I spent a couple of days in Edinburgh last week, immersing myself in the galleries, libraries and cafes to refill inner creativity fuel tanks that had run painfully low. It was both wildly inspiring, and richly nourishing to give myself this gift of paying my soul respects to the power of art.
After less than two hours in the National Gallery I simply couldn’t take in any more, and began to digest this feast by by expressing some of what I was feeling though the writing of postcards of some of the images to treasured friends. I acknowledged as I wrote how very directly and spontaneously art reignites a flame of hope inside me. Any ‘being’ who has the capacity to allow ‘that’ to come through is unmistakeably a direct channel to some sacred source, one that carries the very breath of life and the transcendence of a surrender to interconnectedness within it.
Degas – Before the performance
Van Gogh – Orchard in Blossom (plum trees)
Waller Hugh Paton – Entrance to the Cuiraing, Skye
Spending time in the Scottish Poetry library was a mini pilgrimage. I felt a sanctity in that space I sometimes feel in churches and temples, and glancing along the shelves to pull out volumes and volumes of words written at the very edges of human emotional experience served me a sense of beauty so concentrated as to be almost unswallowable.
‘Air, soil, water, fire – those are words,
I myself am a word with them – my qualities interpenetrate
with theirs – my name is nothing to them,
though it were told in the three thousand languages, what
would air, soil, water, fire know of my name?’
Walt Whitman, from A Song Of The Rolling Earth
‘Give me your lies.
I will wash them
tuck them in
the innocence of my heart
to make them facts.’
Maram Al-Massri, A Red Cherry On A White Tiled Floor
‘I am so distant from the hope of myself
in which I have goodness, and discernment
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.’
Mary Oliver, When I Am Among The Trees
I am left with a newly empowered conviction – I want to do that. As I read and felt the words reach their powerful resonance free and unchecked deep into my being, making it sing and expand with uncontainable gratitude, I felt no jealousy or urgency, only humble respect and playful passion. I saw the gap between where I am now and where I would like to be in my journey as an artist, and I was not overawed. It felt ultimately bridgeable, though no doubt a journey worthy only of a determined and courageous explorer.
I was also reminded of the importance of ritual, and was saddened to recognise how easily I’d allowed those activities that rose and set my days for years, to be lazily discarded. In acknowledging their loss I recognized the value they’d had, and have now reestablished them. I open my day with meditation and close it with a page written in my gratitude journal. I now know the thoughts that stole these practices from me, most of which involve blaming others/circumstance or the procrastination of ‘I’ll do it later/tomorrow etc’. I can recognise their voice and choose not to give it my attention or power. The rhythm of ritual has already brought me a renewed sense of strength, and it took only two days to rediscover that. That was two days well spent I’d say:-)
Good Deeds Received
I didn’t have change for the bus ticket, but one of the passengers happily swapped my five pound note for coins.
I was kindly directed on several occasions by various people I accosted on the street, or whom I sought out in shops. Thank you all!
I was gifted great wisdom and spiritual sustenance from reading a book recommended by a dear friend, a book I will tell you about more another time.
Thank you to the care home that has invited me to interview for a job their on Wednesday this week:-)
Thank you to the wonderful man at the take away baked potato place who called me darling so many times over, and mixed Scottish words like ‘wee’ and ‘tattie’ into a delicious and expressive language and accent all his own.
Thanks Mum for texting me to let me know about the job interview, as I wasn’t at home to receive the invitation.
A dear friend put the date and time of my interview into her diary so she can send me positive vibes on the day:-)
Good Deeds Done
I saw someone unsuccessfully asking for change for a ten pound note and happily off loaded all my coins:-)
I offered a chip from my take out to someone who cheekily and unexpectantly asked for one. ‘No way!’ he said when he saw me turn back and open the container. ‘I hope you like ketchup,’ I said.
I chatted to a few people at the hostel I was staying at about looking for jobs here, and gave a couple of informal impromptu English lessons:-)
Wrote postcards to two special friends.
Bought birthday cards for my father and brother.
Helped my Mum sort out her car tax.
Spent a long afternoon walking and talking with a friend who had much to get off her chest, and shared much wisdom with me in the process.
Have a great week my friends! May you uplift and be uplifted in perfect graceful rhythm:-)