Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge Day 5 #HAWMC

Day five of the WEGO Health Activist Writer’s Month which I have signed up for – a month dedicated to the art of writing about health. Today’s prompt:

Ekphrasis Post. Go to flickr.com/explore and write a post inspired by the image. Can you link it to your health focus?

Shadows

I have to admit that this was the first time I had heard of ekphrasis – writing inspired by art – so my first challenge with today’s post was to get to grips with  the concept . I learned Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats when I was at school but teacher didn’t explain that this is a classic example of ekphrasis – the poet speculating on the identity of the lovers who appear to dance and play music:

What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? / What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? / What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

When I look at my photograph choice above, entitled Shadows, I think of a quote by one of my favorite writers, Thomas Moore, in his book, Dark Nights of the Soul

Every human life is made up of the light and the dark, the happy and the sad, the vital and the deadening. How you think about this rhythm of moods makes all the difference.

A serious illness, or indeed any life challenge, can be a dark night of the soul and Moore challenges the reader to go right into the heart of our darkest times.

Think of your dark nights. Could they be as useful and even as beautiful as the bright periods?

Of course, it is not always so easy to see this when you are in the midst of a dark time in your own life.

It pushes you to the edge of what is familiar and reliable, stretching your imagination about how life works and who or what controls it all.

Reading those words made me think again very much of what it is like being in the midst of a serious illness like cancer – when all that is familiar, all that you relied on, your faith in your own body even, is torn from you.

And yet, Moore sees this as a precious time, a time to stand back from life, and to “incubate” the soul, to open up to “new and mysterious possibilities” and to make yourself over into a more multi-dimensional person with greater insight and compassion.

Your dark night is your own invitation to become a person of heart and soul.

I know that my dark nights have left their mark on me, and I like to think that I have emerged from them with more insight, more compassion and more heart.

Does this resonate with you as it did with me? Have you emerged from you own dark night with a different perspective on life? Can you see dark times as a period of transformation in your own life?

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Would you like to join me in the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge (HAWMC)?
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