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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Forest of Enchantment

Forest of Enchantment by northwoodsluna
Forest of Enchantment, a photo by northwoodsluna on Flickr.

Have you ever felt love
deep and strong in you
like a glass of good red wine?
And then this love falls out of your heart
breaking into so many pieces?

The ache is dull yet deep:
when you look inside
to where the love was
you see this empty spot:
you feel its all-gone-ness.

I've felt that way before.
All the good warmth in me
shattered by other's harshness.
Love fell out of me
before I could catch it,
and then I ever so slowly
kicked at the pieces around me
wondering if I cared enough
to stoop low, to bend down,
to begin to pick them up.

Oh love, how fickle you are
and sometimes so deceptive
in your supposed strength.
O love, how fickle you are
to leap out of my heart
at the sound of pettiness.
O love, did I ever have you
or was it just delusion
and so much of a wishing well?
~Joyce Rupp

The Dis-Enchanted Forest

Joyce Rupp in THE STAR IN MY HEART writes about "the enchanted forest". She describes this "enchanted forest"
"As a child growing into adulthood, I gradually developed a number of understandings or beliefs about life. They were my dreams, my goals, my vision of life, and my ideas about how life is or ought to be. these beliefs came to me from my parents, teachers, friends, religion, life experiences, books and numerous other influences. I stored up these beliefs in my heart like some kind of enchanted forest, a Camelot of values and ideals. Whenever I went into that forest of beliefs, I felt that life was good, right, and true. All my beliefs in my enchanted forest seemed so real. When life challenged me, I would go to that forest and look for one of my deep and strong truths so that I could feel comfortable and secure.
I have been able to discover some of my enchanted forest beliefs by listening to myself, to my own messages of "I'll always... I should... I must... I have to... I can't... I won't...They should... They must..."

She cites other enchanted forest beliefs as statements of absolutes such as "always" and "never", and goes on to say that part of "growing up" experiences is "disenchantment" when the reality of life reveals that what we have held most dear and as absolute steadfast truth is no longer comforting and no longer gives us the sense of direction we need. Often when we experience disenchantment we feel wounded, empty, maybe even betrayed by others or by my own truths. Because of our life experiences we are forced to face the challenge of our enchanted forests.

William Bridges, in his book TRANSITIONS, writes:
But later it is important to reflect on these things, for with realities as with identities and connections; the old must be cleared away before the new can grow. The mind is a vessel that must be emptied if new wine is to be put in.

In the area where we live there are many forests. Logging is one of the mainstays of the economy. In the last several years the forests have been hit by blights in the cedars, destructive insects invading the ash some of the pines and poplar trees. The only way to salvage healthy trees around infected trees is to take down the infected trees and move them out of the forest, sometimes burning the ground on which they stood. I was saddened by the clearing of one of my favorite forests. Yet I understood why it had to happen, the old had to be removed to save some of the old trees, and to make way for new trees, new growth. The old trees no longer grew, their life choked off, they were barren, dry, unsafe, unstable, unsuitable for logging, not even good for firewood. Now a couple of years later the new growth is beginning to be evident. The trees were not immediately cut down; The Department of Forestry went to great effort and expense to save/preserve the trees. But it became evident that this was not working and the trees had to go. So too our some of our own "enchanted beliefs" may need to change, our magical thinking that does not serve us well, the irrational expectations of self, life, others that cannot be met, like the trees that have outlived their usefulness, they must go if we are to grow. The past couple of days I've spent some time wandering in my own "enchanted forest", exploring my own expectorations of life, my expectations of others. Life is not stagnant either for trees or for humankind. We change constantly even when the changes are not immediately evident. We are faced with painful, hard realities that make no sense at the time. It is only by entering into the enchanted forest to confront our disillusionment, that we can truly see the trees for what they are, what they have been, what they can be. We are able to choose to adapt our beliefs, our truths, to allow new growth, new possibility, new life, growing up along side of that which endures, that which continues to serve us well. We can then walk out of our "dis-enchanted" forest with clarity and a sense of direction.

Some of my own "trees", my own outlived beliefs, expectations, that I confronted this past week included the following words:

Have to...

I am searching for words/thoughts/beliefs that will better serve me and those around me. Most of them are beliefs that have been there, they are simply more visible after the others are thinned away. I imagine the list will continue to grow and even some of these will perhaps have to change sometime down the path if I am to continue to grow.
~unconditional love
~ justice


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