To be a light. To suggest something of the Divine.
I am steeped in talking about ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ and pondering the importance of creativity in my life and the lives of all people. In less that a week, we will premiere our first ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others’ at The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Since I began this work, of talking about the transformation that creativity incited in my own life as a mother and the stories of my days with my children, I have met with a massive longing of other women to tell their stories. My friend Marion Roach, in Albany hosts a memoir project worth looking in to. And another friend Cori Howard of She Writes, hosts a ‘Momoir’ project. Here on the Laundry Line, I am hosting the ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ blog series.
Today’s ‘Out’ post is by Dara McKinley of Volver Now,in Seattle. Dara’s post is viscerally charged with the passion of a mother witnessing loss. In it’s brief cut, like a neat split of the skin revealing hot red blood, Dara stands in grief witnessing the power of creativity.
The world is not divided into two groups, the creative people and the not creative people. If there’s a distinction, it’s between those who are creatively productive and those with unexpressed potential. We’re all creative by default. We’re genetically predisposed to create. Each of us, to varying degrees, is intrinsically motivated to be original and to solve challenging problems. The question to ask is not, “Am I creative?” but rather, “What inspires me and how can I share that?”
Creativity is not about intelligence or information. It’s about inspiration, from the Latin spiritus, meaning “breath, courage, the soul.” Creativity is about being fully alive, living courageously, or as the painter Joan Miro says, “Expressing with precision all the gold sparks the soul gives off.” We inspire each other when we dare to create. We open others’ hearts. We unlock their doors so their spirits can soar. And this is why it matters: because the path through the dark forest can be lit by our work. Others can find their courage in the creations we conjure. Our stories can help people see these times in a new way, understand that this chaos is only a local view of the cosmos evolving beautifully.
this is from Jan Phillips’ Huffington Post of 12.22.11
‘Out of the Mouths of Babes’ lights the path for us all, particularly women.
I found these words by Jan and this author I long to meet in person, Jay Griffiths. I read this quoted text from her article in the Orion Magazine, which is published here in my small town of Great Barrington, MA.
Essential to our self-expression as individuals and as a species, art suggest something of the divine: humanity’s purpose is to “participate in the world-creator’s play of creation,” said Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. …Art is a messenger carrying to its audience what Arthur Miller called “News of the inner world,” and he continued, if people “went too long without such news, they would go mad with the chaos of their lives.”
Mary Oliver, one of the greatest poets of our time, who lives on the other side of my state of Massachusetts, has been ill for a time. Thankfully, her health is improving. There was a call though, with news that this inspired woman was possibly fatally ill, to write tributes to Mary.
I beg you to read this poem, this one poem, and to know the comfort, the warmth, and the necessity of art in your life. Creativity is boundless. Allow yourself the indulgence of time to encounter that which is essential to all of us.
To Begin with, the Sweet Grass
Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat
of the sweet grass?
Will the owl bite off its own wings?
Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or
forget to sing?
Will the rivers run upstream?
Behold, I say – behold
the reliability and the finery and the teachings
of this gritty earth gift.
Eat bread and understand comfort.
Drink water, and understand delight.
Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets
are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds
who are drinking the sweetness, who are
For one thing leads to another.
Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.
Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.
And someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a star
both intimate and ultimate,
and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.
And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper:
oh, let me, for a while longer, enter the two
beautiful bodies of your lungs….
Someday I am going to ask my friend Paulus,
The dancer, the potter,
To make me a begging bowl
Which I believe
My soul needs.
And if I come to you,
To the door of your comfortable house
With unwashed clothes and unclean fingernails,
Will you put something into it?
I would like to take this chance.
I would like to give you this chance.
We do one thing or another; we stay the same, or we change.
You have changed.
Let me ask you this.
Do you also think that beauty exists for some fabulous reason?
And if you have not been enchanted by this adventure-
What would do for you?
What I loved in the beginning, I think, was mostly myself.
Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.
That was many years ago.
Since then I have gone out from my confinements,
through with difficulty.
I mean the ones that thought to rule my heart.
I cast them out, I put them on the mush pile.
They will be nourishment somehow (everything is nourishment
somehow or another).
And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.
I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.
I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,
I have become younger.
And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?
Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.
May you love your own light.
And give thanks,