the madness of desire

Yesterday’s blog, Hell, appears to have struck a cord with a great many people. I wound up having numerous, and simultaneous, comment discussions about the whys and wherefores of the drive people have to force their relationships into a static state. They hope – and desperately want to believe – that doing this will provide them with safety, security and the comfort of never being surprised.

Anyone who has been in any kind of relationship knows that often, life’s most shocking turns of events and surprises, originate in our relationships. The statistical chances of being shocked and surprised by a) getting hit by a bus as soon as you step off a curb, b) having Publisher’s Clearinghouse knock on your door to announce you won the sweepstakes, c) getting on a plane that is carrying a bomb or even d) going to work and being told you are finally getting the raise you deserve are far greater than e) going home and finding that your loved one has decided you aren’t “it” any more and barely bothered to write more than’bye’ on a cocktail napkin to let you know they are gone.

The area where we are most vulnerable in life is also one strewn with the most mines.

It is a very difficult thing to have a good, trusting, intimate and lasting relationship these days. Marriage is not what it used to be, and it hasn’t been since the 20s and 30s. The social shift into a society that is rooted and governed by the clock in a factory really took from Marriage its strength.

Marriage used to be an institution in which two people got together for the betterment of both extended families on a business level and a procreation level. The idea of ‘Marriage for Love,’ while played with over the centuries, always lost out to Marriage as an arrangement. Even one of the greatest love stories of our time, Anna Karenina, had more to do with showing the failure of choosing passion or productivity in forming a marital bond. The true love story in Anna Karenina is not between Anna and Vronsky, it is between Levin and Kitty.

Love was expected to grow out of the mutual efforts and companionship of the two people placed together. And it did, as time went by, marriages lasted and strong, intimate love grew.

These days there is a sort of confusion of steps going on. Marriage for Love is the ideal, and then it goes into this muddy puddle of mutual effort and companionship to make the love and marriage last. There is endless amount of “processing,” of “sharing” or “trying to know one another” that in most ends, does not bring the two people together but drives them apart. You see, missing from the great god of relationship these days is the understanding that the old mutual effort and companionship came from a shared goal that produced tangible things. Like businesses, families to carry on the genetic line, harvests.

Since the dawn of the industrial age, we have steadily lost all tangible results from our lives. We have things. But we make very little.

The majority of people goes to jobs and spends the greater part of their life at desks or in cubicles doing things for which there is no real tangible purpose. It’s where the phrase “paper pusher” comes from. Things really don’t need to be tracked and duplicate tracked the way that they are, yet that has evolved as part of the industrial machine. Bureaucracy has evolved as the art of Industrialism because art is required of a culture to prove its depth and worth.

Like children, Adults spend their lives “keeping busy” but unlike children, they do not make anything they can hold and know that this, they made with their own hands. Adults lack the ability to see the totality of their efforts and from that, receive the kind of satisfaction and ego growth that comes with having made something useful and to be able to use it. At best, we see about ½ a toenail of the elephant we spend our lives in service of.

So rather than be able to feed our relationships with the effects of earned self worth and development, we turn toward them and expect our relationships to provide us with those opportunities. Sometimes, people choose to “make” children in an attempt to bring to the relationship a tangible thing. That almost always backfires as children are, in an intimate relationship, the most surprising thing of all.

But relationships based in Love, true Love, Mature Love – don’t create products or tangible items. They create faith.

Faith can carry you through many a hard time, but it cannot provide the ego with the tangible and solid roots that mark one’s existence and weight in the world and that is necessary for being able to stand in faith.

For faith is an airy thing.

Faith is of the soul, and of the heart.

The ego and body have desires and wants, but the heart and the soul have needs.

Without that weight of the proof of existence and purpose in the world that the ego has to have, the ego then tries to force the relationship into providing it for them. Through surety, guarantees, stasis and predictability. All of those states are the antithesis of Faith for Faith is what allows us to survive the unpredictable, to choose to risk our sureties, to take a chance on something without a guarantee and is constantly in motion. You must look for Faith at all times because it is rarely sitting home on the couch waiting for you.

One of the threads on yesterday’s post was about how fearful people are of being alone. But increasingly I think they are more terrified of being in relationship to another person. And do please note the choice of the words “being in relationship” rather than “having a relationship.” You cannot “have” a relationship – that is the Ego wanting its surety and guarantee.

You choose to “be in relationship” with someone – and that involves a kind of Faith that is nurtured and supported between the two of you based upon the acceptance of the reality that you have no idea what is going to happen, but it will all be well in the end.

It will all be well.

All shall be well.

As Julian of Norwich is want to say.

the Madness of Desire

Sew me a robe
made from skeins of history,
wield your golden needle
and make the stitches true.
Dress me in mourning
and douse the room
–there will be no feast tonight.

Seize the revelers that gather at the gate.
Press them to service as mourners.
This journey
shall begin with a shroud.

Away with all advisors!
Away with couriers of news!
Away with all this youth,
–for I have need of experience tonight.

Bring me torch and flame
and before mourner’s wail
I will undo the record of my shame.
To ash distraction shall crumble.
Stables of gilded bone become coal,
and all I have allowed chance near
shall away on wind blow.

I shall step in traveler’s kit,
a stranger from my own ruin,
and begin my pilgrim’s trek
fair free from all
but what remains within.

You think me mad,
such a high compliment
I take that to be,
for I want no more
of this callous death you have named
‘Sanity.’

I want no more of darkness
you call ‘light’
or love that is not freedom
but blight.

For I have remembered
the desire that guides me.

A love that I do not now know,
but rested with once,
only to take my leave.
Not realizing what I sought
lay with that company.

The gods being gods
like to play first
before offering sympathy,
and I,
besotted on promise,
forgot my longing.
They let me stumble and drift,
entertaining in my hollow excess.

Till now reminded
and shown,
my willingness to spend a lifetime
waiting for what may never exist.
Relying on chance
rather than step.

You think this is sacrifice,
this leaving walled gardens and warmth?

It is not.

For I know that even if my desire is not met,
I will have lived a better life.
then any kind I found here,
where there is no difference
between grave and bloom.

My anger is wed to my grief,
their trousseau
the fine lines that drape my face.

My heart beats equal now,
knowing not the difference
between love or riot,
a distinction thought easy by the young.

It is not my heart anymore
I leave to make such choices,
but my soul,
that is governed by all,
not just froze moments.

My soul who is guiding me now,
away from comfort I mistook for judgment,
indecision and fear
I celebrated as strength.

For though my heart once freed me,
it was too frail to prevent this sickening of senses,
this poison,
my steady weakness for safety.

All these years past,
in my ever bigger and ever brighter and more crowded halls,
I have dressed my sorrow in laughter
and chased it from the room,
never wanting to hear its’ question
for fear of gathering gloom.

Better a clown.
Better some shining false jewel,
then for me to face the pain
of having missed you.

What madness possessed me
to think that love could be subdued?
Barricaded behind cold walls
and silenced with good food?
Ordered and controlled by
season and holiday?

It was madness I tell you,
madness to imagine that.

And here now late,
late I am to have awaken
and only by accident fate
to have found the strength
to stand before all I have known,
watching,
as it burns to the ground.

By dying flame shall my first miles be shown.

My madness now is not the thought,
that by retracing my steps
I would find you again at rest,
but that perhaps,
in the few years I have left,
I can once again find
the person
you believed me to be.

And if I find nothing more nor less,
that alone
would at last
give my soul
rest.

c.2011 Cassandra Tribe. All rights reserved.

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About cassandratribe

"There are few artists that can do what Cassandra Tribe does. Whether with her poetry, her videos or her blog, Cassandra examines the truths that most of us can never come close to realizing and shows it for what it is, both beautiful and frightening at the same time. She exposes our inner-most workings like the cross-section of a powerful but flawed machine, our gears and springs, nuts and bolts removed and laid out before us. She is a true artist. Her new video, Requiem for a God, is the latest example of Cassandra's willingness to tear open and examine the very things that make us human. Shooting the film entirely by herself, she also eliminates all the little excuses we come up with to keep us from ourselves and our truth. You see, even when she's not trying to be, Cassandra Tribe is a beacon of truth and humanity in this darkest of worlds." (Michael E. Quigg, The Culture Network, June 2009)
This entry was posted in change, life, love, marriage, poem, poetry, relationships, sociology. Bookmark the permalink.

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