Tag Archives: knowing

Invictus: An Epiphany For Holy Week

Photo by Mega Mike  https://www.flickr.com/photos/topick/6342953521

INVICTUS

I am the Master of my fate. I am the Captain of my Soul.”

An unconquerable soul! Now there’s a theme especially appropriate for Easter time! In my new book  Epiphany, (presently being edited) Lori our protagonist, struggles with this larger than life concept. And, in the light of forgiveness, she glimpses the meaning. Sometimes that moment when it all makes sense passes us by, but we remember that it is there—waiting for us to be ready to know it. And so, Lori, obedient to my writing, prints out a card:  I am the Master of my fate. “I am the Captain of my Soul.” and keeps it with her.
Consider this: she has printed out the last two lines, but there is more to this poem and a story about the Author, William Ernest Henley.  At age 12, Henley had a leg amputated just below the knee due to arthritic tuberculosis and his other foot barely saved by surgeries. He lost his father as a teenager.  And so, his poem begins:
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Before he knew his real strength, he had been brought down and severely tested. The façade we all live behind, trying to protect our weakness, was broken by the “bludgeonings of chance.” This same sort of thing has happened to many of our great spiritual teachers. Shamans and healers often have suffered near-death experiences before they find their power. Notice the dreaded tarot card the Tower depicting this soul level journey.
tower
It is useful to remember that the Tarot is divided into Major Arcana (the journey of the soul) and Minor Arcana (the drama of the embodied).
The horrific happenings in Henley’s life gave him the experience to  write about his own unconquerable soul, found at the depth of his pain.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
Like the captain of a ship is responsible for his decisions: the course he charts, the skills he learns and uses, he must also surrender to the mood of the ocean, the tides, the storms and catastrophes that befall him. But can these things destroy him? Henley says no.
If I were to distill all I have experienced, thought, and written, into a single sentence, the last two lines of Invictus would be it. Indeed, my character Lori keeps these words with her. Yes, the experience that spurred Henley to write this poem is profound, and is still beyond my grasp except as a glimpse. I can thank my own suffering of wrath and tears for this illusive epiphany.  But, I shrink and shiver at the idea of Christ’s crucifixion to rise again. Maybe at the end of days for me,  I can wrap my mind around it. Let it flow through me to hold it tight to me. Ah—the paradox we call life.


While I chip away at the rock of editing and revising Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest
Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

When I Write

As I write the folks in my novel
Yes, it’s all coming back to me now.
Each one has traits so familiar
Don’t ask me the why or the how.

But each one has stamped me with something!
Time’s passed and they are afar.
Sure’n the writing is making me find in myself

Some part of who they all are.
 
How did this come round to happenin’
I guess cus we followed our vibes.

And they say we get changed and are different
When we let others into our lives.

We’ve tangled and jumbled each other.
I knew them, their love and their pain.
I felt their sunshine and laughter

And we all got drenched in the rain
 
‘Cus of them I found my direction
They’re apart and within just the same.
We meet up again in my writing.
My novel sets round them a frame.

When I write, we’re together again.
*epiphany


While I chip away at the rock of editing and revising Epiphany, please consider downloading The Way Back from any e-book store, written by S.K. Carnes, me. Here is a review:
“The Way Back: A Soldier’s Journey has something to please any reader – romance, history, adventure, drama, poetry, a quietly epic feel, a magnificently rendered landscape, and eclectic characters unlike any of the ‘ho-hum’ heroes of lesser fiction. Having once entered John Chapman’s world, readers will want to linger, holding close one of the most pure-of-heart and earnestly crafted narratives in recent memory.” —Writers Digest


Order the Historical Novel by S.K. Carnes,  The Way Back, recently released in all e-book stores.

Empathy

empathy

Once upon a time, I accompanied my sons to a community dance. There was a young man taking tickets; I gave him mine, smiled and sat down.  No one asked me to dance of course, but I danced with each of my boys—embarrassing them. He walked over. He stopped alongside, met my eyes-green to blue, leaned close, and said three words, “you are lonely.” I was stunned. It was 37 years ago, so out of place in those days, and so out of character for him; why he was shy and younger then me by 14 years. I said nothing, but his empathy changed my life.
Empathy opens up the door
To “not alone” any more.
What bliss, what joy, and what a ride
When feelings become verified
I saw it happen sometimes in treatment for alcoholism. Using an “old style” the counselor, with the tenacity of a bulldog, shakes the man by the throat with harsh truth, shattering his wall of pretenses, leaving him lying broken, weeping and defenseless. This particular time, when he was satisfied that his client’s facade of denial was broken, the counselor nodded at me and left the room. When I spoke, it was not me speaking but something through me; using words I didn’t think of, I whispered to the man what he needed to hear.  He cried in my arms, begging me to “say it again,…tell me again.” It was the beginning of his recovery.
Empathy sets feelings free
When someone cares enough to see
The shameful thing you’ve tried to hide
Takes your hand, stands by your side
The doctor in charge of the Chronic Pain Center asked each of his therapists to assist him in his “special procedure,” choosing between us as he saw fit. When he asked me for the first time and I agreed, it was a trip to another dimension. The patient was lying on a table; Dr. Neil began with therapeutic touch as if it was to be a massage. But Neil was practiced in knowing, and when he reached a place—different for each patient—a place where some memory lay sleeping, he woke it with sensitive fingers and words that called it by name. How did he know? Neil could not have explained that. But with the touch and empathy, feelings, long locked away, burst forth in shouts and screams that terrified me, and then came sobs of shame and grief. Captivated, I helped by speaking what needed to be said, although I didn’t know any such words. When it was over, the patient left much relieved. I was trembling and white. Neil said, “shake the energy off-it does not belong to you,” and he showed me how to do just that—for my sake, and so that he could get back to being himself.
Overcome by senseless pain
Despairing to be well again
Who would think that he could be
Healed with words of empathy

Overflowing


I defy fear to look over the edge
from my high climb,
Gripped tight by the spell that turns my courage
into a pillar of salt.
A breeze riffles the surface of the drowning pool
below me.
“Listen”, it whispers.
I hear only my wildly beating heart.
“Breathe”, it sighs,
and my legs stop their melting.
Unreasoned fear dissipates,
and I take a step forward
on the balance beam of life.
“Stay with me I cry-hold my hand.”
But like quick silver you are gone even as I try to catch on to you.
Shed joyful tears of knowing,
Gladly given,
Freely flowing,
From the everlasting wellspring of the Grail.
Sweat stings my eyes.
The work is almost more then I can bear:
dirty, tedious, heavy, and cruel.
Til a spring rain comes washing out my winter of “too hard.”
Hear the sun singing in a puddle of snow,
beaming a song I know but can’t recall.
Round rolls the melody with the words,
spinning a memory
just beyond my reach.
Come the tears of joyful knowing,
Gladly given,
Freely Flowing,
From the everlasting wellspring of the Grail.
Sometimes, in a watercolor world of happenstance,
the shapes run together just right,
as if a magic hand was arranging them.
And I know, because I can’t repeat it when I try.
And sometimes, in a wide open smile,
or in the passion of the dance,
there is this flame that flickers,
and I know, because I cannot light it,
nor can I warm myself by its elusive fire,
for it is too uncommon,
playing,
like the reflection of stars across the midnight of my aloneness.
Sweet the tears of joyful knowing
Freely given,
Overflowing,
From the everlasting wellspring of the Grail.