As I write this, my neighbour’s house is on fire, on a sunny afternoon, just outside my window, one street away. I saw the dark billows of smoke almost at the same time as I heard the increasingly noisy sirens, and realised I knew this house.
Unexpected things happen to us all the time, some tiny, some huge. Just yesterday I was using my teacher’s analogy of our intense emotions being like a house on fire. We need to put out the fire, before it destroys too much.
Twenty minutes later; the fire seems to be in control. The emergency services quickly did what was most important, and stopped further damage. Later on, someone can figure out why and how it happened. The main thing is that the fire has been contained.
Our strong emotions are like that fire: consuming us and destabilising us, unless they are taken care of, identified and allowed to fizzle out.
Last week’s news of David Bowie’s death deeply stung many people, like myself, who hadn’t even thought about the man for years. I was surprised at the intensity of feeling and the profound sense of loss that this news generated, which was multiplied by hearing of the loss of Alan Rickman a few days later.
It left me pondering why these otherwise inevitable and banal deaths caused such a jarring and intense emotional response from so many millions of people around the world. These people mean different things to the different people who mourn them, yet there seems to be an essential truth in their loss.
Such is the nature of life and humanity that we don’t need to have known someone personally to be deeply affected by their life and death. What reaches out to us are their life-affirming and stimulating acts of creation, nourishing us and in turn supporting our own personal creativity, whether it be through our own personal art forms or through the lightness in our step as we bask in someone else’s creation.
Life is expressed through an eternal series of creative acts, and the passing of someone – anyone – who was so relentlessly creative, who has modeled so much human potential for expansion and offered such inspiration, seems to leave a greater void.
So, life IS creativity – expanding for its own delight in the act of creation. The endlessly overlapping cycles of creation, stability and dissolution – represented by the triad of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – keep life moving forward, stagnation an impossibility as one thing, idea, or person dissolves into another.
I surprised myself by suddenly questioning my own creativity even more urgently. Why haven’t I painted more? How am I reaching out to expand into life? When will I extract myself from the quicksand of Brussels?! How many years of human life is enough?
The sudden, renewed sense of loss can also trigger the archetypal memory of the many other (perhaps long-buried) losses and pains that have happened before. As long as emotions are incompletely explored and understood, they will return with greater or lesser force to test our Truth. It’s very healing to let difficult emotions rise to the surface, and feel what is still there to feel. Eventually the feelings turn to memories, and the twinge is gone.
The greatest revenge for loss and frustration is to make use of the heightened creativity that gets energised by the very power which arises from our most challenging emotions! Live out more fully what you have come here to live. You never know how your personal offering will tip the dominoes.
With love and light as always,