Sunday, June 19, 2022

Sacred fire

    What would it be like if I learned to harness my intensity and sensitivity? What if this highly reactive nervous system could become less a disability to be managed, and more a super-ability to be tapped into and used for good? Can I learn to open up to all the -- all of it, all the feelings, to manage them self-compassionately, intuitively, unflinchingly? Without always shying away or curling up (figuratively -- maybe also literally) to hide from the intensity? What would I be then? 

    Aurora Remember Holtzman (link) (which, just can I first take a second here to cheer her parents for "Aurora Remember"? poetry!) talks about "embracing intensity." Her tag line is "use your fire without getting burned." Gregory Boyle, the Jesuit priest who has been opening doors to and for gang members in Los Angeles for over 30 years, talks about letting his heart be broken open in compassion, or rather, in kinship with people on society's margins, and in so doing he has channelled God's grace to change thousands of lives for the better. The Sufi poet, Rumi, said lots of wonderful things, including, "The prophets accept all agony and trust it. For the water has never feared the fire.” And, "Dance until you shatter yourself." And, "Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion."

    Intensity confined, intensity suppressed, must become destructive of the self. My intensity, I guess, was simply dampened most of my adult life, by the anti-depressants I truly needed to keep from wanting to die all the time. Now that I am no longer depressed, and no longer medicated against depression, I am finally beginning to learn to feel all my feelings, to tolerate them, to explore them, to get to know more of myself. And I begin to have just an inkling of what I could be, or do, or become, in the process. What could I accomplish in my life if I weren't always trying to escape being uncomfortable, anxious, broken-hearted, insecure, or just plain bored to tears? 

    I'm still just at the beginning of this. I have a lot to learn about balancing self-nurture with unleashing my own power. About, as Aurora Remember says, using my fire without getting burned. Or even, yes, burning, like a phoenix, with faith that through the fire there is new life, new creation, bigger love, love that can reach out beyond my tight little boundaries and open a way to growth and healing, for myself and maybe, God willing, for other scorched souls as well. 


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