We have not removed ourselves from life in any way, and yet we have reached a place of retreat, a place of safety and of rest, a place away from “normal” life and the lack of freedom you have experienced there. I am your refuge from the past, your gate of entry to the present. You have fled the foreign land, where freedom was merely an illusion, and arrived at the
Promised Land, the land of our inheritance. D:Day9.1
Creating an audio book is such a solitary activity. The other day, as I was re-recording some earlier chapters, I had this thought:
I’ve gotten so much better at silencing the noise around the words.
It was a thought about a technical aspect of working with the audio, but it didn’t stop there. It kept coming back around. It reminded me of a conversation I’d had with my daughter a month before in which I talked of needing a quieter life. She asked, “How could your life get any more quiet?” In terms of lack of noise, my days have been quieter than ever. I couldn’t answer Mia right away but later I did, telling her that “noise” was about more than actual sound or commotion or activity. It is about being aware of expectations, about needing to be aware of other people’s schedules, about things undone, or unspoken. I spoke of the noise of the unresolved of former situations and the pending of new ones; of hopes and questions about the future. All those things that, even when you’re not thinking about them, still exist within you, and even though they can at times reside there quietly, can, at other times, (particularly times of manifestation) live in you as another kind of noise: What’s the “best” way to . . . go forward? (with this, that, or the other thing). “Silencing the noise around the words” sounded so appropriate to all of the words, thoughts and images that were in me. It wasn’t about getting rid of the substance of them, but the “noise” around them.
Yet, while I know what I mean about the lack of noise for having experienced the grace of solitude, that’s not always possible or even desirable. There is joyful noise too.
I’ve had an active week, finishing out the audio of A Course of Love, visiting with Rose Gannon, a new Course of Love reader and friend, and putting some final touches on the Dialogue video series that will be launching soon on the Center for A Course of Love website.
Creating and feeling the creation as it happens, in a dialogue between companions, carries a feeling no more wonderful really—but vastly different in feeling—from the writing I more commonly do, and the audio I’ve been uncommonly occupied with. The feeling is one I often describe as overwhelming but that is also fascinating, emotional, enlightening, thrilling, exhausting, and splendid. It holds the energy of creation and is full of the unexpected. “Something” happens. There is a stimulation that causes something new to come to be and that can cause as well, the sense of overwhelm and the exhaustion that comes after. Rose literally trembled with it. Mary Love, who joined us for the video work, added an element of tenderness, tears, and laughter.
Additionally, being as Rose and I are both Catholic, she and her friends Matt and Mary joined Mom and I for our usual Saturday night Mass. As the first hymn began, and I heard and sang its words, I leaned back, as I was a person removed from Rose, and at the same time, she leaned back, so that our eyes met around the person in between us. I think it started with the first stanza but then happened a second time when the next stanza began:
“We are learners, we are teachers; We are pilgrims on the way. We are seekers; we are givers; We are vessels made of clay. By our gentle loving actions, We would show that Christ is light. In a humble, listening Spirit, We would live to God’s delight.”
It was such a sweet moment! There we were, in church, with its usual ritual and prayers, hearing something that was in “our language” . . . the language of ACOL and of our time together . . . and at the same time in total sync, knowing and sharing our recognition, our awareness of it.
The funny thing is, is that, we—in relationship—are the ones being revealed. Our responses reveal to us who we are. We can become aware of a relationship to a person, a hymn, a feeling, and to thoughts, expectations, pregnant pauses. I can accept the responses that arise, whether they are feelings of “noise” I’d rather get away from, the noise of the cacophony of State Fair sights and sounds I encountered with my family today, the blur of energetic noise in creativity, the hum of overwhelm, or the tone that is the canticle of joy (E.25).
Response reveals the truth to you because it reveals the truth of you. T1:4.19
The more I read and review A Course of Love, the more I’ve come to feel that there’s a constant recycling, or making new, that comes quite literally out of the old. Right away a movement begins that takes us all the way through to the ego-less self. But then it is as if it sends us back (not to ego but into life, or from level ground, to mountain top, and back again) to pick up our discards and to make them new. Done with the way things used to be, but continually not done with the discovery of what can be.
Laugh. Cry. Shout or wail. Dance and sing. Spin a new web. The web of freedom. D:Day9.2
Words of the hymn are from, “As a Fire Is Meant for Burning.”
AS regards:” the noise of the cacophony of State Fair sights and sounds”, I had a curious experience today (Sunday 6 sept’15). I participated in a Craft Fair, promoting certain health products. I had just set-up my stand, and decided to sit back and relax…lots of noise all around me. I brought with me Robert Bly’s “The Kabir Book” and opened it at poem 27. It was as if “the noise of the cacaphony” receded and I had stepped inside the poem…it was overwhelming…I totally got-it. Then I looked up and the world came back, nosy, noisy and all…
Here is it’s text: “It is time to put up a love-swing!
Tie the body and then tie the mind so that they
swing between the arms of the Secret One you love,
Bring the water that falls from the clouds to your eyes,
and cover yourself inside entirely with the shadow of night
Bring your face up close to his ear,
and then talk only about what you want deeply to happen.
Kabir says: Listen to me, brother, bring the shape,
face, and odor of the Holy One inside you. ”
Mari, Ben and Derek, I loved that hymn and Ben the verse you added rounds out its beautiful thoughts. As a child, I learned many hymns and they are embedded deep in my psyche. Many of the words now rub me the wrong way so I make a game of changing them to words that represent where my truth is now. But some still carry a profound message like the one quoted here.
Mari, this post was one of the best for me. Seems like your posts are conveying new insights, bringing the experience of living ACOL’s message deeper into my heart. I’ve never thought about the “noise around the words” but I see what I think you are saying, keeping the “substance” but having a more pure experience.
i am immersed in the everydayness of life right now; details, decisions, farewells, changing my whole life environment, letting go of 82 years of being a northerner and mid-westerner. Most of the people I am saying good-bye to, I’ll probably not see again in this life– along with another spring, or snow, or views of Lake Michigan. However the mountain is still available and the mountain will remain with me no matter where I live.
Key for me is paying attention to exactly how I feel in this moment, taking time to retreat the moment the urge comes, not checking off those tasks on my list first, not answering a phone call that isn’t necessary, explaining that– thanks so much, but my schedule won’t allow me to go another farewell event. I am realizing some people are wanting more from me before I leave due to their issues. I can’t explain it well, but I feel there is a flow to my process and It will carry me around the rocks, over the deep places with gentleness these last few days if I let it.
Oh Paula, there was something you wrote elsewhere, that had me thinking that you’d carried this whole thing off quickly and with no qualms. I so appreciate this response as I stand very much at the beginning of a movement I still can only contemplate as “possible” as it fails to lend itself just yet to a final decision. Having begun only the most rudimentary and natural sorting that needs doing from time to time regardless of intent to move, I cannot begin to image the final, even while I’ve moved my household before. There is something different this time around and it feels much bigger. I imagine it is so for you as well. Your permission giving to yourself, to retreat, to move gently, will be what I remember as I navigate my own waters. Thank you. Bless you and your new abode.
Yes…that “Building a Bridge of Care” is soooo poignant now, as we watch the “Migrant-Crisis” unfold before our tv- eyes. I experience deep emotions…just thinking about it fills me with tears of sadness…as Day 39.46 tells us: “You will also be the bridge between war and peace, SADNESS and JOY, evil and good, sickness and health.” ….it feels so overwhelming… Jesus, have mercy on me/them! I know, that Bridge is made of Love and Mercy. …..speechless!
Ben, As heartbreaking as it is I love to read of your compassion and your ending expression of Love and Mercy. Thank you for that prayer for all, to which I add my voice.
Thanks Mari. Yes, I’m with Ben. Loved that last paragraph:
“The more I read and review A Course of Love, the more I’ve come to feel that there’s a constant recycling, or making new, that comes quite literally out of the old. Right away a movement begins that takes us all the way through to the ego-less self. But then it is as if it sends us back (not to ego but into life, or from level ground, to mountain top, and back again) to pick up our discards and to make them new. Done with the way things used to be, but continually not done with the discovery of what can be”.
Yes, as I sit with that paragraph anew again, it is and does describe the changes taking place in My life now that occur of themselves. There is a constant movement, yet it is gentle, like a stream. It is a practice of letting the movement ‘be’ and not thinking about it too much which was the old way. The new reveals a ‘thread’ that you sometimes write about that links to another thread in a greater unseen tapestry of others we are yet to meet, experiences we are yet to have. This is the joy and the thrill for Me now .. and yes, the word ‘discovery’ is so beautiful in describing it.
Derek, I love how you speak of changes that occur of themselves and that you include the thread of other yet to meet, which I can’t say I’ve thought of in that way. And yet, like having Rose visit, this woman I’d only met a few months before, it is clear the way relationship changes our lives, even those like yours and mine that are separated by distance but not by heart. Thanks for responding.
Wonderful posting…again! I loved the penultimate paragraph, in which this appears: ” But then it is as if it sends us back (not to ego but into life, or from level ground, to mountain top, and back again) to pick up our discards and to make them new. ” Just so right,,,it is my experience as well!
And in that hymn, another verse says: ”
“Not to preach our creeds and customs
BUT TO BUILD A BRIDGE OF CARE
we join hands across the nations
finding neighbours everywhere.” Thank you so much.
Yes, Ben, THE BRIDGE! That was the first time I leaned back and met Rose’s gaze back at me! Not sure why I didn’t include that in the post.
And thank you so much for saying that what I expressed of the “recycling” is your experience as well. That’s the beauty of this sharing. You find out that you’re not alone in what you’re experiencing and it feels so connecting to know that it is so.
Thank you for the words to that verse. Bridge is becoming such a significant word and concept for me recently. The lean back and unspoken knowing of a gaze can be such strong communication. The meaning and the synchronicity of having those be the words to come up and be sung…. A Gift from God.