Friday, March 13, 2009

Creative Work & Mirroring: Reclaiming the Shattered and Ragtag Pieces

by Lawrence H. Staples
author of Guilt with a Twist
and The Creative Soul

If we can by various means obtain sufficient mirroring, we can become more comfortable with the guidance that our feelings and interests can provide. We can overcome or, at least, ameliorate our fear of intimacy. And we can further the process of self-building by engaging our creative work at increasingly deeper levels. To complete the building of our self, however, we must also sin and bear guilt. What is needed to complete the building always lies in the forbidden territory, outside the fence in the shadow. Truly creative work takes us to this forbidden zone in our thoughts and feelings, if not in our behavior. Prometheus entered the forbidden territory to steal the fire humanity needed. Hercules stole the apples of the Hesperides. Rosa Parks broke the laws of her community. We must go to the pile of rejected stones and bring them back if we are to create our selves. This bringing together of all our stones into a single, unified structure is the end of a process of at-one-ment. As indicated previously, the underlying meaning of atonement, when broken down, is “at-one-ment”, a yearned-for feeling that fuels development. The idea of gathering together all of the scattered pieces we need to put our selves together is captured in the following poem written by a patient who had fallen apart at midlife.

Shattered Bottles and Ragtag Pieces
of Broken Hearts and People


Sometimes I feel like a bottle
That some angry drunk has hurled against a barroom wall
And smashed to smithereens.
And all those once related pieces scatter in a mess of shards
Whose chaos mocks a former wholeness,
Which vanished when it burst and fell.
Some things are, perhaps, worth pasting back together,
Some things, perhaps, are not.
Is it worth it?
That’s hard to answer in the absolute.
It depends on the pair of shoes you’re standing in
Or the pair of eyes you’re looking through.
It depends, quite frankly, on whether you’re the bottle or the shard,
Whether you’re the angry drunk or some sensitive aesthete
Who looked with horror
As exquisite shape and form were suddenly reduced to artless rubble.
Through the bottle’s eyes, yet another ox is gored.
It’s no abstract question of shape or form.
It is something closer still.
It’s a question of being a bottle or of being something else.
Shape or form or beauty mean nothing
When to be or not to be is the crucial question.

And shards, perhaps, would have a different stance.
For a shard, it’s nothing special being connected to a nearby shard.
They’re content to lie in desultory piles
In haughty isolation

That feels no need to touch or clasp adjacent things
To gain some sense of who they are.
A shard’s a shard. And that is that.

And now,
Through Love’s warm eyes appears another view
That has no special ax to grind with drunks or bottles or shards.
Love is love,
An ever-centripetal tendency that will not rest
Till shattered bottles and ragtag pieces of broken hearts and people
Are drawn once again and gathered in the place
Where first they started
And, at last, must dwell again.
Love is a completer of circles.
And with its caring hands picks from the barren f1oor
Each sharp but scraggly splinter,
And searches insistently for the neighboring pieces,
Which it patiently fits and joins till the puzzle is once again complete,
Even if it take to eternity.

This is a poem of at-one-ment, of atonement, of reunification. While love, as pointed out in the poem, is a beautiful tendency that brings at-one-ment, we cannot forget that there would be no opportunity for love to do its work if angry, hateful shattering had not preceded it, just as there would have been no world to create if chaos had not preceded it. Creativity requires both.

Available from your local bookstore and from a host of online booksellers:
The Creative Soul
ISBN 978-0-9810344-4-7
Guilt with a Twist ISBN 978-0-9776076-4-8
Order your copy right from this blog or  call +1-831-238-7799.



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