First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 8 – Battlefield 2

The benefit of winning that particular battle was to become awake, aware if you like, that the battlefield existed. Aware too that, although I could receive guidance, no map of the territory existed unless I was prepared to draw it myself. And aware that I must go forward, for to go back would be to sink again into the pit from which I had emerged.

And, reflecting on the battle –

Once upon a time,
as I sat on the grass
looking over the lake
a beautiful fairy
sat down beside me.

She held my hand, stroked
the back of it gently
and asked me why I was
crying. I had not known
I was crying.

“I don’t know” I said.
“Perhaps I am happy
or perhaps I am sad”
but whatever I said
the tears would not stop.

I said that the peace,
the surroundings and the
beauty filled me with awe.
Who was I to enjoy
such beautiful things?

She allowed me to cry,
she allowed me to
sob, she allowed me to
feel a despair. She just
kept stroking my hand.

“You are beautiful
too” she said. “You
belong with beautiful
things. Why else would I come
to sit by your side?

That was my first meeting with the beautiful fairy; she has been a constant in my life ever since. She lit a torch for me that day – a torch called Hope. She promised me that it would never be extinguished. I can lock it away in a cupboard; I can deny its existence but it will always remain lit. That torch is available for you too.

If we hold it high enough it will illuminate both the road ahead and the cave inside. And the paradox is that it is more important to illuminate the inside of the cave than the road, for it is in the cave that we will discover the enemies we must overcome.

Stored in the cave too are the attributes, the tools perhaps, that we require for the battlefield. Different enemies, different battles, different tools required.

Yet there are two which are an absolute requirement. The first of these is courage – somehow the one we find easiest to deny we possess. And yet to step onto the battlefield at all requires courage, and if we hold the torch up high enough we will always find it. We will have used it in the past – it is just that we have often called it something else. Use the torch, bring the light – you will find it.

The other is hard work – perseverance, stubbornness, determination – call it what you like. I had that in abundance. It had kept me enthralled for years by that mistress, convinced that she was right when all evidence pointed to the contrary. I could use that attribute. After all the point is that stubbornness, turned round and pointed in a constructive direction, becomes determination.

A battle won will lose its significance without the hard work to consolidate that success. We must overcome the human inclination to inertia and put in the effort.

Audio version and a painting are available at – http://youtube.com/user/DavidAgnewpoet

Β 

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24 Responses to “First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 8 – Battlefield 2”

  1. Your line ‘Who was I to enjoy such beautiful things?’ really got me thinking. One of the casualties of my personal battle has been a sense that I don’t deserve things to go right or well – and when they do, I’d better enjoy ’em, because they could be taken away any time. That’s where your ‘torch called Hope’ (another great, ringing phrase) is so important. That you still carry it, and know it burns bright even when it seems impossible, fills me with a new confidence and determination to carry on. Thank you, David; you’re an inspiration.

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Nick very much.

      I still have problems from time to time with “I don’t deserve” but, at least nowadays, I am not standing behind myself with a big stick!! πŸ™‚

      I came across a poem yesterday by a poet called Thomas A. Clark called In Praise of Walking – I think you would approve. It included the line “In the course of a walk, we usually find out something about our companion, and this is true even when we travel alone.”

  2. christine Says:

    Thank you for this David. I have realised that I have misinterpreted your portrayal of hope. Your words “I may lock it in a cupboard” or “deny its existence”, have just seeped their way into my stubborn head. This, after reading the book twice! (You may now wish to tell me to pay attention!)I thought I had the power to extinguish it!

    The courage and hard work piece has actually given me an idea of how far I have come in recovery. I must mention here my favourite quote, “Courage is fear that has said its prayers”. Working on the smaller fears can stand me in good stead for the major ones, Letting you read my poetry, which is now a fear overcome, is helping me face going on the Breasthworks course. Having made the committment to do this despite the fear, has actually told me that I have accepted this condition and am prepared to move forward embracing it as opposed to fighting it.

    Reading this has been very fruitful, thank you.

    Lots of love

    Christine

    xxx

    • christine Says:

      Forgot to mention the poem.

      I love this and have done from the first time I read it. It is really good to read in times of self doubt, of which I still have many.

      XXX

      • belfastdavid Says:

        It is one of my favourites of my own poems.

        I too re-read it in times of self doubt

        xxx

    • belfastdavid Says:

      *Big Smile”

      Your comment provides justification in itself for my posting it on here in this way.
      Your comment too brings to mind my own reading of the Big Book – I was convinced that someone was creeping in and altering my copy from one reading to the next!!! πŸ™‚

      I have always loved that favourite quote of yours. And every fear we work on is another battle won, a battle which we don’t have to go back and fight again!

      You show great courage – I am very proud of you – knowing how far you have come.

      Lots of love
      David
      xxx

      • christine Says:

        Thank you David, your reply gives me a great deal of comfort and reassurance. You mean a lot to me.

        Lots of love

        Christine

        xxx

      • belfastdavid Says:

        Thank you Christine

        Lots of love
        David
        xxx

  3. Katherine Wyatt Says:

    YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH i NEED THESE RIGHT NOW AMAZING WORK AND THE TRUTH SHINES THroUGH MY FRIEND

  4. Good chapter πŸ™‚ you went from a from mistress to a fairy, I guess you are the fairy godfather then.
    Seriously: there is a lot of depth in your words. To become whole as a person, it is a lot of work. I am glad you made it through. Looking forward to the rest of this journey and where it will end πŸ™‚

    • belfastdavid Says:

      πŸ™‚

      My mistress was female, the beautiful fairy is of course female and, as it happens, my muse is female!! You think there is a pattern here?

      When my mother first read this poem she wanted to know who the woman was. I expained the the beautiful fairy was Hope. But she wasn’t having it – she was sure there was a woman involved!! LOL

      Thank you

      • Hi David, Well you are an insspiration too to me for instance and a lot of others, so I suppose you are a muse too πŸ™‚

        I think you must be in Whitby now or going there soon. We are waiting for the ferry to go home now. Our trip went a bit different, I ended up in hospital today, thought my foot might be broken, it was gout, side effect of highbloodpressure pills. Th e first bloodpressure pills gave me a cough lol.
        My foot is swollen and I can’t walk and the painkilles make me dizzy. πŸ™‚ My husband wants to trade me ( not sure for what lol)

        A seagul is looking in the window with a mysterious smile; maybe it flew al the way across the North Sea, not sure lol.

        Greetings πŸ™‚

      • belfastdavid Says:

        Hi Ina, Thank you

        I have been on blood pressure medication for a long time now – it took a lot of trial and error before the doctor arrived at a combination which worked for me without horrendous side affects. I feel for you. Take care of yourself. πŸ™‚

        Seagulls are insatiably nosey and also inveterate gossips. If you speak nicely to them they will pass the gossip on! πŸ™‚

        Back home from Whitby now – my muse really enjoyed the visit – more from her later πŸ™‚

  5. Vera Hazelgrove Says:

    It’s also one of my favorite poems!
    I have found too that the mind can be very selective, depending on the state we are in. Reading things again, often shows up something one hasn’t paid attention to before or something which was dismissed at the first reading and now has true significance… I catch myself doing this on a visual level too: looking for what I expect to see …
    Well, you are doing well with fairy and your muse to keep you company, poor mum, I guess she was trying to protect you πŸ™‚
    but you are getting really good at doing well!

    Vera & Karley

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Vera,

      It is interesting how we see “what we expect to see”. I read a suggestion in another blog that I should from time to time turn round – see where I have just come from with a different perspective – makes sense to me. πŸ™‚

      My mother was extremely proud of what I was doing with my poetry but she was never going to let me get away with being big-headed about myself. πŸ™‚
      I still miss her from time to time.

      Thank you for “you are getting really good at doing well” That is much appreciated πŸ™‚

      I hope you and Karley have a good week

      David

  6. David,

    Though you wouldn’t know it from my first reading (remember?), this part of the book speaks loudest to me. I had to admit to myself that I often try to change (edit) what makes me most uncomfortable. The fault was with me. I hope you can appreciate that truth now.

    Over the years, I have loved many people, and dedicated myself to that purpose. I needed to be needed. That is the first stone we put down when we build our walls, isn’t it? It was a convenient way of ignoring the one person who needed my love and attention the most–me. A part of love is to shelter, not confine. It’s hard enough to remember that when I watch loved ones struggle, it is nearly impossible to remember it when I look in the mirror.

    I realized my life was walled in with stones, mortared together by lies disguising themselves as dreams. It was built to be a fence against whatever I thought would invade and disrupt my little world. It was built as a monument to hope, or so I told myself. But, and this is true for all of us, walls constructed for that purpose keep us from the freedom of being able to walk and breathe in the open air of the real world. They keep us from realizing our true dreams. They rob us of hope because its light does not shine in the shadow of walls.

    When I started to take those stones apart, the mortar crumbled in my hands, and only a few small gems of dreams were solid enough to save. But, the real ones gain value, and they can, if kept polished and handled often, grow into something beautiful. *smile*

    I understand your Mother’s suspicions about the Fairy. I thought that for a long time myself. It was only after I took the words to heart, and realized what they could do for me, that I understood. Thank you.

    Much love,
    Shirley

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Shirley,

      I am deeply moved by this comment – close to tears really.

      I know that wall all too well and also the dismantling of it and all the pain which went along with it. But, as you rightly say, it had to come down in order to let the light in. You are right too in that the first stone is that need to be needed – It took a long time for me to be able to see that and to be able to remove all the stones and the mortar.

      It also took a long time for me to recognise that I needed to love myself before I could love others and to understand the true depth in Aunty Penny’s words – Trust, Risk and Share πŸ™‚

      But it is all about progress and not perfection (I needed to learn that too!) and today I can look in the mirror and smile at myself. πŸ™‚

      I am not sure that my mother ever understood πŸ™‚ but I do know she was immensely proud of me and that is a good feeling πŸ™‚

      You take good care of yourself

      With much love
      David

  7. Hi David,

    I hope you enjoyed your time in Whitby? πŸ™‚

    “We must overcome the human inclination to inertia and put in the effort.”

    These last words of yours in Part 8 really grab me. They for me are the crux of the issue when one finds themselves on the battlefield.
    It really is so easy to just give up fall and weary to ground.
    If we can remember our strength and all the positives that have been instilled in us to that point we can indeed achieve much and move ourselves forward to much better place.

    The poem of hope obviously inspired me greatly. It was a privledge to be able to paint the scene from the poem and more so to be able to say thankyou for all your friendship, and your fight and effort that brought you to the place to be able to write such a beautiful poem.

    For myself hope and faith are intertwined. We need hope to go on and faith it will always be there, and faith reminds us there is always hope and hope reinforces that faith. πŸ™‚

    I really cherish part 8 as a piece in itself. I find it very renewing and strenghting to read. It always reminds me I have the tools within myself to fight and face whatever arises. It also is like a big hug reminding me I am never alone.

    I’m very glad that the beautifull fairy came to sit beside you and very glad you have shared her with us. Your insights are profound, wise and of great benefit for those seeking some light in their caves and on their journey. Come to think of it. You words and this book in itself are a spark of hope. πŸ™‚

    I hope you have had a lovely journey back home and you were able to take many good memories with you from Whitby. πŸ™‚

    Arohanui
    (((BSH)))
    Tikarma
    xoxoxo

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Tikarma,

      as you know the picture hangs on my living room wall. On a bad day I only have to catch a glimpse of it to remind myself that hope still exists and it never fails to make me smile. πŸ™‚

      “It also is like a big hug reminding me I am never alone.” What a lovely thing to say – if I ever do a reprint of the book I will include this quote on the back cover πŸ™‚

      I find it truely inspirational that we can be at opposite ends of the world yet still be the sort of friends who provide comfort, hope and inspiration to each other πŸ™‚

      Arohanui
      (((BSH)))
      David
      xoxox

  8. David, hope you had/are having a great time in Whitby and if you saw the gypsie: ALL her predictions are solid! Just found out my son will be a father in October πŸ™‚

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Congratulations

      I did speak to the gypsy – she sent her regards to you πŸ™‚

      • πŸ™‚ Thank you. Welcome back, what a good way to start spring! Hope you had a lovely time there!
        I can’t imagine the gypsie would have remembered me, but I sure remember her.

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