"...but when you no longer accept the collective solution to the problem of existence, then you must fashion your own." -Otto Rank (1884-1939)
As they learn the culture into which they are born, small children come under intense, perhaps irresistible pressure to conform to the patterns the "giants" around them establish. What other choice do they have?
What about adults generally classified as "creative?" Healers, saints, and artists are in the minority.
In order for this group to find their life's expression, they need to determine if they are strong enough to "fashion their own existence."
Rank writes: "The work of art is, then, the ideal answer of the creative type to the problem of existence as he (she) takes it in - not only the existence of the external world, but especially his own: who he is as a painfully separate person with nothing shared to lean on."
How hard to shape our world as "a painfully separate person." You already know this place. Perhaps you keep it hidden.
If we study great healers or successful artists we find a common truth: they trust their inner voice and have the tenancity to express it in a world that may not appreciate it.
Anyone whose heart travels pathways significantly off the usual touches the hem of isolation. Rank warns us: "He (or she) has to answer to the burden of his extreme individuation, his so painful isolation. His creative work is at the same time the expression of his heroism and the justification of it. It is his "private religion.'"
There are those who walk the path alone and one day meet another who seems to "hear." For example, what meaning is there in the quest of two who together carve a wild and secret place off the beaten path to develop, there, their own private religion? Can two congregants explore with each other alone what it means to love beyond love?
These pairings while affirming, bring risks of their own. By definition, the congregants have shaped a secret place - an island that can be so at odds with the world that it is unsustainable except by the most courageous.
The place I occupy on this earth is a whistle of earth & a droplet of blood. There is nothing more than time & time is nothing.
But measure for me the length of Love. Tell me about her height and breadth.
Is there anything more we need know or do except to let ourselves dissolve into the light? Aren’t we everything I need to be?
Together, the place we occupy is all of grain, the full river of blood.
Here, we are the length & height & breadth of Love.
There, time delivers us into God's heart.
-Reverend Erie Chapman
Photo: Toddler Alone - copyright Erie Chapman 2012