Liberation isn't easy (Hexagram 40)

We have no choice
but to carry on

(from "Carry On," written by Stephen Stills and performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young)

Someone I love is clawing his way, breath by breath, through and beyond alcohol addiction. Someone else I love needs to quit smoking ten years ago. Another dear one furiously treads water above death by depression; yet another, once a potent and joyful athlete, awakens every morning into his 22nd year with a spinal cord injury that flattened him at his fifth cervical vertebra two days after he was wed to the love of his life -- she who has stood beside him through it all and remains one of the most generous, gritty-real and gracious people I've ever had the honour to know. Their home -- known as Celebration Central -- is the core of a resilient, hilarious, faithful and huge-hearted family.

All these people ... and countless more ... work like overplowed oxen every day to stay sane, loving, and alive. Liberation from despair is the hardest work any of us will ever do. It's no accident that in the King Wen I Ching hexagram sequence, 40 -- LIBERATION -- stands between OBSTRUCTION (Hex. 39) and DECREASE (41).

Change only happens when the pain of holding on is greater than the fear of letting go.


I compose this post a few days after Mumbai was stormed by terrorists ... and a Wal-Mart store employee in the US was trampled to death by ravenous shoppers. I write this knowing that two men, customers in a Toys 'R' Us (again, in the US), shot each other to death over, ostensibly, a toy. A cheap plastic hunk of crap that'll end up in a landfill.

Call it consumer terrorism, these three murders in the States. Call a spade a spade. Terrorism starts with me versus you. It ends with I and Thou.

The brief blip of ecstasy that was Barack Obama's election now feels like it's light years gone, and humanity's back to business as usual. Carnage.

Forgive me, you who read this, but this is how I feel today.

We have no choice
but to carry on

This is how I feel, and somehow I still activate the wellspring that is my heart, get myself up, and do the next thing that needs to be done.

Whoever will be free must make himself free. Freedom is no fairy gift to fall into a man's lap. What is freedom? To have the will to be responsible for one's self.

(Max Stirner)

We have no choice but to carry on ...

Actually, we do have a choice. We make our choice to carry on, and Life's choice to go on through us carries us through.

I weep for the world today, while I wash the dishes. I cut a hefty slice of flesh from my thumb on something in the sink, rush off to tend the wound and mop up the mess, and then I sit down, thumb raised, and marvel at how quickly the wound glazes over and begins to heal. I choose to thank Life for all I'm given ... and all I'm not given. I feel such revolt and disgust at some of the choices that I and my fellow humans have made ... and the wellspring that is my heart softens even more toward our common torment. I want to give up, give in, give over, give away. I'm so exhausted and so in love with being alive. I get up, and scrub down the kitchen cabinets. I brew a cup of tea and these words fly from my fingers. My Sweet Man will be home from work soon, and we'll kiss, hug, and banter about what naughtiness the cats have been up to today. Somehow, we'll pay all the bills and keep a roof over our heads.

We'll carry on.

let it go -- the
smashed word broken
pen vow or
the oath cracked open length
wise -- let all go
so comes love

(e.e. cummings)

(Top photo: "The Cellist of Sarajevo," by John Burns; lower photo: artist unknown)


Anonymous said…
Wow, you write really well. I love what you said. I have often marveled at the tenacity of life. I think it is inborn in all of God's creation. Thank you for directing me here. It was well worth it.
Jaliya said…
Bless you, Sherry :-)

Putting that piece together felt like opening a vein ... Sometimes you just need to let the crap out, you know? That's when the inborn tenacity you write of can get us moving again ...

I nicked "opening a vein" from Walter "Red" Smith, who once wrote,

"There's nothing to writing. You just sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."

Then there's Charles Baudelaire, who invited us to "always be a poet, even in prose."

Amen, eh?
Karin said…
so grateful that you are there, with your compassion and way of seeing the world, and putting it into words.
Jan said…
I only found this with your link at Sherry's blog. I'm so glad you put a link there. Your writing coupled with poetry and quotes is elegant. Thank you. I need to ponder this.
Anonymous said…
"Change only happens when the pain of holding on is greater than the fear of letting go."

There's so much I could comment on here... but for now let me just say - that quote? That's right about where I'm at...
Jaliya said…
Thank you everyone for your thoughts ... I feel that writing is one of my callings ... We all seem to have one or another primary way of expressing fundamental truths, don't we ...

As far as Liberation goes, we need to have some understanding of what we're setting free ... how we can set it free ... and to what vast mystery we're letting it loose ...

Lately I've felt both enraged and in love with being alive ... hopefully the love comes through the rage and is foremost in the writing ...

Any mindful expression liberates what is beautiful, essential ...
lynne h said…
this is such a beautifully written post, jaliya... thank you...

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