A Way In and Through

detail of painting, m/m, 1995


from Joseph Campbell-


“Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege!! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures, followed by wreckage, were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”
~ from A Joseph Campbell Companion (my favorite book)


I remember seeing Roger Ebert speaking late in his life. His jaw was pretty much gone on one side from cancer and he spoke through a voice synthesizer. I was so taken with his state of being because he had this glowey-thing going on; his eyes radiated an otherworldly radiance similar to what I saw in Christopher Reeve.

I wondered about this..still do.

Where does this shinyness come from? By all rights they, inside all their physical challenge would be the LAST people I’d expect to see this quality in.

I don’t really know the answer but see very minute snippets of this quality looking back at me in the mirror after a good cry when all my defenses are down. “An odd time to see this” I think, and carry on in my life bouncing back and forth on the ping pong table of emotions.

As far as I can tell this inner glow might have it’s genesis in the hardest quality of all: just (ha!) being present and accepting of what IS.

This is beyond hard to do without buffering the experience with periodic explosions through the door of bars, brothels or binging on OREO cookies

But, in the words of my friend in New Zealand: “I’ve pretty much had it with character- building.”

A girl can take only so much.


3 Responses to “A Way In and Through”

  1. Alexandra Eldridge on July 14th, 2014

    Wow, Cath, how incredible to read your thoughts…now on a regular basis. You do glow and shine through it all. I learn so much from you. Much love, A

  2. Jane on July 14th, 2014

    Cathy, I am so glad I subscribed, don’t know what took me so long. I am always better for having read one of your pieces. You help me to understand myself without even knowing me – quite a feat! Thank you for sharing yourself so deeply and keeping it all so human. With love, Jane

  3. Rita Kindl Myers on July 14th, 2014

    “When all my defenses are down…” you write, because that’s the point when you can’t hide and your true self shines.

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