Last week one of my dearest friends came to visit. Though we do write and call, we hadn’t seen each other for 12 years. I’d had fantasies of staying up late each night and talking til dawn, of baring my soul and emptying all the emotions that I’ve been holding in and waiting for the right person to whom I could express them.
The visit didn’t end up working that way.
We talked a lot, it’s true, but there weren’t any great catharses . . . no hugely revelatory moments. Instead it was a gentle visit, a very normal one. Today my friend is aboard a plane on her way to a convention. And in spite of fantasies unrealized, I feel far more centered than I have in months. Merely being with someone I love so deeply and have known for so long had the effect of a soul balm, a magnificently solid realigning of my very essence that healed without fanfare or even apparent action.
This afternoon as I write this, I’m thinking about other things in my life that have a similar molecularly soothing quality. While I know the metaphor of an emotional MRI is inelegant, it’s the closest idea I can find to express what I’m hoping to convey here. (Use this link for a brief explanation of how MRIs work. In my odd world today, an emotional MRI heals while a medicinal MRI is used soley for diagnostics.)
One poem that always centers me is “Danse Russe” by William Carlos Williams. Reading it jolts my atoms and when they return, a joyous part of my heart has opened. The experience lasts for days as the images the poet creates — and I internalize — enter and reenter my mind’s eye.
The book Turtle Moon by Alice Hoffman reminds me of magic each time I open its pages and allow myself the pleasure of reliving its stunning writing and beautiful story. While reading it, I see the world around me through a similarly magical lens. I suspect that The Book Thief by Markus Zusak will serve that role too in the years to come.
Kodaly’s Sonata for Solo Cello stirs longing, pain, and utter beauty so fully that every time I listen to it my cells heal. The effect is quietly wrought, a shift of quarter tones rather than entire scales.
I return to these pieces of literature and music — as well as certain others — because they reach a place of tremendous and satisfying meaning in my heart. They align my emotional molecules and bring a beautiful solace. Though I don’t end up with a diagnostic of my soul — and that’s where the whole MRI concept might break down in the telling — I do end up feeling blessedly complete once more.
Will you share one of your emotional MRIs with us?