03 January 2011

Come out of the Dark

I receive something called "Peace Quotes" in my e-mail every day. These vary from the trite to those full of depth and wisdom. I often save, and use, some of the ones I most resonate with in these postings. They've many times been the impetus for a poem or other creative enterprise. On the first of 2011 the quote was by someone named Howard Thurman -

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."

Interesting what generates a response in us, since that response surely leads us toward what we need - probably even more than what we think we want, definitely more than what we're usually running pell mell and hell-for-leather trying to get or catch up with. Or maybe it's just me.

During the holidays I get moribund, caught in a depressive mindset that reads like a bad fortune cookie telling me "You'll never amount to anything." Yeah, I know the reasons for it - but knowing ain't "knowing" - if you know what I mean. It's easy enough, in this state, to believe I have nothing to offer - and that the world (both at large and the various individuals in MY world) wouldn't experience any loss if I wasn't here. So asking myself what makes ME come alive at such times seems a pointless question.

Yet that's the very question I need to consider, perhaps what each of us needs to consider during the dark nights, if not of the soul, at least of the spirit.

On the heels of reading Thurman's words - which gave me a larger shot of aliveness than I guess I realized at the time - I MADE myself get dressed (a bit more up than usual) and head toward a housewarming for some friends. Once there I soon found myself in such varied and interesting conversations: the healing power of story, the impetus toward and challenge of painting a dark red kitchen a sunny yellow, the dissolution of a sand mandala, and even one about an old local television show "T-Bar-V Ranch" (which I was on when I was five, AND to which closing song I knew [and sang] every word!). A couple of hours of this and I felt myself coming back to life.

I can't say for sure that my participation and interactions are important to the world - but I can say, with certainty, that coming back from the dark matters to me. And I can certainly testify truthfully that everyone in the kitchen at the housewarming sincerely enjoyed my singing of the song. It's been a while since I received an enthusiastic round of applause.

I went out and did what made me come alive - come out of the dark - and, if Thurman is correct, the world, as well as me, got what was needed.

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