Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Carried by the surprise of its own unfolding..."

"When you hear the sound from
far enough away
even dynamite can purr..."

-     David Wilcox

The following post from December, 2010, has been such a great reminder of late. Some things are enduring and changeless...

Those who know me, know that I love quotes.  I love the feeling of "relationship," I discover in a shared love for ideas...and for a writer's succinct articulation of those ideas.

I also love the connections, the synapses, made between seemingly disparate ideas as they move through the corridors of my heart.  That happened for me today on a number of fronts. 

It started when I came upon a tiny scrippity scrap of notebook paper, on which I'd written the following quote one wintery afternoon, a couple of years ago. 

"She liked unfinished.  She liked process.
She liked moving things -- rivers, clouds, heartbeats."

-  Alice Hoffman  (The Third Angel)

The quote struck me immediately the first time I read it...and it did again this morning when I found it in the leaves of Hoffman's book. It resonates with how I feel about things.  I like process...I am not at all eager for things to be "done."  I like the feeling of Life (vitality, creativity, serendipity) flowing through our lives like a river...changing and shifting its outline and form moment-by-moment. 

And by reciprocity, the river has a transformative effect on the landscape.  The "ground" which gives the river its surprisingly beautiful, undulating, and meandering boundaries, is changed by the river's course.  It alters those same banks...molecule-by-molecule...moment-by-moment as it carves and sculpts its host landscape.  There is something so organic and alive about things that are pulsing with process.  There is a relationship that cannot be one-sided. 

So, this morning, as I was reading this quote, I started thinking about rivers and couldn't help but start humming, "
Just Around The River Bend," from Disney's Pocahontas. 

"What I love most about rivers is
You can't step in the same river twice
The water's always changing
always flowing..."

"Yes," I thought, "it all fits."  That serendipitous sense of Life in which we allow one moment, to flow into another.  When we surrender to a divine surprise.  When we are more in love with the process, than a product. 

then I caught my friend Randall's posting of a David Wilcox house concert performance of his song, "Dynamite in the Distance" on Facebook. 

In his opening remarks David gives words to what I feel in my heart, about the process of writing, praying, living.  He says:

"I have loved the process of writing for a long time...not the product, so much, but the process.  It's my way of finding the elements of my story that I don't want to miss, before it's too late.  

"It's about finding places in my heart that have been covered and buried, and locked in storage, and getting them back so I can be more alive. 

"So, it is bewildering for people who come, when I teach songwriting, because they are expecting me to tell them how to make a song sound like a song, how it ought to sound...how to fill out the form.  

"But I don't want to fill out the form,
I want to be informed.

"I want the song to tell me what it knows, I don't want to make it do anything.  If I start out with a guitar riff, or a little phrase, and it moves me, I trust that it moves me because it's coming from a place that I am going.

"And my heart catches a point of view as if it's a vista that I haven't even hiked to yet.  But it's a way of seeing.  It's almost as if I could see from the point of view of who I could become.  Wow...now that saved my life.

"I need music.  I need it to remind me."

"Wow," I thought, "just wow..."

Then I remembered the writings of the late Celtic sage - poet, philosopher, and spiritual luminary - John O'Donahue.  I have been swimming, floating, drowning in his words for the past few years. His quotes have been the thoughts I've wrapped myself up in -- like the old quilts hanging on walls, folded in piles, and stacked cupboards throughout our home.  Here are two that I especially love tonight. They are like snipped pieces of fabric from favorite old dresses, now sewn into a patchwork blanket of ideas.   They are so softened by wear, that I often find myself stroking them whenever I am snuggled under the weight of his words:

"As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become."

"I would love to live like a river flows,
carried by the surprise of its own unfolding."

So, I don't know that this post has a punchline.  Tonight there really is no clear "message," or "product."  Just some thoughts to flow through the landscape of your heart.  If they carve a new bank...or just eddy for a while...wonderful.  I hope you enjoy the sound of this river's song...

with Love,
Kate Robertson, CS

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