Saturday, May 3, 2008

One Man's Cave

Today is my birthday.

The Tarot card is the Four of Swords, another pulled at random and right on the mark.

“Fours relate to stabilization; for the unhappy swords this translates as rest or even just retreat. The image shows not Death, but withdrawal. People sometimes respond to difficulties by isolating themselves, literally hiding in their houses, or simply flattening their emotional reactions to hide inside themselves.”

What began as a project for a friend—a simple replacement of bath and kitchen floors—has become my resting place, my cave. This tiny 2 bedroom apartment at the bottome of a rickety 3 unit building was tired, ugly, cramped; in as much need of repair as I. We have united, and the place looks all the better for it.

So many years of stress has taken its toll, and I finally find myself no longer able to swim against the current, but have let go and am floating…

To live here, I must have a decent, larger, cleaner bathroom, so I have gutted and replaced everything, much to the astonishment and delight of my good friend, the Landlord. We found a good deal on recycled oak flooring, so I am installing and finishing it room by room. The deck outside which was literally falling away has been propped up and at least looks straighter and more inviting. The view out the window on the side of a small city is all woods down to a river boiling with melted snow, the rush of cars behind me barely heard.

Possession with spirit comes upon building shelves and bringing to light books long stored in boxes lugged from home to home. To have them on display, seeing their titles is like reading them all over again. My guitar sits within easy reach. At a job, I noticed an old carpet tossed aside and the owner happy to give it a new home. At the grocery store, my son rounds the corner with lovely bowls, laughing that we can’t be eating cereal bowls forever in plastic.

“Withdrawal…can lead to healing, if the purpose is not to hide, but to recoup strength.”

Naturally, there are as many stories to tell about my choice of cave as people who know me to tell it. While they are all valid in their own respect, I can only write about mine. It is not about the pain I have suffered or the hurt I have caused. I have spent a long long time struggling with that. Also, it is very private, and I can at least be respectful and loving, honoring others by silence.

This is a story about recovery, about becoming the man I want to be, about creating the space that invites transformation, about not taking, but giving and receiving. I take to heart that this is Midlife, that time remains—though evermore precious—in abundance, to be utilized, not wasted.

The Tarot interpretation also alludes to the Fischer King and to the true myth of Sleeping Beauty, how both were revived by the energy of others. “Withdrawal, even for the purpose of recovery, can shut a person off from the world, creating a kind of spell only outside energy can break.”

So I look to all of you, my friends, new and old.

Today is my Birthday!

Please share with your friends


TheElementary said...

" longer able to swim against the current, but have let go and am floating."
Such is learning, such is life. It's too powerful and we can't plan for everything.
I found your thoughtful blog through a comment you left on "Simply Wait."

Paul Merrill said...

Happy birthday (late) - and I enjoyed your road trip post.

Kip de Moll said...

You guys are great, thanks for the really nice comments and support.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. The different point of view is refreshing. Found your blog through a post you made on another one.

If you are looking for blogs with depth try mine.

Steve Davis, Calgary, AB

debra said...

Happy (belated) birthday.

I rather like the 4 of swords. My tarot book calls it "a time of rest after a period of struggle."

So take time to rest and soon you'll be back and ready to face the world.

Coincidentally, I turned to the tarot recently, to see what the tarot made of how things are shaping up in my life. I got Death, which during a time of total transformation, seems to fit quite well.