return to writing regularly and that whatever I am supposed to do will be done in time.