Monday, September 13, 2010

Wait, is that my heart spilled onto the ark's floor?

Like animals entering the ark, they gathered, two-by-two or three-by-three. Even four-by-four. But rarely one-by-one. They sought shelter, respite from the unsympathetic world.

And for three days, they found sanctuary, within the self and in the space between the self and other.

There were rituals all around, moments with tears and laughter and learning and growing and solitude and sharing and contemplation and confronting and love and compassion. And everywhere you turned, hearts were spilled onto the ground. Glasses brimmed with the tears of mourners. The recently acquainted held one another and weeped. The palisades of language, socioeconomic status, religion, ethnicity, and even age of child or cause of death were stripped away as we all stood naked in the midst of each other, clothed only with our suffering. On days like these, we realize what is truly important in our lives. On days like these, we bear no crimson masks. On days like these, we are reduced to our true, authentic selves, able now to recognize our own despair in the eyes of others. Magnificently painful and painfully magnificent.

On the final day, many hesitated to leave what we'd all come to recognize as a holy place. There were talks of the "painful re-entry" and the "envy of the normals." I believe one of the reasons people want to remain in this place is the sense of community we share... this communal milieu brings forth an aliveness in us that perhaps we've never before experienced. It's a sense of aliveness so palpable that it breathes into us.

Confronting death- and more importantly the carnage He left behind - seems to have given a renewed sense of life to hundreds of people this weekend at the MISS Foundation's 2010 gathering. It's not the old life of the normals. It's not the delicious naiveté in which we once existed. No. And it never will be again.

Many of us will remain indelibly changed by those extraordinarily raw moments in the ark. There, as our truth leaked out through fissures in the walls of our self, onto the floor, others tiptoed carefully around, so as not to disturb, recognizing something really big and really sacred is happening here.

And they stood with us, two-by-two or four-by-four, as witnesses to our spilling.


Sarah Bain said...

Yep. Uh huh. Yes. Indeed. That's it. And I never even wanted the flood to arrive in the first place!

Kara Chipoletti Jones of GriefAndCreativity dot com said...

Realized today, Dr. Jo, that the re-entry is so painful for me because we simply do not have a community of that depth and truth outside our MISS family. We have community to be sure. People know us. We know them. We share some with some of them. But the way everything goes to the heart when I walk into my MISS family reunion, they way my MISS family members see my art and get ALL the layers of it without explanation, the way I can laugh my head off one moment and fold into tears the next without any stigma nor commentary needed -- we simply DO NOT have that anywhere else. We just don't. There are not enough in our physical locale who get it or who want to go there.

I don't know. It is frustrating. I feel real, I feel called, I feel the truth of why I am still on this planet when with our MISS family. But that all get so washed out and faded by the light pollution and chaos of the normals that it is almost as if I am simply not seen out here in the supposedly "real" world. That is incredibly frustrating.

Multiply the frustration by all the families who live equally invisible among the normals. And, well, just shit shit shit. Really?! I just want the world reversed.


Anyway...thank you for this post, for giving continued visibility to all this with your words, work, research. I'm so enormously appreciative of YOU!

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore said...

I love you both my griends.

Nina Bennett said...

Jo, your thoughts are so beautifully written. You have taken our tears and our overflowing hearts and turned those into words, and for that, I thank you. The MISS conference, for me, is a sacred place. I feel connected, protected, and loved when I am in Phoenix with my MISS family. Although we are drwan together by grief and pain, the conference is a place of beauty and joy. It is truly an incredible experience to wear my pain openly and have it be beautiful.

Hugs to all,

Cherie Ava's Mom said...

Sometimes, when there are no words, you still find all the right ones. No where else can I feel in fullness how my grief is the ultimate expression of my love, and to feel full of love and longing that breaks all levees. Long ago the fear of breaking open in front of these strangers has left me, and now I see only the gifts received for the days spent in openness. My thanks to you and all who created the space, the holding environment for all this to unfold.

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore said...

Thank you Ava's mom... thank you.


The soul still sings in the darkness telling of the beauty she found there; and daring us not to think that because she passed through such tortures of anguish, doubt, dread, and horror, as has been said, she ran any the more danger of being lost in the night. Nay, in the darkness did she, rather, find herself.

--St. John, Dark Night of the Soul

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