Eros and death and recovery all rolled into one – I find this with the ash trees here. And then you write it. Your hand on my pen, dear Mary.
My oh my. I have to say it back. To feel these words at my fingers, on my tongue, in my body.chamber:
I will rebuild for perishable beauty rather than endurance.
There will be open spaces for love, playfulness and joy – and continual loss and letting go – no expectation but also no resistance.
This feels like a regenerative design manual for not only a ransacked human but also a ransacked world.
Congratulations on finding such writing, or allowing it to flow in, or whatever may have happened.
I love this poem Mary. I love it.
And the first three verses represent – more clearly than I have ever put words to – aspects the desire for death that I would like to have when the time comes. At the right time and in the right place, the longing that you describe there does seem to me like pure desire. (I might also add a verse about fire and a verse about expansion, to make five elements of dying, I think.)
Yes. So here I read Abraham Hicks saying that
a) Desire is a fresh, free feeling of ANTICIPATING wonderful expansion. (my caps)
b) The feeling of desire is truly the feeling of life flowing through you
It’s the anticipation of the experience and the experience itself. In fact the anticipation almost leads into the experience – it’s the gurgle and rumble of water finding a new channel as it bursts down a trench or through dry leaves or parched soil.
And that seems like jouissance too, as Caroline says.
Then the lack thing is what we humans with our inevitable egos do with pure essences. We hi-jack the essence of will or love or anger or joy and (because we have small, personal needs and lacks and traumas and histories) can easily turn them into ambition or greed or jealousy or contempt. So we turn the flowing torrent of desire into a painful sense of lack.
Just as you and Caroline have both described here.
Mary, that’s delicious.
“I desire to be a willing participant in this relationship of desire” and “This lemon wants to …arouse the desire of bees” and “Its desire meets and engages my desire” are vital and engaging and sexy.
So is “It wants me to break open its bright yellow skin.”
Without the former, the latter causes trouble. But both are necessary and true.
Yesterday I went through the beehive, adding space for a desirous queen, and set up an empty hive for a possible swarm of desirous bees. They were so gentle – not a cross buzz. Blissful desire.
Anyway – I think this is sensational sensory writing.
This is such difficult territory, isn’t it?
How do I report myself/selves reliably to myself (never mind to anyone else)?
My first response is that I have no desire to care. None whatsoever. It’s quite a shock to say that. But it’s also normal for me. Fortunately, I do care. I care about all sorts of things and people and ideas and places. But I have no desire to care. I really have no say in the matter. So I can see that if I were Hannibal Lecter, I would have no desire to care and I would not care.
I can qualify this. Sometimes I think I ought to care and that can lead to my doing caring things. And caring things can lead me to care. Or not.
Sometimes I get a sentimental (as in feeling of the mind – not pejorative) sense that caring will make things better (for others, for me, for the situation, for the world) and that may lead me to do caring things. And, as above, the practice of doing caring things can lead me to care. Or not.
But caring is generally speaking either a discipline (like spending a morning working on my project) which can be rewarding or lovely or tiresome or many things all at once… or it just happens (like staying up all night looking after a feverish child). In the latter case, it just happens; it’s obvious; I’m pleased to have done it; I benefit from it and the child (or whoever) benefits. But even there, it seems that the drive/impetus/impulse is to do a caring thing (lift cold bumblebee off the ground; hug sad person; write to Monsanto) rather than a desire to care.
Yet, in all this, I don’t feel like a cold fish. Or a monster. Though I sometimes describe myself as autistic as a shorthand for this. When I first came across the Watson Caring Science Institute I was disgusted by its lizard-like approach to something that I thought should be an art not a science. But, on reflection, I came to see that how I am is rather aligned with caring science and not so much aligned with art.
So I suppose it would be important for me to discriminate between my reaction to someone’s care and my reaction to their desire to care. I would be a bit allergic to a desire to care because it reminds me that I haven’t got that desire and it isn’t easy to feel good or even neutral about that.
I could go on. I already feel a bit like a skinless onion for saying this. Thank you so much for raising it, Mary.
Oh! PS. My falling away words are “I don’t care”. When I say ‘falling away words’, I mean that most people seem to have a form of words they use when they feel defeated, lost, unhappy, unlucky. They may be ‘I give up’ or ‘I’m no good’ or ‘I’m stupid’ or whatever. Mine are ‘I don’t care’.
Is it, perhaps, Mary that desire becomes craving as soon as it attaches itself to an object? If we desire without desiring something, then we are spared the craving?
[I do not know how to do this neat trick, of course. Except that sometimes, occasionally in car parks for some reason, it happens that I can feel suffused with desire and want absolutely nothing.
It soon passes.]
In the Death and Dying group that I am a part of, I find myself repeatedly coming back to the concern you have highlighted here. Some others do too.
We can be talking in the group about dying well, leaning well into dying, preparing ourselves one way and another — and then dementia pulls the rug from under us. Suddenly all those good intentions fall away in the face of mindlessness. And there’s little to say or do. It’s pretty much too late to start spending a lifetime sleeping well and doing mental arithmetic and all that.
There’s a residual, vain belief that, if I participate in creative projects and cultivate the garden and appreciate bird’s foot trefoil with attention, I might somehow evade a mindless old age. I know it’s not true. But perhaps I can harness the belief to my intermittent intention to live well now and somehow go out smiling not shouting — sparing my poor keepers my worst excesses.
This reminds me of somebody or other’s advice to think carefully before drawing someone else’s attention to something. That desire to ‘share’ the sight of the bird or the view from the cliff or the end of the rainbow can easily becoming something like ‘handing the experience on’ rather than having it for oneself. But I am awfully familiar with wishing there was SOMEone beside me to see that kestrel hanging, that fox sidling, that badger rolling.
I’m really interested in the twin aspects of naming – that it can limit and objectify and classify and distance and that it can also reveal intimacy and expand awareness and empathy and connection and understanding. I agree that there is something urgent about the moment of recognition and being able to name a plant or a bird. I remember seeing a bird flying across the rice fields in Bali and recognising the flight and knowing that it must be a member of the same family as our woodpeckers for its swooping flight. And there is the inheritance of knowing/naming – the birds and flowers I know are largely the birds and flowers my dad knew and taught me.