Lately, reading poetry, studying abstract art and Impressionism, painting, and writing reflections are my most frequent practices. My practice is part of my work now. I have the great opportunity, which I jump out of bed each morning to grab, to teach creative writing and art to 7-25 yr olds in elementary schools, at the Menil Collection, and bedside in a cancer hospital.
Over the past 10 years, my life has taken some sharp turns. Mapped out on a timeline, you can see the spikes up and down, a sort of EKG looking jagged line of being lead by my head, my heart, my head, my heart, my head, my heart. I am surprised by my current assignments but I don’t waste much time wondering how I got here or if I deserve this. My practice reminds me to stay intentional and pay attention to what is, here and now.
My practice alone in my studio and my work with kids and young adults dance on the narrow liminal gathering of head and heart.
We read. We allow ourselves to be read by the words. We reflect on what the words discover when they soak in under our masks and through our skin. We notice the mask and the skin. We hear our lens and our longings, the filters we use so that we can read more clearly through it. We look. We allow ourselves to be seen by images. We reflect on what the masters discovered and how their perspectives and perseverance in and through resistance endured. We become brave enough to hear differently. We become bold enough to see differently.
I am most inpired by using abstract art and poetry together. The gift of these for me, is the not knowing. If I were an expert on either of these, if I knew more about the intent, formula, the message, I fear I would not be seen and heard by it. While working bedside with a very creative patient, I decided to bring the gallery to him. He almost immediately connected with one of the images and found deep meaning in two red rectangles and a white line. This image illuminated his journey. His reflection gave him clarity. With resolve, courage, and acceptance and a twinkle in his eyes he shared his vision with me. He was writing poetry faster than I could write it down for him. As with all poetry I practice with, I don’t know if I understand what he meant to say. But I most clearly understood what I wanted to hear. For the sake of confidentiality, I am not able to share his name or his words. I will share what I learned from what he wrote. Once I connected with my attachment to my needs, I could let it go and be fully present to him, his perspective, and his reality. His words may have been very similar, but, this is my reflection on it, emphasizing what I wanted, maybe needed, to hear.
I am not walking down a dark tunnel toward a bright light.
I am (with) a bright light illuminating this dark path.
I am not afraid.
Imagine my surprise in Ordinary Life class yesterday when Bill described this is as a journey with the Sacred, not to the Sacred.
May we find the ability to shine enough light to see with clarity the gift and meaning offered in the space and time we currently occupy. May we see and hear the filters we apply so that we can properly address and undress them to see more fully what is.
Grace in, peace out