Pulsus Mortuus Equus

This will come off as psycho babble I’m sure and many will think, as the title of this post indicates, that with all my attempts at self-discovery and all the self actualization IO try to introduce in my life, this IS “beating a dead horse”. 

Maybe  it is.  Perhaps I am, but I’ll take that risk.  You see, I think I’ve figured out something  lately.  I don’t exactly know what it is, but I have this feeling that it’s substantial…or will be.

It’s all about emotional alchemy.  


I love that word.  It describes so much.   And why not?  It’s so very applicable to so many things.  Etymologically speaking, alchemy is derived from the Arabic word al-kimia, which I think,  is an exegetical of Qur’anic science which is something akin to the Hebrew study of Kabbalah and all of  its mysticism. Although, whatever you do, don’t  either of these warring factions this and get that whole, “Why be at odds with each other,  because have so much in common??  I mean,  after all, you’re both sons of Abraham” thing going.

Alchemy in its truest sense, is both a philosophy and an ancient practice focused on the attempt to change base metals into gold.   It’s also been applied to the unyielding search for  longevity, perpetual youth and achieving ultimate wisdom. 

But in the new Millenium,  alchemy can also be used to describe that transformation of negative thoughts into solid gold examples of forward momentum and progression.   Instead of elixirs to do one’s bidding, one must use perspective. 

Change your thoughts, change your life.

New agers have been saying this forever, but until you “get it” and can administer it daily in your the practicum of your life, it’s just a series of words;  gibberish otherwise.  And the key to “getting it” is to  ind a unified theory that would answer the query–how can you blend opposites and  find the perfect synthesis?    

Where did that come from?  It stems from miserable person (we’ve all known him..or her) who has to cordon off his/her life in segments and these segments can’t touch or overlap.   He/she can’t for whatever reason, blend  job, family, friends, entire belief system and all that is deemed holy.   So, if one looks in on this person’s life from the outside in, one would wonder why this person can’t unify these things.  Seems simple, right?  Well, sometimes the only reason he can’t (0r won’t) blend all these life factors is because he isn’t taking the time to measure out the stuff in the right amounts. 

He’s not doing this and because he’s not, he’s forcing  his life in these uniform sections…they’re all the same size whether they actually fit or not.   He’s forced them and that only works intermittently.  That means he’s wasting a tremendous amount of time and energy. 

If he just realized that bullets don’t work without a gun and a gun is only as good as its caliber of bullets.  Oh yeah sure, you can throw bullets at someone and hope to hit an eye,  I suppose and you can  bludgeon your adversary with an empty gun, but a loaded one is a much more formidable weapon.   The two work well together.  Get that, and you get how powerful this life synthesis can be.   

The reality surrounding alchemy– even metaphorically speaking–is that at any given time, there are strange, supernatural forces all around us.  They swirl around in the air like isotopes…or tiny bugs….and they land when and where they want and when they do, that’s when we suddenly, inexplicably feel compelled to make those turns we don’t know why we’re making.  These become those oh so circuitous paths that will lead us to where we need to be.  Circuitous indeed.  Sometimes we have to turn left in order to turn right, but we’ll ultimately get “there”.   Sometimes we have to go backwards before proceeding forward.  That’s proof life can be one big conundrum.   We go where we have to go; we have to go where we don’t want to go  and often that involves “going home”, which sometimes is a place we’ve never been before.   

And wanna  know what I’ve learned?  When you go “home”, you do it sometimes to relive moments that helped make you who you are.  I recently saw a video all about a rather poignant country song entitled, “The House That Built Me”.   That’s very true,  Our homes shape us, but so do old haunts and old schools.   These things are life’s very first molds.   That being said, you often  go home to compare and contrast.

This is more of that emotional alchemy at work.  Perspective takes over and suddenly, you realize how far you’ve come.   It doesn’t matter if you grew up in a shack and now live in a mansion….OR….if you grew up in a mansion and now live in something considerably smaller.   You’ve still taken a journey.

I have spent an inordinate amount of time idealizing all that I had, when in reality, it really wasn’t all that great.  Sadly, I’m only now beginning to grapple with that.  I wanted to believe I could go back to a place so far away–physically or in my head; delivery and arrival didn’t matter–as long as I did it.   I wanted to revisit the bedroom I had during my Jr. High and High School years and sit where I used to talk on phone…where I fell in love twice in my young life.  I thought that maybe going back to old places could help me recapture something; fill some void.     

But that can’t happen.  Too much has happened.  Too much has changed.  Namely me. I’m not the same person who lived in that bedroom; who talked on that phone; who fell in love with those young men.  I can only remember bits and pieces of what it was like, but that’s all.   And if scant memories are the only by-product of this venture, then what a hollow victory that is.   There are times when memories just arent’ enough and not even the magic of perspective can change that.   Emotional alchemy be damned.   

Even so,  that’s still proof the old adage is wrong;  the one that insists, “You can never go home again.”  The truth is, you most certainly CAN go home again.

You just can’t stay.


One comment

  1. I spent the years of K-2nd grade in a great big white house outside of Fort Benning, Georgia. The yard was absolutely huge on a steep hill and it was miles from my elementary school (Benning Elementary) which we had to walk because we were just outside of the bus zone as I recalled.

    Then, when stationed at Fort Benning 20 years later and attending Officer’s Candidate School, I had the chance during a weekend pass to visit my old home. To my chagrin it was a small cottage, on a fairly minor hill and only 6 or 8 blocks from the school, which was also much smaller than my memory’s version. The enormous picture window in our house was nothing special now and the memories came crashing down.

    Then I remembered the fun, the friends, the exploration of the woods and the pets in the neighborhood that everyone seemed to own jointly and I too realized that you can go home, “You just can’t stay.”

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