Monday, September 24, 2007


In the mid 70’s, between the ages of 35-40, my life underwent a major transformation with consequences far beyond anything I could have imagined.

The simplest description of what happened is this - I discovered the inner life, a very significant part of who and what I am. Until then my life existed almost entirely in the consciousness of the world around me. I was oblivious to the richness and extent of those creative and spiritual resources lying deep within me, waiting patiently for their time. Undoubtedly these hidden forces had been directing and guiding me in spite of my ignorance of them (For example, my choice of medicine as a career). The moment I became aware of their existence my life changed, forever. My dreams, fantasies, aspirations and sorrow...all took on added meaning and became tools for emotional and spiritual growth. It was as if I had a built in counselor. It was my soul.

This happened both suddenly and gradually, as a number of revelations coincided to form an undeniable message. Let me recount two experiences that have been branded into my memory.

The first was overwhelming in its simplicity. It occurred during a period in my life when I was agonizing over a very difficult, life changing decision, could I find a way to liberate the artist that was calling me and still continue to practice medicine. Pursuing art as a hobby was not a choice, yet to leave my medical practice after spending 12 years preparing for it was almost unthinkable (at that time I had only been practicing for about 6 years). I awoke one morning with an incredible and unshakable sense of knowing that I need not be afraid! The feeling was powerful and overwhelming, unlike anything I had experienced before...I knew that I had nothing to fear, and making the decisions I needed to make suddenly became that much easier. That admonition, a gift from somewhere showing me there were ways of “knowing” that I had not been aware of, has become a guiding principle in my life. I now think of difficult life decisions as workable or non-workable as opposed to right or wrong.

The second experience involved writing. It was a pleasant spring day, and I decided to sit in the yard and sketch some of the flowers in our wild flower garden. I can’t remember what prompted me to begin writing, but I did, and what followed was a lengthy poem, spontaneous and fluid, and uninterrupted by any conscious thought or deliberation. The words just came, unannounced, and when it was done, I knew what it meant to be visited by the muse. That experience confirmed for me, without a doubt, the existence of the subconscious and its role in our inner life. This experience has been repeated frequently in my daily journaling, and I have since learned that it is a familiar phenomenon to writers and other artists. Psychologists tell us that these unconscious forces are at work in all of us.

Whether it is called revelation, inspiration, intuition, or whatever, these experiences have taught me the reality of another dimension to life, one that is there to serve us if we take the time to cultivate and nurture it.

In so many ways these, and others, marked the beginning of a new and richer life for me.

No comments: