Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mens Sana In Corpore Sano

My father told me that one cannot define something simply by saying it is not its opposite; for example, health isn’t merely the absence of illness. He admitted that health itself was difficult to define, but he guessed that one of the properties of a healthy organism would be, in addition to environmental fitness, active seeking out of problems and challenges. At the time I was eager to avoid problems and challenges altogether, consequently, his observation had little allure for me.

When the time came for me to get serious about my own mental health, I unwittingly set foot on the path of spiritual evolution. It began by going through, not around, my bipolar disorder – a turbulent voyage of self-discovery. That led to sobriety, a transformational experience that set the stage for a spiritual awakening.

Today, my sense of it is that health is more about my relationship with myself than it is my relationship with the environment, I do not seek challenges today, the challenges arrive in envelopes under the door each morning; I simply carry the assignments out to the best of my ability.

I have the strange sense that this poem may be relevant.

Late For Dinner

Rustle in the underbrush
Predator of love
Lives on a diet of heart
Lithe and lovely carcasses
Bear his signature
Victims of his hunt
For the cure
To the hunger
That is eating him alive

Beggar holding battered cup
Leans against the temple
Heap of jagged silhouettes
And shadows
Crying out as colors crash
And race disjointedly

Humble servant
Washing windows
Sweeping off the steps
Making sure the house is
Clean and vacant
Sunlight warming wooden floors
Balmy breezes come and go
Like kisses from a very patient angel

Alistair McHarg


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