This week we will explore the connection between the ARTIST archetype and the life metaphor of Crossing the Threshold to Embark on your Greatest Adventure. One connection that comes to mind for me is Nanci Griffith’s beautifully artistic rendition of the song by Kate Wolf, “Across the Great Divide.” Here are the lyrics and the song itself (click here to hear it):
(by Kate Wolf), performed by Nanci Griffith
I’ve been walkin’ in my sleep
Countin’ troubles ‘stead of countin’ sheep
Where the years went I can’t say
I just turned around and they’ve gone away
I’ve been siftin’ through the layers
Of dusty books and faded papers
They tell a story I used to know
And it was one that happened so long ago
It’s gone away in yesterday
Now I find myself on the mountainside
Where the rivers change direction
Across the Great Divide
Now, I heard the owl a-callin’
Softly as the night was fallin’
With a question and I replied
But he’s gone across the borderline
The finest hour that I have seen
Is the one that comes between
The edge of night and the break of day
It’s when the darkness rolls away
The divide between “the edge of night and the break of day” certainly evokes the potential for a major Threshold Crossing, one ripe with possibility but also with uncertainty.
Last night I watched the film Still Alice with Julianne Moore. The brilliant woman she portrayed, struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, must straddle “where the rivers change direction” and come to terms with the value of the quality of life as contrasted with healthful longevity. Her loved ones, who cannot accompany their mother and wife directly on her journey into the oblivion of memory loss, provide her with that quality of loving companionship and compassion that allows her to have the best possible transition she can.
The ARTIST helps us to forge and to accomplish our greatest life transitions. In Still Alice, the main character, a linguistics professor at Columbia University, relies on her skills at the art of communication to maintain her grip on life and to nurture her relations and herself for as long as she is able. She practices memory tasks with words; she spends several days slowly but surely crafting one final address, to sponsor a benefit for Alzheimers. She demonstrates GRACE and forebearance and so she exits gradually but in the highest spirit she can muster. Seeing her fortitude, those around her provide their loving support, acknowledging her gifts to the end.
How might you call upon your inner ARTIST Ally to help you to identify and Cross the Great Divide?
What is it for you?