Bitter Salt: Private Hell to Global Healing

I’ve been wondering how to introduce a slideshow I made a few weeks ago as I continue to struggle with big questions, problems, and try to see my way through to possible (even if unlikely) solutions.  Oddly enough, making these seems to be a way of processing and coming to terms with my experience. Anyway, by way of introduction, here is Loudon Wainwright III singing a live versions (from the early 90s?) of “A Hard Day on the Planet.” I believe he wrote in 1985, but it seems remarkably timely today.

Let’s face it, how many songwriters not only allude to, but actually name drop John Donne? (Van Morrison is the only other one that comes to mind).

There have been many diaries about the necessity of reaching out to people outside of the Democratic coalition, and also about the difficulty, even the impossibility, of doing so. I have been trying to work out a shared foundation to build on. Love doesn’t seem to work, perhaps because many people have so little experience with it, or have only experienced it in a dysfunctional way. I find myself wondering if pain, trauma, and suffering might actually be a more productive common element to focus on, and if it might actually be used to build some bridges. The following is my attempt to articulate through a kind of visual poem set to music, why we are where we are (“Private Hell”, how we got here (“Time for Truth”), where we are now (“Bitter Salt”), what almost everyone has in common (“Everybody Hurts”) and a possible way forward in transforming pain into beauty (“Let It Be”).   I realize, of course, that the last bit is tricky (pain can perhaps be more easily turned into a desire to harm others), but it can be done, and I wonder if what is called “Creative Arts Therapy” might not be a way forward, at least for some individuals (including me), and perhaps for larger groups as well.

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