Sunday, April 22, 2012

On Imagination... and Indulgence

Starry Night over the Rhône, Vincent Van Gogh


Who could be so lucky? The one who comes to a lake for water, and sees the reflection of moon. ~ Jalaluddin Rumi

* * * * * * * * *

What drew me to the kitchen table, this morning? And what pulled me away from it?

Every morning, before even the sparrows have awakened, I rise from bed and stumble in the dark from the bedroom to the kitchen. I fill the kettle with water, set it on the stove, and wait. In the instant before the kettle begins to whistle, I turn off the heat, give the water a few seconds to settle, and pour it into my cup filled with tea waiting to steep. Then, teacup in hand, I walk to my office, sit at my desk, and do my morning journal. Perfectly normal. Perfectly predictable. It was. Until this morning.

After I made tea, I didn’t go to my office. I didn’t want to. I wanted to stay in the kitchen and do my morning journal there. Who’s to say I have to do my journaling in my office? So I made a conscious decision to go to my office only to get my journal and my pen. I also made a decision to leave my cup of warm black tea on the kitchen table as bait. I was afraid something in my office would compel me to stay: a book jutting out from an otherwise orderly shelf, a research study edging out of my high stack of paperwork, my laptop, orcurse of all cursesmy “TO DO” list, scribbled in ALL CAPS, as if no single task is more important than the other.

When I got to my office, I felt for the light switch. But at the last moment, I pulled back my hand. I didn’t want to turn on the light, after all. It was too early for all that brightness. I walked to my desk and turned on my desk lamp, instead. My cheeks smarted with quivers as stars exploded inside my head. I shut my eyes to dampen the visual noise. And then… I opened them slowly.

Colors danced on my wallslucid projections of painted glass. Ruby. Amber. Emerald. Amethyst. Sapphire. As my eyes scanned the peacock-like landscape, I was distracted from my mission. The colors were living, pulsing with definition and absoluteness. I found it impossible to ignore this elaborate mosaic that was spreading out before me. An anxious voice forced its way inside my head: You’re here to get your journal and pen. But I swept that voice out of my field, pushed it behind my curtainsmy oh so glorious curtains that had gone, by the simple flip of a switch, from taupe to Tiffany. A new voice nagged: Your tea is getting cold on the kitchen table, Nevine. Tea? What tea? Oh, and… your journal and pen. Remember? No, I didn’t remember. I didn’t want to.

Trees with forbidden fruit studding every limb and appendage were beckoning from my walls. The sepia-toned framed photo of my husband that hangs beside one of my bookshelves had become a silver screen, pearlescent with regalia. The enormous oil-on-canvas reproduction of Van Gogh’s Starry Night over the Rhône that dominates my main wall had taken on electric hues. And. It was moving! The water was rippling in cascades of liquid amber and blue topaz, tinged with the occasional shock of tanzanite. The couple standing on the bank of the river looked at me from behind the glow of a royal purple dragonfly wing and said, Come, Nevine. Come walk with us inside the audacity of this fantasy. And I said, Wait for me. I’m coming!

Was that a hallucination? One could say so, yes. And yes, hallucinations are, technically speaking, pathological experiences. But only involuntary hallucinations are pathological. And by the way, I’ve got my thoughts on that as well, but I’m not going there right now. So, what about the hallucinations that we choose to create by torqueing our inner psychethose hallucinations that imbue our spirit with the magic of fantasy? Why is it that we indulge fully in those hallucinations when we are children, only to abandon them when we get older? Is it fair that only children get to play?

We set boundaries to what we can see… and feel… and imagine… and we call them norms. And then we do everything we can to bend those norms (because they stifle us and we hate them) without actually breaking them because then we’d be called abnormal. I acknowledge there are norms that should never be broken, and we all know what those norms are. In fact, they’re not called norms; they’re called laws. But, beyond the reality of everyday life, other possibilities exist, hiding in plain sight but never seen because we don’t allow imagination or intuition, but only inhibition, to flavor our perception. How many polarities are enough? And how many parts of ourselves do we marginalize when we inhibit a new thought, a bold passion, a daring beauty? It is ever so simple for us to lose touch with who we are when part after part of us is cast to the side and told, “You are not allowed.”

As I write this, I recall something Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy, once wrote: “The very moment you get in touch with yourself, growth begins. This is the decisive momentthe difference between the old stale routine, always the same, in contrast to the discovery, which always means something new, adding something to your life, adding something to your knowledge, adding something to your growth. There is something in this world that wasn’t there before.” I am also reminded of something I read from Carl Jung, and which I always write into the first page of a new notebook or journal: “It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how they are in themselves. Without this playing with fantasy, no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of the imagination is incalculable.” Thank you both, Fritz and Carl!

And what about my tea? I knew it would get cold, and I'd have to pour it down the sink. Later. I had the Hanging Gardens of Babylon teasing my lips with bulbous figs and grapes... massaging the hollows of my eyes with silver dust... breathing spectrum waves down the rungs of my spine... and clasping my waist in an unrelenting snare of metaphysical glory. Those gardens were calling me to indulgence in a haunting serenade, and I wasn't going to turn down that invitation for anything in the whole damn world!




30 comments:

  1. Loved this glimpse into your life... and your undulating office. Ah, that sacred silver dust, may it alwasy grace the air your breathe... sending shimmering echoes through your dreams...

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    1. Thank you for that very precious thought, Owen. May silver dust always grace the air around us all. Life is so very beautiful, isn't it?

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  2. WELL! A comment I had mentally on the starting line, was lost to me, when I was hearing the Schubert Serenade--LOVE that 'cello (wonder how many readers know what the apostrophe means in the word 'cello? Possibly only you, Nevine...and me. Correct term for 'cello is violincello, so we no longer write the whole word.

    Back to your SO-well-created reverie. Song: "Getting to Know You....". How lovely! I wanted to slip in there and drink your tea, knowing you'd not make it in time.

    Carl Jung, my favorite psychiatrist of all time, the founder/father of analysis (not sure?)...and the advice: upon receipt of an invitation, (especially Babylonian in nature!)...ACCEPT, No Matter What!

    Queen, keep your chair, you have earned it!

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    1. Oh, and how I accepted that invitation! I mean... how could I have turned it down, Steve? Babylonian or not, I'm always up for a little play with my imagination. But yes... Babylonian did seal the deal, this time around. Thank you for the lovely thoughts, Steve.

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  3. Ah yes, to be invited to step into another place, with only my imagination for a passport.

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  4. a brilliant and thought-provoking piece!
    great to get to know you better, my sweet firend. loved this sneak peak into your life, it felt like i was there...thanks to your vivid, brilliant qualities in writing.
    loved carl young's quote; carl young is one of my favourite psychiatrists.

    ...my soul has absorbed your beautiful words' fragrance, i cherish them.

    big hugs!

    xoxo

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    1. Thank you for being such a faithful reader, my dearest. And I'm so happy you enjoyed this plunge into my mind. It was so much fun to experience it... and even more fun to write it out! Big hugs back!

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  5. tremendously great music selection, too!
    i totally enjoyed it.
    and thanks for the beauty you offer us through your blog.
    love ya, friend!

    xoxo

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    1. What's life without some beautiful music to serenade us all?!? :-) Love back to you, Betty!

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  6. Only you could render the black and white of mundane daily life into a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors.

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    1. Thank you for that very thoughtful comment, Judy.

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  7. Dès que l'image est apparue à l'écran j'ai su que ce serait magique!
    Moi aussi je veux laisser mon esprit partir en promenade avec toi dans ton monde!
    Et ça y est. Il est là dans la pénombre de ton bureau où il reçoit ce merveilleux "visual noise"!
    Merci mon amie pour le voyage à travers tes beaux écrits et aussi pour l'image et la musique qui les accompagnent. J'ai adoré. Tout tout tout!
    Merci encore, ma belle Nevine. Tu as le don de nous transporter dans des mondes merveilleux;o)

    ***
    Gros gros bisous et belle soirée****

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    1. Merci merci merci, ma belle amie. Et toi, tu as le don de me faire sourire, avec tes mots toujours jolis. Bises bises, ma belle! :-)

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  8. Allez je remets la musique une dernière fois et je vais au lit;o)

    ***
    Re-BISOUS****

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  9. As I was walking into your office, adjusting my own eyes to the sunglass penumbra I clearly recalled I used to be able to see the paintings coming alife and people there beckoning me in. And being made very much fun of for that. Time to let go of scared compliance! Thanks for showing a way out. Or in.

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    1. Oh, Adriana... there is always time to let go of fear... and yes... scared compliance! Life is too filled with beauty for anyone to try and scare us away from it. Those who make fun are limited in their imagination... and we can only pray that one day their eyes will open too... and that they will see!

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  10. It seems that I am late in arriving here but it was timely because of late, I have been thinking about normalcy a lot. If I had visited this page earlier, it wouldn't have made the same impression as it has now.
    Nevine, how many times we restrict ourselves into the vaccum called "norms." Looking beyond means letting go of that tight-fisted reality in which we wrap ourselves with. Those two quotes by Jung and Fritz are beautiful.
    I absoultely loved the way this post started. Nevine, thanks for this beautiful post which will continue to serenade within me long after I have left this page.

    Much love and big hugs.

    Have a splendid week ahead and joy always to you,
    Susan

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    1. Dear Susan, so glad to know you enjoyed reading this. It was such a pleasure for me to write it. I think the experience itself might have had something to do with that, though. Fascinating, the things that happen when we let ourselves just fall into the lap of life. Utterly fascinating! Thank you so much for your lovely visit, and for the kind words. Big hugs back to you!

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  11. How i walked with you into a labyrinth of colours and magic. You write so very well Nevine, so very vivid, your words always are a door to inner worlds with all its beauty. Now my head is filled with silver dust, golden light and colorful thoughts. Words, your words, are magic too, to do that. :-)
    It has been awhile but i am happy to enter your world again.
    Sweet greetz, Monica

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    1. Dearest Monica, no matter how long the absences, it is always special to see you here. And I am happy to know my words filled your head with magic and alchemy. Wishing you more and more magic for the weekend to come! Warm hugs to you...

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  12. Coucou Nevine!
    Je pensais à toi alors je suis venue te faire un petit coucou rapide avant de retourner jardiner pendant qu'il ne pleut pas;o)
    Je repasserai plus tard te lire dans TNL;o)

    ***
    BIZZZOUZZZZ et BELLE après-midi****

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    1. :-) Je te souhaite un bon weekend, ma belle Cremilde. Je passerai te rendre visite... Big bisous!!!

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  13. Ah oui! Merci pour la belle musique pour accompagner le thé;o)

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    Re-BIZZZOUZZZZ****

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  14. Coucou Nevine!
    Je viens de te lire dans TNL et l'avant dernier texte m'a beaucoup touché!
    Ces peurs que l'on se crée soi-même et qui nous empêchent d'avancer dans la vie! Pas évident de s'en débarrasser!

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    Gros gros BISOUS et BELLE fin de semaine****

    ps: donne mon bonjour à l'élu de ton coeur;o)

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    1. Merci, Mildred. Tes mots me touchent. :-) Merci, merci! Je lui donnerai ton bonjour... et je te souhaite une bonne soirée!. :-)

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  15. Coucou Nevine!
    Je viens d'essayer de dessiner un coeur sous un de tes textes que j'adore lire et je ne suis pas sure que ce sera une réussite;o)
    Je l'ai lu en écoutant Schubert. Merci pour le partage, ma belle amie;o)

    ***
    Gros BISOUS et à bientôt****

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    1. Merci merci, ma belle! Je t'adore! :-) Bises!!!

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Your thoughts are deeply appreciated.