The Surprising Power of the Image
Sometimes it is less a discipline than a must for our wholeness.
Like the time of the white dove.
Oh, thinking back now, I imagine it was a lost New York City pigeon who showed up on my suburban street that day. She stood in the middle of the road, and a big old car came along, and that bird simply would not move. The car slowed, then stopped, honked its big scary horn, and the white pigeon turned its back and kept standing there. Finally, after what seemed like a long time, the car drove around it.
I had been struggling at work, with an older man who was giving me unwanted attention. Lots of whispered talk I won't get into. Graphic stuff that was making me scared. When he told me he'd seen me walking, and seen me driving, I realized he was following me around after hours.
Understand, I'd had a lot of unwanted attention in my life. From age five, when I had to turn away a step-brother who'd overstepped a big boundary, to age twenty-one, when I got fired because someone had said incredibly lewd things to me (and tried to carry them out); he then went to the boss and said I might come and accuse him of something that never happened (and so, yes, I was the one who got fired with no notice). There'd been other situations too. So I had a hard time when it started up in this case... not just mentally, but also because I desperately needed the job. It got to the point where I could barely face each morning.
Enter the immovable white dove.
I watched that bird and I suddenly knew everything I needed to know. Not in an intellectual way, but in an emotional-strength way. The next day I told the older man, in no uncertain terms, to leave me alone, to stop following me, to stay in line.
David Whyte says this too... "It is extraordinary how much of the power carried by the image itself will be present in our voice."
Yes, it must have been.