"The same dream returned each night until I dared not to go to sleep and grew quite ill. I dreamed I had a child, and even in the dream I saw it was my life, and it was an idiot, and I ran away. But it always crept onto my lap again, clutched at my clothes. Until I thought, if I could kiss it, whatever in it was my own, perhaps I could sleep. And I bent to its broken face, and it was horrible... but I kissed it. I think one must finally take one's life in one's arms."
- Arthur Miller, After the Fall
It is strange how certain things touch us or move us in ways we don't expect. This quote from one of Arthur Miller's plays is taken out of context, and seems a bit harsh in the description of the dream child, but the final line really moved me. "I think one must finally take one's life in one's arms" is a beautiful analogy of how we often want to discard the things about us that are unattractive or not nice, "horrible" even, and pretend they don't even exist. But really we must also take those unattractive things into our arms, as Miller says, and embrace all of the parts of us. Because each of these parts together makes us who we are. They are our strengths as well as our weaknesses. They are the thorns as well as the beautiful fragrant blossoms.
This isn't a new concept. We have always been taught that we have to take the good with the bad and that the challenges and difficulties build character. And it is true, but the fact of the matter is that the good and bad within each of us are not separate parts of us but smaller parts of the same whole. In the same way that we would comfort a friend who is having a difficult time, we must also comfort ourselves. Take those aspects that we may not like, or even shun, into our arms and comfort and love them as well.
Today I challenge you to look at one aspect of yourself that you don't like and embrace it in a way that you never have before. Love that part of you that you think is unloveable. Bend down and kiss it and take it in your arms. And I will do the same. I have my suspicions that new blossoms will burst forth from the "fertilization."
Photo by Wayne Simms