"Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but -I hope- into better shape." Charles Dickinson, Great Expectations
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness only light can do that." ~Martin Luther King Jr.
Well, for me, holding on starts with a mantra. To be quite honest, like The Rolling Stone's Ruby Tuesday, its difficult to hang any name or refrain on me for too long, but at the moment I keep repeating lines from a Mumford and Sons song called "The Cave" from their Sigh No More CD (See Song Below) Now, if you do a bit of research, you'll discover that many different theories about the meaning of the song's lyrics are floating around the internet. Some claim "The Cave" is about a relationship between two people. I, personally, reject this theory and believe adherents to that particular ideology are illiterate at best and half-witted at worst. In my opinion, the lyrics reference an inner struggle between holding onto hope, discovering the truth, and gaining freedom versus succumbing to the dark, listening to personal siren calls, and losing our identities. "The Cave" is about contending with inner demons.
You want evidence? Well, go ahead and listen to the song. The refrain begins: “But I will hold on hope. And I won’t let you choke on the noose around your neck.” In other words, Hope is down for the count but rather than letting it perish we protect it. What comes next? “I’ll find strength in pain. And I will change my ways.” Thus, in our darkest moments, when our identities begin to slip, we have two options: Lose Hope, Give into the Pain, and Fade Away or Hold on, Find Strength, and Change ourselves, as best can, for the Better. Doing the latter allows us “know” our “name as its called again”. In my most painful of moments, I begin to lose myself. Like Guy from Galaxy Quest, even when I am assured I have an identity, I reply: "DO I? DO I?" I'm just Crewman Number Six. Completely Expendable. It takes strength and belief to hold onto our names, allow who we are at our very core to survive the storm, and emerge shining and new in the light of day.
|Banksy's Balloon Girl|
Now what have we learned?: Find a Mantra, Remember Your Call, Ignore the Fucking Sirens, and Find a Familiar Friend. Finally, remember, no matter what, hold onto hope even if every part of your heart and mind tells you otherwise. Sure things seems bad but Neil Gaiman, himself, wishes: “Your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.” Listen I can't promise you any of that will happen though the good book part is really just a matter of effort. In all likelihood, only after lugging some pampered Guru's golf clubs on your back and saying "Hey Lama, how about a little something, you know, for the time and effort?", will you find out he's a Cheap Bastard. But maybe that's where imagination and perspective come into play. Tip or no, you met the Lama and that's a pretty cool story. Cards on the table here, I've no clue how to ensure my upcoming year will be filled with pleasant intangibles (no way to know), however, I'm holding fast to hope, finding strength in pain, and waiting for a pleasant surprise. What that isn't detailed enough for you? Well, the particulars are none of your business! But, I'll give you one specific. For now, my plan includes waiting for the Dalai Lama to return to Bloomington, Indiana so I can meet him. You see, if nothing else, I'm hoping he'll allow me to achieve total consciousness on my deathbed so I'll have that going for me...which will be nice. Its all about perspective.