BEAUTY IN THE BEAST ♥
Do you even want to find it? Help evolve the suffering human species?
In her infamous diary, young Anna Frank confesses that in spite of Nazi horrors, she still believes that people are good at heart. Several years later, in a far less famous but similarly inspired adolescent confession, I dared argue with my horrified Jewish father that there must have been something good about Hitler. Unable to bend my unruliness towards “reality,” my exasperated father was left to fear that I might be dangerously blind to evil. Today, decades later, Daddy is dead, and I am still arguing just as passionately that there is something Precious in everyone, even the beasts among us, arguing in the face of the “reality” of escalating violence and despair all around us daily in America and elsewhere.
As a young girl, struggling with secret shame and darkened self-esteem, I couldn’t articulate that in defending Hitler, I wasn’t just playing devil’s advocate or being haplessly naive, but was in fact arguing for my own salvation. I sensed that to be unforgiving to Adolf might be to risk sentencing myself as well to permanent banishment from the compassionate garden of loving and being loved. We must trust that “Good/God” lives in us even within the pain and ignorance of our most unspeakable crimes –individual and collective -or there is no renewal — no hope for discovery that at the core of ALL our activity is a thrust for loving awareness. And after decades of futile attempts to become “perfect” and thereby defeat any need for absolution, I can marvel at the simple wisdom of my earlier stirrings.
It is a truism that everyone is good at heart, for the heart is the place where only Love lives. It is where “all are Relations,” “o mitakuye oyasin,” to use a much loved Native American expression. So I believe therefore, as have many before me, that there is no human act for which ultimately forgiveness cannot be found. However, adversity and the appearance of “evil” are formidable challenges to us: was Anna Frank able to maintain Christ-like faith or forgiveness at the actual moment of her execution? What profound courage and impeccability it takes for us to move in close enough to penetrate the heart of our fear and pain, to find the Love dying to be released there!
In my own turbulent yet celebratory life, I have found that my worst enemy is the conditioned fear and ignorance of my true Nature, my precious Goodness at heart. I believe that humanity at large has this common, invisible enemy. Our cultural traditions tend to shame and hurt rather than holify us. A result of this Self denial is crisis. Yet crisis is often my surest waker-upper, my unexpected benefactor.
One such benefactor, first encountered in deep mourning for one of my many failed relationships, was my “wildish” self. I call her “Iron Jane.” She’s the mature, archetypal consort to author/poet Robert Bly’s mythical “Iron John,” representing our primal knowing, both intuitive and deeply instinctual, that we are part of a great Web of Life, and that ultimately All Is Well. The wild, awakened Heart holds the wisdom of my reawakened innocence, unrestrained empathy, unabashed joy and unconditioned love.
Our wildish, aware state is visionary, creative, compassionate and playful, erotic –brimming with Life; yet we’ve been brainwashed to think it unholy. We distrust spontaneity; we fear unleashed loving. Our so-called civilized, anesthetized propriety has no place for such wildishness, misconstrued as the limited idea of runaway libido. Indeed, in view of the escalating eruptions of violent antipathy and hate crimes in the U.S., it might appear that wildness has done us in. Yet, without reservation, when encountering my own fire-spewing dragons (and those of my clients and friends), a fear base of repressed passion and lost self esteem is found driving them, an experience of disconnection and disempowerment.
Demons are enraged and outraged outcasts from the Garden. They point to our disinherited instinctual, intuitive, wildish selves. My Iron Jane adventure stories point to a return, expressing the hell out of myself, making room for heaven.
In my struggles to live up to my own insights, my risk-taking has been rewarded. Again and again, both privately and professionally, Beauty is found hiding within the Beastly. I do believe that at the core of all our experiences love and awareness lie waiting. Being aware that I can love more wholly is the living Gift that surfaces from any dilemma, when we risk going to its heart.
I propose then, that our Lessons in life are always, ultimately, love lessons, directed to re-discovering our connection to the Love and Wisdom permeating all living matter. Finding our Iron Jane aspects underscores our inherent value. Knowing we are ‘gifted’ uniquely in our creative ability to love, we more readily make our unique contributions to society, a society that is increasingly in need of our freed gifts.
Iron Jane:Tales of Awakening A Wild Heart bears witness and gives testimony to the premise that Love makes the world go ‘round. My collection of tales and musings give evidence that any life episode can become a worthy teacher of loving-kindness. Adversity and beastliness become allies, evidence of Divinity at Work growing a more compassionate, resilient humanity. In deep surrender to the joys and pains of our lives, in risking a fully breathed moment, Mystery enfolds us. We feel fulfilled.
Reclaiming our Iron Janes and Johns may be requisite to salvation. When we can express the whole of our experienced truths again, we will know what it is to really love and be loved without considerations, without exceptions. Only this can soothe and heal our wounded, savage beasts. Only then will our individual and collective sufferings be put to rest.
I offer to you dear Reader, a risky, bottom-line baring of myself in these pages. I’ve exposed my fears, blind walls and failures, my struggle with ordinariness, and my most treasured and sacred thoughts previously protected from so wide a rejection. I’m also risking acceptance, appreciation, and realization of my wildish dreams. The practice of leaping headlong into the abyss of the Unknown often seems too risky; but without this surrender, Providence cannot move in to assist growth and fulfillment.
Surrender may be my most important practice to master, my gateway to Self redemption. Surrender, then, is about funding the courage to embrace with awareness ANYthing that life presents, so that its essential Nature may reveal Itself: how else can we ever fundamentally trust what we’re made of?
I surrender this work to you. It is my fervent hope that you will discover yourself in these pages, and risk being more fully and freely You. I hope my risks spur your own, and that together, we forge a rainbow bridge from our collective sorrows and sufferings to the grace of forgiveness and new life: to awakening our wild hearts.
[Marcia Singer has published 3 memoirs, filled with uplifting tales of Awakening A Wild Heart. http://lovearts.info Visit her “gallery” showing more of her sacred “H’Artworkx”: http://www.lovearts.info/hartworkx.php ]