|It is infinitely heart-breaking to meet her glance|
I'm not sure when the slap in the face. came. It might have been in a drug-induced haze in my 20s, or possibly as a bolt of lightening that shot through me from a simple phrase in a book I was reading at the time (which is not at all an unlikely way for enlightenment to come to me). Whatever. I found myself suddenly struck by the absurdly painful notion that a self examined life meant that one actually examines oneself, looks under the hidden rocks, opens the closet doors, digs through the primal ooze of ego, shame, blame, and a lifetime full of false beliefs. So I responded to the whole idea in the only way that made sense to me. I began to drink. And kept on drinking for the next 20 years. Drugs fell by the wayside (too paranoid), cigarettes were life threatening (I accidentally set my sweater on fire when I was shit-faced one night). It was only after I stopped drinking (another story altogether) that I started reluctantly tried to put into practice the concept that had so horrified me years earlier. I had help. Lots of help. Good friends. Good therapists. Great lessons from the universe. Then, at some point I learned that this was an ongoing process, that I wouldn't wake up one morning and say "Right, got it, all examined, all fixed, let's go for tea". Depression set in. And stayed for a long, unwelcome visit like a bad house guest.
After this had gone on for a bit I began to hear an annoyingly persistent voice, whose origin I couldn't quite identify, keep whispering in my ear, "Go for a walk in the woods." So I did. Then I went again. And again. Soon it became a regular and remembered cherished habit. I started to reconnect with nature. I had been a park ranger for nine years and had switched careers to be a graphic designer. I had spent less and less time outside. Big mistake. As I started listening to the voices of the natural world outside all around me I began to find my own inner voice, waiting patiently to be heard... And that it was worth actually listening to. I was hearing with my inner self - my spirit and my heart. When I discovered that all the voices were coming from the same source I was joyously mystified. Mystified. Steeped in Mystery. I love both of these states of being as one directly reflects the other. I love the world's mysteries, and I love the fact that my own inner mysteries are always, always somehow connected to the outer mystery presenting itself at the time. I learned a new word to describe this phenomena - synchronicity. A truly self examined life meant reflection. Inner meet Outer. As above, so below. Socrates....very cool, dude.