First, A Sorrowful Dedication
The whole leap depends on the slow pace at the beginning, like a long flat run before a broad jump. Anything that you want to move has to start where it is, in its stuckness. That involves erudition— probably too much erudition. One wants to get stuck in the history, the material, the knowledge, even relish it. Deliberately spending time in the old place. Then suddenly seeing through the old place.
James Hillman (1998, p. 154), from Inter views: Conversations with Laura Pozzo on psychotherapy, biography, love, soul, the gods, animals, dreams, imagination, work, cities, and the state of the culture.
A new idea is never only a wind-fall, an apple to be eaten. It takes hold of us as much as we take hold of it. The hunch that breaks in pulls one into an identification with it. We feel gifted, inspired, upset, because the message is also a messenger that makes demands, calling us to quit a present position and fly out.
James Hillman (2005, p. 99), from “Notes on opportunism.”
James Hillman’s work has formed, over the years, some of the imaginal spaciousness and cadences of my own writing. He’s been one of those reliable refuges, because every time I read his work I know what’s coming—a sometimes-hard-to-bear upset-summons into penumbral and often wondrous worlds. Breathtaking:
The word for perception or sensation in Greek was aesthesis, which means at root a breathing in or taking in of the world, the gasp, “aha,” the “uh” of the breath in wonder, shock, amazement, and aesthetic response.
James Hillman (2006, p. 36) from “Anima Mundi: Returning the soul to the world.”
I owe him some breath, this teacher I never met.
James Hillman died on Friday, October 28th, 2011 at age 85, and, in ways vital to my own work, I can attest without hesitation, and even at the distance of words, that he was much older and much younger than that.
So here’s to flying out, again, in dedication.