Since I began blogging a decade ago I’ve probably posted close to a thousand glimpses of the texture of my days in poetry and prose.
But I’d never looked back down my lifeline to track the trajectory from tiny-hood to crone-hood. There were revelations galore as I began to connect the dots of the decades, but one stands out because it threw my seemingly crazy life into exquisite focus. It was the recognition that pretty much everything I’ve experienced was (and still is) driven by just one little question.
It took Shanti Einolander to coax the story out of my brain and into words that would be included in her stunning online publication: ONE The Magazine. Parts of the article are posted below, along with the sub-headings. I know – it’s a teaser, but I do hope you’ll go over to the magazine and subscribe to read it all, and feast on the priceless array of inspiring writing, poetry and art you’ll find there.
– – –
what is this?
so blatantly in my face
yet unable to be seen?
closer than my breath
yet unable to be reached?
shining through the mind
yet unable to be known?
It’s taken me a lifetime to understand that my personal motivation on the spiritual journey was a bit unusual. I wasn’t looking for an antidote to suffering – not at the outset anyway. I wasn’t trying to escape anything. I didn’t feel incomplete. I was a happy if ingenuous kind of person.
But in the lottery of life I was over-endowed with innate curiosity. As a child I was a question mark on small feet – and I assumed everyone else was, as well. In fact, my childhood assumption was that the content of all human brains was identical to my own. I still remember the shock (I was about ten years old) of realizing that I was definitely ‘different’ from my brothers and school friends. That was my tardy moment of individuation, the drop-kick into separation. The birth of dear wee Queen Me.
I was also born with the ‘wonder’ switch turned on – the one that makes you wide-eyed with wonderment at the miracles of life. (Later I came to understand curiosity and wonderment to be a natural pair.) It seemed to me that the greatest wonder was that life happened at all. How come it was so blithely taken for granted? How come no one seemed to pay heed to this miracle? How come it was never in the news except when it arrived as a newborn or departed someone’s body at death?
Miraculous: supernatural; surprising:
L miraculum from mirari: wonder; F mirus: wonderful
– Oxford Concise Dictionary
Looking back, it seems my journey has been about penetrating the nature of this “miraculousness” and the odd way its presence seems to cause me to disappear. An important part of that journey has been my passion for making things. From early childhood I loved making things because it was during playful immersion in creativity that the miraculous would often manifest. (The word “art” didn’t come into it until much later, when there was an artist self up and running; I would notice that the miraculousness would only come to play in her absence. But that’s another story.) […]
a kid with no head
In retrospect I realize that as a youngster there was no question as to what ‘I’ was. It was unbounded spacious knowing. I wouldn’t have had access to that vocabulary, but I do remember the sense of headlessness and the absence of solid boundaries to my body. (This caused a few ownership problems with my brothers!) Even after the arrival of individuation this experience remained constant – although preoccupation with the stories that were accreting around my teenage self slowly began to dominate my attention, heralding the beginning of The Great Forgetting. […]
finding my tribe
hacking the great hoodwink
the alchemy of emptying
ONE The Magazine: What is This?
Boundless gratitude to Shanti for the opportunity to reflect on my life from this perspective
and for the honour of being a contributor to ONE