Tuesday, June 19, 2012

On my walls...Part 1

Mountains of things won't help my soul.

In the midst of Project Downsize: all that signified me today, have been uploading cd's and there are memories flooding in, when I bought them, who/what I was thinking about at the time, what that all meant, where it's taken me in The life and inevitably I was thinking about beginning again, which is partly what this is all about, beginning again. I love this poem by Brendan Kennelly, it's beautiful and speaks to me of promise and hope and trusting The Life, no matter what happens, and something always seems to, there's the ability to begin, again, at any point, no matter what the external circumstances, because some thing within us all has that capacity.  It's on the wall in my hall. 

Begin Again by Brendan Kennelly
"Begin again to the summoning birds
to the sight of light at the window,
begin to the roar of morning traffic
all along Pembroke Road.

Every beginning is a promise
born in light and dying in dark determination 
and exaltation of springtime
flowering the way to work.
Begin to the pageant of queuing girls
the arrogant loneliness of swans in the canal
bridges linking the past and the future
old friends passing through with us still.

Begin to the loneliness that cannot end
since it perhaps is what makes us begin,
begin to wonder at unknown faces
at crying birds in the sudden rain
at branches stark in the willing sunlight
at seagulls foraging for bread
at couples sharing a sunny secret
alone together while making good.

Though we live in a world that dreams of ending
that always seems about to give in
something that will not acknowledge conclusion
insists that we forever begin."

I've had 'Our Deepest Fear' on various walls in various places I've lived back as far as living in my parents house, at one point it was stuck on some sort of blue paper but I can't remember why or what that was.  I've read and re-read this too, and it's always helped me, I have a tendency to be 'small' in the world, I am small (5ft nothing!), but sometimes I am small in the world in the wrong way, have felt less than and inadequate, part of the human condition to an extent, but something I've actively tried to deal with and heal over the last years, with help from a whole variety of people, but basically through The Love.  And this always helped, and it's still up, on the wall in my hall.

Our Deepest Fear - Nelson Mandela, Inaugural Speech 1994.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light not our darkness that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and
Actually who are you not to be?
You are a child of God - your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people 
will not feel insecure around you.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us: It is in everyone.
And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically
liberates others

I've had a version of 'After a While' on the wall in the last three places I've lived, and I've read it more times than I can count, and it's helped.  It's helped me when I was alone, when I was alone and lonely, and when I wanted to stop trying. J'essay.  When I wanted to stop trying to be myself and get better, when I was reneging on myself, because I had the fear of going on, and the terror of what was behind me.  I didn't understand it all, but I grasped enough of it to try and learn to value myself and feel worthy, the journey to worthiness continues. This is a more complete version than the one I have, I just found this version today.  I think maybe I've new learning now, I'm learning something new.

AFTER A WHILE (Veronica Shorthall, 1971)

After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't always mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept
your defeats
with your head up
and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman,
not the grief of a child
And you learn to build
all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground
is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way
of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn
that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn...
Then After "after a while" you change and build your hopes again. And pray that maybe this time it will be different. And you hold on to that hope because in the end that's all you really have..
After 'after a while'
You want to hold a hand not to chain a soul but
to enjoy its company,
and you want someone's lips to kiss,
not because you are lonely but because you are
happy, and you want to give presents
and you want to make promises.
After 'after a while'
You begin to accept your defeats like an adult,
but like a child, will want someone to listen
and care,
and you want someone who will build roads with
you today so maybe you can pave the way for your
future together.
After 'after a while'
You want someone's sunshine and warmth,
but also accept the rain and the cold,
and you want to give flowers picked from your
own garden.
And when your garden is picture perfect,
you want it to be more than a picture
even if it means having to be imperfect
because you want someone in it to stay and to
Then you'll see that there is
such a thing as love...
and that you were made to live in someone else's
and you'll know that there is more to life than
You realize that no matter how tightly you hold,
if you're meant to let go, you can
And then you will understand that love
gives you reasons to understand
even the most complicated situations
And you will grow older believing that just
because you have convictions
doesn't mean you're always right
You will remember lips because of the smiles
that made your day,
the words that touched your soul, not only
because of the sweet kisses
And as you graciously accept defeat and absorb
the meaning of lessons
You feel that you are finally being the person
you never thought you'd be
So, armed with courage, strength and confidence,
you will face the world
head on...
With or without an army behind you
Because you know your worth and that alone is an
With more heartbreaks you will cry
But after every heartache, you will rise
Life is a garden ... it takes long to make it
But it's always worth the wait..
One of the starting phrases for HERE & NOW was "pop psychology can't help us now", the words above are different though I think, they're shared human experiences, beautifully written from the heart, and I think that's why they are/were so helpful to me in The Life.

And this is a recent edition, for an installation I did at WERK, part of 'Enough Rope' 
(this was one of the earlier translations of his words.)

The words of Dimitris Christoulas, a 77 year old Greek pensioner shot himself outside the parliament in Athens

I'm facing out towards the garden, I work in this room because of the light and I can see the trees next door and the sky, facing me is a photograph of a waterfall taken by my friend and given to me as a birthday present years ago.  Hanging beside it is a little fairy woman that I bought in London years ago, and one for my Mam, when we got free flights when I bought my first mobile phone.  We stayed in a horrible hostel, but we had a nice time together that weekend.
Hanging on the sustain rail is a candle lantern I got as a Christmas present this year from my aunt and uncle, and along from that is a string of brass bells, I don't know where I got them, I've had them years, I know I bought them myself, it was a thing at the time, and I've also had them in several places I've lived.

But photos might be better for the rest of the walls entry!  Part 2, soon!  

This is all kind of tiring, complicated and a bit emotional really, but good emotional, mostly.  The real things in my soul right now are nothing to do with possessions, things, objects, resonant or otherwise...

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