- No, this isn’t about my apparently impending divorce.
- The other day, I came a cross a news story about the influence that motherly love has on us when we are young. The story impressed me and I felt that it helped explain some of my observations about the people around me; myself included. My childhood was not an easy one but I think in the very early years, before it all went to custard, my mother did love me with great compassion and care and I think this is why now, even in the worst of circumstances, I find that I have a deep resilience and self-belief. From the article:
Being lavished with affection by your mum as a young child makes you better able to cope with the stresses and strains of adult life, say researchers.
As these things tend to do, just a day or so later, another article passed me by in my reading and I saw the same issue from yet another perspective. In this case, the article was saying that our social ties as adults can boost our survival by as much as 50%.
The benefit of friends, family and even colleagues turns out to be just as good for long-term survival as giving up a 15-cigarette-a-day smoking habit. And by the study’s numbers, interpersonal social networks are more crucial to physical health than exercising or beating obesity.
- We are truly social animals as anyone who has tried to lead a solitary life has found out. We need to be “observed” as Irvin Yalom says in his book, When Nietzsche Wept.
Throughout this procedure, Nietzsche remained deeply attentive: indeed, he nodded appreciatively at each of Breuer’s questions. No surprise, of course, to Breuer. He had never encountered a patient who did not secretly enjoy a microscopic examination of his life. And the greater the power of magnification, the more the patient enjoyed it. The joy of being observed ran so deep that Breuer believed the real pain of old age, bereavement, outliving one’s friends, was the absence of scrutiny – the horror of living an unobserved life.
The day after the second of these two articles, I was riding the bus to work and looking at all the people I didn’t know walking the street and musing about it all when Paul Simon’s song, “Loves Me Like a Rock” came on the bus’s audio system.
Oh , my mama loves, she loves me
She get down on her knees and hug me
Like she loves me like a rock
She rocks me like the rock of ages
And loves me
She love me, love me, love me, love me
- It bought tears to my eyes as the several pieces came together for me. The articles, memories of my mother, my need and love for those with whom I am close to, for my sons and my two wives and all the people who have ever touched the quick of my life.
- I don’t often talk about my spiritual and mystical inclinations here, but they are strong. When I’ve not forgotten myself, they inform my life with the knowledge that all is love, if we are but open to see it.
- Beyond all the war and death and strife and unhappiness lies something I once wrote about in a poem that I’ll close with:
Paused for a moment on the edge of all the future
all our lives will surely tangle or unweave now
and all of these potentials,
like hands on my shoulder, steady me.
So let it begin and all the rest of my life go on
I no longer wait or care for the past to resurrect itself
this life can be invested in my future now
I can weave and sort my friends and lovers into the days of my life
I want to walk out each day excited
about what could happen again
and care nothing for what has gone by
I’ve been too long tangled with the old ways
so carefully unknotting our lives and feelings
learning that exquisite patience that lies half way
between compassion and self preservation
But, its done… let me depart and begin anew
this time not to bury my freedom with love and security
or to hold myself untouched by love’s whip and passion
I want to find that balance point there in my heart, between…
there, where on the edge of my best,
I can live each day like it was the last
I want to dance to life’s mysteries and paradoxes
as the fountains dance to the wind and the mimes to the crowd
these things are not to weep for
and, sometimes … in those graceful but oh so brief moments,
perhaps in a lover’s eyes or in a passage of my son’s growth
I’ll see something behind it all …
timeless … smiling thru at me
Brother Methuselah, here in all of us as we gamble our lives
untouched yet compassionate … he waits for us to begin
and he smiles at us, a spiritual joy and promise within.
- gallagher – July 4th, 1978.
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