DANCING WITH THE DARKNESS

The Greater Quote by Elizabeth Gilbert O Magazine

Dear Invisible Shadow –

As promised, I’ve been percolating on your post, Brittle Emptyness [http://theinvisibleshadow.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/brittle-emptyness/].  Such visceral honesty from someone who describes herself as a skilled liar from an early age grabbed me around the heart and threw me down hard.

Let me be very clear, I am not a mental health professional and I do not play one on TV.  But there’s no reason we can’t go back in time and pretend we’re in Group together.  Back then, my opening would have been, “Hi, I’m Dan and I’m a very bad person”.

“Hi Dan.”

Lying since I can remember to protect the little kid part of me inside the little kid, my past is no less littered than yours with its own version of pain and agony.  Sorry, you’ll have to do better.  But having lived on this asylum called Earth a little longer than some, let me cue you into some of the inner-workings of the ward.

Me thinking my Past needed me to curate my own personal history museum was a lie.  Why?  No one was coming to ask me for evidence if I’d been mistreated, misunderstood or simply a mistake.  I’m grateful there was a moment in the interminable free fall through my Darkness when I caught myself, saying ‘enough’.  I count that one little spark being delivered deep as massive proof there’s more to this place than what meets the eye.  There are things at work of which we do not know and will never see.  Do we catch a ride on that line of Light, or do we play the martyr card? “If you really knew (and I’m prepared to give you a full briefing), you’d know I don’t deserve a place in the Sun.  I’ll sit here in the dark and surrender my last shred of humanity…you go on along. I’ll be fine.”

With so little to hold onto back then, what little I was clutching was rancid and unhealthy.  But wait, it gets even better. [sic]

Truth be told, no one cared about any of it except me.  They saw the smoking wreckage of self-fulfilling prophecy scattered all around my Life.  And guess what?  Down deep they were glad it was me and not them.  The only ones alarmed I was showing signs of waking up were those with their own reasons for wanting me to stay stuck in bondage.  Those reasons were not mine.  True, I had been conscripted into them, but I was never consulted.

And while I’m on my gentle rant, I truly believe when we settle for feeling bad…just to have a feeling, any feeling at all, as a means to counter the numbness we’ve been conditioned to, we’re buying another lie.  And then what do we do?

We tell ourselves that this time, somehow, this time is going be different.  This time we’ll succeed.  We will finally feel safe.  This time we’ll belong.  Lies, lies and more lies.  You should feel right at home.  I know I did.

Since last night, I’ve written three different takes – none of them presented here – each one in a different voice – but all of them chords struck in response to your Manifesto of Darkness.  Mindful of the privilege, cognizant of your unfiltered admissions and reluctant to remark lest I do any harm, I still feel inadequate saying anything that even remotely gets as close to authentic as were the lines of text you poured out onto the table in front of us.  Messy and gut-filled as it was, I was honored to be there.

 

Let Yourself Be Gutted Quote by Cheryl Strayed

 

Sitting in darkness is something you may have to do for awhile.  It is not a given that said sitting will constitute the rest of your life, so put that dark little lie in its place right now.

Ask any sky diver.  Free fall can be fun as long as you’ve taken steps to arrest it at some point before gravity, velocity and the other Laws of Physics turn you into a pancake in your own puddle of moisture.

Brittle and dry, the leaves left the Tree empty.  But in their exodus, the Tree’s true structure was revealed, her beauty of line and symmetry had been there all along.  Only now, with an unobstructed view, are we able to appreciate the design that is her form.  No wonder Snow loves sitting on her branches.  You’ve seen it.  You know it to be True.

For their part, the leaves won’t be brittle and dry for long.  Rains will come and dew will fall.  Wet and void of any life force, decomposition will begin the process of reclamation as it has for thousands of years before our little leaves ever fell.

For awhile, the leaf and the Tree were meant to be together.  Now they are not.

But in time, the spaces left by the old leaves now departed will fill with new ones.   The old ones are still there, but now they are inside the new ones.  They had to die before they could rot in the mulch.  They did and they have.

Now, in new form, they each make their way back to Dear Old Tree through roots running below what both of them love and that, my dear Invisible, would be each other.

You are not alone.  Your situation is not unique.  However, I would propose your grit and determination to not surrender and go quietly into the Darkness is.  Your defiance is so you and awe-inspiring to those of us who’ve gotten out over the wall before you.  We remember.

It is your Night, so travel the unfamiliar terrain at your own pace. But travel through it you must.

As you do, you’ll find us other pilgrims in the most unexpected places along the way. And when we meet, we’ll make room for you around our fires.  And just one thing more –

Before the Darkness leaves, be sure to ask her to dance with you. Embrace her.  You may never be friends, but no one knows the other better than the two of you do.  Thank her for having spent every waking minute of her life with you, but now it’s time to go.  The sun is coming up and the Trees will be along presently.

UntilThenDan

 

 

 

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Kim Burgner

Kim Burgner RScP, Director and Founder Northwest Arkansas Center for Spiritual Living in Springdale, Arkansas is celebrating her 5 years at the Center this June.

I am honored to call this kind of remarkable woman a friend of mine.

Well done, Kim.  Well done.

Dan

 

 

 

You can visit the link and read more about their amazing work.

http://nwarkansascsl.org/

 

 

FERNFIVEwPASSAGE TEXT

 

Casey Kasem

 

KEMAL AMIN “Casey” KASEM

(April 27, 1932 – June 15, 2014)

 

Casey Kasem, whose distinctive voice defined the interstitial sound of Top 40 radio for decades, has died. He was 82

 

Renowned for his distinctive voice defining the interstitial sound of Top 40 radio for decades, “Kasem’s daughter Kerri tweeted the news Sunday morning, writing, “Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends. Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. The world will miss Casey Kasem, an incredible talent and humanitarian; we will miss our Dad.”

Kasem, born Kemal Amin Kasem to Lebanese immigrant parents in Detroit in 1932, began his radio career when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, working as a disc-jockey/announcer on the Armed Forces Radio Korea Network before returning to civilian life and taking DJ posts at stations in San Francisco and Oakland, California. After moving to Los Angeles, he began playing small supporting roles in a number of low-budget Hollywood films, and made his first forays into television voice-overs. That led to work on a number of animated show, including the role of Shaggy on Scooby Doo, which he reprised in both films and on TV for five decades.

His voiceover work in commercials became synonymous with dozens of iconic American brand names over the years, including Ford, Sears, Heinz ketchup, Oscar Meyer, Red Lobster, Dairy Queen, Velveeta, Dairy Queen, A&P, Contintental Airlines and the California Raisin Advisory Board.

But it was his post as host of the weekly syndicated American Top 40 from 1970-1988 and again from 1998-2004 that would go on to become his most defining accomplishment. (In the intervening decade, he hosted a series of shows for another radio network, including Casey’s Top 40, Casey’s Hot 20, and Casey’s Countdown.) Every show — which interspersed the hits of the day with long-distance dedications, flashbacks, and spotlights on emerging artists — ended with his signature sign-off message: “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.”

“Basically, radio hasn’t changed over the years,” he once said. “Despite all the technical improvements, it still boils down to a man or a woman and a microphone, playing music, sharing stories, talking about issues—communicating with an audience.”

Kasem is survived by his wife, Jean Kasem, and four children.”

 

SOURCES:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casey_Kasem And article (with photo) by EW staff on Jun 15, 2014 at 10:46AM  via http://music-mix.ew.com/2014/06/15/casey-kasem-dj-death/

 

“Keep Your Feet On The Ground And Keep Reaching For The Stars”

 

 

 

 

FernFive

 

 

 

SOURCES, PHOTO CREDITS and ATTRIBUTIONS:

Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.

Visit Eric and see his other work at: http://www.ericephoto.com or http://ericephoto.wordpress.com/

The Greater Quote by Elizabeth Gilbert (June 13, 2014): http://www.oprah.com/quote-list/Uplifting-Quotes-for-Hard-Times; Let Yourself Be Gutted Quote by Cheryl Strayed (June 13, 2014): http://static.oprah.com/images/quoteables/quotes-open-gutted-cheryl-strayed-480×480.jpg; The More Important Quote by Steven Pressfield (June 13, 2014): http://static.oprah.com/images/quoteables/quotes-soul-evolution-steven-pressfield-480×480.jpg; Tree, Dawn. Dawn, Tree.: http://nagaimonogatari.blogspot.com/2012/07/puisi-kutunggu-kau-kembali.html

  

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Tree Dawn_Dawn Tree

 

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About dan4kent

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dan lives in the Chicagoland area. With a grown son from a previous marriage, he has since built a committed relationship of 32 years with his partner Rick, the Love of his Life. Having written his whole life, he blogged the past 6-years because he has to write…he can’t help it. Know the feeling? There’s ‘good‘ to be found in all of it. “If all I do is leave someone (or something) better than I found them, then I’ve done my part. Thanks for letting me grace your screen, if only for a little while.”
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Life, Life Lessons, Love and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to DANCING WITH THE DARKNESS

  1. purplemary54 says:

    Thanks. I think we all needed that.

  2. wisejourney says:

    casey kasem ! …takes me back to 1983 when this newly wed gal from the UK spent 6 months in Georgia. He remains fro me the voice of American radio…ah memories.

  3. ntexas99 says:

    First things, first. I found it to be eerily spooky that you and I posted a blog post at almost precisely the exact same time. I had just hit Publish on today’s post, and immediately a comment showed up, and as my mind simultaneously whirred in confusion and exclaimed “that isn’t humanly possible”, it was then that I saw it wasn’t a comment on my post at all, but rather, that you had linked back to my Brittle Emptyness post from Friday. It always feels rather odd to have our electronic paths cross so closely in proximity to one another.

    As to your response to my post, first and foremost, thank you for taking the time and making the effort to respond in such a profound and complete fashion. When my mind is in manic phase, it can sometimes be difficult to hear anything at all, but as I read your words, my eyes kept welling up with tears, and there was a very deep feeling of being heard. Sometimes just knowing that someone out there can hear you can help draw you closer to the safety of the fire.

    What you said in your paragraph about “enough” and how we have to choose whether to follow the light, or succumb to the darkness … well, all I can really say is that I heard you, and yes, it does always seem to come back to that, doesn’t it? In my own journey, I’ve tried fabricating an entirely foreign person with no semblance of my own history, I’ve tried moving from one end of the country to another, I’ve tried falling into some relationship or another that I think will erase who I am, I’ve tried jumping into drug or alcohol addiction, I’ve tried killing the beast that lives within, I’ve tried disappearing into the darkness … let’s just say I’ve tried lots and lots of ways to escape the pain associated with my beginnings, and it seems that everywhere I go, there I am.

    I know you’ll understand this, and even though this doesn’t help me get where I need to go, I can’t seem to help it that sometimes I hang all my hope on waking up to a different reality. That one day I’ll close my eyes, and when they open again, all that pain and misery will never have happened, and I’ll be fresh, and new, and dancing in the light. I’ll be starting from a place that might let me have even a glimpse of who I might have become if all my life had not been filtered through the pain.

    Enough? Yes, I say enough … often. I’ve even tried denying it ever happened. That particular attempt was one of the more damaging trajectories, and thankfully, I managed to figure out that discarding that idea was required in order to continue surviving. I suppose I’ve never made as much progress as I had hoped in learning how to love who I am, or who I am becoming. There was a time in my memory that I can remember being awed by my strength, and even could smile at the face in the mirror. But now? Now it seems I’m just tired, and somehow feel like I’m trying to buy into something that is like vapor in the wind.

    It’s hard for me to even know why NOW? Why is this particular day and time when I feel like I have to surrender? What has triggered those feelings that makes me believe that any effort at all is only wasted effort, and that I’m trying to climb a brick wall that has no ceiling? Thankfully, at least for today, my manic energy decided to come pay me a visit, so that at least has me speaking out loud again. Even if what I say is nothing more than a pitiful view of a place that only exists in my head.

    I know it can be difficult to respond to someone, especially to someone who has openly spoken about ongoing suicidal thoughts, so I have to give you major props for being willing to step into those dangerously-infested waters. I’ll also say for anyone reading this, that ultimately the responsibility for keeping ourselves safe lies within each of us that might be treading those dangerous waters. I’ve always known that there are lots of reasons why I wouldn’t want that to be my legacy (I could go on and on about that), but truthfully, once I finally got to that place where I completely understood that I had to find my own way through this tangled forest, the journey did seem to get easier. Thankfully, there are always others on the path that are willing and able to reach out and lend direction, or support, or even just a kind word. Pretending that we are alone in this journey is just a fictional view. We are all moving towards restoration, in some way or another, and if we can leave a bread crumb trail or even a few snippets of conversation or relate our observations along the way, then we must do so to help one another.

    Thank you for your kindness, and for your efforts to respond to my post. As for that “dancing with the darkness” part of your equation, even when standing on the deep bedrock of so many fallen leaves that have become nourishment for new growth, I still fear the darkness. Learning how to dance with her and then send her on her way is something I’ll have to explore (because I simply can’t bear not trying everything under the sun), and I thank you for your observations and suggestions. But seriously, no one wants to see me dance.

    (Okay, that one was meant to be funny, but I do get your point). Why not me? Why can’t I drop the burden of all the pain and misery and agony, and step into a life that is free of all those things that hold me back? Why can’t I find a way to forgive myself for anything and everything, and make today be about the joys that life can offer? I never pretend to know how my story will play out, but I guess I keep hoping that I’ll surprise myself, and find something I haven’t even been able to imagine. Right now, it seems like a brittle dream in the empty expanse of darkness, but tomorrow? We all know that tomorrow, it might become real.

    Thank you again for your very kind words, and for lending your astute writing ability to articulating something that I’m sure I needed to hear today. You are especially kind for using the word “defiant” when describing me … I’ve always aspired to swim in my own direction … you might even say that learning how to do the impossible has kept me alive, so when I hear you use the word defiant, it feels like I’ve actually experienced some sort of victory. Thank you for that. 🙂

    • dan4kent says:

      Ah Invisible. You are many things, but invisible is not one of them. Surrender is nothing more than acknowledging you are ready to let the load go and let your Source
      drive for awhile.
      And being afraid? That’s OK too. Join the. club. But that isn’t the same as lacking courage. You have courage in spades. I leave you with this: Your past is not something to be removed like
      some kind of tumor. It’s yours. It sounds like it was bad. So what?
      Call it yours and I suspect.you
      might even find a few gifts inside.
      The sky is not going to fall. Make
      friends with has already been.
      You can’t change it but you can reinterpret what it means in this moment. Forgive. Remember and before you know it, others will be saying, I see you. It’s yours. Until Then, Dan

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