I’ve returned to my beloved mountain valley. After five days the stillness is starting to settle in. This morning the eastern sky was red. “Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.” It will probably rain today.The sun is slow to reach the west side of the house. For now the garden is shrouded in shadows and mist.
Then my inner environment underwent a mysterious change. It was very subtle, like a fresh wind carrying strange scents, or a curve in the river that leaves the rushing rapids behind as it empties into a tranquil blue sea. Suddenly there were fewer mountains to climb and more depths to explore.
I too have suffered from despair since childhood. It began at the age of 11 when my father died. To this day there are many occasions in my daily life when I cannot get excited about something because I know it will not last and my pleasure will not last and I will die and nobody will care and nothing I have done will make any difference, and so what?
I’d like to tell you about a particularly potent form of inner work that helped my daughter achieve her career goals. Julie was at Florida State University (Go Noles!) working on her Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy when the time came to write her dissertation. Suddenly, the psychic energy that had served her so well for so long hit a wall.
Last weekend I was telling some house guests about how my golden retriever Bear woke me up at night with his booming bark several times after he died. When I was finished, the husband nodded with solemn knowing and shared his story.
The other day I read an article on the internet about a mostly male mindset called the “culture of honor” which places such a high value on defending one’s reputation that it results in more risk-taking and accidental deaths. Reportedly, this way of thinking is most prevalent in small towns and rural areas of the South and West in such states as South Carolina, Wyoming, and Texas.