Birds of Trust: The Holy

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We don’t build many temples anymore.
Maybe we learned that the sacred can’t be contained.
Or maybe it can’t be sustained inside a building.
Buildings crumble.
It’s the spirit that lives on.

If you had a temple in the secret spaces of your heart,
What would you worship there?
What would you bring to sacrifice?
What would be behind the curtain in the holy of holies?

Go there now.

– Tom Barrett, “What’s in the temple?” (excerpt) Read the full poem here.

Birds of Trust: Healing

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Every morning I light a candle – I have for years now – to hold the space during my morning time. Along with my coffee and my journal, I have added a word of intention in the shape of a bird to the table. One word feels small enough to handle, and yet spacious enough to breathe. Somehow, color and shape, pattern and texture ease my mind and focus my thoughts. Just one word. That’s all.

***

I had been thinking a lot about healing, even before my friend’s phone call, thanks to these creative chats with Hali Karla. The conversations are short – most are only about 20 minutes long – but they convey an intimacy and an immediacy that I find incredibly grounding right now. Hali ends every one with the same question: “How do you define ‘healing’ today?” Many of the answers have stayed with me – lots of them are scrawled on the surface of my art table. But even more than the answers, the question has stayed with me, lingering in my consciousness, asking me again and again to define healing. Just for today. That’s all.

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Healing is the ability to feel peace in a situation that does not have closure. –Jessica Brogan

Birds of Trust

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I had one of those phone calls a couple of weeks ago – the kind that when you hang up, you feel as though the whole world has shifted on its axis. Every time I think about my friend and her diagnosis, I go to the crazy, dark place where I just want to cry and scream every curse word I know – which, thanks to being raised in New Jersey, is quite a lot. And although this feels like a release in the moment, it leaves me in the crazy, dark place plus, my throat hurts, and it doesn’t do my friend a damn bit of good.

This weekend, I tried something different. I sat at my art table for hours on end, praying with paint and pastels. I had picked up a dozen or so wooden birds at my mom’s recent yard sale. I had no idea what I would do with them, but their simple silhouettes called to me with a sense of gentleness, kindness and grace. Letting these qualities in among the fear, the anger and the despair quelled the cacophony in my head and led me into the quiet of my heart. In this silent stillness, words surfaced.

I will be offering these words over the next couple of weeks – maybe accompanied by a reflection or a poem or maybe not. I have been struggling with what to say in this space lately, and finally made the decision to just show up (again) – as I am, with what I’ve got. Which at the moment is a heavy heart and a flock of painted birds. But somehow, right now, this feels like enough. xoS