For Christ’s sake, stay away from the windows. There’s more coming in Zeke, and the river’s high and the fence is busted, and there are all the tigers... I thought we were done with all of these ideas and revelations, but apparently…yikes! Not! First of all, while we all find a safe place to hole up for a minute, isn’t it enough to desire? To try? To want to get there? Must we continually prove ourselves in our suffering? It’s one thing to find resilience in the face of tough stuff, challenges, but to suffer-in-beauty too? “Beauty” is the subject of this piece. Don’t blame me. I didn’t make up these rules. I was doing some stretching, focusing on a bum hip, and was listening to Caroline Shaw's, "Orange." Part way through, I stopped what I was doing, laid on my mat, and did my best to keep the open soup of my bursting heart and my eye-rivers from soaking the room. I was rapt, not only by the music, but that excellent-human-Shaw had made this, wrote out the notes, felt compelled to create it. I was completely overwhelmed.
You will have your own catalyst. While for me, this experience was coaxed by Shaw’s stunning score, you might find the same in another artist in a different medium. I mentioned “beauty” here, but didn’t really go into it like this. Now, I can’t get out of it. While listening and in my state of full feeling, I realized that beauty offers a way out for something inside of us that wants to be expressed. I’m sure someone said this before, but the words came to me last night. I was aware of how powerful the emotion, like a thrill, a full flume of energy that moves through the body as if the experience has been the goal all along. This is a two-person job: you are moved, and the feeling you put out is met half-way by the artist’s work, and then the energies twine around each other fully. Picture a Twizzler. So, now it’s an empowering relationship, and isn’t that interesting?
The Jung quote I saw this morning:
“It wants human connection. That is the core of the whole transference phenomenon, and it is impossible to argue it away, because relationship to self is at once our relationship to our fellow man, and no one can be related to the latter until he is related to himself.” Collected Works of C. G. Jung, Volume 16
Beauty helps us get there. I’m always encouraging others to read, because in their interpretation of the characters and the struggles, they react and can learn, perhaps even be surprised at their reaction. All media can move us, really. I myself have been moved by a trio of tomatoes. Earlier in the evening, before listening to “Orange,” I had stopped and parked the van along a back road so that I could watch a herd of black angus cows grazing in the rain. Believe me, I did not know that this influx was coming. The cattle were beautiful. The scene reminded me of the cover of my Norton Anthology which–God, I can’t keep up–which I just opened to Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Experience,"
“We must be very suspicious of the deceptions of the element of time. It takes a good deal of time to eat or to sleep, or to earn a hundred dollars, and very little time to entertain hope and an insight which becomes the light of our life.” The Norton Anthology of American Literature, Vol. 1, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience,” p. 794.
Ah, “hope and insight.”
It’s flooding in, flying in, blowing in under the doors! I am bursting. This is not a world that welcomes the bursting on account of the mess. If we were all like Caroline Shaw and did our best to make a thing for another…
“Seymour once said that all we do our whole lives is go from one little piece of Holy Ground to the next. Is he never wrong?”