“The true direction grows ever young.” – Gregory Corso, Poet (from “The American Way”)
I am harvesting an old Gratitude Journal of mine…it is instructive to read through past thoughts, observations, feelings…and sometimes awkward:) Anyone out there know what I’m talking about?
“To see takes time.” Georgia O’Keefe reminds. How true is this? oh my. Life is a crowded cucumber these days and it makes the act of seeing much more challenging. One has to be specific about these things – intentional. Set out with a self-guided purpose of making it so. I believe this with all my being, and I do believe also, that when life is a crowded cucumber, it makes it ever so more difficult to accomplish…the act of seeing, I mean. Or creating intention. Which makes the necessity of both all the more potent!
Hustle mode seems to surround our existence, everywhere one goes, and it is a reactive mode in many ways…the exact opposite of intentional. It is a series of batting at fly balls that suddenly head your way, waiting to decapitate you! Or at the very least, send you sailing in the wrong bloody direction! This can be an exhausting experience. So how do we meet this head on? There are certainly more ways than one to peel an onion. How about this…
Devotion. Let’s look at this word. LIsten to its sound. The softness it carries within, the allowance it brings, the sigh of release it delivers. Can we return to the realm of devotion? Of spending countless hours wandering our own desert (as O’Keefe would do out there on Ghost Ranch) waiting with devotion to see the inspiration that will bring you to your page, your canvas, your…self. The devotion itself CONTAINS you. Extends you. It is an active state, occurring only through our own intention, and determination. Devotion. The very word sounds a bit like a prayer…and I suppose it is, or can be…a prayer to those we love, a prayer to our greatest, deepest, self. To act. To move. To be, that which we wish to be.
In my journal, I stumbled on a section that reminds me of something I have not thought about for some time. “A touch of the familiar is calming; invites the Quiet so we are better able to approach that which is new, unexpected, unknown.” This was written in response to John Cage and his beautiful book “Silence” (perhaps this quote above was not mine at all, but a quote from Cage in this book? I can not say for certain, either way.) Beside this quote I have an arrow pointing to the next page and my question regarding the contemplative space: Is this an endangered space? I wrote. An endangered act? It certainly is becoming harder in our culture to carve out space/time/silence, for contemplation. To chisel out a guarded, private sanctuary, free of interruption, in order to Ponder. Contemplate. Be. Contemplation and its importance is immeasurable; it creates…or allows a “largeness” in the human experience – expanding our own possibility of…possible. Cage was a satellite for our collective experience, reminding us of the deeper, eternal elements of being, and there is deep truth to his ponderings both on the page, his art, and within his performances.
Gratitude is a choice. Devotion is a choice. Seeing is a choice. A Contemplative Life, is a choice. Aw hell, the very act of choosing, is a Choice! I guess where that delivers us, is to the mirror, with our own reflection staring back at us, asking if we are willing to make a determination and live our life according to what that demands of us. We are, after all, an accumulation of our choices and actions. That is what builds the reflection that we see staring back at us.
“If your nerve deny you – Go above your nerve.” – Emily Dickinson
Yes! Bless Ms. Dickinson and all her heart, and all the pearls she left behind for us mortal souls…like crumbs of bread, guiding us home :)
A poem of my own from a beautiful family trip up to the Sequoias, tucked up against a meadow rich with birdsong, wind, wild flowers, tall grasses, and roaming bovines.
The ancients lay in the sun, decayed interiors spilling to the soft green floor, giving themselves freely to the endless passage of day and night, moon and cloud, wind and water. Youngers stand firm and upright all around, tender needles deep in green, moving when required, still when allowed. We see no life, my son and I, larger than the dark cicada alone beside the rock. Above, an invisible plane passes. We watch the sky, endless.
There is mystery here, intangible, vast… It seems we no longer know what to do with it – This alone, explains so much.