In order for there to be delight, sorrow must be the provocateur.
A Poem: Dancing in Delight and Sorrow
of delight hinged upon sorrow.
Sorrow, the provocateur
moving below the radar.
Sashaying into the dark
to feel for the lightness.
not knowing, never knowing .
Observing the deterioration of delight
without the ability to change sorrow.
Trusting the sorrow to move through
Sorrow and delight equally fragmented in their movements.
Sorrow — the Provocateur
In order for there to be delight, sorrow must be the provocateur. Just as what goes up must come down and vice versa. It is all a dance and more often, a roller coaster.
During the years of my daughter’s substance use, I had never felt such intense sorrow as that of watching her physical and mental being fade before my eyes. As a mother, I somehow rendered myself incapable of liberating the grips that bound her. Furthermore, if I am being truthful, I had no desire to be part of that dance. Denial and wanting to run away was my preference.
I seemed paralyzed for what felt like months, not knowing, never knowing what to do. Who could I trust with my secret shame and lack of guidance as a parent? Could I even trust myself to move through the parental pain that held me hostage? I have felt alone much of my existence, but never like that period of my life.
Blindly searching for any kind of solace I could muster. But because I chose to search solo, I failed to discover much in the way of solutions, quick fixes or positive paths forward. My impatient nature and personal anxiety clouded my vision. The problem was bigger than me and needed to be handled with a broader brush.
Dancing in Delight — How I Entered the Dance
In time, my own deeply felt sorrow lifted me out and beyond the silo of insecurity and embarrassment. Sharing my sorrow somehow got me into the dance. Narrating the story of my daughter’s addiction is what would eventually release me from the darkness.
With each tearful hug given and received, each personal story told and shared, each compassionate response spoken, I was moved to participate in the dance. The pace of those moments of clarity came in waves. Each wave provided a new sense of freedom from fear and despair. My anguish was taking a turn, a spin. Thus the balance of dark and light, of sorrow and delight.
I doubt my personal growth or my resolute voice would have unfolded had I not been faced with the heartache and trauma witnessed through my daughter’s addiction.
Facing traumatic life events is how we reckon and move on from their intense and oftentimes unconscious grasp on our internal state of being.
Sorrow — Redefined
Sorrow is a hardship we all experience throughout our lives. Matter of fact, I admit to feeling a sense of sorrow each day. Most of these daily experiences are more of the pensive and melancholic variety.
I find these moments to be a necessary element in reaching that daily sustenance of delight. In order to fully appreciate daily joys, we must also know what its void.
Delight in Nature
As I write this article, I am sitting at my desk looking out toward the Deschutes River (Oregon). Two bird feeders in the yard are bustling with the life of birds who choose to stick around this chilly, snowy time of year.
They are my delight as I think about the fragility of life. Or as I contemplate the next paragraph I write and even question my value as an artist. These little feathered creatures are a clear indication that life goes on no matter what is happening in my world. They are letting me know that as they do their part to live in a variety of conditions, I must do mine.
Unconsciously I watch their activity for quite some time. And in doing so, not feel a bit guilty. Because everyday I find that nature reinforces the concept of finding fascination in the simplicity of life. Which is of immense value and joy.
Image: Traversing, monotype
When creating this monotype I used a snake skin a friend had given to me. Even though I am afraid of slithery creatures, the symbolism of the snake intrigues me. Rebirth, transformation, healing being a few of the words used to describe this creature’s importance to the universe.
In this piece, I feel a sense of traversing, wandering, yin/yang, the dance that is life. The image visualizes, in a nuanced way, what I am attempting to portray with the dance of delight and sorrow. Layers, moments of confusion and clarity, darkness and light, smooth and effortless, highly textural and chaotic.