This is my dwelling place

Like many whose pathways have been littered with the waste of addiction, I grew up feeling very different. An inability or incapacity to reconcile those feelings led me down many dark roads, and while I currently live in the Light, the power of feeling different still astounds me.

A part of living in the Light, I’ve discovered, is accepting that there is no “normal” against which we can (or, God forbid, “should”) measure ourselves, no middle ground of contentment and satisfaction within the human race. All are dysfunctional to one degree or another, and the object of life isn’t to overcome those dysfunctions as much as it is to learn to live with them and still feel good about oneself. I am, as we say in my crowd, “comfortable in my own skin.”

It wasn’t always so. I shared much in my note, “How I Know God Loves Me,” but that is not a part of my thoughts today.

Many, many years ago, an employer required that we all take a certain, very thorough personality/character test. I was about 35, and I’d spent my entire working life in positions of leadership and management, regardless of the industry. When working with the expert from the personality test company, she revealed that I had scored zeroes in the two key measurements of management ability. Zero. No innate capacity to manage. The lowest possible scores. “How,” I inquired, “can I possibly exist in management — and actually thrive — given this revelation?”

She turned to another section of the score sheet and responded, “Because you are in the 99th percentile when it comes to both intelligence and creativity. You make games of management requirements, so that you can resolve what is very unnatural for you.”

This was one of those life-changing moments for me. I’d always known that I was smart. School was easy. I’d also known that I have a vivid imagination, but this was the first time the degree of either had been scientifically revealed to me. It scared me, but it also was comforting, because it made a lot of sense. This was me: smart, creative, and very much alone. Such gifts can be a curse to one who only seeks acceptance and perhaps the hero worship granted to athletes. I wanted, I needed to be some ONE; what I had failed to realize was that I already was.

As a boy, I was most comfortable when I was alone. Mostly, I wandered the fields and forests of our neighborhood and beyond, where my imagination took me to new worlds and new situations, while my intelligence helped me figure out how to survive and thrive when the chips were down. There are no smarts like street smarts. I clearly lived in my head, surrounded, however, by the sights and sounds of nature, the warm glow of the sun, the breeze that moved my hair and cooled my skin, the taste of whatever I found to test and the beautiful smell that is a combination of all life. I also discovered Life, with a capital L, as I studied and applied my mind to everything around me. I also witnessed death and the paradoxes of nature. We anthropomorphize the creatures around us and empathize with their suffering, but there are important reasons the weak don’t make it. I hurt over this, but I understand.

My old friend Holly often tweaks me for not applying my intelligence through study, and I always appreciate that. I never went to college, nor did I “academically” study the things about which I write. It’s a catch-22, for while I’m sure I would have gained much (and probably still could) by such study, my reality is that it would interfere with what Life is trying to show me or teach me. There is Richard Adams’ “Unbroken Web,” where I can tap the source of all, and I’d rather get it raw from there than filtered by human study. It may make me feel ancient to discover for myself things I could learn from books, but the rewards of touching The Unbroken Web go way beyond knowledge filtered by human study. Answers exist in the Unbroken Web, because it is incapable of saying “No,” and these answers inspire the passion and energy required to bring them to the light. This is the world of art and the arts, for as Jonah Lehrer wrote, “When we venture beyond the edge of our knowledge, all we have is art.” Yes, the world of ideas versus the world of processes. My heart leaps with joy for being so alive. Who wouldn’t feel joyful in the presence of Life?

And when I’m there, in this world of absolute creativity, I feel safe, the only thing a young boy really pursues in the forests and fields of his world. There are no problems here, only solutions, and it’s here where the Light shines most brightly. Some would see this as the nonsensical “head in the clouds” of those who “should” know better, but it’s my home. I’m proud to exist here and thankful beyond words. Here, sensitivity is a gift, not a curse that must be overcome.

And as life goes by on my human journey through time and space, I find peace and joy and serenity in this dwelling place. It’s my heaven. Me, my spirit, my soul with its hopes and dreams will always be there.


  1. Kevin Selle says

    Thanks, Terry.

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