Veniri Necesse Mihi Pati

(It must come. I must suffer.)

from Rhapsody of the Soul

By on 8-19-2008 in Rhapsody of the Soul

by Gary Powell

Gary Powell colorado 1992With less than $400 in liquid assets, which were already spoken for, I mounted my Honda Goldwing motorcycle in Austin and headed toward Colorado. There was no plan or even a timetable, but I was armed with a wallet full of credit cards. Leaving Austin felt frighteningly necessary. I remember weeping through the first 100 miles westward wondering what I was doing and where I was going. This pilgrimage, and that’s stretching how I felt, was in the middle of two years of the deepest grief only found within the extremes of personal exploration and revelation. Purpose is hard to divine when renting a room in this place. I was not depressed – just feeling that the time for rebirth had come in order to forge a conscious and mindful future.
Grief is not a process of forgetting, it is a process of learning to cope while we remember. – Doug Manning, “The Gift of Significance”

Near Hereford, Texas, I stopped at a west Texas Dairy Queen. It was August, 16th, 1992 and a break from the oppressive west Texas heat was needed. I sat down to enjoy a root beer float and found myself engaged in conversation with a tall, lean man named Doug Manning who was on his way home to Hereford with his wife. In Texas, especially rural Texas, we’ll strike up a conversation with anyone about anything. Even a flat tire can produce an afternoon of story-swapping. A lifted finger to point outside to my maroon Goldwing, a couple of sentences about the heat, and I was quickly engaged with Doug Manning at a place much more pertinent than the weather. These were all natural and cultural reflexes of my Texas upbringing. We were both at home.

Doug says, “I was a preacher for the first 30 years of my life and I realized that I was not helping people who needed to grieve. Therefore, I began listening and studying and writing books about grieving.” Doug started In-Sight Books a year later in 1993. I talked with him about my own grieving in that air-conditioned DQ, and began a friendship that continues today. Within three hours of leaving Austin, in the blistering west Texas heat, I had re-centered myself in the most unlikely of places for introspection and healing.
Growing up means letting go of the dearest megalomaniacal dreams of our childhood. Growing up means knowing they can’t be fulfilled. Growing up means gaining the wisdom and skills to get what we want within the limitations imposed by reality – a reality which consists of diminished powers, restricted freedoms and, with the people we love, imperfect connections. – Judith Viorst, “Necessary Losses”

This is the story of being lost in one’s own grieving and how the grace of healing can find a toe-hold. Drinking an ice-cold root beer float and meeting Doug Manning transformed my wanderlust into a map of infinite points and directions. Such as it is, when grace invades our personal space of despair. Just a few years later, I found myself writing lyrics and having them translated into Latin for “Rhapsody of the Soul.” Go figure!

Indeed, we must all suffer, and “Veniri Necessi Mihi Pati” sits in this place of absolute despair. However, Doug Manning teaches us that we can all transform our suffering and losses into meaning and significance. This is Doug’s gift to us and the gift to myself in writing “Rhapsody of the Soul.”


rhapsody of the soul gary powell composer

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Rhapsody of the Soul

(Separation, Loss and the Hope for Healing and Resolution)

An original work for the Austin Contemporary Ballet
Choreographed by Greg Easley, Artistic Director
Composed and Produced by Gary Powell
Latin Translations by Barry Brandenburg

1. Suavis Unitas Ne Discedas (Sweet oneness depart Not.)
2. Veniri Necesse Mihi Pati (It must come. I must suffer.)
3. Prudens Viae Nihil Moveor (I know my path. I do not move.)
4. In Umbris Progreditur Et Novit Amicos (It moves in shadows and knows my friends.)
5. Timens Decedende. Timens Manendi (Scared to leave. Scared to stay.)
6. In Morte Perditus (Lost in death.)
7. Kyrie Eleison, Christe Eleison (Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy.)

Amy Atchley – Soprano
Chris Martin – Alto
Gary Powell – Tenor
Jeff Hellmer – Piano

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