Think it, draw it

A little girl, four years old, says she knows what drawing is: “You just think something and then run a line around your think.”

Decomplicate, friends. Honour your thoughts. And turn them into spellsongs and prayers and drawings, all the lines wrapping around the moments in our heads.

What we speak of and write down and draw up and dream of, has some strange way of happening, as if we call that particular possibility forth, out of all the possibilities.

Rilke wrote about this in Letters to a Young Poet, and it’s very philosophical, so sometimes I get lost, but see if you can find something that sings into you in this. I find the idea that :

the future enters us in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens

to be a most delicious invitation, to participate in the imagining of the future, to let my body be a garden in the spring, all freshly laid bare and topped with compost, and where the ideas and thoughts and dreams I’ve been carrying all winter, will sprout forth.

What ideas of the future are you carrying around with you, right now?

Is it Doomism? Is it Dark? Is it Deluded (it will all be just fine, just like 3 years ago, as soon as we a, b and c…)?

That is probably pretty darn natural, if you think about it… because almost every single piece of information we are consuming these days suggests quite powerfully that those things are inevitable. I feel as though that is the equivalent of just laying toxic waste, or a big sheet of plastic, on top of the all garden beds. It’s doomed if we treat it as if it’s doomed and stop feeding it compost and care and attention.

A million zillion quatrillion possible futures exist, out there, in some kind of quantum field, or in your imagination. Grab your fishing rod and cast into all the possibilities, knowing that the bait you put on the hook will determine what you catch. Put a big blob of “it’s hopeless” on the end of your line, and that will come your way… answering to your call. Put a little hand-tied fly that’s designed to attract the attention of Light, Love and Life, that is calling forth regeneration and healing and resilience and mutual aid, and you know what you might start to reel in?

So I understand I’ve just jumped from a drawing metaphor to a gardening metaphor to a fishing metaphor and that might not be helpful at all. But I guess what I want to whisper into your ear, as you’re sleeping (just as I’d whisper into my kid’s), is this: the future takes place THROUGH you.

What feeling do you want in your body, as the future comes to be, through you?

I am thinking about the tender bursting pride I felt when I saw my kiddo bravely take himself off to meet the school bus all alone, or when he spontaneously offered to read me a book for the first time after refusing to read aloud for pretty much two years. I am thinking about the joy that warms my chest when I look out at the garden and the sunflowers are standing taller than my head. The wonder I feel when a bird I’ve never seen before zips by the window and settles for a moment in the plum tree that never fruits. I’m thinking about the huge hug that my friend gave me last night that went on longer than a normal “hello” hug and it felt like she was in no rush to move on to any other place and was totally fine with just being in that moment of “how nice it is to hug a friend.”

Just for one moment, hold on to that.

Let that be the top-dressing or the compost that you let nurture you, as you realize in many ways, your body is the line that is drawn around your think, and through this magical chemistry, all possible futures might sing through us.

It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, is already in our bloodstream.
And we don’t know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes. We can’t say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens. And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside.

The quieter we are, the more patient and open we are in our sadnesses, the more deeply and serenely the new presence can enter us, and the more we can make it our own, the more it becomes our fate; and later on, when it “happens” (that is, steps forth out of us to other people), we will feel related and close to it in our innermost being. And that is necessary. It is necessary – and toward this point our development will move, little by little – that nothing alien happen to us, but only what has long been our own. People have already had to rethink so many concepts of motion; and they will also gradually come to realize that what we call fate does not come into us from the outside, but emerges from us. It is only because so many people have not absorbed and transformed their fates while they were living in them that they have not realized what was emerging from them; it was so alien to them that, in their confusion and fear, they thought it must have entered them at the very moment they became aware of it, for they swore they had never before found anything like that inside them. Just as people for a long time had a wrong idea about the sun’s motion, they are even now wrong about the motion of what is to come. The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, “Letters to a Young Poet”

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