“Beautifully crafted words have the power to captivate the mind of anybody.” – Sam Veda
There are poems, quotes, collections of words that haunt me. I read them once and they take up residence in my head, echoing through at the strangest times. I’ll simply be walking along a street and a specific line or phrase will come to me, repeating itself until I have to whisper it aloud or stop a moment and think it clearly.
This is one of those poems. I have shared it before on my old blog, but it wanted to be shared again. I hope that whoever it is who needs to hear it comes for a visit.
When she walks into the room,
Some kind of light is coming from her head.
Even the geraniums look curious…
We’re all attracted to the perfume
of fermenting joy,
We’ve all tried to start a fire,
and one day maybe it will blaze up on its own.
In the meantime, she is the one today among us
most able to bear the idea of her own beauty,
and when we see it, what we do is natural:
we take our burned hands
out of our pockets,
-Tony Hoagland, from ‘Grammar’
“After all, what would the world be like without Captain Hook?” – Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman)
I have a nemesis. I have chosen her carefully. Allow me to explain:
Today ended up being a very quiet day. We started with a late breakfast and ended up – as I hope other people occasionally do – watching ridiculous Sunday television. The Three Musketeers was on: the one with Charlie Sheen sporting a mullet and Keifer Sutherland before he was Jack Bauer. Best of all was Tim Curry’s performance as Cardinal Richelieu. Mark and I often judge a movie’s appeal on the quotableness of its lines – and Tim Curry, with his, “All for one and more for me,” provides ridiculous entertainment.
It did get us talking about the best movie villains. Alan Rickman in the atrocious Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Glenn Close as Cruella in 101 Dalmations, or even Thomas F. Wilson as Biff Tannen in the Back to the Future movies. Fabulous villains in the proper sense of the word, not just bad or evil or scary but properly fun, very quotable and always dastardly and compelling. In Ocean’s Eleven, Basher says, “It will be nice working with proper villains again.” And we secretly agree.
Does every story need a good villain? Does every hero or heroine need a nemesis? Is Sarah Ban Breathnach right when she says that it is “simply not an adventure worth telling if there aren’t any dragons?” Are the hard and scary parts of our lives as vital to our story as the sunny ones?
I myself have a nemesis. It may seem crazy to think of her in this way, but when I do our interactions cease to stress me out. Instead of letting her get to me as she used to, I now look at her with amusement and a certain level of comic detachment. In my head I am looking at her with narrowed eyes, tossing my hair back and getting ready to do battle. I imagine her with her red cape flapping behind her as we circle each other with purpose. She is as silly to me as the best of the fabulous villains. By letting the energy out of our interactions I get to live that moment when Sarah says, “You have no power over me,” to an inappropriately crotch-stuffed David Bowie in Labyrinth. Doing this sounds silly, but it means that I get to decide who the heroes and the villains are in my life.
So just for a moment, try seeing the world around you as characters in your own movie. Try seeing the people who drive you crazy as ridiculous partners to your hero or heroine self. Who is the Vader to your Luke or the Hook to your Pan? Then delight in knowing that they have no power over you.
And know that the heroine of this particular story is going to win.
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition… what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” – Alan Alda
Over and over, I have asked for guidance. “Where do I go?” “What is the next step?” “What is blocking me?” Over and over, I have picked up books hoping that they would lead the way. Going back through them, the bookmark is in exactly the same place each time: it is holding my place on the page where it said, “Become still, be quiet and listen, or meditate.” I have always stopped there and not listened. But I kept asking the same questions.
The one time I tried to meditate, I sat still for twenty minutes three days in a row. On the third day I stood up with a whole book in my head. I wrote the book, but I didn’t meditate again.
For the past 5 weeks, I have been participating in Pixie Campbell’s Soulodge. I have never – not once – completed an e-course before, but I have just about completed this one. And do you know what she asked us to do? Become still. Be quiet and listen. Journey inwards. This time I pushed through my resistance and actually did as I was told.
And the answers to my questions were all there waiting for me.
Why are the easiest sounding steps the ones that are the hardest to take?
Sit still. Be quiet and listen. Journey inwards. Meditate.
P.S. Pixie is hosting another Soulodge from the 31rst of October. I highly recommend it.