Monthly Archives: March 2021

… families appear throughout life …

To fill in the distorted or simply incomplete gestalt gathered from early caregivers, we find ourselves during our lifetime in families of various constellations … in groupings of friends, educational settings, teams working towards a project, callings, interest groups, animal care, subcultures, political, vocational and spiritual clusters. In these groups we slot into roles we project, or are projected onto us with qualities others are drawn to engage with, for whatever reason, often to explore a hidden part inside, mother, father, sister, brother, child, lover, hidden in the light or hidden in the dark. Much of this search now happens virtually, through screens, though it can’t replace the actual physical resonance a gestalt needs.

Family can also mean a collection of symbolically meaningful objects, toys, letters, books, art, tools, stones. I collect stones and endow them with memories. My ex-husband extended his loving father role to string instruments. (I wrote about his loss in my previous post.)

In the 1969 movie Alice’s Restaurant … with Arlo Guthrie, Pat Quinn & James Broderick, you can do anything you want. Alice tries to satisfy the motherly expectations of an eccentric hippie group, a powerful dream, which ends when she marries. The last image in the film shows her standing alone in front of the old church her husband plans on selling, to create a more ideal community in the countryside, though Alice’s hippie children have grown and left.  In the poignant last image of the film Alice stands alone, waking from a dream, debts paid and debts made. Psychotherapy can accelerate this archetypal demand for clarity and cohesion of one’s myth, but soul-making must continue for consciousness to expand.

At stages in our life we fit, or are fitted, into a network of psychological potential. These are intense phases. Yet irrespective of time gone since people parted ways,  families dispersed, places were lost … when a former close friend dies, insight descends, rises, arrives from the past, from the future and from spheres unknown. Memories will shift their meaning. Slowly our sense of self is re-aligned. We capture a condensation of what was symbolically exchanged, essence is revealed.

In this gentle way we unravel the knots of entangled bonds. I’m wary of this advice … let it go!  Grieving for a loss needs to ripen. While unripe apples fall from trees all the time, it is a sad waste to rip them from branches, we deprive our selves of what a ripe apple is for, to be eaten and digested for nourishment.

My lover, mourner and philosopher could have pulled this theme in ten different directions. I kept it short and leave associations to you.


Filed under Blog

… so now I am dead …

This is an imagined monologue of my ex-husband, Soren (Shamshir) Venema, who died in his sleep last week, a short stretch off his 69th birthday. This morning I sensed a faint sound seeking a body. It took a while to clear. The slow translating voice is of course my own. I better post this before I overthink it

So now I’m dead. Nxt birthday cancelled. I hear yur whispers … yu may hear mine and womder if I fund whut I ws seekn or whut looked for me. Won’t reveal my heart’s desire. Yu must fund yus yuself.

This life was a strange dream with others who wer seekin und hiding.

Yu know em by somthing in the eyes. Afar away up or down look. A longin.

We bump into each other in our blind search. They call it love, a deep term that teared at me. The way I saw it …. at random junctions we hold hands and travel together for a while, deeply connected, but lightly bonded.

My juggling across the deep psychic sea gathered an emotional gravity in others. I still puzzle about the phenomenon. While hidden connections pulled, I wanted em kept safe deep down, not intrude with a flashlight. I trusted the lot, like seeds trust dirt and earth and listen to the music of light.

Marvels happen. A son was called and came. He gave me joy with his joy. Witnessing my child grow fanned some scary heat in the heart.

The mother was a hermit, like me, though a bit over-responsible for the deep stuff, her own and others’, and heck, mine too. I couldn’t help putting up a little fence, which annoyed and upset her. Then again, we both sensed each other’s truth from that dark realm where wishes are embodied, where deep connections attract each other into nets of meaning, though I was never tempted by meaning and order. It seemed a little dull to me.

My friends were gold. And my little sister was a treasure I protected.

I had talents, far too many, confusing, so I wandered as hermit.

My longin ws for a hidden tune. As a writer searches among words, so I searched among sounds, high, low, deep, warm, sharp, strong, or soft breaths quivering in bodies of all forms and ages. A tight string or a tight skin over a hollowed body … they hold echoes from many worlds.

Now I’m hailed as an expert about string instruments, and considered as some kind of genius. An image in the Dutch Parool shows I developed a tower above my brow. That’s where half cooked wisdom lingered and intrigued, deep sounds too, dear and familiar sounds, best shareable through sound alone. Long sensitive fingers help.

Correction: This writer’s sincere apology, the image is actually of Nico Dijkshoorn, a Dutch journalist, the one who wrote a good article about Soren. Uncanny likeness of features and expression.

So let’s say this life was full of sounds, which helped me pitch my instrument to the empty void where my sought tune is hiding. An if ya are tuned too, we’ll swing and sing and dance together. May it bring yu to yur heart’s desire.

In the media they say my collections of guitars are children left in the house without father.

Well, that’s company for my son now.

*   *   *

Only last week, Soren shared, unusually, a dream about a friend and mentor of ours, Abdul Aziz Said, who recently died. I wrote about him here in Nov 2015.

In the dream Abdul Aziz  Said played a mouth harp, and Soren played on a rare flute. He was sad about having forgotten the tune. I hope he’s now found it.

Press this link to a recent poignant documentary about Soren on yourtube … Living treasure.

Every day I ask
What is this Soul
That looks out through my eyes –
I did not arrive here alone
and will not depart alone.
Whoever brought me here
Will have to take me home …       Rumi


Filed under Blog