That's right: it is gonna fall. And @PattiSmith delivers the message in this elegant squib from The New Yorker; Find a few minutes to view her performance at the Nobel ceremony. Oh, The struggle of mastery, the call to performance, the flat out truth that we will stumble alongside those 12 misty mountains. She says "I felt the humiliating sting of failure, but also the strange realization that I had somehow entered and truly lived the world of the lyrics." She risked so much to honor the work, to serve its creator, to share its difficult message. And that is all any of us can do. Thank you Patti and kudos to Carolyn Patierno who riffed off this message in today's sermon at Fourth U.
Erich Fromm said "The danger of the past was that men became slaves. The danger of the future is that men may become robots." I've been thinking about the ways in which my life is automated, the simple choices I make without a deeper awareness. How I have become enraptured by my virtual life, the endless stream of e-mail, all the bits I must respond to. What do I initiate? What time do I set to create, to absorb good writing, to witness art, to gather in deep community with others? Guess I'm back to that "one wild and precious life" query; it continues to stir me up.
I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it could do.
Naomi Shihab Nye's words stop me in my tracks. What would it mean to achieve "fame" by honoring our own given truth? Following our essence back to its source and sitting with that, knowing we can tie things together or fasten what seems ruptured or that we can lift lift lift our spirit flag and let it unfurl?
Chaucer (c. 1343–1400) observed "The lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." I'll say. I've been wrestling with a story for more than a decade. One day I awoke with something braiding into my heart center; a genie had visited and dusted me with pixie droppings. Did I have the wazoo to bring it forth? So 15 years ago I began to follow it, to listen to it, to tame the story into submission. Abandoned it after seven years. It's still there, gnawing at me like a squirrel in heat. Maybe it will be like the miracle of bamboo growing underground all those years - sprouting forth with confident victory? Or not. Elizabeth Gilbert: surrendering to Big Magic.
Four years ago, I found myself on a rooftop in Pune India getting ready for yoga practice. Our leader read us the words of Kikakou: A blind child/ guided by his mother, / admires the cherry blossoms... These words, captured in Mark Nepo's handy "Book of Awakening," pierced my jet-lagged heart. In 11 words, Kikakou reveals a mystery: To what are we blind? How do we guide someone who cannot see what we see? What beauty is offered to us every day, expecting nothing in return? Four years later, still a blind child finding my way.