Saturday, 6 November 2010

Turning towards the sun

The other night I was at a Dougie MacLean gig - he's a Scottish singer/songwriter probably best known for writing the song "Caledonia" - which somehow manages to make you feel homesick even when you're home is in Caledonia!

Before performing one of his songs he explained it had been written following a visit to see his father in a hospice. He spoke very lovingly of his father, and explained that he had found conversation with him as he was dying very difficult. On this occasion he decided to ask his fathers advice on caring for a gladioli plant he'd been given, his fathers response, Dougie felt was very poignant and related not only to the plant but to life.

"The plant's not thriving Dad!" he said, "What should I be doing?"

"Turn the plant to the sun, just keep turning it - keep it in the sun!"

As Dougie got ready to sing the song he said, "Nothing thrives in darkness."

So true.

We can withdraw like wounded animals when we feel emotionally beaten, crawling into our caves and hiding away. Shutting the curtains on the outside world we can convince ourselves, that the pain will go away if we just don't see or interact with anyone or anything.

To me turning towards my "sun" has meant leaning on friends, sharing my deepest fears and sadness with them. By doing this they have helped illuminate the darkest corners of my heart - letting me see that despite the awfulness of what has happened in the past there is nothing to gain and everything to lose by staying with the darkness.
"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you." - Maori proverb

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking about your last post in the shower this morning, which this new post seems to be a continuation of. Thinking about saddness, about being pulled into that darkness...

    I think you were saying before that, even though you could do a stop to get out of being stuck in feeling sad, perhaps there was also something that the saddness was trying to tell you? That's the sense I made of what you said, anyway. You can do a stop, but sometimes perhaps that's a denial of something you need to feel, and learn. But who wants to stay in the saddness, or fear, or remorse, or whatever it is?

    It seemed to me this morning that perhaps the issue was about feeling it, knowing it, hearing the communication that's being attempted, but not allowing yourself to be overwhelmed. It seems that it might be possible to learn how to 'hold your space', to somehow remain centred in the sense of intrinsic alrightness that hopefully one is building and gaining confidence in, at the same time as feeling the strong feeling?

    I came across an idea the other day in a book about Tai Chi which I now find a really helpful metaphor for this. Apparently what most of us call the yin/yang symbol is actually 'the tai chi'. You picture yourself standing in 'your own tai chi', with one foot on each of the two spots. The challenge is to stay in your tai chi, not reaching too far beyond it, and also not allowing yourself to be knocked out of it. It's a martial arts metaphor, but I find it great for reminding me not to get knocked out of my space, which it seems to me is what strong feelings are in danger of doing.....