Tuesday, December 25, 2012

How to Hear What You Don't Know You Know

"Poetry is often the art of overhearing yourself say things you didn't know you know. It is a learned skill to force yourself to articulate your life, your present world or your possibilities for the future. We need the same skill as an art of surival. We need to overhear the tiny but very consequential things we say that reveal ourselves to ourselves." David Whyte, Questions That Have No Right To Go Away

When I write or paint and I'm really cooking, no thoughts of the world or my family or life's dailiness enter my space. If you asked, I would say, "No, I wasn't thinking about anything in particular," but I emerge refreshed, knowing myself in a new way. Sometimes I can even put words to it. All of us who spend our days and dreams creating what never existed before know we often get to parts of ourselves previously unknown.

The quote I start with is something I want to explore, and the prayer I end up with surprises me. If I write from my head trying really hard to come up with a great piece, it never happens. Prayer itself doesn't come from the furrowed brow of intense reflection. It comes from entering a space of letting go. It was this kind of overhearing that brought me to write prayers. I still don't understand how it happened and I trusted completely that my direction was clear.

Baruch ata adonai...each time I sit to pray I wonder how to start and where I'll end up. Often I'm hoping for a great big technicolor digitally enhanced bit of wisdom heralded by a prelude of heavenly music. Then I have to sit a really long time to calm down and get real. What would I do if you gave me a too-big-to-climb boulder of insight? So today, I hope I can pat down the hubris, and remember to stay aware. Glimpses of what I need to know come like shooting stars, and if the light is too bright or the noise is too loud, I'll miss them. Hold on. Let me turn down the volume. It's time to get my adorable brain out of the way. Just sit? Be calm? Breathe in peace? Thanks I was really getting carried away. Sometimes praying is so much fun. Amen

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