Welcome to a poetic and philosophic blog about the struggles of life and relationship.

“The ambiguity of life exists in every creative process. In every creative process of life, a destructive trend is implied; in every integrating process of life, a disintegrating trend; in every process toward the sublime, a profanizing trend.”(Paul Tillich, Ph.D., from The Meaning of Health, 1981)

Life cannot exist without the essential possibility and existential reality of death. Life is impossible without the daily, chaotic struggle against death... against the unremitting threat of entropy and nothingness. As Tillich again informs us, “Life must risk itself daily in order to win itself, but in the risking it may lose itself. A life which does not risk death--even in the highest forms of the life of the spirit--is a life poorly lived." This willingness to risk ourselves for greater life is the key that opens the door to the wellspring of creativity deep inside of us... that wellspring of transformative vitality that propels us through the struggle of death into the richness and renewal of new life.

"Creativity is 'the elixir of life' that heals and transforms life. Through the creative process we enter that 'sacred place,' that zone of evolution where the world lights up to itself as we light up to the world. It is here, in that 'holiest of holy' places that we are reunited with the waters of the wellspring of creativity, The Source of the 'River of Life' from which all creative energy and vitality issue forth to be manifested as new life. Through every creative act, life fulfills itself. Through every creative act, we transcend the mortality of our separate ego-self of I and enter into the realm of immortality to become one with our contextual self as Thou, as a self-realized collaborator in creation. Through creativity, we are delivered from the chaos of illness into the dynamic order of new life."
(P. Donovan & Herb Joiner Bey from The Face of Consciousness, 2006)

Please join me on this courageous venture of life and "enter into the realm of immortality," the realm of dialogue and relationship by poetically sharing with this community, your struggles to live... to "nullify the unremitting recurrences of death" through the continuous recurrence of birth. Through dialogue and relationship, the Face of consciousness is seen, recognized and witnessed. It is your Face, my Face, the Face of all life, the Face of our God. Thank you, Patrick.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Shadow of Light

I came to Ireland to be alone again in some very powerful places... to realize again the deep Celtic heart of this land... of my heart and the heart of my father(s). I came to Ireland to heal a broken heart and face down the "beasts" of my own shadow and the shadow of my father(s). It was a powerful experience facing them both at the same time alone in the land of their origin... in the dark, heavy, melancholy and unremitting rain and dampness of this proud yet so deeply wounded place. Driven by my personal inquisition and the genetic beasts of my inner narrative, I found myself at the rectory door of a Glendalough priest and the conversation of a lifetime. I then began to understand the darkness... its power to transform things and invite the light... no, its power to demand of the light its presence... demand the light TO BE. Light emerges from the darkness... always overcomes yet contains the darkness within itself. This is the blood-truth of the Celtic soul. This is the blood-truth of life.
P. Donovan
Dublin, 2007

And now I watch my father die a slow death. This proud, loving man
who once held me so gently in his arms and in his memory, is now
locked away in some inaccessible corner of a deteriorating brain
tormented by his own beasts and the shadow of his fathers. He no
longer sees me, knows me, and I can't reach him, touch him, save
him any longer. I can't help the one man who so loved me he would
give his life for me. I can only watch helplessly as that meaningful
life and all it contained, my father, disintegrates away in front of me.


  1. Another perspective follows and complements:


    Oh! Brother,
    my only brother.

    Will you leave us all behind?
    I fear you will go gently quietly

    and I, I want you to rage-
    Rage as you did in your young man days,
    with power and anger and loud bravado.
    I want you still
    to be fearless, without hesitation without mumbling and stumbling.

    Run swiftly again
    Like that dash in ’61,
    Run out the door and go to the dance for
    your life has always been a dance of joy.
    And dance is the first art.

    It was you who gave me one more innocent Christmas in ’58.
    It was you who felt the heat of Tet in ’68.

    I have known you my whole life,
    this entire life
    I cannot bear this loss
    this way
    not tomorrow and certainly not this day.

    Time was, we placed our spades unto the earth,
    planted our roots deeply and watered well as our father taught.
    Daffodils in Spring
    Roses in June
    Apples in Autumn
    Abundance of life and joy and love.

    If now it happens that your mind can no longer articulate,
    then let your heart reflect that
    You have known the Beautiful;
    that you have seen the Good.
    For if you truly cease to be,
    then you never were and I cannot believe that.

    So, my brother,
    take this with you, keep this with you, bear this eternally:
    What you forget,
    I will remember;
    When words escape you,
    I will find them;
    When darkness falls,
    I will carry your light.

    c df cicora 2010

  2. My father always raged against "that dark night." His heart and soul, Celtic as it was, raged with life. Now, in his vascular decline into dementia, he still rages. Although he often doesn't make sense... he still rages.

    Dan, I believe it is the soul that rages and not the mind. Your brother WILL rage "as he did in his young man days."

  3. A healing blessing (and heartfelt empathy) to you and all others who share in this fluid dance between celebration in the dear one who lives and the deep sadness over such loss in either sensibility, patience or connection with what is. I believe our presence and love are never lost or useless. Thank you Dr. Donovan for sharing this. The part of me that houses dread and discomfort is quieter now that I have read and offered this blessing. I shall pay him a visit tonight! ~Susan (Graduate Student at Seattle U.)