Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Kill the Dragon*
Into every life, they say, some rain must fall. Sometimes it's a sprinkle, sometimes a deluge. Occasionally a big ole tsunami sweeps through. We sink or swim, over and over again.
I love the archetypal narrative of dragon slaying as an alternative way to meet those moments when life could get the best of you, but doesn't. The sink or swim paradigm is in certain ways more realistic, since we have no control over mighty Mother Nature, since even sometimes when we choose to prevail, the tsunami might overwhelm us anyway.
Nevertheless I like the idea of battling the dragon. It's not so passive as sinking or swimming, it requires mythic levels of courage. It sure as hell seems more heroic. I guess. The "truth" is, dragons can not be slain any more than we can control a flood. A flood is, according to my cosmology, a water dragon anyway, so what's the difference?
Dragon slaying requires more than treading water. One must rise up out of the situation, sword in hand, eyes flashing with fierceness, muscles tense (at least in the stories it looks like that) and engage with whatever it is that's bringing us down.
I'm thinking this morning about people I know who went a lot farther than contemplating suicide; they planned it, they decided how to go about it and they almost completed the act. Some of these people didn't actually die, but something went wrong in the process. They half-died, I guess is the way to say it. They seem always to walk in shadow, they are drugged at all times, unwilling to return fully to life. Others snapped out of it somehow or another; they fought hard. A dragon can not be killed, but because they were brave enough or willing enough to fight, these people came back from the experience more vivid and whole hearted than before. I know at least two, maybe three people who lived through this experience.
I also know people who gave up and sank. I think of my marvelously talented friend Terri Wilson who, in early March of 1991, took too many drugs, lay on the beach with her dog at her side, and died.
Not sure why I'm thinking about these particular people this morning because personally I have never even contemplated suicide. But I drop into some serious tailspins sometimes, I get caught in a big wave, get sucked into a rip tide of one kind or another. That's what last week was for me, a crap week of hopelessness, fear, sadness. I had my reasons - the client who died, another client very ill, and the appearance of Rat. I also blame the eclipse, because I love blaming the planets for everything. (They are large beings and don't really care.)
Yesterday I could have hidden inside the chateau all day, thereby prolonging my emotional slog. A friend called to invite me out for the Barracks Row parade. I said yes. Then I went to the movies with another dear one, after which I wandered home through the throngs of people dressed in red, white and blue down on the mall. Yesterday evening I walked around the corner to a neighborhood barbecue. I engaged with people, the arts (the movie, Midnight in Paris, was adorable), the energy of the day. I laughed, feasted, walked, drank sangria. So as it turns out, the 4th of July was a really fun day, as it has been in the past - just different from the good old days on Tennessee Avenue.
Yep, I rose from the flood, lifted my sword. I "killed" the dragon. Today I'm feeling good, I'm back to myself. Many grateful thanks to the friends who encouraged me to get out and about. Thanks too to God, and the dragons too, bless their fiery hearts. L'chaim, y'all. Onwards and upwards.
*Not talking about Rat. He disappeared a couple of nights ago and has not returned. The trap is still loaded. I haven't had the nerve to check under the sink, his favorite hangout, to see if there are any new droppings. I needed a break from ratting. But maybe he's gone. Ya think?