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”.
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.
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.
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.
You can visit the link and read more about their amazing work.
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”
SOURCES, PHOTO CREDITS and ATTRIBUTIONS:
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.
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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