Saturday, September 16, 2006

If You Could Read My Mind Love

I have been born again and again and each time, I have found something to love. -Gordon Parks

Our ability to find something to love, and to love again for the first time, depends greatly on how we resolve and integrate where we've been before. A great model for us exists in the chambered nautilus, an exquisite shell creature that lives along the ocean floor. The nautilus is a deep-sea form of life that inches like a soft man in a hard shell finding his prayers along the bottom. Over time it builds a spiral shell, but always lives in the newest chamber.

The other chambers, they say, contain a gas or liquid that helps the nautilus control its buoyancy. Even here, a mute lesson in how to use the past: live in the most recent chamber and use the others to stay afloat.

Can we, in this way, build strong chambers for our traumas: not living there, but breaking our past down till it is fluid enough to lose most of its weight? Can we internalize where we've been enough to know that we are no longer living there? When we can, life will seem lighter.

It is not by accident that the nautilus turns it slow digestion of the bottom into a body that can float. It tells us that only time can put the past in perspective, and only when the past is behind us, and not before us, can we be open enough and empty enough to truly feel what is about to happen. Only by living in the freshest chamber of the heart can we love again and again for the first time.

From: The Book of Awakening, Mark Nepo

7 comments:

JustRun said...

How awesome. I didn't know anyone even knew what the nautilus was- just sea geeks like me. What a fantastic metaphor and so much better than that onion peeling crap.

Claire said...

Very cool.

And now forgive me for this scifi geek tangent. In one of the 1st eps of Deep Space Nine, Benjamin Sisko encounters aliens who have no concept of time. They relate to him by immersing him in events from his memories and he keeps experiencing his worst loss.

When he demands that they stop it, they tell him that they aren't doing it, he is. Though years have passed, he still lives in that moment of trauma. When he finally gets it, it's heartbreaking but also beautiful.

Lynn said...

Sizzle, have you read the book this came from? If so, was there anything else in there that was especially helpful?

snackiepoo said...

Will you PLEASE stop residing in my head? LOL, I was thinking this very same thing but in a different euphamism just today.

Melissa said...

I'm printing this out and taping it to my mirror.

Dustin said...

I definitely have buoyancy issues. =)

OT said...

Post title, courtesy of Gordon Lighfoot. Amazing lyricist and musician. One of Canada's treasures.