“I am part of the sun as my eye is part of me. That I am part of the earth my feet know perfectly, and my blood is part of the sea. There is not any part of me that is alone and absolute except my mind, and we shall find that the mind has no existence by itself, it is only the glitter of the sun on the surfaces of the water.”—D.H Lawrence (via riverbones)
First of all, love is a joint experience between two persons — but the fact that it is a joint experience does not mean that it is a similar experience to the two people involved. There are the lover and the beloved, but these two come from different countries. Often the beloved is only a stimulus for all the stored-up love which had lain quiet within the lover for a long time hitherto. And somehow every lover knows this. He feels in his soul that his love is a solitary thing. He comes to know a new, strange loneliness and it is this knowledge which makes him suffer. So there is only one thing for the lover to do. He must house his love within himself as best he can; he must create for himself a whole new inward world — a world intense and strange, complete in himself. Let it be added here that this lover about whom we speak need not necessarily be a young man saving for a wedding ring — this lover can be man, woman, child, or indeed any human creature on this earth.
Now, the beloved can also be of any description. The most outlandish people can be the stimulus for love. A man may be a doddering great-grandfather and still love only a strange girl he saw in the streets of Cheehaw one afternoon two decades past. The preacher may love a fallen woman. The beloved may be treacherous, greasy-headed, and given to evil habits. Yes, and the lover may see this as clearly as anyone else — but that does not affect the evolution of his love one whit. A most mediocre person can be the object of a love which is wild, extravagant, and beautiful as the poison lilies of the swamp. A good man may be the stimulus for a love both violent and debased, or a jabbering madman may bring about in the soul of someone a tender and simple idyll. Therefore, the value and quality of any love is determined solely by the lover himself.
It is for this reason that most of us would rather love than be loved. Almost everyone wants to be the lover. And the curt truth is that, in a deep secret way, the state of being beloved is intolerable to many. The beloved fears and hates the lover, and with the best of reasons. For the lover is forever trying to strip bare his beloved. The lover craves any possible relation with the beloved, even if this experience can cause him only pain.
When Maria came for her first session, I was impressed with her grace and
intelligence. She was petite, blond hair pulled back, artfully dressed and groomed. She
spoke about her life with clarity and insight, and seemed serious about helping herself in
Born in the Southwest, she had three sisters and a stepbrother and stepsister.
Although she described her mother as “…like Anne Sexton. She never really wanted
children and was restless”, Maria’s mother still played out the role of the 1950’s
convention American housewife. Her mother and sisters “…were all dependent women,
not able to stand on their own feet, not able to make a stand for themselves.” Her mother
died when she was 19, and the father left them at that time. Sent away to live with an
uncle, Maria had recurring images of being an orphan. At age 30 or 31, she was raped,
and said that life never came back together after that time. She went to live with her
sister, to try to find family, but found that it did not work. Instead, she came to San
Francisco, where she has been trying to create a new life for the past one and a half years.
She works in a corporate office with mostly men, still had not made friends, and is very
While acknowledging that she did manage to break out of the role of stereotype
and convention of her mother’s expectation, Maria was still not enjoying her freedom.
Ironically, she imagined that the housewives might envy her life and independence, and
fantasize that she was spending her time partying and romancing. Instead, she worked
hard, and came home to her single apartment, where lovely objects were arranged
tastefully. Nothing messed up her life, no one interrupted, and she had everything just as
she wanted. What was missing? Other people, mess, life, and a meaningful focus. When I
asked her how she was using her creativity, she said she had no outlet. She called herself
a “closet artist”, and knew that she had to “dig down” and find out what her life’s’ calling
was supposed to be about. Writing in her journal and being solitary, she was becoming
increasingly isolated. Sadly, she said she was “getting scared, was working all day and
crying all night, and that life was getting out of control.” Drinking was effort for her to
find “spirits,” or courage to connect and create. Her freedom was a “false freedom,”
where she actually stayed in her apartment all weekend. The poignant picture for me was
of a beautiful woman torn between fearful independence and a longing for connection.
She was too fascinated with darkness, inwardness, and needed stability, connection, and
The first dream Maria told me was a powerful one for her, in which her boyfriend
from when she was seventeen appeared, saying, “Call me.” They were the “first” for each
other, and seemed destined for marriage. They then both married others, and lost touch.
After the dream, Maria did call Dennis, who said that he had been thinking about her
during his travels, and how beautiful she was. Maria said “I never thought I was
beautiful: I am possessed.” She had never been talked to like that by a man, and felt that
she could not marry another. She felt abandoned by him, as she had been abandoned by
her father and mother. He married someone else… “safe, I had too much passion.” He
stayed with her as a fantasy, but she felt that she lived more in fantasy than in reality. She
said: “I’ve never really been on earth…ethereal…never owned property.” The them of
being attached to fantasy, to what has been called the Ghostly Lover, and therefore
having not lived life fully haunted Maria and was a continuing theme of our work.
She told me of a significant dream: “A man and a woman are traveling together.
He is from a Latin American country…she carries with her a little creature – it might be a
bird – it seems small and fits in between her hands. They enter a forest and come upon a
community of people living in the forest… to honor (the man), they take the woman and
tie her to a cross… they set the cross on fire and she is burned to death. Upon awakening,
I kept trying to make it come out better, to convince myself that she didn’t die, but
reasoned that she had to have died. She could not have survived the burning cross.”
Maria called this her first sacrifice dream. Her associations were that she gave an
animal, her symbolic self, to the man before she was sacrificed. She did have a black cat,
was close to animals, but “women were burned at the stake for living alone and talking to
animals.” This meant to Maria that they were close to their instincts, which we are too.
She said: “I always said I’d be burned as a witch… I am a threat – to whom? To the
established order; I’ve always been self-sufficient.” Her early memories were of being
called “the single type”, taking care of herself and living alone. When I asked her what
might be her quality that threatened others, she cried, saying: “I’m out of touch with my
power, I have no idea what it would be.” On the other hand, Maria described herself as
very competent at work, often threatening others, with a strong intuitive sense of people’s
innate character and dynamics. She long to use this capacity constructively, to be a
healer, but did not know how. Tearful, she described this dream as about
“transformation”; the ability to find inherent power in a dangerous or pathological
If you want a way to enliven your writing especially when it comes to refining your ability to notice the smallest details, travel somewhere you’ve never been. Your awareness is heightened if not for the mere fact nothing is familiar. Fight the stale.
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought, there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”—Frida Kahlo
acosmist - One who believes that nothing exists paralian - A person who lives near the sea aureate - Pertaining to the fancy or flowery words used by poets dwale - To wander about deliriously sabaism - The worship of stars dysphoria - An unwell feeling aubade - A love song which is sung at dawn eumoirous - Happiness due to being honest and wholesome mimp - To speak in a prissy manner, usually with pursed lips
“Of course nothing happens. But I can imagine so clearly what it’s like to enter a woman, I feel like I’ve done it. My body is on hers, drunk off the conquest, sliding in slow: my hips, push, the glaze. I think about that belly button girl and I think I would shock her and I like that. I want to see girls melt because girls are so goddamn elusive, you can’t tell what the fuck they’re thinking, except I am a girl, and I know what a lot of girls are thinking, I know what I’m thinking, and right now it’s exactly this.”—Aimee Bender, The Girl in the Flammable Skirt: Fell This Girl
“…the blood-rhythms of wilderness which remain in us (as the old seas and oceans remain in us) are declaring, in response to the increasing instability of the outside forces that are working against us, the need for reconnection to rhythms that are stable and natural. And no matter whether those rhythms are found in a city, or in a garden, or in a relationship, or in the wilderness—it is the need and desire for them that we are recognizing and searching for, and I can feel it, the notion that settling-in and stand-making is the way to achieve or rediscover these rhythms. I can sense a turning-away from the idea, once pulsing in our own blood, that drifting or running is the answer, perhaps because the rhythms we need are becoming so hard to find, out in the fragmented worlds of both nature and man. We can find these rhythms within ourselves.”—Rick Bass, The Book of Yaak (via dreamofwhatcanbe)
“For a moment she saw her love anxieties as resembling those of a drug addict, or alcoholics, or gamblers. The same irresistible impulse, tension, compulsion and then depression following the yielding to the impulse, revulsion, bitterness, depression, and the compulsion once more…”—Anaïs Nin, A Spy in the House of Love (via girlabout-town)
“Logically the opposite of love is hate, and of Eros, Phobos, (fear); but psychologically it is the will to power. Where love reigns, there is no will to power; and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking. The one is but the shadow of the other.”—C.G. Jung, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology
“My mother forbad us to walk backwards. That
is how the dead walk she would say. Where did
she get this idea? Perhaps from a bad translation?
The dead, after all, do not walk backwards
but they do walk behind us. They have no lungs
and cannot call out but would love for us to
turn around. They are victims of love, many of
them.”—Anne Carson, Plainwater: On Walking Backwards
Life, however, is no more manageable than death. It is even less logical than death. It sneaks up and surprises us, shifting our boundaries, or the parameters of everyday existence. Still, we are not as frightened of life as we are of death, because we have collectively agreed to ignore the fact that nothing stays the same. We rely on trite phrases like “history repeats” to run our lives, never bothering to notice that these sayings are lies. Each of us changes every moment of every day and every night. We never meet the world with the same self. How, then, can the past repeat itself? Life is as untamed as death.
We do not experience the newness of every moment—-and the opportunity for new life in every moment—-unless we face death. Dying before death tears the fabric of our reality. It opens us to the dreams we have locked away. By standing in the riptide between life and death, we can, if we want, begin to direct our lives by our dreams—-by the stars within, not the rules laid upon us from without.
Life and death are continuations of the same spectrum of ideas. Together, they form the river of dreams. The only control we have is to dream of what we want and recognize ourselves in the dream around us. Through this recognition, we achieve a higher state of consciousness, which is our soul’s main goal. By breaking free of the confines of life (and death), we can live the lives we desire. By embracing death right now, we can actually change our lives—-and the world.