Sunday, July 1, 2012

The 'Albatross' and "The Wind Is Not Depressed"

I recently stumbled across an article published by The Sun magazine in 2004 titled “The Wind Isn’t Depressed.” It is based upon conversation between authors Michael Ventura and Robert Bly about “art, madness, and the joy of loss.” Although there are certainly viewpoints expressed in the article I do not agree with, it did bring up an interesting point that I really liked and thought was worth sharing.
In one of Bly’s poems he writes,

                “Why do we imagine that we are responsible for all
                The pain of those near to us? The albatross that lands
                On the mast began flying a thousand years ago.”

Ventura mentions that one reaction to this could be that it is an abdication of responsibility and that this cannot help us understand how we are responsible for each other’s pain. Bly responds to this by saying, “When something goes wrong in a marriage, and it all comes to grief, it’s our habit to think, It’s my fault. But from the view point of an older culture, each of us has had many past lives, and the suffering that you and your spouse just went through is not coming from your connection to each other. It’s coming from those past lives. The albatross began flying a thousand years ago.”

As we struggle with relationships, especially those that go sour, we are constantly fighting to try to figure out where the blame lies. In times when this is unclear, which is often, some of us default to blaming ourselves while others tend to blame the other person. Few of us embrace the perspective that sometimes the ultimate conflict between two individuals actually begins way before they even met, in all the past moments of their lives, and in the lives of those before them that have had an impact on the person they have become. Although I certainly believe that there are times where it is important to accept responsibility in the failure of a relationship, I also believe that there are times when we should realize that there are forces in our lives pushing us in a certain direction, and that there are some crashes in life that we couldn’t have prevented even if we’d tried. In other words, you can’t blame everything on Bly’s ‘albatross’ but there is liberation and value in knowing that it’s there.


  1. Perhaps because it makes mention of an albatross, this song came to mind when I read this.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the post. :) Cheers.

  2. Cool video, I've actually never heard that song before but really liked it! I'm glad you enjoyed the post:) Thank you!

  3. Hi Kara, nice post. Funny you mentioned The Sun. I'd been getting their mailers for a couple of years, and every time I'd receive one, I'd think, "This looks like a magazine I'd enjoy." I finally subscribed a month ago, and then I come across your post. :)

    I agree that there are forces pushing us in different directions, probably way more than we realize (or that some would care to admit). We tend to search for answers in what we see, yet often times what we see doesn't give us the answer we're looking for. There is much more happening than meets the eye. :)

    Thanks for sharing this!

  4. Hi Kara, I agree with your assessment; sometimes there are other forces at work and while this does not remove responsibility, it does give weight to destiny or fate or instinct. Great post.

  5. " ... there are forces in our lives pushing us in a certain direction."

    Beautifully said.

    I have been a fun of this particular Sun piece since it first appeared in 2004. I keep it bookmarked on my phone so that I can go back and read it again. It was a real public service to put those 2 people in a room and keep a record of the results.

  6. "... there are forces in our lives pushing us in a certain direction"

    Beautifully said.

    I've always loved this Sun article, it was a real public service to put those two people in a room and keep track of what was said.