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Overcoming Resistance – Part 1

I haven’t posted for over a year. I could say it’s because I’ve been otherwise productively engaged or I haven’t had anything pressing to say or my focus has been more inward than outward.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

The deeper truth surfaced today in a short dialogue with my Muse, a.k.a. The Creative Consuela.

D:     I’ve committed myself to writing a blog today – tomorrow at the latest – and I feel totally stuck. I don’t have a clue what to write about.

CC:  That’s because you don’t want to write the damned blog.

(insert potent “I’ve been busted” pause)

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Creativity is Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! This is not just a day for people in romantic relationships to exchange sweet somethings, but a day for celebrating love in its many forms. It’s been a real joy today to say “I love you” to my mom, my sister, my friends; to this fiercely windy rainy day here in Vancouver; to everyone with whom I’ve come into contact today (internally, please! – if you say “I love you” out loud in Canada, people will think you’re hitting on them) – and to mean it. Wonderful!

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Every Month is Creativity Month

I began this year by honoring my creative urges in a way that I’ve done all too rarely in my life. Returning home from bringing in the New Year with creatively inspiring friends, Claudia Holt (who picked up the fiddle for the first time in her 50s and is now playing in a band) and her husband, Bryan Singleton (innovative permaculture maven) in Petaluma, California, I paid a visit to my friend, Elfa Gisla, actress, film and theatre director, impresario, passionate supporter of The Arts, and chatelaine of The Conway Muse, Northern Washington’s go-to destination for live music and good times. I heard myself telling her that I’d love to write a one-woman stage play. We talked about it for a bit and moved onto other subjects, but in the car on the way home, I got an idea for a story on which to hang the play.

In the past, I would have let the idea disappear into Neverneverland in order to attend to habitual homecoming tasks like unpacking, watering the plants, and checking the 487 emails, most of them spam, that had accumulated in my absence. But not this time. This time, I walked in the door, put down my bags, dropped my coat, headed straight for my laptop, and yes, gentle readers, I started writing the play. I worked on it for about an hour – long enough to get a decent start on it but not so long as to completely freak out my inner neatnik, who is used to running the show.

I’ve been continuing with the play ever since. I have every intention of finishing it, showing it around, marketing it, and seeing it performed on stage. As one of my creativity coaching clients, a wise woman of 80, said to me recently, “If not now, when?” Picasso puts it even more pointedly, “Only put off tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”

On my 2011 Brush Dance calendar, I noted that the month of January is International Creativity Month. In honor of this grand occasion, here are twelve things that you can do to harness creativity’s revitalizing, transformative power.

1. Make a bucket list of the creative projects that you would like to complete and post it somewhere prominent.

2. Mess with the warden of your Comfort Zone. Change working hours, get to work or go home in a different way, take another route to do your errands, listen to a new radio station, read a magazine or book you wouldn’t typically read, go to a cafe you wouldn’t normally go to, vary what you eat for breakfast, follow someone on Twitter whose worldview is antithetical to yours, etc.

3. As I did when I started my play, act on your creative impulses. Stop whatever you’re doing – especially if it’s something potentially draining and mind-numbing like watching a reality show, surfing the web, gossiping, whining or complaining – and spend 10, 15, 30 minutes on a creative project.

4. Remind yourself that recognizing our creative capacities and those of our children may save us from destroying ourselves and taking our planet with us, by giving a few minutes of your time to Sir Kenneth Robinson.

5. Go for a walk on your own. As Raymond Inmon famously said, “If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.” I can personally verify that Angels whisper to solitary female walkers as well. (By the way, if anyone knows who Raymond Inmon is, let me know – his quote appears to be more famous than he is.)

6. Do absolutely nothing for 10, 15, 30 minutes. Lie down, listen to music, and close your eyes. The best ideas come when the mind is relaxed. (Keep a notebook handy.)

7. Get offended. Watch the politically incorrect, brilliantly nimble-minded, creatively unbound, dangerously funny contemporary mystic, Billy Connolly, who has rightly declared, “There are people who need to be offended on a regular basis, I’ve always felt, and I’m the very boy to do it.”

8. If you have a problem, state it in reverse. If the statement is positive, make it negative. If it is negative, make it positive. For example, if you want to improve a relationship, list all the ways to make it worse. If you want a story to be less shallow, consider all the ways to make it more so. If you want to remedy a bad situation, make a list of all the ways the situation could be interpreted positively.

9. Take a poem, painting, short story, photograph, dramatic monologue, etc. that you love and create a tribute piece in which you emulate the artist’s style. Conscious imitation will enrich your own work and your unique slant will naturally emerge. Originality is an inherent outcome of sincere creative pursuit.

10. Recall and celebrate your moments of poor judgment. Picasso has said, “The chief enemy of creativity is ‘good’ sense.” Such moments may inspire your next creative work. Great works of art don’t tend to be about people behaving sensibly.

11. Book a coaching session with The Creative Consuela to help you define your creative goals and overcome the barriers to carrying them out. Email donaleen@donaleensaul.com.

12. Enroll in my upcoming six-week “Stoking Your Creative Fire” workshop that starts at 7 PM on Wednesday, January 26. The $180 fee includes a 30-minute creativity coaching telephone session with The Creative Consuela.

Remained attuned to subsequent blogs as I offer more suggestions for making our creativity matter.

“When we are writing or painting or composing, we are, during the time of creativity, freed from normal restrictions, and are opened to a wider world where colors are brighter, sounds clearer, and people more wondrously complex than we normally realize.” Madeleine L’Engle

Dreaming Your Life

This dispatch comes to you at an auspicious time, the Winter Solstice, described by my Solstice-born friend and songspinner, Pauline LeBel, as a time when “the womb of darkness reaches its fullness…when we rest, when our dreams are seeded, when we ready ourselves for the lengthening days.”

Traditionally this is a time when we make resolutions for the coming year – to get fit, get out of debt, quit smoking, finish the manuscript, learn Spanish, etc. Such resolutions have a notoriously poor success rate – 10% according to one source. (That’s probably a generous estimate.) And yet year after year, many of us keep making them, hoping that this time the outcome will be different. But as Einstein has said, insanity is “doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.”

Maybe it’s not a fatal character flaw that prevents us from keeping these promises to ourselves. The calendar is after all a human creation, not a natural one. Maybe Jose Arguelles, author of the international bestseller, The Mayan Factor, is right when he says, “It is largely dissynchronous timing standards that have kept human beings off-balance and alienated from the natural cycles of the Earth they inhabit.”

What if we were to attune to the darkness of this time of year instead? What if we were to heed these words of the essayist, Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams: “real beauty is so deep you have to move into darkness to understand it”? What if we were to follow the example of David Whyte, as expressed in his poem, The Willingness to Rest:

In my tiredness
and willingness to rest
I slipped so far down

I felt the earth
embraced me
and knew me once again.

Perhaps instead of soldiering on and doggedly resolving to better ourselves in the coming year, we need to allow our emerging self to meet us in the sweet darkness of these winter days and nights, and to whisper its secrets.

All night
the dark buds of dreams
open
richly.

In the center
of every petal
is a letter
(from “Dreams” by Mary Oliver)

As this year ends and the new year dawns, hold this question in your heart: “What is my dream?” Maybe you have several of them. Allow them to emerge out of the bounds of time. Take note of them as they occur to you.

Pay attention to your dreams on these long winter nights. They have more potency now than at other times of the year. Write them down if you can.

And in the coming days, when you have some moments alone, you may want to try this Eric Maisel exercise that I adapted from his book, Fearless Creating:

Light a candle and sit quietly. Have paper and pen and/or a musical instrument close at hand.

Attend to your breathing without trying to change it. When your mind starts its inevitable ranting, gently tell it to “Hush” as you would a restless child. As the thoughts keep recurring, keep hushing them. The intent is to descend to the place of no thought. This may take time. Be patient.

When you’re as quiet as you can be, gently say, “Deeper” and wait. As you feel your breathing deepen, go silently into the darkness. Be as still as you can be.

Pay attention to what comes to you – images, words, gestures, melodies… Gently hold these messages until they begin to come into focus.

When you feel ready, write, draw, play, or dance these images, words, phrases in whatever way feels natural to you.

Be patient with yourself. The silence may not come at all. You might not get a single idea – this time. It’s not about doing it right. The effort alone is a balm for the soul.

In the coming year, beginning on January 26, I am offering a series of Wednesday evening workshops, “Stoking Your Creative Fire,” to support the kind of creativity that gives your life significance, richness, and intentionality. It is for artists or would-be artists of every description who wish to create more authentically, more frequently, more deeply. Or for anyone who wants to live with greater, passion, and joy. Be prepared to encounter your deepest yearnings and to discover practical ways to make them a reality. Discover how you might have sabotaged your creative intentions in the past, and learn tools and approaches to advance them instead.

For those of you living in the Vancouver area or close by, “Stoking Your Creative Fire” could be your chance to give form to those dreams that beckon to you in these dark winter days and nights.

For information, email me at info@donaleensaul.com.

“Each person has access to a rich creative world that demands expression. Without it, life becomes a single note longing for its melody.”
Jean Houston

Embracing the Darkness

This can be a challenging time  of year for folks in the Northern Hemisphere. We’re approaching the darkest day of the year. More of the day is in darkness than in light now. That can be unnerving.

Especially since we live in a culture that fights the darkness. Our cities, where most of us live, are always lit up. When I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s impossible to determine the time without checking the clock.

We even medicate away mild depressions. Some psychiatrists and mental health professionals regard a few weeks of sadness, hopelessness, and disinterest in life as symptomatic of clinical depression. We are expected to be eternally cheerful. Nothing against cheerfulness – I’m pretty cheerful myself – and nothing against medications that ensure a quality of life that might otherwise be impossible for those who suffer from serious mental illness. But I can’t help but feel that we deny ourselves important spiritual and creative nourishment when we succumb to “find your happy place” messages and when we value the bright lights of confidence and certainty to the exclusion of the shadow states of doubt, confusion, and vulnerability.

Last week, I attended a candlelight ceremony put on by The Compassionate Friends, for parents whose children had died – whether by illness, accident, or any other means. The purpose of the ceremony was to ease the hearts of those who have suffered from this terrible loss – at Christmastime, when being in a happy perfect family is all but mandatory. Siblings are also invited to attend and so I lit a candle for my brother, Steve, who died by suicide six years ago, and for my twin sisters, Joan and Joyce, who died shortly after their premature birth a year after me, because the hospital in which they were born lacked incubators. It was humbling to be in the company of these brave parents, witnessing them share their tears from having lost what had been most precious to them. Lighting their candles to affirm their love, their courage, and their faith.

I woke up the next day in a dark despairing place, but I took courage from those parents and lit a candle, took out my journal, and wrote about how I was feeling. At such times, I often dialogue with a source of Inner Wisdom; this time the voice invited me to take a number of deep breaths and “let the darkness embrace you. Don’t fight against it.” I did that and I felt better. Not great, but better. Embracing the darkness helped me to see the source of the feelings, to unearth some irrational self-judgment, and to replace it with thoughts grounded in reality.

After that, I began working on my book and found that I was stuck – unable to write a single word. A scary state for a writer, but rather than give up, turn on the radio, and move on to a project for a client, I heeded the message of Inner Wisdom once again: “Just breathe, and light another candle. If you don’t write another word for the remaining hour, that’s alright. Just let go. If something comes to you, write it down.”

I did just that. After a few minutes of breathing into the silence, I had a realization that not only served my book but also addressed the state I had woken up with, in which I had felt alone in my discouragement: “There is no separation between the light and the dark. They are one and the same. Lighting a candle is an affirmation of that lack of separation.”

After that I was able to write and felt that deep resonance with darkness that, in a strange way, feels like home, as suggested by Theodore Roethke in his poem, In A Dark Time:

“In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood”

Perhaps this can be a helpful message in this time of the solstice when the darkness is most with us.

Grief and Creativity

Below is a talk I gave at the launch of Cathy Sosnowsky’s book, “Snapshots – A Story of Loss, Loss and Life,” on Sunday, October 24, 2010.

Cathy Sosnowsky’s Snapshots inspires, supports, exemplifies, sustains, and celebrates the mysterious relationship between grief and creativity.

As she describes so beautifully, we’re helpless in the face of our grief. She writes about Ian, their minister, arriving the night of her son Alex’s sudden death falling from the roof of a tennis court at age 17: “He sat between Woldy and me on Alex’s bed, holding us each by a hand. ‘I can’t believe it, I can’t believe it,’ he kept repeating, expressing what each of us felt, but were now too numb to utter.” In its simple humanity and in its expression of our utter defenselessness before death, especially the sudden death of a child, this scene says it all. As the shock wears off, Cathy describe feeling such profound grief that she didn’t want to survive it. She didn’t want to live.

Excruciating though it must have been, in acknowledging these feelings, Cathy did herself a favor. Sorrow may hurt like hell, but disregarding it annihilates us. We may be able to function and appear to be getting on with our lives – but a large part of us is absent. I often quote Stephen Levine who, in Unattended Sorrow says that ignoring our grief, “inhibits intuition. We come to trust ourselves less. We cannot ‘feel’ the world around us as we once did, so we experience ourselves as ‘a bit unplugged’… This quality of grief can slow our creativity and ‘dumb us down’ a bit.”

Cathy didn’t allow herself to be dumbed down by grief and, because of her courage, which I can only describe as breathtaking, creativity came calling. It showed up as a kind of wise, nonjudgmental, reliable companion through those dark early days: “Writing out my grief gave me some sense of owning it. I felt less the helpless victim. Even when I was writing about my darkest thoughts (I wrote suicidal poems–I wanted to be with Alex in death), the expression of them gave some relief.”

The psychotherapist, Alexander Kennedy, who wrote The Infinite Thread: Healing Relationships Beyond Loss, a book about sustaining a relationship with a loved one who has died, says, “People who are grieving find that they have little energy or enthusiasm for external reality: their energy is drawn inward. And as grief dampens their outer senses, it can open inner senses, giving them new acuity in seeing, hearing, and feeling what is inaccessible to our senses during normal times.”

Cathy tells us about this mystery: “All of a sudden, everything had significance and demanded that it be shaped into a poem.” Grief revealed itself to be more than an eternally patient shoulder to cry on — it was her Muse. Here’s an excerpt from her poem, “Lament”

“One dark night in December,
death and poetry
entered our house,
shaping my lips forever
in a song of lament.

I could not cry alone,
had to shout my sorrow
hear it right through the aisles
of canned tomatoes, boxes of rice
frozen burritos–Alex’s favourite.”

As Cathy says in the book, she wrote 140 poems in her first year of grieving – and continued writing poetry daily for most of the second…and much of the third, fourth, and fifth years… “If a day went by without producing a poem, I would slump into an even deeper depression.”

I heard about an essay, Life Begins Today by Jacques Lusseyran, who had been in the Nazi concentration camp, Buchenwald, during World War II. One of the things he did was organize poetry readings for fellow inmates. Picture a group of starving, freezing, uprooted, terrified human beings on the edge of death huddling in a washroom reciting poetry to one another. It diminished their suffering. It helped them remember what was worth living for. As Lusseyran said, “To nourish the desire to live, to make it burn; only that counted… You couldn’t let yourself forget that it is always the soul that dies first–even its departure isn’t perceived–and that the soul brings the body down with its fall. It was the soul that had to be nourished, first.”

Instinctively Cathy knew that, and she describes how, at Poet Olga Broumas‘ Hollyhock workshop, “Poetry: Transcribing the Soul,” which she attended when he started to get serious about her poetry, she not only deepened her artistry but also discovered how much she had to live for. This is the last verse of a poem she wrote about love and about Woldy:

“love carries on
bearing our dead son within and between us
listening for his song
seeing the chip in his front tooth
scar over his right eye
callous on thumb

love doesn’t let go”

The subtext of Cathy’s trials through grief was her conception and ultimate delivery as an artist. Her final words in Snapshots are powerful: “My dead child gave birth to a new mother.” Cathy the artist, the poet, the writer was one dimension of this new mother. With the publication of Holding On – Poems for Alex, Cathy’s private grief became a public benediction. Through the crucible of her suffering, Cathy was able to forge an authentic path for other bereaved people, especially bereaved parents. She was able to articulate their grief in a way that made them feel less alone, but she did more than that, she gave it grace, dignity, and a kind of terrible beauty. I found this short poem, “Grief and Dreams,” in her Holding On collection:

“let me tell you about grief:

a bathtub full of stinging nettle
a deep dark hole
a chasm

but the hole is full of rats
no sweet oblivion

only regret    rage
self-pity

oh let us bathe in stinging nettle!
the pain will be distracting

those surface itches
better than the hole

where despair waits
a ravenous rat

to feed upon
our sweetest dreams”

I asked Cathy recently if it had ever been her dream as a child to be a published author but she said no. In fact, in Snapshots, she says” “Since Holding On was published, I’ve read from it at many poetry readings. Early on, I often felt that I was somehow betraying my grief, betraying my love for my son. Maybe my Scottish mother’s unspoken criticism (“Who do you think you are?”) was still operative, on some level, in my brain. Was I showing off? Only the heartfelt thanks I received from many bereaved parents kept me going”… and as she says a bit later, “Everywhere I went, I took Alex with me. I couldn’t write, or teach, without him.”

Alex is here with us today – I have no doubt about it – and he would be so proud of his gifted “new mother” and of what she has created in this courageous, honest, beautifully written page-turner of a book.

No Not Having Fun

I recently heard about a little girl whose number one rule for a new club she was forming with her friends was “No not having fun.”

Can anything be more fundamental than this simple piece of wisdom? There is nothing less fun than not having fun.

By fun, I don’t necessarily mean going through life with a lampshade on one’s head, but with a sense of joy, of feeling connected to ourselves and others, of being content with what is. Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Pema Chodron, says it well:

“Now is the only time. How we relate to it creates the future. In other words, if we’re going to be more cheerful in the future, it’s because of our aspiration and exertion to be cheerful in the present. What we do accumulates; the future is the result of what we do right now.”

Living by the “No not having fun” dictum requires discipline and creativity because life is not a continual amusement. Its challenges, many of which originate in the mausoleum of the mind, can be real killjoys.

But as the 19th century philosopher, mystic, and psychologist, William James, observed, the mind can also be fun’s number one event planner: “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can change his life by changing his attitude of mind.”

One of the biggest gifts I ever gave myself is to attend a 10-day Vipassana meditation boot camp in which I explored the mayhem of my mind. According to the teacher, S.N. Goenka: “Practice of Vipassana reveals that mental action precedes every physical and vocal action, determining whether that action will be wholesome or unwholesome. Mind matters most.”

On the final day of the course, we were all glowing with joy. Not because our lives were perfect. Most of us were there because we were in some kind of crisis, and we were all on our way back to deal with it. As we were waiting for the bus, one of the women said to me with shining eyes, “Life sucks so you may as well be happy.”

Fun is way more possible if we don’t make it contingent on things being perfect or even passable. Pema gets the last word on this: “We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”

And fun. Have yourself some fun today.

Creativity in the Mourning

Yesterday began well. I had a big to-do list – and felt inspired when I created it. I had planned to glean through my old journals, work on articles for my creativity coaching business, make strides in some of my projects-for-hire. But instead I spent the day making soup, watering plants, contacting family and friends… I don’t usually accomplish everything on my to-do list but I rarely completely ignore it. What the heck was wrong with me?

Then I remembered that Abdul died. Taken away without warning by a heart attack at age 64. Abdul, the patron saint of used car owners as I used to call him, had kept each of my ancient cars on the road for the past 20 years – Harriet the Honda, Tallulah the Toyota, Tina the Toyota… “Only two cars,” Abdul would often say, “Honda or Toyota.” The only two makes worth having. He was barely five feet tall and his motor was always running. He never overcharged me, he never made me feel stupid for being mechanically dyslexic, and he never let me down. He was savvy, efficient, and sharp as a tack. A shy, humble man of few words who ended conversations before they had barely begun, his good heart resounded like a temple bell and still does. His heart tolled his love and pride for his family, his gratitude for and pride in his home, his caring for me and his other clients. His heart tolled so loudly that his bereaved family has been besieged by visitors and well-wishers, and my mother who’d never met him, upon hearing of his death, felt as though she’d lost him too.

Such losses must be honoured. Luckily, my instincts to do the simple, life-giving things like make chicken soup, fertilize my orchid, light a candle and call Abdul’s son, Shahreem, and speak about the gift of his father’s life, spoke loudest yesterday. When we take the time to mourn, we pay homage to the living as well as to the dead.

My favourite spiritual teacher, Stephen Levine, says that grief is “an innate response to loss in a world where everything is impermanent. We don’t know what to do with our pain, and we never have. We have been told to bury our feelings, to keep a stiff upper lip, to ‘get over it and get on with our lives’ as though loss were not an inevitable part of life.”

According to Levine, disregarding our sorrow “inhibits intuition. We come to trust ourselves less. We cannot ‘feel’ the world around us as we once did, so we experience ourselves as ‘a bit unplugged.’…This quality of grief can slow our creativity and ‘dumb us down’ a bit.”

Our creativity demands that we pay tribute to our grief. It is no accident that great loss often gives birth – or new life – to the artist within. In my book, Did You Know I Would Miss You?, written after my brother, Steve, died by suicide in 2004, I speak of how acknowledging our unattended sorrows can free up our life force and our capacity to create. If you sense unattended sorrows clouding your heart and blocking your creativity, you might want to try this exercise:

Reflect on your own unmourned losses, using some or all of the following:

I have never acknowledged the loss of…

I had forgotten the loss of…

I can begin to heal the loss of…

And in the meantime, may you be inspired by the Abduls of this world. May the temple bell of your heart and of your creativity toll loud and long.

Write into the Sunrise

Lately I’ve been in the habit of spending my days fulfilling my commitments to other people – writing assignments, creativity coaching sessions, responding to correspondence, etc. It’s all good work that I enjoy, but there’s been a nagging sense of something missing – a barely perceptible existential cloud. Not serious but not great either.

So last night I made a date with myself to get up at 6:00 AM, go to my dining table (as opposed to my computer, which is associated with “real projects” – my own or someone else’s), light a candle and just write for 20 minutes – about nothing in particular. When the alarm went off this morning, it felt like an act of utter futility. But I gently urged myself out of bed, sat myself down with tea and timer, and just started writing. The phrase, “Write into the sunrise” popped into my head so I let it lead me. I wrote about the gulls and crows that seem to greet each day with the same level of noisy unnuanced enthusiasm, about the silver sheen of the water, about the glimmer of apricot light on daybreak’s indigo clouds… Nothing in particular, but I found myself paying more attention than I usually do. The morning light moves swiftly – it’s impossible to track it – but the glide of my black pen across the gleaming white page made me realize how important if not essential it is to make the attempt. It expanded my sense of possibility. It dissolved my existential cloud.

I’ve done this kind of exercise before – many times – I have the mounds of notebooks to prove it. I’ve often enjoyed it but there has always been a vague sense that it wasn’t real writing. There was no purpose. No one was going to read it. I’m beginning to think that that mode of thinking is a kind of madness – as though nothing has meaning unless it has been so decreed by some ego – whether it’s our own, someone else’s, or a cluster of unexamined socially endorsed assumptions.

We write or we make music or we make art because we can, because it’s a vital part of our humanity. We don’t need a reason. Just write into the sunrise, for heaven’s sake. Fall in love with your day.

Whatever Your Heart Desires

As a child growing up in the 1950s, the phrase, “Whatever your little heart desires” was one of my first encounters with irony. What was really being said was, “Dream away, kiddo, but dreams have no place in this world.”

The adults surrounding me were dutiful, conscientious people whose life force was devoted to fulfilling society’s expectations, which, at that time, were very clear. Man, breadwinner. Woman, housewife. Children, clean, obedient, and unheard. No questions asked.

Within that tribal construct, Heart’s Desires were what lured the lazy and the naïve into NeverNever Land and turned them into starving artists and drug addicts. If you wanted to survive in “the real world,” you didn’t dream. You didn’t ask yourself what you really wanted. You just got on with it.

While the Revolution Road scenario holds less sway now, it and other tribal configurations that offer clear-cut, unassailable rules and beliefs to live by, still hold many of us captive, to varying degrees. The abyss unmasked by the endemic breakdown of social structures, can make any externally imposed certainty seem preferable to the hard inner work of thinking and feeling for ourselves, releasing what no longer serves us, discovering what can never be destroyed, and allowing The Eternal – I would also call it Love – to shape our lives.

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