Monday, 23 September 2013
Saturday, 21 September 2013
We are powerful beyond measure, and so deeply vulnerable at the same time. This may seem like a dichotomy, but it isn’t. We have misunderstood real power. It has been something assertive, non-surrendering, pushing on through. This is not real power. This is simply willfulness. Real power is something else- receptivity, openness, the courage to keep your heart open on the darkest of days, the strength to feel it all even when the odds are stacked against you. Real power is showing up with your heart on your sleeve and absolutely refusing to waste one moment of your life hidden behind edginess and armor.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
I don't want to know if a critic judges my work to be 'good' or 'bad'. What I want to know (and I don't mean, you must tell me, only that I would find it interesting to hear...) is whether it touches you or not. Does some part of your imagination respond to the corner of a painting, does something in your belly move as you read a poem? There's nothing I can do to make something touch you. I can't meet the right people, go to the right places, learn what's in and what's out, or learn a particular way of talking. I can only share my explorations with you, for you to do with as you will.
Here are some of the things that did mean something to me:
...the twenty-nine year old horn player working in a restaurant to put herself through training to be a teacher, who said, 'this is the best art I've ever seen' and was prepared to pay out for an original watercolour
....the two kids watching me making abstract figures in the sand, saying 'but wot is it? wot is it?', then running up and down the space shouting 'it's weird, it's weird!'. Then when I started shaking the paper their imaginations getting the better of them... 'look, there's a fox, oh, it's a squirrel, now it's a bird...'
...the fifteen-year-old daughter of the AA man who fixed my car who's preparing a portfolio for art college playing with the sand, then wanting to know where she could get some
...watching five kids all painting into sand at the same time
...the realisation that people were interested enough in moving sand to want to film and photograph it on their cameras
...so many friends and family turning up to try out the experience I had made for them
...someone telling me that after listening to the music, watching the sand, and listening to the poetry, they felt how they would normally feel after a good yoga class
...seeing the faces of two old friends I hadn't seen for many decades
....the generosity of the friends who bought pictures, and the care and deliberation that went on as they were making up their minds
...the unfailing good humour and generosity of the poet, turning up day after day, to perform an astonishing piece
on the ebb tide beach
everything we pick up
Tuesday, 17 September 2013
Monday, 16 September 2013
is what lies beneath our feet. It is the place where we already stand; a state of recognition, the place or the circumstances to which we belong whether we wish to or not. It is what holds and supports us, but also what we do not want to be true; it is what challenges us, physically or psychologically, irrespective of our abstract needs. It is the living, underlying foundation that tells us what we are, where we are, what season we are in and what, no matter what we wish in the abstract, is about to happen in our body, in the world or in the conversation between the two. To come to ground is to find a home in circumstances and to face the truth, no matter how difficult that truth may be; to come to ground is to begin the courageous conversation, to step into difficulty and by taking that first step, begin the movement through all difficulties at the same time, to find the support and foundation that has been beneath our feet all along, a place to step onto, a place on which to stand and a place from which to step.
GROUND taken from the upcoming reader's circle essay series. ©2013: David Whyte.