Posts Tagged: healing

a treasure to look upon it

I haven’t been writing much.  If you’re one of my regular friends I’m sure you’ve noticed.  Lists of beautiful things and posts of YouTube clips are not writing.  I’ve learned to accept the dry periods and assume the “writerly collector” in me is needing this time to just collect experience.  But it’s been bothering me – posting other people’s work and videos of other people are not going to bring you back, and I can’t stand the thought of losing any one of you.

Part of it is that I’ve been immersing myself in good books over my daily commute – and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.  In fact my excuse for staying with this job which is an hour’s trip from my home has always been that those two hours of travel time every day are reading time.  But the problem with immersing myself in books during this time is that I’m not paying attention to my favourite subject: that little space of world around me and the people in it.

By the end of winter I start feeling trapped by it – the darkness, the extended periods of painful temperatures, the ugliness.  Let’s face it – snow in the city is only beautiful when it first falls.  Then it becomes dirty mounds on sidewalks and on edges of parking lots and lining curbs everywhere.  I’m all about the changing seasons, I feel lucky that I live in such a climate – but by late January, I’m finished with this damned season. 

I’m sure it’s all related to a lack of sunlight.  In fact I know it – after an hour’s lunchtime walk in bright sunlight today I felt heady, almost drunk.  And the move to Daylight Time this past weekend has flipped some internal switch – I get to evening and find daylight and I’m noticeably happy.  Lots of my friends are still complaining about that lost hour of sleep – I’m practically giddy for it; I’d gladly sacrifice two hours to have Daylight Time back again.

I wish I was one to write myself through a down or difficult period.  The last few months of hunkering against the weather, coming out of the subway after work into the dark, the sequestering away from humanity and losing myself in other peoples’ stories – have all caused me to close off, and thus close off that well of stories. 

During today's lunchtime walk I stopped and looked ahead at a length of sidewalk on which there was no snow, no ice, no slush, no puddles; just a clear sidewalk under a sunny sky.  And when I stood there looking at it, I felt a sense of freedom I haven’t felt in more than a month, a welcome desire to get back outside of myself.

Sidewalk
 
That sidewalk, with the feeling of freedom the sight of it gave me, is beautiful thing number 24. 

As I walked on, one of my favourite song verses ran through my head:

You say you'll give me a highway with no-one on it
Treasure, just to look upon it
All the riches in the night

U2, from Rattle and Hum, 1988

Let’s call that little simple little verse, with its image so humble and idea so rich, beautiful thing 25, and my theme for escaping the bonds of winter.

I'm finding beauty – are you?

what if you read more stories like this?

In my last post I talked about how important stories are in how we understand and see things, and the impact they can have on individuals, communities and societies.  Telling stories about ourselves gives us power in that we can articulate where we place ourselves in the world and in our communities and families, and we can then see how to make changes or enhancements.  Telling stories about ourselves takes us out of a sea of faceless population and validates our experiences.  Telling our stories puts our voices out there into the grand dialogue of history

My latest favourite blog discovery, The Soaring Impulse, (via Selma's blogroll, thanks Selma!) illustrates the power of the story in the way we percieve. 

The problem of AIDS in Africa is huge.  Mind bogglingly huge.  So huge most of us have difficulty wrapping our brains around it and we tuck it in the backs of our minds as "way over there on a distant continent" with our, probably quite sincere, hopes that it will eventually go away.  We might contribute money to the problem but we probably feel it's like throwing a penny in a giant, bottomless well. 

But then you encounter a single story about one doctor and one man, and the problem is no longer a sea of faceless people on a distant continent, it is one person.  One man who might have a lot in common with you and me.  And you might think that penny didn't fall into a vast well, it went to help one real person.

I dare you to not be moved by Maithri's poetic prose and his stories of love and compassion and hope while he works to help one person at a time - and seeing a world of possibility in each one. 

Read his latest story here:  On difference.

 Soaring Impulse

The Soaring Impulse