Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Skinny Dipping

We humans are very, very creative. Our busy minds spend a lot of time building fortified stories and thirsting, usually unnoticed, as we go through the routine of a day. I'm an occasional art teacher; almost every adult student comes to me saying that he or she is "not talented", as if creativity was some kind of elite gift. No. It's our nature, our essence. We begin to create the second we come to consciousness after sleep, when we instantly reconstruct a self in which to "deal with" the world. All day long, millions of mental connections are made, remade, changed and shuffled. Through this process we give, take, build, destroy. It is quite effortless; even when we think we are doing nothing, we are beating hearts and growing hair. And when the body rests, we continue in a subtle motion...repairing, rebuilding, dreaming.

An "artful" life is simply a life attended. Showing up for our own process puts us at the gates of heaven, so to speak, which are always open, even in the midst of turmoil, creative drought and meaning-famine. Everyone is invited. It takes nothing special to get there and is nothing like we imagine. Charting a path to the gates, in fact, is the long way around, and a common distraction from understanding our real location. Once we wake up to that location, though, we take the scenic route all the time, for the view. :)

When our stories come to their natural end--that is, when our assumptions, plans, structures and definitions fall apart, we have not failed. We are being issued an invitation of the highest order--an opportunity to really see, to experience directly the entire banquet of what we are. To imagine failure, and then scramble to maintain the status quo of a dessicated and claustrophobic life, is to once again deny an expansive beauty and natural meaning. But that's ok. Eventually, it finds us, in the end.

Why wait?

There is no moral imperative. Life is infinitely patient. Even a tiny curiosity coaxes off the first veils, reveals the first signs that stunning love and divinity are everywhere, underneath all the imaginary clothing. This kind of intimacy requires nothing more than a willingness to remain open, vulnerable, knowing nothing. No rebuilding. No substitution. No chasing the tail of the mind. No polishing the facade. No mining the past or repaving the future. No damming the river. Shhhh. Open.

The turmoil calms, and a mere glimpse and whisper is enough to send us diving for the heart, for what's real.

Out of that comes a different relationship, an undying devotion, raw talent and true purpose. The stuff of dailiness continues, but the burden is dropped and a lightness is felt. Choices are infinite and actions aligned with the current of life instead of against it. The full range of experience is at last revealed as having been there, all along, as naked being. We were just hiding, denying, running for cover. Fear of pain, fear of our own demons...just plain, corrosive, habitual fear keeps us from looking too hard at that which is sacred, lest we turn to stone; from speaking its wordless name, in case we are annihilated on the spot; and from touching the current directly, because it might take us away.

My loves, that is the point. That is the reason. Therein lies the passion.

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