In life, there are brief and momentary opportunities that ask us to assert our existence. Although a creative impulse, they can be destructive, because they make us veer away from our normal patterns and habits. Life is compelling us to take these small acts of rebellion so we can go beyond the edges of ourselves, and by doing so, we end up rediscovering ourselves. These moments are a great reminder that, like all other animals, we are, and will always be, wild.
~ Kamand Kojouri
What good is a dream that doesn’t test the mettle of the dreamer? What good is a path that doesn’t carry us to the edge of our capacity and then beyond that place? A true calling involves a great exposure before it can become a genuine refuge.
~ Michael Meade, Fate and Destiny, The Two Agreements of the Soul
The title of this post might not have much to do with anything or it might be a hint of what this post is about. Let’s see where my thoughts and fingers take me. The images, as you would have soon figured out if you haven’t already, are from our trip to West Virginia last October. Rather than have them languish in my computer, I thought I’d bring them out to remind us of color and hikes and slightly warmer weather. I could be showing you snow. We received about an inch or two of the beautiful white stuff late last week and there’s still some scattered throughout the paths and woods. But I suspect it’s cold pretty much wherever winter is residing right now and some of you are probably tired of seeing photos of snow, ice, and other cold scenery.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will already know that I’ve made a Big Decision (ha! — maybe the decision is making me). There were hints of it in my post about the kitchen table. Here is what I wrote for my Instagram post (that included a rather sheepish looking selfie):
I am writing. Maybe planning to do something with my essays. Maybe trying my heart and hand at poetry. I have spent years, decades, making excuses about why I shouldn’t write, much less consider writing a book. 10,000 reasons why I am not qualified, skilled, worthy. Fear… of what? Failure, looking stupid, the work itself, doing the work and finding I am terrible at it. You know. The usual things that hold us back. Yet writing is always there (except when I am distracting myself from it). It has long been a part of me. Words and words and words zinging around in my cells and out onto a page. It started with lengthy handwritten letters to friends before email and blogging and social media. It started when I was a child sitting in a tree, scribbling.
There have been whispers, suggestions, dreams, and what was previously a nudge (from the Soul or the Universe) is now smacking me upside the head and reminding me that life is short. Do this, because maybe that’s what I am here to do. And if not, at least I tried.
As much as I have enjoyed the drawing, the painting, and the art journaling I’ve been doing over the past few years, they may have been distractions. They may also have been a way for me to explore my voice and, as Julie Cameron put it in her book The Artist’s Way, fill my creative well. I think that is especially true of the art journal because I can express whatever I want in there, in ways that I want, and then cover it with paint or collage, if I so desire. There is so much freedom in that.
I won’t be dropping the drawing and painting, but they will not be front and center as they have been. I believe they have served and still do serve a purpose in my life.
I have had an idea for a book floating around in my head for the past few years. I figure the muse who brought the idea isn’t going to hang around forever and she’s been quite insistent lately about getting to it before she moves on and gives the idea to someone else. I’m surprised she has been patient with me for as long as she has been.
This might sound strange or very woo of me, but I think it was the hawk I was listening to last week who finally got the message across. She was there when I went out for my morning walks, and I could hear her through the window as I sat at the kitchen table writing my morning pages last Thursday. I wondered what it was she was calling for every morning. The wondering brought up the question, “Who are you? Who is Robin?” That brought up all sorts of things I wrote about in my morning pages and I noticed that the answers I came up with defined me in terms of relationships. Always in relationship. Isn’t that true of life in general? We are in relationship with the breath, with the elements, with the Earth, with life, with spirit/Spirit, with others, with our activities, with our questions and words and creativity, however we express it. We inter-are, as the Buddhists say. In relationship with everything.
I kept the pen moving across the page as the hawk continued flying, circling, whistling, and calling outside. Some of the thoughts and words that went around in my head (and were written on the page) with the sound of the hawk include: What is it you want me to hear or see? What is your message, Hawk? It sounds almost urgent (“pay attention!”). How do I learn your language? (“Listen. Listen deeply!”) Then this came to mind (from my yoga teacher training notes):
The Dharma is intimate
~ Shunryu Suzuki
Dharma is a big subject. I won’t go there right now (or maybe ever, since I don’t feel qualified to explain it). But writing, at least to me, can be such a full-bodied, intimate, vulnerable experience. It can be immediate, spontaneous, and obvious. The idea I have for a book has bones, a skeleton so to speak, and I will have to work to flesh it out. I don’t think it will always be immediate, spontaneous, or obvious. I do believe, feel in my bones, that it’s what I should be doing right now. That part of it is all of the things Suzuki mentions in that little quote above: intimate, immediate, spontaneous, and obvious.
On that note, I should get moving and stop taking up all your time on my meanderings and ramblings. Thank you so much for visiting with me today and traveling back a little in time to see some of the colors of autumn as they appeared in West Virginia last October. Let’s meet out at the Point for sunset this evening. It’s been so beautiful out there (it usually is, but seems more so lately for reasons I can’t explain). Sunset this evening is scheduled for 5:17 PM. Bundle up. It’s chilly and windy out there.
Please be safe, be well, and just Be.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,956) Looking back at autumn and the colors of the season. 1,957) That feeling you get when you know what it is you should be doing. 1,958) This number (1,958). It’s the year I was born and it made me smile to see it. I couldn’t tell you why. Maybe just the recognition of it. 1,959) Venus sparkling in the eastern sky this morning. 1,960) The crispy crunchiness of an early morning in January when the grass and leaves crackle as I walk across the front yard. There is still some leftover snow and ice, and we had a hard frost.