In another not-at-all-surprising yet very serendipitous move by Liz GIlbert to make me adore her and believe she's my bizzaro wonder twin, today she wrote a post about The Banished Immortals. She wrote about this concept as a backstory to describe a video she made of a song that was about her partner who is terminally ill. The post answered a question I had been asking myself for the last six months now- why is life so sad? Or rather, why do I see so much sadness in life. I don't mean my life in particular, I am just referring to LIFE in the big sense. Why is it so hard and sad sometimes? Is it supposed to be? And why am I constantly asking this question?
This isn't the first time Liz Gilbert sends a soothing message when I send out an SOS into the ether. A little over a year ago, I was feeling pretty directionless and purposeless. I thought a lot about how much knowledge I had but what usable wisdom did I really have? I know how to do a lot of things but where is my ONE thing? On a day where I was in deep introspection about who I was and why I was put here, she published a podcast where she spoke about being a hummingbird (cross pollinators) or a jackhammer (someone with one obvious and solid goal), how both are valid and good, and how you can be both or just one in your lifetime. It took some of the weight off having to be any ONE thing and just let me be okay with who and what I was doing at the moment. That podcast episode has lived in me so deeply in the last year that I knew the exact moment my hummingbird had turned into a jackhammer. I have always wanted to thank her for that moment because helping me name it made the shift feel that much more interesting.
So today, when I read about The Banished Immortals, she helped me name another strong aspect of my self. I look back a lot- probably more than I should. When I look back I more often remember the difficult instead of the easy or the happy. Maybe it's just how I'm wired. Lately I've been focusing a lot on those difficulties and wondering, "Why is life so sad?" In the darker moments, a deep longing swells up inside me and I find myself saying, "I want to go home." Except I'm not sure where that is. And I don't quite remember it. But I feel there is something, in some other place that makes more sense than here.
From her post:
"Banished Immortals (a concept in Chinese mythology) were thought to be divine beings who had been cast out of a celestial paradise, in order to live out one human incarnation here on earth. Because they have a memory of what heaven was like, Banished Immortals are never really at home here on our planet, where there is so much suffering and difficulty. As a result, they always feel alien and out of place, and they often become addicts, or artists, or healers — or all three. Banished Immortals just keep trying to find, or create, or disappear into, a sense of heaven here on earth — because they remember what existence is supposed to feel like, and they know it isn't supposed to hurt this much."
I look back and think about my life and its hurts... the relationships that didn't work, the babies I didn't birth, the times I did not- could not- believe in myself, the times I feel desperately alone, the assaults and violations towards me because I am a woman, those dear people that have left Earth, the times I didn't know my elbow from my ass, the utter confusion and loss of control that has come with parenthood, the longing for forgotten rituals and ceremonies of old that help us feel more of ourselves, the people I have hurt. It all feels crushing.
Luckily, there will always be a some beacons of light here that will help make all of it infinitely easier. They remind me me that the light is there. It's always there and its ready to receive me when I'm ready to stop dancing with the dark goddess and be filled by it. To Liz and to all these joyful beings I offer the most heartfelt "Thank You"... especially today when it's overcast and about to storm.