When Alfred Brendel writes, ‘The word ‘listen’ contains the same letters as the word ‘silent,’ he invites us to pause. To pause and to breathe. That is what I have done when writing my novel Rose, letters of love to life. In 2012 I did not realize that I was about to start a long period of introspection and relative silence. Now in 2021, I wonder if this is not the only way to actually be in tune with myself. But when you love languages, as I do, this is not an easy thing to realize, especially when being in dialogue with others is part of daily work. Yet like many these days when I walk in nature, I walk preferably in silence. The other day I went for a walk in a frozen landscape and the sun came out lightening the sparking frozen sugared branches. It was a joy especially when I discovered this little bud of new life that emerged from the frost. Winter is a gentle reminder that life is made up of seasons. Just now with the chaos in the western world due to viruses, climate change, and politics the focus of many people is changing. A shift is preparing that invites to listen rather than speak, to dialogue more than debate. Looking at the greater chaos and possibilities of a www one can lose sight of the beauty emerging right in front of our eyes. Especially for young people, all these endless possibilities of a global network that is accessible to them for inspiration can be confusing. There are too many options to choose from. Having the focus on the outside world, a logic we have been living in for the last two millennia could be considered a masculine approach to life and work. In Rose, letters of love to life I invite to reconnect our analytical and visual thinking again with our sensing into what is alive in us and around us. To experience our body as an instrument of relating rather than performing and to bring the focus inwards. To invite the reader, male or female to take a more feminine approach. The yin energy or the feminine way of being often is associated with being passive because it is less visible. Yet when you feel you are slowing down. When you feel any part of your body and in particular your womb you know that like any organ it is far from passive. In this beautiful vessel, invisible to the outside world new life is born, just like this bud that seems to emerge of a dead branch on a wintery morning. When I created the character Rose, I wanted to bring alive as much feminine wisdom as possible and yet also show that wisdom does not grow without pain and struggle. I also wanted to show that the best leadership practice to face today’s global health, ecological and economic crisis is not by keeping one person in charge of a country but to install shared leadership. For that several side characters were created, women and men, who challenge her and support her in her professional duties and personal life. The estate she is head of is a symbol for any country and the care for the natural and social environment is an important subject throughout the novel. Rose is aware that humanity is only a small part of nature and that the illusion mankind has to be in control, is short-lasting. Maybe Rose, letters of love to life is an invitation to be humble before that immense, beautiful force that is the web of life. In 2012 little did I know of the Pandemic we are facing today. What I did know is that we are living in a time where the usual assumptions on gender need to be challenged to bring more balance into the decision making where care for life rather than profit is at the center of our attention. As one of my readers writes: Furthermore, Rose seems to perceive a duty – and develops this perception – to be authentic. She engages with the people around her and walks beside them to learn from them, to understand them. In order to be authentic, Rose embraces the ethics of ambiguity. She is in no need of clear-cut absolute normative frameworks. She accepts that the world is too chaotic to apply mere human frameworks to it. This means that certain situations will not have a clear-cut, planned, answer. This is not a problem for Rose as she values the vita activa; the life that has been lived instead of contemplated. It is in those situations of doubt – in the midst of ambiguity – that Rose can find the clarity to make the right decision – the caring decision. The book gives the reader hope for what is possible in the future. It gives us a picture of how a community may thrive. How it can connect a local communal way of living with a global vast network of cohabitation. End of last year I started a series of workshops that invite women and hopefully soon men as well to have essential dialogues in small groups to reflect and sense the balance between inner and outer ecology and apply that in their daily lives to find more harmony in themselves.
Find out more about Cécile on her website www.cecilemasson.com.
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Letters of Love to Life
Jan. 29, 2021