broken egg shell
I think you have to feel secure before you can feel anything else.When I was a child, before I knew that people could be dishonest, hurtful, sociopathic, I remember feeling everything. I was completely open. And then, at age 7, when I learned the terrible knowledge of our civilized society, and had my heart broken, I stopped feeling so much. It hurt too bad. It wasn’t a conscious decision, just something my body did, to protect me. I just shut down, hid away in an imaginary world where people were themselves, authentic, undamaged. I ceased to belong to the ‘real’ world, became disconnected from it, ceased to be able to function in it.

Then, when I was 17, I fell utterly in love, and I became invulnerable, and let myself really feel again. I wrote about what I felt and it was, although incompetent, wonderful writing. My self expressed itself. I wrote poetry on the walls of tunnels with the pseudonym “SAM”, and young women were so moved by it that they wrote me love letters under the poems.

I saw myself then as a synergy, a complicity of my physical/sensuous (S), emotional (A, for analogic/resonant) and intellectual (M, for Kubrick’s monolith) selves. When I was in my most relaxed state I was also at my most aware. I was reconnected, open, raw. I was at once astonished and terrified. I was completely present.

And then, mostly through my own foolishness and idealism, I lost that love, and with it I lost everything. I lost myself. I went through a roller coaster decade during which I alternatively felt unbearable grief, brief joyful relief, and nothing at all. Finally, I froze over. I created a persona that could function in the terrible world, and for almost thirty years that comfortable persona took my place. Still, this persona, as successful as it was, sensed that there was something wrong, that it wasn’t me, that it was a fraud. It became anxious and easily angry.

gaping void scared
drawing by hugh mcleod at gaping void

I was empty. A shell.

And then, slowly, over the last few years, I cracked open and something I’m not quite sure of emerged. It was a kind of child, reawakened, unfrozen, but still a bit numb. I was blocked by my stories, my myths, and the emotions of fear and anger those stories evoked. But I was determined to become real again, to reconnect, to be open and raw and let my heart be broken, to show my broken heart to the world.

I was and am drawn now to places that allow me at once to be broken and to heal, to get rid of all the gunk that has accumulated around me for decades, stuff that is not me at all. Those places I’m free to be broken and healed are wilderlands — forests and beaches where life existed, as it has for millions of years, without people, without being crowded and stressed and made anxious by the invasive species homo rapiens.

I am not at home in such places. I am not self-sufficient or knowledgeable of how to live in the forest or by the ocean, without the trappings of modern civilization. Yet I am drawn to these places, if a little fearfully, by something larger than myself, by this yearning to reconnect with all-life-on-Earth, what John Gray calls biophilia. And when I start to open myself to these places the real me begins to emerge again, this complex, damaged creature so full of grief, love, and loneliness. Lost for so many years, so long dead to the world.

And in these moments SAM awakens again, and I begin to begin to find again that stillness, that Zero Time, of infinite relaxation and awareness, when I become sensitive again to what is going on within, and what is going on without, and they become one current. And the fear and anxiety and anger subside and my senses become alert to these amazing things happening all around me and inside me that I had forgotten how to notice — the catch in a young woman’s voice, the astonishing colours of dusk, and the breath of lamplight and new-fallen snow, the scent of berries and of rain, the look within the look of faces of people that somehow I had forgotten how to see.

The humming resonance between me and some other creature, a resonance that makes us one, singing together, completely “I am you and you are me and we are altogether” connected.

The songs of birds, plaintive or joyful or, like me, now, responsive, a harmony, alive, breathing, there, here, this moment, this magical place. Shouting, tweeting, moaning, I love you.

This is what’s really important, this feeling, this connection. This knowing what is and what to do and who to be. This fullness and emptiness and being just a part. Present.

Raw. Nobody-but-myself. No body. Every body. Our self. One.

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5 Responses to Raw

  1. samcandide says:

    Brave, and raw. Thanks, Dave.

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. Beautifully described Dave. The retreat from being present because of the overwhelming intensity.

  4. We like Sam, Sam I Am.

  5. Nick Smith says:

    Ahh yes! A breaking heart reveals a core of Love that remains forever unbroken. :)

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