Friday, July 12, 2013

Lonesome trails, giant clams and mountains above the clouds

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.  May your mountains rise into and above the clouds."
-Edward Abbey 

The process of reconciling mind and body into a state at least approaching wholeness is as dense, demanding and fraught with tiger pits as an old Jon Hall adventure movie.  He swam, he dove, he freed his or someone else's foot from a giant clam shell, he escaped peril of every description in his movie and tv roles.  In real life, it is reported that his mother was a Tahitian princess.  He could stand as a model for unstuckness, for not being defeated or even temporarily slowed by dangerous trails.  It is his image that I wish to try and keep before my mind's eye when I become draggy, droopy, saggy and allow a life-long habit of depression to shout down other options.  No one has locked our chamber door from the outside.  The task is to know and remember that, to hold that vision and its possibilities no matter what.  Always keep the Get Out of Jail Free card in a waterproof pocket.  It is the one-way ticket out of where I, or you, have been for much too long.

Then we come to Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul and his view of, as the chapter is titled, "The Body's Poetics of Illness."  He speaks of bringing imagination to the body - to the problem, or challenge, as I see it, in my case of regaining mobility - and I've begun to sing to myself as I do my trying to stand as tall as possible for as long as possible exercise.  It helps me not think about my knees.  

"When we bring imagination to the body, we can't expect dictionary-type explanations and clear solutions to problems.  A symbol is often defined and treated as though it were a superficial matching of two things, as in dream books that tell you that a snake is always a reference to sex.  More profoundly, though, a symbol is the act of throwing together two incongruous things and living in the tension that exists between them, watching the images that emerge from that tension.  In this approach to symbol, there is no stopping point, no end to reflection, no single meaning and no clear instruction on what to do next."  Giant grabbing clam shells.

So.  To dismantle the clock, reassemble the cogs so they still mesh yet produce a different result may end up with me drawing wings at the sides of my knees with a ballpoint pen.  I looked at temporary tattoos of lifty sorts of images.  I have begun to picture helium balloons and the old gods working puppetry strings.  I can tell when depression has arrived, putting its cavernous purse on my favorite chair so I have to move it or sit elsewhere.  It clears its throat a lot and finds fault with everything, one time wondering why a person would (be so worthless as to) serve chips in a basket and not a bowl.  If there are angels of imagination, I call to them now.  My own reserves feel insufficient, yet, as I have told myself for years, I'm still here.  Be so very, very gentle and good, yet not too soft and enabling with your dear selves.  Our imaginations are as big as the cosmos.  It is just a matter of opening the door - that's what I'm counting on - and stepping into our collective stardust.  Whew.  xo


Melissa Green said...

Oh, Marylinn. My brave and conquering heroine. How can it feel that you are making progress with that cavernous purse (or as Oscar Wilde called it 'a capacious handbag'--now there was his fictional character who found fault with everything!) and that carping voice taking up all the air, cluttering up all the space?

The door is open, yes. It was never locked, but how could we have known? And not only that, but there is so much love waiting for you on the other side of that door--now how could your wildest most generous imagination have dreamt of that?

It may not feel you are doing more than inch-worming your way along in this process. It is slow. Hard. Deep hot tear-producing. Apparently endless. But depression is a slimy imp sitting on your shoulder, whispering cursing-spells in your ear as you try ever-so hard to move your foot, lift your knee. Those imps only seem powerful. They are wrong--about everything. You are right to keep your eye and your beautiful heart facing the door.

My gosh, yes. How wonderful. I use you as a gauge to measure my own progress. I look to you as the standard-bearer of courageous, non-whining, effortful movement forward. And what a marvel of a reward for all this solitary, strenuous, difficult work: to open that door--and step into our collective stardust!!

Yes, oh yes, please. Bless you. xo

Penelope said...

What a blessing you are, Marylinn Kelly.

Lisa H said...

I'm exhausted and exhilarated.
Once again, even the comments here are life changing.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - Thank you, always the voice of the champion. I think my body need an old-fashioned ear trumpet. It seems to have gone a bit hearing impaired at times or is not all that fond of reading this blog. I may have to start leaving it notes in giant magic marker letters. Today all parts feel a bit peaky. Wish I were not quite so fond of sleep. xoxo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Penelope - Thank you, Penelope, and bless your generous comment. xoxo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - Stick with us, we'll wear you out but also help carry you home. Some excellent company to be found here, you bet. Thank you. xoxo

T. Clear said...

I believe it's time we acknowledged that thing known as the neck, which connects the torso to the head, and stop referring (as a culture!) to "mind" and "body" as if they were two separate entities. They indeed are one.

I've been listening to David Hamilton on YouTube, and you might enjoy this interview:

Sing on, Marylinn! And if you tune your ears up north to Seattle, maybe you'll hear me singing along with you!


Claire Beynon said...

'Our imaginations are big as the cosmos.'

Yours certainly is, dear Marylinn.

Thank you and bless you xo

Marylinn Kelly said...

T. - Thank you. I do become cranky at a culture (especially, it seems, in medicine) that does see mind, body - and of course spirit and soul - as unconnected. What piffle. In my therapy session yesterday, I applied my silent singing and added additional seconds to my standing exercise. Your joining voice further took my thoughts off what my knees were trying to do. And thank you for the YouTube link. I will attend, knowing you have been following mind-expanding threads in recent days. xoxo

Marylinn Kelly said...

Claire - Thank you, my cosmic companion. xoxo