Thursday, June 23, 2011

living intentionally--what is in bloom today?

This morning is slow, calm, grey.  A bit of drizzle. The hills in the distance are hidden by mist that joins the clouds overhead. It is soft and silent. Still. Focused.

I read an essay by Jane Dunnewold. This time it is called What Matters. How do you live creatively as an artist? The blog post is based on a lecture she gave initially at Confluence--sponsored by the Surface Design Association. Clearly an essay rich with poems and ideas. You can read and re-read it  HERE.

Now much of what she says is true--needs to be repeated but we probably know it. Just listen to this--I am sure you are nodding in agreement.

 Life happens. Your best intention is to allow it to do so, without getting in the way, and by being constantly present.

True but tough to do. Right. Make your choices as to what is important to you. Practice staying true to these choices. Develop a community and be present in it. But in order to be part of that community we each must develop our own individuality and creativity. Now that needs to be said again and again.  Decide what is important in life, practice paying attention to that part of it and eliminate some of the clutter.  She suggests:

Cultivate Curiosity.
Try to be surprised by something every day.
Life is a stream of experiences. Swim in it.
Try to surprise someone every day.
Write down these two events.
When something sparks interest - follow it.

Great ideas. Perhaps too much to tackle at once. Can't we try too hard and get discouraged in this pursuit? But isn't it the process of practicing this. Doing one thing every day. Living intentionally. Working toward the Sacred. Avoiding clutter. Isn't this the essence of the struggle toward creativity? As I said this is a complex essay with lots of thoughts--worth reading and re-reading. I can't summarize the whole post--I can't even wrap my mind around it. But that is, I think, okay. It is an essay where you take what you need today and maybe take something else tomorrow.
She concludes with a marvelous poem by Naomi Nye--The Art of Disappearing. You really should read the whole poem. I love it. But for now, just consider the final stanza:

Walk around feeling like a leaf.

Know you could tumble any second.

Then decide what to do with your time.

Isn't that the key to living intentionally? Of taking advantage of your time and your own creativity?  Isn't that how we should try to live every day?

Today my garden is in one of those between times--only a few Siberian iris linger. The daylilies have buds, promises of their explosion of color and form that will soon follow. The mist focuses my attention.  At first I notice the weeds--how much they love this cool damp weather. The clutter they try to impose. I must weed again soon. But that is not why I am here this morning. I just need to check it out before heading to work.

Then I see it--my first Japanese iris is blooming unexpectedly.  Wasabe ute is its name.  Isn't it lovely. Flowers dancing floating above the leaves. Tiny raindrops on the petals. So simple and joyous.  Just look at those colors and forms. So complex but also so simple. It brings up memories of my images of Japan--a country I have never visited but don't we all have some idea what it should look like. Aren't they wonderful?

With more buds furled--the promise of sky and dance. Hope wound up and concentrated.

And for me this is one of the essences of the living intentionally. The dance of the Japanese iris focused against the mist of the hills. Maybe one can't follow all of the suggestions in her article--great guidelines. But just the act of observing this one flower. Focusing on its joy.  Isn't this what the leaf does--observing the present. And you--how do you live a creative life? How do you live intentionally? Do you live like the leaf? And what is in bloom in your garden?

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