Over the course of my lifetime I have battled with a central issue: trust. It has come for me again and again, challenging me to open my heart in the face of possible disaster. I don’t always find it easy. My life has shown me again and again that open hearts get stamped on. Innocence gets stamped on. Believe me, this has been properly rammed home…and yet…here I am, feeling the sting once again.
A recent betrayal is knawing at me and yet I am taking heart that I am able to feel that knawing. That knawing tells me that I am still alive. It tells me that my heart opened up to someone enough to give them room to stick their boot through the doorway. It tells me that far from a sign of weakness or fragility, I had the strength and courage to make myself vulnerable. It tells me that the little girl in me who had so much of her trust and belief in humanity shattered and crushed into tiny sharp fragments, is breathing, crying…recovering. She is still here, telling me it hurts…this feeling of rejection hurts. It is not bouncing off a dead body that neither feels nor sees nor hears. It hurts.
Don’t misunderstand me, I am not a masochist, I take no delight in pain, but I do take delight in the fact that I can feel it, know it, experience it. That has not always been the case. Some wounds are so deep that from within the logical course of action seems to be amputation, to sever the part that is hurting, make it stop. People find all kinds of ways to ‘make it stop’ and we live in a society that provides us with oh so many distractions.
Sometimes though, the mind takes that decision on it’s own. It dulls and numbs cutting off the place where the pain lives. The doorways are locked down. People become dreams, always standing outside of the fortress, at arms length. They can’t hurt us anymore because the part that allows us to take that risk is being held hostage in the tower. The benevolent king and queen, who once gently ruled over our hearts, have been replaced by a tyrannical paranoid dictator who lets nobody past the armed guards. We are safe…in the way that a prison inmate in solitary confinement is safe…but we are not living. We don’t just keep out the pain, we keep out everything, every feeling, every pleasure and joy. Untouched. Unmoved. Disconnected. Isolated. Fallen away.
Either we remain here indefinitely or we start an uprising, a rebellion from the inside. We infiltrate, organise, confront. We exercise our right to peaceful protest, refuse to accept the dictates of a fearful, controlling mind. That dictator will scream as the defenses come down. It will mobilise troops, threaten, cajole, terrorise in an attempt to make us back down and co-operate with it’s agenda. It does not realise that our heart is not the enemy. It does not understand that our heart means it no harm, but simply longs to be free…free to love, free to live, free to take it’s place in the world and feel the sun on it’s face.
A little while ago I had a dream. A woman came forward and spoke to me. I asked her name.
“Pandora” she told me.
“As in the box?” I asked, incredulously.
She did not answer me but reached down and pulled out an old chest that was tightly locked. As I neared it, I could see there was something in the box that was fighting to get out, stretching the sides of the box, trying to escape. Each little glimpse I gained inside as it pushed at it’s prison walls showed me a shaft of golden light.
I looked at Pandora. I wanted to open the box. More than anything I wanted to open the box. I kept remembering the story though…Pandora’s box with all the sorrows of the world inside. I didn’t want all the sorrows of the world, but I wanted to open the box.
After some consideration I reached down and slid the clasp back. The top flew open and a stream of darkness flowed out. Where was the golden light I had seen? The darkness swirled around.
I peered into the box and there on the bottom was a lump of pure gold, light emanating from it’s surface. Hope? I reached in and pulled it out. As I held it the light became more brilliant and started to swirl along the path where the darkness had flown. The golden glow began to fill the space, illuminating it, transforming the darkness and bringing it all to light. Pandora looked at me and smiled.
“Sometimes you have to release the darkness in order to release the light that will transform it” she said.
We have to have the courage to set free our pain and fear and woundedness in order to set free the light that will heal us. These things stay stuck when we hold them in stasis, locking them up and preventing the natural movement of energy and life. Deep inside every one of us is the source of healing, light and strength for all our wounds. It is never lost, never extinguished, however long we lock it up for. Hope always survives, patiently waiting for us to claim it, trust it and allow it to guide us away from the pessimism and cynicism of the world back into innocence and renewal.
Many artists over the years have been inspired by the subject of the mythological Pandora’s Box. Today there are many wonderful examples from the talented artists and makers at Etsy.com . See below for a small selection that you can view on the site by clicking the images: