Have the realities of life been less pleasing than you expected? Have your perceptions of your relationships fallen short of your hopes?
enchanted – v. – To fill with great delight, charm. Put under a spell.
I think I had a nervous breakdown during my freshman year of college. I didn’t know it at the time, but in retrospect, that’s probably what it was. I couldn’t function. I spent a good portion of each day in fits of tears, hearing myself trying to push blood through the vessels in my head, hearing myself breathe.
In that time window, ironically, the girlfriend I lost was also the person who gave me a cognitive key to escaping the straight jacket I had put myself in. She had introduced me to Sting – an artist who is often maligned for being so frank, earnest, and literate. I admired him then, and I still greatly admire him now – not because he was able to convey Truth always, but rather because he sincerely tried. He had enough fame and success for a lifetime. After The Police disbanded, and Sting released his solo albums “Dream of the Blue Turtles” and “Nothing Like The Sun,” he continued to speak to deeper, more universal concerns – beyond “De Do Do Do De Da Da Da.” He was not primarily interested in telling people things he perceived they wanted to hear. Popularity was not his primary objective. When he had your ear, he intended to tell you an idea worth consideration.
As Sting wrote the songs for “Nothing Like The Sun,” one of his parents had recently died, and the other would die not long thereafter. His first marriage had failed and introspection, retrospection, and self-analysis were dominant in his thoughts. “Nothing Like The Sun” began with the great song “Lazarus Heart,” which includes these lyrics that shaped my life from that point on:
“He looked beneath his shirt today
There was a wound in his flesh so deep and wide
From the wound a lovely flower grew
From somewhere deep inside
He turned around to face his mother
To show her the wound in his breast that burned like a brand
But the sword that cut him open
Was the sword in his mother’s hand
. . . Though the sword was his protection
The wound itself would give him power
The power to remake himself
At the time of his darkest hour
She said the wound would give him courage and pain
The kind of pain that you can’t hide
From the wound a lovely flower grew
From somewhere deep inside”
Have you ever felt disenchanted?
To live an enchanted life, you probably need at least these four things:
1) You need to live your life honestly.
Live a life that is honest with yourself, even if living your life honestly puts you in opposition to your friends, family, workplace, and local community. It may be impossible to experience “enchantment” when you’re constantly misportraying yourself to the people around you.
A primary source of “enchantment” is realizing some truth and allowing the acknowledgement of that truth to set you free. When you realize a truth, and respond to it by perpetuating misrepresentations, you’re probably screwing up your chances for enchantment.
2) You need to have courage.
The truth is, it often takes some courage to perpetuate falsehoods. But it usually takes more courage to be truthful.
3) You must have sufficient experience and intelligence to appreciate the good things and people around you.
If you cannot see the value of the people around you, you may be in enchanted circumstances and just not realize it. I know that has been the case with me – being too inexperienced and unknowledgeable to see how enchanted and lucky my circumstances were.
I’ve known people who were miserable while they were surrounded and loved by the best of people.
A person’s world will likely have trouble being more enchanted than the enchantment in that specific person.
It’s not enough to be in enchanted circumstances and surrounded by enchanting people. You also have to be a vessel capable of recognizing, receiving, and re-channeling back outward the enchantment around you.
If an enchanted vessel had a physical shape, I suspect it would not be a vase; rather, it would more likely be something shaped more like an open-ended 3-dimensional infinity symbol, shaped more like a human heart, allowing that which flows in from one direction to spin and flow out in another - a vessel with more open doors than closed ones.
4) You have to have the mindset and work ethic to stay committed.
I don’t think enchantment comes and goes. I think enchantment is a result of committing to the good people around you and realizing a fraction of their worth and potential.
The shortest route to disenchantment may come from running away from people when conflicts arise or circumstances require you to change. It’s probably impossible to be stubborn and set in your ways and achieve an enchanted state of existence. Enchantment is like adventure, it requires a willingness to consistently expose yourself to danger, to be on the move, and to adapt while in pursuits.
Louis L’Amour once said “Adventure is just a romantic name for trouble.” If you want an adventurous life, you may need to be willing to live with many things regularly troubling you.
“Enchantment” does not endure in still waters. Still waters tend to mold, evaporate, and decay. Energy and cleansing come from waters regularly stirred and re-shaped.