Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The hard stuff

This is the image that emerged yesterday -- definitely a departure for me.  It was disturbing to create, actually, but it seemed determined to emerge as something that mixed gritty and industrial with something far more organic that lay beneath.

I thought perhaps it was some sort of ecological statement -- and of course it could be.  And then this morning (Hey, Paula, I cheated and opened a new book before finishing the old one!) I was reading a piece by Thich Nhat Hanh in which he compares meditation to allowing a glass of apple cider to settle, and I thought, well, maybe that's what this image is about -- the sort of churning that goes on beneath the surface of things; the stuff that needs to settle out.

But then I opened my email to find that yet another friend has been diagnosed with breast cancer.  And though the prognosis appears good, there is still that fear -- that there could be more going on below the surface than initial testing indicates.  So now I suspect that this is what fear looks like.  Or maybe hopelessness, or helplessness.  Of course it was hard to create -- who wants to look at, or feel, that stuff?  And I feel I should also note that this image was created on the 10th anniversary of the day my daughter's best friend (son of my dear friend) committed suicide.  So it's not surprising there were undercurrents of hard stuff.

I keep a copy of Coleman Barks' A Year with Rumi always open on my desk, but  I never got around to looking at it yesterday. Now I see that yesterday's poem goes with all of the hard stuff.  It's called

The Essence of Ritual

Pray the prayer that is the essence 
of every ritual. God, I have no hope.
I am torn to shreds.  You are my first,
my last and only refuge.

Do not do daily prayers like a bird
pecking its head up and down.

Prayer is an egg.
Hatch out
the total helplessness inside.

No.  None of us wants to go there.  But sometimes life makes us go there.  I'm grateful for "my first, my last and only refuge."  Whether you call it prayer or meditation -- sometimes it just needs to happen, to carry us back to the comfort that is God.

1 comment:

Gaye said...

Ah yes ritual both Catholic and my own have saved my life and sanity more than once over the years. Today on good days and very good days especially I bless the rituals that got me here.