Archive for November, 2010

Vintage Art

Growing up Southern is a privilege, really.  It’s more than where you’re born, it’s an idea and state of mind that seems imparted at birth.  It’s more than loving fried chicken, sweet tea, football, and country music.  It’s being hospitable, devoted to front porches, magnolias, moon pies, and coca cola with peanuts for dessert.  In the south, the breeze blows softer…neighbors are friendlier, nosier, and more talkative.   Its a different place and a different way of life.  Our way of thinking is different, as are our ways of seeing, laughing, singing, eating, meeting, and parting.  Our walk is different, as the old song goes, our talk and our names.  

  “All I can say is that there’s a sweetness here, a Southern sweetness, that makes sweet music. . . . If I had to tell somebody who had never been to the South, who had never heard of soul music, what it was, I’d just have to tell him that it’s music from the heart, from the pulse, from the innermost feeling. That’s my soul; that’s how I sing. And that’s the South.”  — Al Green      

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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”

I sometimes think that my life has proceeded by way of a series of breakdowns and reconstructions.  Such episodes haven’t exactly been frequent in my life, but they have represented important turning points.  There have been three times I can recall where I’ve hit emotional bottom, learned something important about myself, and found a release that led to significant growth taking place.

In each case there had been a long period of holding on to some pattern that had been causing me pain (usually unacknowledged).  I’d been a tightly closed bud.  This was followed by a catalyzing event (in each case it involved being on retreat) in which I became fully aware of the pain I’d been causing myself.  The pain of remaining closed became too much.  Then there was a grand finale of emotional release and a spiritual awakening into greater wholeness and well-being.  The bud opened, albeit painfully. Anaïs Nin’s quotation — “…the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom” — seems to perfectly encapsulate that process.