Tag Archives: journey

Of coincidence and meanderings

You know how, sometimes, the universe gets your attention with the same message over and over? I mean over and over and over, well beyond the point of calling it a coincidence. Let me explain.

Not once, not twice. Not every so often, not on this day but not the next;  every single day for the past several weeks. Any time of day, any direction, every single time I run an errand between Jeffersonville and Cambridge, just minutes away. Whatever vehicle happens to be ahead of me slows to somewhere between 20 and 40 miles an hour. The speed limit is 50. This does not happen on any other stretch of road. What are the odds?

And even if the odds were low, I cannot help but contemplate a possible metaphor about my current path. It is not about slowing down so much as it is about accepting that I am. The main reason for this, and I am clear about this, is that I no longer feel the competitive urges of earlier years. Incidentally, I think we often compete more with ourselves that with others.

The only sane thing to do behind a slow car, when the road meanders and there is no safe spot to pass, is to accept the current pace and not suspend enjoyment of the moment because of it. When you think about it, withholding joy in the moment, because the driver ahead is slow, makes no sense at all.

The creative mind is that meandering road with no safe spot to pass. It is not safe to pass because ideas come out of nowhere and a head-on collision with an idea can make you miss the point. Creativity demands distance, so we can see the landscape of the mind. If we rush into it, we miss the whole picture. All of life is an act of creation, and I have a hunch we all come to this conclusion at one point or another. It is not that we give up; rather, we give in.

Where am I going with this?

Precisely. Quite often, or perhaps inevitably, circumstances shape the path. I can trace everything I do today, my writing and my artwork, through one circumstance after another. In fact, I can trace all of it to a long string of closing doors and opening doors. We are designed for reacting and adapting, after all. This may be more fortunate than we realize. This circumstance hopping game shapes everything.

We mistakenly believe that we should be ahead of the game, ahead on the road, behind the car that’s speeding toward its destiny, instead of being “slowed down” by our own individual pace. A spot to pass and resume high speed is not the solution. Acceptance is the only solution.

And then there is silence… a topic for another time.

Falling into place

I thought I should check in, just to make it clear that I have not abandoned this blog, our my creative ventures.

The last couple of weeks have been busy, and as time goes by I discover an ongoing pattern in my story. Work shows up that is suited to my skills and interests. It is as though I walk through a door just when there is a need. This is fortunate, of course, and I am grateful. It is a persistent scenario, also, and I have stopped believing in coincidence.

So what fell on my lap this time was the maintenance of the website for Brown & Jenkins Trading Company, the Cambridge Coffee Roaster for which I was initially hired for a bit of Facebook marketing.

Here I go again, jumping in head first, realizing in the middle of one evening after another that I still have my eyes glued to the screen and that I am taking my assignment to heart as a natural extension of myself. The word serenity comes to mind. My work becomes an act of meditation.

When I think of this, it is beyond me that no one has figured out that this may be exactly what we must encourage in school; this passion for the fulfillment of a skill or interest. There are schools that focus on this, but they are rare. General knowledge is important, of course. In fact, it is very important, because it opens our minds. But where is knowledge of self in this?

Then again, perhaps knowledge of self can unfold only in the course of living. You can’t graduate from school and know who you are and what you will contribute to the world; at least not completely. You don’t really come out of school and enter the job market either. That is an old model, perhaps from back when masters had apprentices. Education is not really an apprenticeship; but life is. In fact, life is the most difficult apprenticeship there is, because the teacher is whispering, the task is unclear and the tools are scattered. We pick up our tools as we go.

Perhaps the biggest error is not how we approach education, but what we expect from it.

ps - 1008 - bracelets

Lately, I think mass media truly do not help with this. Fame and recognition have become measures of self-worth. I think about this sometimes when I contemplate the simple artwork I create. I may never be on the news and does it matter? I may never make a piece of such significance that it leaves its mark in history in any major way, and does it really matter?

We implore, “buy local,” yet we value glamor. There is nothing local about glamor. We forget the significance of our microcosm; how one small painting offered as a gift can change a life; how one simple sculpture placed on a shelf can turn depression into hope for one person. It is impossible to create without a ripple effect.

The artist is not the stone, however. This occurs to me just now. The artist is not the source of the ripples. Anything we do is never the actual source of the ripples. It cannot be, for we ourselves stand in the ripples of our own work, of our own doing.

This is what we do not learn in school, and perhaps we must indeed learn it in life: Glory is not in recognition. Glory is in allowing our story to fall into place. Learning to do this is the greatest lesson.

Emily Dickinson said it best…

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

Pictured above, a few bracelets. A reminder to myself that I am continually weaving something.