Thursday, April 16, 2009

Today's Medicine: Joy

I've said before that most television does not interest me. I don't follow American Idol, Dancing With the Stars and I'm almost ashamed to admit I've just now started watching season four of Doctor Who.

That said, I would have loved to catch this bit from Britain's Got Talent, which can be found here:

Why? I could say simply that her voice is stunning. But there is more to it than that. It's the fact that a frumpy middle aged woman Susan Boyle from a village called Blackburn, Scotland took the breath away from people who completely underestimated her talent. It was so clear that nearly everyone in the room thought she was ridiculous to even dream she could stand up with those who considered themselves her betters.

And she blew them away. She was saucy, unapologetic and absolutely beautiful.

This makes me incredibly giddy. It shows so clearly that beauty is hidden right in plain sight, all around us, every single day. It shows that each of us have an amazing gift, if we'd only take the risk to show it to the world.

Thank you, Susan. For inspiring me to allow my shiny to be out for everyone to see and not give a damn what the neighbors think.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Today's Medicine: Introspection

The stakes in good work are necessarily high. Our competence may be at stake in ordinary, unthinking work, but in good work that is a heartfelt expression of ourselves, we must necessarily put our very identities to hazard. Perhaps it is because we know, in the end, we are our gift to others and the world. Failure in truly creative work is not some mechanical breakdown but the prospect of a failure in our very essence, a kind of living death. Little wonder we often choose the less vulnerable, more familiar approach, that places work mostly in terms of provision. If I can reduce my image of work to just a job I have to do, then I keep myself safely away from the losses to be endured in putting my heart's desires at stake.
-David Whyte, Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

I'm attending a science fiction convention this weekend and it's bringing home to me the way I segregate my life, how I observe rather than participate and why these things are changing. I embrace my inner dork, she who loves to wear outrageous velvet clothing and sees the world with eyes trained to look beneath the shallow surface of ordinary reality. And yet most of my life is spent in "passing" for normal, which usually involves people thinking I'm straight, monogamous, conventional and quite possibly Christian. Not that's there is anything at all wrong with any of those ways of being in the world and maybe in another life I was all of those things. It's just interesting to realize that I have created a camouflage that allows me to interact, (and quite possibly survive) in polite society. This realization is followed by recognizing that as I get older it's less and less possible and desirable to wear that protection.

How does this relate to embracing the good work I do in the world? It means that I risk the revealing the inner workings of my thoughts and actions, to allow the world to judge, maybe even dismiss and ridicule me, and I'm certainly not comfortable with the whole idea. As much as I don't give a damn about how people view me these days, I also realize that I do have an investment in being taken seriously by the world around me. And this is something to work with and embrace without fear. Which, as usual, is easier said than done.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Today's Medicine: Gratitude

Today I am thankful for:

-Words that speak to me and shift my perspective
-Conversations with people that do the same
-Finding joy in the simple things
-Knowing when I need to take a day for myself instead of allowing myself maneuvered into doing other things
-Learning how to be in right relationship with others
-The delicate scents and beauty of spring flowers
-Being able to screw up the courage to do the things I think I cannot do
-Movies and stories that make me smile

And some of the words that speak to me today are:

We are all broken little children searching for joy. - Orion Foxwood

Having a family is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain. - Martin Mull

Magic is not respectable, not acceptable, not fashionable. - RJ Stewart

And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself? - Rumi

The world is not respectable;
it is mortal, tormented, confused,
deluded forever;
but it is shot through with beauty,
with love,
with glints of courage and laughter;
and in these, the spirit blooms...
-George Santayana

Rise up nimbly
and go on your strange journey
to the ocean of meanings.
The stream knows it can't stay
on the mountain.
Leave and don't look away
from the sun as you go, in whose light
you're sometimes crescent,
sometimes full.

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the heartbeat of the universe, to match your nature with nature. - Joseph Campbell

I live my life in growing orbits, which move out over the things of this world. Perhaps I can never achieve the last, but that will be my attempt. I am circling around God, around the ancient tower, and I have been circling for a thousand years. And I still do not know, if I am the Falcon, or a storm, or a great song. -Rainier Maria Rilke