- Joseph Campbell/James Joyce
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To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life: put that on your tombstone.
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I woke to love and found myself ruined for it. Blessedly ruined.
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The fire ate slowly into the wood. Little tongues of orange and yellow flickered a few inches above the logs and right at the base, where the combustion was occurring, there was no light, no color: invisible heat. It is possible to stare into a fire and believe it is the most beautiful thing. It touches on something primal. Silence attends it in order to hear the pop and hiss of the fire's work. The room was darkened except for the light from the fireplace. Outside snow had fallen in high banks against the house insulating it and us, muting all sound. We sat, her head in my lap, my fingers quietly drifting through her long dark hair, and watched the fire burn.
Out of all the possible moments, out of all the possible moments to say, "Here," "Here, love began," "Here, it started," it is the fire, the small fire on a winter's night that comes to me and says, "No, it was here." And I will not argue, for it could have been any of them, all of them, but it is this moment that rides certain and true.
It was the moment I understood my life was now, and forever unfucked. Unbidden, love awoke and called me to live, to err, to fall, to triumph not for myself, but for another. And at that moment my world collapsed, the world of an awful half-life, the world of fear, of false suffering, of hiding out from my ability and desire. All that had been built to house my arrogance, my self-righteousness, my sense of being what others wanted/expected me to be disappeared the moment I woke to love. The fire, the fire, my fire...
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To unfuck yourself, your life, requiresinsistsdemands the destruction of your life, your fucked life, that ill-used, poorly attended life that you've assumed would be better than it is without any effort or sacrifice on your part. To destroy it you must wake to love. Lust alone won't do it, for lust is always self-directed, but love - desire tied to the realization you hold another's life in your hands and will sacrifice everything to protect and nurture it - takes you out of your head, out of your life, out of control and delivers you to the leading edge of time where danger and redemption walk together.
Do you not know this already?
But love ends, you say. Affairs run their course. Love dies. New loves arrive only to die in their turn.
And that is true enough when you live an awful half-life, moving from desire to desire, with all your choices and actions self-centered, self-satisfied. But that is a poor use of the word "love." It allows you to build up a formidable life, a formidably fucked life that by needs be must be destroyed, or die fucked. Love lived for another is outside of time and death.
Which will it be, the destruction of waking to love, or the waste of sleepwalking past love?
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Do not for a moment think that wakening to love makes your life easier, or better, or any other sentimental thing. It is a life and death challenge; it is life asking you if you are up to life and that requires something other than the scattered effort you've shown so far. To fail the challenge is to die while you still breathe.
When I err, when I fall, doubt harps at me, tells me I am a fool. But then, always then, I see the fire.
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I'll go down burning in your embrace
On fire, on fire
You're my fire
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