Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Quietness, Rumi and a Stack of Books

Last night, I lit candles in my room, shut the door and grabbed the stack of books I am working through. Madeleine decided to pass out from exhaustion at 6 p.m. (because, we all know, being 4 is exhausting). I had a sudden wide open evening. A movie watched. Evening chores finished. A white blanket tucked into the hardwood sleigh bed frame was a retreat. So the books sat, each tucked with a bookmark made from scraps of paper or drawings that my daughter delivers to me all day long. Each partially read, half-consumed, some underlined, some dog-eared, maybe one uncracked completely.

How the Irish Saved Civilization
Till We Have Faces
The Collected Works of W.B. Yeats
East of Eden
The Essential Rumi

Poetry falls into my lap often lately and I don't deny it. I don't find it boring or plotless, rather it seems to help me tell the story of my own life when I seem to have lost all of the words.

I feel poetry in the mountainside and in the ice cold swimming hole water. I feel it in silent gaps of conversation, in pine cones ripped apart in our hands, in stars that hang low by quiet summer campfires.

So I work my way through each, tiny morsels of words and stories, all one giant narrative somehow interconnected in my head. This morning, I'm cracking open Rumi again. Whether he meant to or not, Rumi had a grasp on Grace and in this poem, I see grace and mercy and a reminder that "Quietness is the surest sign that you've died." I am prone to try and make myself better, and sometimes I hear the Spirit close, saying: "Be quiet. Let your old self die. Let her go. She is exhausting you with perfectionism, judgement, lists of un-met expectations and mental thrashings. She is frantically running. You have no business associating with her anymore." And by the end, I am humming Sara Groves' "You are the Sun". Taking some kind of comfort in acknowledging that I am the moon with no light of my own. Still You have made me to shine.

 You Are the Sun by Sara Groves on Grooveshark

Quietness by Rumi
Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
Do it now.
You're covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you've died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.

The speechless full moon
comes out now.

My daughter is awake by sunrise. The quiet space of my bed and stack of books tumbled into some half-open by my pillow, some on the floor, and a four-year-old suddenly appearing at my side, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

I want to flip the script, I think. I want us to be born into color daily, swinging in hammocks and resting under stars, climbing mountains and understanding more about how small we are in the beautiful and breathtaking grand scheme of things.

The here-and-now mountain is a tiny piece of a piece
of straw
blown off into emptiness.