Art and observation.

Acting–all of the arts–is about observation. As Tennessee said, it is about being a witness. Very few people can do this. Very few people care enough to do this. The actor, the writer, the artist, the musician witnesses the world and its people–and then he tells the stories he has remembered, overheard, surmised. Always attempt to be a witness.

— Marlon Brando

 

Sincerity.

The most exhausting thing in life, I have discovered, is being insincere. That is why so much of social life is exhausting; one is wearing a mask. I have shed my mask. I find there is a quality to being alone that is incredibly precious. Life rushes back into the void, richer, more vivid, fuller than before.

~ Ann Morrow Lindbergh

Descending.

Paradoxically to the mind, but in ways the heart knows natively, inside the core of our vulnerability, our shakiness, our not-knowing, is a nonordinary gold, a jewel that is found only there. This gold is accessible all times, though it will often appear in unexpected forms as our life circumstances, feelings, symptoms, symbols, and the others who come into (and out of) our lives.

Through this appearance and disappearance of form, we come to discover that healing and awakening are not only processes of creativity, but are oriented in dissolution as well. While we may have a bias for the creative and the bright, the gods of wholeness will employ either energy equally in fulfilling their mission here. What that mission is, we can only know through primary experience, bearing witness to the numinous as it pours through us and into the relative world.

As we peer beyond the veil just a bit, we may sense something longing to emerge out of the mess and the chaos, surging up from the dark, rich soil of the psyche—right out of the core of our deeply embedded sense of unworthiness, disconnection, and loneliness. Even spinning out of moments of anxiety, hopelessness, confusion, and despair.

In the depths of the soil, the question isn’t how to stop this material from arising, for it is its nature to do so. But whether we will provide a home for it when it arrives. A sanctuary. Safe passage for the disguised light to emerge.

Will we receive it with curiosity, interest, compassion, and warmth? Or will we pathologize it, conclude it is evidence that something is wrong with us, that we have failed, that we are not okay?

Of course, it is an act of kindness to care for ourselves in whatever ways we are able, and to bring relief during difficult times. But there is another invitation that co-emerges with the one oriented in relief, one that is more alchemical in nature: to turn in to the symptom, the feeling, and the symbols as they appear, for they are carriers of profound wisdom and guidance.

As Rumi reminds us, it is inside the wound where the light is to be found, a light hidden inside the darkness, that when entered into, reveals itself to be brighter than a billion suns.

— Matt Licata