The genius of longing

Some only live in the good and never face the bad.

Others live in the bad and struggle to face the good.

An accurate picture of “what is,” and what we hope for provides a place to move on from, to be instigators of “what can be.”

Rebecca Solnit writes beautifully about the “blue of longing” and, for me, opens up a world of possibilities:

“We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on that something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire, though often it is the distance between us and the object of desire that fills the space in between with the blue of longing.  I wonder sometimes whether with a slight adjustment of perspective it could be cherished as a sensation on its own terms, since it is as inherent to the human condition as blue is to distance?”*

It seems to me that when we take Solnit’s counsel and turn our attention towards the blue of longing, we’re noticing there is more to us than we knew, than the simple rush we make to something in the distance and find that something is not what we wanted at all:

“For something of this longing will, like the blue of distance, only be relocated, not assuaged, by acquisition and arrival, just as the mountains cease to be blue when you arrive among them and the blue instead tints the next beyond.”*

This blue, then, is a deeper experience, a possibility imagined that can be grown, a liminal space that is the spring of our being:

“Show me the hidden things, the creatures of my dreams, the storehouse of forgotten memories and hurts. Take me down to the spring of my life, and tell me my nature and my name.  Give me freedom to grow, so that I may become that self, the seed of which You planted in me at my making.

Out of the depths I cry to You … “**

These words from George Appleton are spoken to his god but whether we allow there to be a god or not, we’re each capable of turning our attention towards the blue, holding our deepest longings and what might be that may not the destination we had thought life would be:

‘Yes, the cards are unfairly stacked against too many people.  Yes, there are too many barriers and not enough support.  But no, your ability to create and contribute isn’t determined at birth.  It’s a choice’^

I think that choice becomes visible and available in the blue.

I intend these words to be blue.  They’re intended not as a destination but simply be a space in which you may find yourself able to imagine and dream and then create because you’ve allowed yourself to long for something.  It is as Hugh Macleod sees:

‘What you love to do will grow with you, so long as you stay true to who you are and allow yourself to change and develop freely.’^^

(*Rebecca Solnit, quoted in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Two Hundred Years of Blue.)
(**George Appleton, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(^From Seth Godin’s Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?)
(^^From gapingvoid’s blog: Life without dissonance.)

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