Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lions and Camels and Nietzsche, Oh My!

"Writing is like magic because you cannot see the simple psychology you are weaving, the questions you are asking, the way you are reshaping how you interact with your world," writes Rebecca K. O'Connor, author, falconer, and blogger on The Rumpus.

I wasn't able to articulate why I haven't been able to blog lately until I read that wonderful piece of O'Connor's. Lately, I feel like I'm seeing life so clearly. In looking back over the stages when I've blogged most often--and blogged best, if I may be so bold--it was when I was mired in little tragedies I was willing to share with you all. I was desperately trying to peak behind the fabric of my experience, and writing was the fingers that allowed me to grasp. For a moment, perhaps I'm taking a break from weaving that simple psychology.

These past few months have led up to a pretty big change in my life. I made a decision that took far too long to arrive at, but the relief that swept over me after making it was so welcome I don't regret the lost time one bit. I feel now that I've been on my knees, begging for mercy, for over two years, and I finally heard a voice saying it was OK to get up. And, mind you, not one of those "Hello, E, it's schizophrenia calling" kind of voices. Something different.

Anyway, how wonderful it is to finally stand up! Nietzsche and, oddly enough, Sufi poet Rumi write that spiritual unfolding occurs in three stages: the camel, the lion, and then the child. In the camel phase, we feel we have been burdened with the suffering of our existence. We trudge onward, until finally we kneel, as a camel will, under the weight of our burdens. We surrender completely. It's only then that we can rise up like a lion, full of the strength and majesty we need to meet our challenges.

OK, I get it--it's kind of a cheesy comparison. (That's also an odd thing to say about something Nietzsche-generated.) But you know, don't we all get to feeling like we've been taking a knee from the weight of our burdens for far too damn long? Moreover, I bet we also all know what it feels like to finally set that heaviness aside and rise the fuck up. I'm feeling it now--every sleepless night, every jagged meditation session, every scalding tear, every desperate conversation with friends, every scrawl in the journal, and every sweaty yoga class--they do add up to something far bigger than the sum of their well-intentioned parts.

Ahhh. Life is good. I teach, I sweat, and I sleep. The only downside is that it doesn't provide me with much inspiration for blogging :-)

But I know from living in a dualistic universe that these things are cyclical ;-)  I'm sure the camel will be back, but for the moment, I'm sure enjoying being a lion.


feralchick said...


hannahjustbreathe said...

This is a truly awesome post, lady. Loved it. Especially the demand to "rise the fuck up." YES!

Martina said...

Woman, your writing is so powerful! So confidant! I love all Elisas, of this one I am so proud!

Yolk E said...

Aww, gracias, chicas :-)

La said...

Yes, as per the comments above, your writing, especially this one - so grand in its simplicity, working your lionness stage. So happy I have all these posts to catch up on. It's like opening a stack of presents on Christmas morning!