Thus I Wrote

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Posts Tagged ‘Irvin Yalom

Alternatives Exclude

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We are, the authors
From gifts of, our fathers
Of our, own life design

We choose, each other
From chemistry, we discover
But with, no given guidelines

And things, they fade
Alternatives, they exclude
We’ve been weighed, we’ve been measured but we’re often not understood
And things, they fade
Alternatives, they exclude
We’re told it’s over but that don’t mean that we’re no good

I’m drinking, in Gordon’s bar
These last few years, I’ve travelled far
But I’d only, seen her once before

The light, is now dimming
I see ghosts, of fabulous women
Asking for, all I can give and more

And things, they fade
Alternatives, they exclude
Have I used illusions, to avoid decisions I must take?
And things, they fade
Alternatives, they exclude
Have I blamed others sometimes for the choices I must make?

Anselm Kiefer – The Orders of the Night – 1996.
Emulsion, acrylic and shellac on canvas. 356 x 463 cm. Seattle Art Museum.

Written by thus.i.wrote

November 16, 2016 at 5:59 pm

I’m not My Shoes

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02 Joe Jackson - 1978 - Original photo

I had lost sight
Of where I ended and others began
I had stretched my personal boundaries
Way too far for an effective man
My core was now too vulnerable
I felt subject to mortal attack
I felt too much for my survival
I was way too defensive as I fought back.

So mild criticism was then shot down
With angry verbal assault
As if my core being was under threat
And I felt it was always their fault
I needed to differentiate
Between my core and other things
Like people, attributes and activities
Despite all the value that they bring.

Because in my core being
I’m not my team or the work I choose
I’m not my friends, family or country
My mantra now is “I’m not my shoes”

Written by thus.i.wrote

April 23, 2016 at 11:00 am

The Man who sought Grace

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burning bush b&w

1. Creation

After wandering many days and nights
I found myself on a desert hill
I saw a bush begin to burn
And I heard a voice quiet and still

“The solemnity and grandeur of the universe
Refusing the deadening influence of conformity
Rose through a process of unification
Through the dark quiet of time’s enormity

To every wonder-bright plain and the turning seas
And with all the diversities of existence utilised
And so nothing, nothing is lost
‘Til time, stardust and circumstance improvised

Then from the darkness, something grew
And mankind evolved to where you now be
A brief glorious pulsation
In the black hole of eternity.”

2. The grim knowledge of Reality

I was led to a beautiful garden
To a tree with forbidden fruit
When I was ready I was persuaded to eat
And a new grim knowledge took root

In a vision I see an abyss of reality
Where we’re ultimately Alone
And things fade, like love to loss
And Death’s inevitable I’m shown
We’ve no obvious Meaning
Or no sense to our lives
We’ve Freedom and the duty to make
What we will of our lives
With alternatives excluded we choose
One path with fear and invention.
But the wise, within these grim truths,
Find the seeds of wisdom and redemption.

3. The soft gauze of Illusion

I cried, “This bare knowledge fills me with anxiety
I need certainty, I need meaning
I don’t want to be alone or to die
Can you rescue me by intervening?”

The voice said: “I can offer the soft gauze of illusion
By which you can transform and deny
I offer magic and enchantment
I offer pipe dreams and vital lies
Follow the siren call of illusion
The sense of safety it affords
Use self deception as a shield
And use distraction as a sword
You will be comforted by beliefs
Of your ultimate rescuer and you’re unique
Illusions that cheer and comfort
But ultimately may not deliver what you seek
Because knowing is better than not knowing
And venturing better than not
Illusions may be alluring and effective
But may isolate and stunt the growth you’ve got
You can take a leap of irrational faith
Into a great shared delusion
Religion can comfort but beware
It may create more problems than solutions.”

“I will wrap myself in illusion
And I will get busy with my life
There is too much to do and to enjoy
To worry too much about truth and strife”

“Yes, many do, but, sooner or later,
You must face the truths of existence
Your illusions may comfort you
But keep others at a distance
You may be isolated from a loved one
Because of their illusion as a defence
And it cannot be removed easily
Without replacing it with something else”

“So tell me of these truths of existence
And must I live a life free of illusion?
I think the world will appear very bare
And too much reality will mean exclusion”

“I will tell you later and you are free to choose
Be guided by what’s effective for you
Do not weaken your spirit by too much illusion
Remain aware and you’ll know what’s right for you”

4. The Truths of Existence

I search until later in the firelight
I meet a prophet with a bearded face
He said “don’t hide in delusion or illusion
Seek the truth and live in grace
Have no fear and seek always to confront
The truths of your existence
Harness their power for growth
And for change with persistence.”

4.1 You are ultimately Alone

“There is a gap between you
Even those you love have shown
This will never be fully bridged
Because you’re born and die alone.
The experiences of another
Are unyieldingly private and unknown
Though you try two by two or in groups
It still breaks through that you’re alone.”

“You may hide from isolation
You may create a false solution
And use another as a shield
To melt into an unnatural fusion.
Self awareness breeds anxiety
That with fusion you may lose
But also lose yourselves
So the wise wouldn’t choose.
Not enough relating,
And not enough care
Too much hiding
No self awareness there.
Now cut off from others
This relationship feeds upon itself
Neither giving to or caring about others
And finally caves-in on itself.”

“Healthy interpersonal relationships
Are rewarding and gratifying
And though caring and deeply human
They’re still mystifying
Though you’re ultimately alone
And you’re in our own boat
You still get much comfort
From the lights of those nearby afloat.”

4.2 There is no obvious Meaning

“You’re built this way
To seek meaning in things
So you ask questions
That no-one or nothing is answering.
All your accomplishments & your solar system
Will one day in its time
Suffer destruction and lie in ruins
With no apparent reason or rhyme.
But you seek meaning in the ruins
Of destruction and inevitable death
You seek order and pattern
Among random and un-patterned events
And in so doing try to gain
Some semblance of control
Because meaning is the fertile soil
From which values we grow
Then “Why do I live?” gives way
To How do I live?
And “Why do I give?” gives way
To “How do I give?”
For meaning is found obliquely
And ensues from meaningful activity
From engagement and commitment
And what you give with productivity.”

4.3 Death is inevitable

“At your core there is a conflict
Between the wish to continue to exist
And the awareness of inevitable death
Which you fight and rage to resist
And so you’re ingenious in your ways
To escape death or to deny
You challenge, detoxify and desensitise it
You distract yourselves from when or why
You transform it to something positive
You say you’re just passing on
Or try immortality through works or children
Or maybe through religion believe you live on
And though intellectually you may know
You may unconsciously deny
Because of overwhelming anxiety
You may not want to explore when or why.
You may choose a delusion
That you’re special and you’re unique
Or that you’ve an ultimate rescuer
Who will protect you awake and asleep
The fact of death will destroy you
For this is surely your fate
But the idea of death can save you
If accepted fully before it’s too late.”

4.4 Freedom is a right and a responsibility

“As a civilisation you yearn freedom
And to achieve it many sacrificed and died
You see freedom as your right
But there’s also a duty to which you’re tied
You’re responsible for your own choices
The author of your own life design
But you’re creatures who desire structure
Anxious when nothing will guide or align
And so often the outside world is blamed
For the problems you experience and face
You may believe that you’ve no power
And you’ve no responsibility to change & replace
But change starts with acceptance
For the choices that you’ve made
And then the will to choose and act
Despite feeling anxious and afraid
You may keep your options open
In anxious procrastination
But alternatives must be excluded
To reach your path’s foundation.”