And with that first unsupported step across the threshold into the charred landscape, the unthinkable becomes thinkable. What we believed was true detonates in the heat haze of our new resolution. We finally realise that the one we adored was not the god or goddess we thought they were. That the job we strove for does not feel as exciting or expansive as we’d imagined. That we have to face the finality of a relationship that is over, a friendship that will never be the same again.
There comes a time when we stand soul-naked in the first light of the morning and watch as our dream dissolves on the gossamer shawl of the dew-spangled new day. The mirror on our wall finally reveals who we really are. There comes a time when we surrender, battle-weary, to take ownership of those parts of ourselves that are encased in fear. We witness the distrust that writhes like a worm on the cruel hook of our unworthiness and shame. We observe the ways we place trip wires across the landscape of our relationships, setting ourselves up for the inevitable fall… It takes an act of great courage to stand soul-naked in what we feel is our truth. To uproot the mandrake of blame that grows from our belief that it is our crazy mother, absent father, our belligerent teenager, the buffoons in government, or the lover who did not choose us, fight for us, beg us to stay…
In the landscape of self-responsibility we grow up fast. No soft blue blankets, no bottles filled with sweet creamy milk. No one to clean up the mess of our lives as we rant and wail. Our pain becomes our choice. To choose to stop the pain, to wearily dismount from the Ferris wheel of our own suffering, we need to do excruciatingly laborious work on the lies we tell ourselves. We must change our need to be right, to be in control, to dominate, or to play the Victim trump card. We must to stand on our own two feet. Straighten our spines. Not fold like a soufflé when we don’t get the approval we crave. Not petulantly push away the gentle hand of friendship when we know it is the only hand there is to help us across the crocodile-infested river of our self-undoing. Not sigh as the world around us burns, when it is we that participate in and perpetuate violence by proxy in our very own homes with our flaming arrows of spite and sulphurous silences.
It is excruciatingly difficult to abandon the ship of self-righteousness. To forgo the familiar thrill of pleasing others so they will love us, need us, never let us go. We grow comfortable in our rusty armour of judgement that pinches and chafes. We feel familiar in its painful tug of constraint. Only when we make the choice to see with clarity and compassion the violent parts of ourselves, the parts that judge, and condemn, the parts that execute others with sharp-shooting precision, can we nurture those parts that stretch our capacity for endurance, forgiveness, generosity in Love, bravery in Loss.
Gary Zukav tells the story about the man, blind from birth whose only experience of this world was darkness. Well, new technology offered him a chance of sight, a miracle beyond his imagining. He asked his family, his friends, and his surgeon what it would be like to see, and of course, nobody could really explain to him what it was to see the turquoise sea, the tangerine colours of the sun set, the silvery moon and the diamond stars, the colour of his own blue eyes. The more he talked to his friends, the more fearful he became. He called his doctor and asked, “Doctor, will I still be able to use my cane to see? I don’t want to see if I can’t use my cane.”
In the terror of losing the comfort of our white canes, we clutch what we know, even though it limits our movement forward and darkens the light of our souls: the terror of being vulnerable, of being used, of being loved, of loving and losing, of having more than our parents, of being ridiculed, humiliated, of asking for what we want, of being “needy”, of losing our identity, of being judged… so we stay small and quiet, stuck in the darkness of our blindness and our fear, afraid to set fire to the rain, afraid to turn towards a future, without the cane, and say, I AM.
Set fire to the rain today… and celebrate Love and Life in all it’s wonder.
Adele … Set Fire to the Rain.