an invitation to extreme creativity

If creativity is radical discontinuity in a pattern of thought, then going on retreat is an invitation to extreme creativity.

Retreat is radical discontinuity in a pattern of being.

It’s not so much a movement towards anything, although it might it might involve wandering in unknown places or bunkering down in a metaphoric cave.  It’s more of a movement away from the known life with all its impositions, distractions and habitude.

As the disappearing Dharma teacher said – it’s a total commitment to awakening.  Not just in little glimpses, but in rock solid steadiness.

You will know when you’re ready and you must go.  There won’t be a second thought.  You won’t be driven by your mind or even your heart and certainly not by your feelings for they are the most fickle of all.

You’ll be driven by Grace, by a sweet and unquestionable imperative that will shock you and your N & D.  Resisting the call is possible but the consequences to health and sanity are dire.

When the invitation comes, grab it, beloved.  Park your procrastination into long-term storage and walk, empty, into the arms of Life.

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The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.

~ Mary Oliver

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7 thoughts on “an invitation to extreme creativity

  1. As when mother does not want her son to go abroad and leave the family for possibly a long time, her heart breaking, But decisions are made for one, and courage has invariably the seal of impersonality — accomplishing what must be done.

    Who chooses?

  2. In Greek mythology, Ananke (Ancient Greek: Ανάγκη) was the personification of destiny, necessity and fate, depicted as holding a spindle. She marks the beginning of the cosmos, along with Chronos. She was seen as the most powerful dictator of all fate and circumstance which meant that the other Gods had to give her respect and pay homage as well as the mortals. She was also the mother of the Moirae, the three fates who were fathered by Zeus. She was worshipped until the creation of the Orphic mystery religion. In Roman mythology, she was called Necessitas (“necessity”).

    • That’s so interesting dear AM. Thank you. So time and destiny (karma?) mark the start of the Dance … unfolding this dream-without-a-dreamer!

      My mother used to have a little saying, “Necessity drives the life bus.”

      Wise, eh?

      Necessity chooses, but the wee me still agonizes about its apparent options!

      ~ ml

    • As are your words and your warmth dear Ellen! Thank you for leaving them in the comments box.
      Mary Oliver speaks so powerfully for so many of us. I too adore her poetry.
      In love dear One
      ~ ml

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