Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Inizia il viaggio

Eastern gate of Troy VI

Hello, friends!  Remember me?

Perhaps not, it has been so long and so infrequent. But here I am.  Most of my musings and sharings have been on Facebook for quite a while now.  But that environment is not conducive to longer reflection so I think my current phase requires blogging once again.  I will link to FB so new and old friends can visit here if they wish.

The header reads: The trip begins.  I am intentionally beginning an inner voyage, though it has truly been going on for some time.  I suppose one might say "all my life."

Now and again confluences of events, images, encounters, memories, and dreams slap us to attention and we say, "Oh, my.  So that is what is going on."  Those who have encountered me in person or followed me on Facebook know that 2013 was a year of some rather significant transitions, even if you had to read between the lines of my often cryptic posts.  Some new persons and events entered my life and I went through both breakthroughs and breaking open on the one hand and losses and huge shifts on the other.  It was an emotional roller coaster, though I always knew it was for the good and I was going to be fine.  Pity there was no way I could totally reassure my friends of this confidence, but that is all right.  I knew and that was what counted.

2014 has continued the themes of letting go and shifting.  It is a quieter year and I am blessed with an excellent therapist who does not allow me to dazzle him with bullshit or evade but who also is there for me and invites me into deeper and deeper authenticity.  If 2013 set the ball rolling, and finally set in motion some things that had been shifting for years, then 2014 is a year of looking at these changes and consolidating the initial progress while moving forward. It is a year of slowing down (2013 was pretty damned manic, as all will attest).  I suspect this fall and winter and 2015 may be slower still.

I have been listening to lots of CDs from The Teaching Company.  I have listened to three different series on Shakespeare alone in the last several months and watched DVDs of a number of plays.  Five versions of Hamlet alone, viewed within two weeks!  The most recent series, finished yesterday evening, was on Dante's Commedia.  I read the Commedia back in my twenties.  It seemed hard slogging, frankly, but I forged through.  I really cannot recall what I thought of it.  I know I look forward to revisiting it, having lived a few more decades and with so much more personal and intellectual background for appreciating it.  The point of the work is not intellectual, however, though it possesses incredible intellectual depth and artistry, but to experience and be transformed by the Love that moves the sun and the other stars.

The first of Dante's three guides is Publius Vergilius Maro, author of The Aeneid, The Eclogues, and The Georgics.  Thanks to Betty Wiley, my Latin teacher at Fresno High school, I got to read Books I, II, IV, and VI of the Aeneid in the original Latin while still a teenager.  Some years later I plowed through all twelve books of it in English, and though I do not recall exactly when I did this, I was still young.

On the verge of rereading Dante, I felt I might like to reread Vergil first.  Dante uses Vergil as a source, so it seems reasonable. And then I felt the urge to revisit something of a journey through a lot of pre-modern Western literature, a journey I took from high school through graduate school. What might I discover with an elder's eyes? What might it tell me about my life journey and why these texts resonate so strongly for me?

It did not take long on Amazon for me to then think, oh hell!  Why not?  So I am going to start by rereading the Iliad (which I read not that many years ago) and the Odyssey (which I have not touched since my early twenties).  Then the Aeneid, and then the Commedia, holding out for options to hit other works along the way.  There are works I have never read, such as Boccaccio's Decameron, and works of which I have only read a portion, such as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

Across the decades I have reread some of the Greek tragedies, all of which I read in one summer, either 1979 or 1980.  I have also seen live productions and movies of quite a few. And there is Shakespeare, of course.  I will probably leave exploration of these dramas to continuing exploration rather than part of this self-set course.  I would like to revisit the classic French theatre of Corneille, Racine, and Molière.

That is the literary side.  But the point is really to reweave my life.  To do that musing, that healing and integrative work, is normal and needed in the third third of one's life.  What about those dreams I have had across the decades and in which minute details of the physical environment of my boyhood survive?  Why is that geography so firmly implanted in my subconscious and why does that matter?  What does it mean to me now?  What might it mean?

I had hoped in retirement (or semi-retirement) to return to writing the Chronicles of Mídhris.  I still do, but I suspect that I need to feed myself before I share and to do inner work before I resume the tales.  They are, after all, stories that arise from my personal depth, nurtured on the mythologies on which I fed as a boy and youth and enriched by my experience of life. They are tales of hope and loss, of sorrow and joy, of struggle and wonder and questioning.  And journey tales.  Omigod, are they ever journey tales.  Stories of individuals, groups (migrations even), and a few families whose tales span centuries.

When I left California at age 60 it was to begin again and find myself, having lost myself in so many directions.  I lived like a hermit for no less than two years and gradually emerged.  I needed that.  I will not be so shut out now, but I do plan to go within, slow down, dig deeper.  If I record my musings here you, my friends and visitors, will be invited into my journey.  It is not taken alone.  We all must sail forth and none of us knows our destination, except to be taken up into the uncreated Light, that Love that moves the sun and other stars.

--the BB


rick allen said...

"What might I discover with an elder's eyes? What might it tell me about my life journey and why these texts resonate so strongly for me?"

"fructus autem senectutis est, ut saepe dixi, ante partorum bonorum memoria et copia."

As best I can render it, from Cicero: "As I often have said, the fruit of old age is the rich memory of the good things that came before."

I too find some considerable
satisfaction in re-reading those wonderful old tracts and sagas and epics and lyrics and discourses and stories in the light of the intervening years.

I used to think I was clever in saying that education was wasted on the young, because we can hardly appreciate the wealth we have when young. But now I realize I wouldn't enjoy it half so much now had I not puzzled through so much when I was still incapable of taking it all in.

(And of course to a large extent I expect I still can't--but I don't know if I can count on being around for the next run-through....)

Paul said...

Thanks for the comment, fellow journeyer. You are right, Rick. We might not be savoring now if we had not tasted when younger. I know the Aeneid moved me enough at age 16 that I wept when translating. Decades later I translated the same passage from Latin to my best possible Spanish and found myself in tears once more. I feel as though I have just set out for a long and enjoyable journey.
Vale, amice!