Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dubious Blessing, Hopeful Curse


nothing learned nothing changed
an old man as confounded
as I was as a child

old fool     old fool
when will you grow up!
fairy tales don't come true
and the fiercer you chase them
the more ridiculous you feel

so chill out   get a grip
you'll die soon enough
in what little time's left
why give yourself more grief?

it's just that I got stuck with
this heart
this heart won't cease wanting
what it can never have

this heart lurches on anyway
dreaming   hoping   searching

you'd think by now
it'd be worn out   broken down

you'd think by now this heart
would stop recklessly
floundering over and over
through love's bitter sea


The heart has its reasons
of which reason itself is unaware.

-- Pascal --


     A dubious blessing, a hopeful curse--that paradox pretty much nails the bittersweet drama of my emotional life. My heart has swelled with inspiring visions of all-fulfilling love--only to be cruelly deflated when they turned out to be actually all-consuming mirages; or else it's crashed and seemingly shattered into irretrievable pieces, only to be miraculously reborn--almost healed and whole again--from the bitter ashes of grief and loss. But one thing never changes: this heart won't cease wanting--wanting something apparently it can never have.

     What can I do? Lecturing my heart about being realistic, practical, using common sense, doesn't work. It laughs in my face and goes right on dreaming, longing, searching. But letting my heart charge full steam ahead chasing after hypnotic illusions doesn't work either. It always ends up lurching disasterously off the rails. The answer, if there is one, most be found by penetrating the glare of the chronic blind spot lying between frustrated inhibition and reckless compulsion.

     For me, the blind spot has proved to be a conditioned incapacity to consistently think and act like a mature, responsible, balanced and empowered adult. Reluctantly, I've had to face it: this vital training was one of several essentials which were short-circuited--deleted from a childhood scarred by family dysfunction, a sibling's tragic death, self-alienation and engulfing emotional trauma.

     Nor did my own intensely subjective, extremely imaginative nature help matters. As a consequence, in too many ways I remained a needy and rebellious adolescent, unable to attain or even envision the centered, integrated adult consciousness indispensable to overcoming this emotionally arrested self-dividedness.

     The still, small voice of my soul's intuitive wisdom was drowned out by the huge, restless clamor of my heart's yearning, my body's desire. There simply was no reliable adult occupying my being's halfway house who could effectively mediate, prioritizing between these polarized inner worlds.

     Understanding this hard-won truth awakened me at last to a redemptive psychological reformulation: aspiring to a hopeful blessing, while also repudiating a dubious curse. Now I could see--there is a means to bridge those two previously sundered sides of myself, a third place, a middle ground: the poised yet flexible stance of a centered, balanced, responsible, assertive and empowered adult.

     No, this heart will never cease wanting. But now it's reconnected to an older, wiser spiritual wisdom deep within me. It's learned to disipline those passionate desires, integrating them with my life's larger meaning, my soul's greater purpose. The pivotal instrument for this transcendent synthesis has been a painstakingly matured mind--a new, balanced, seasoned perspective, achieved through the fullest, most dynamic and creative authority of the living word.


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