Hidden nest

hidden nest 011516

Images that arose while creating this:
nest, telescope, Andy Goldsworthy’s nature art, revealed/hidden, interference, water drops in a pond, radio waves, Zen gardens, aboriginal paintings, Advent calendars.

Materials:
Pages from F.C. Happold’s “Mysticism” book (bought at UTC bookstore at least 20 years ago)
Distress Ink – tumbled glass, antique linen, brushed corduroy, rusty hinge
“You are here” stamp
Dr. P.H. Martin’s Bombay sepia ink
White “gelly roll” pen

Tools:
matte medium, sponge brush, paint brush, glue stick, Strathmore 9×12 visual journal

“The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao”
– you can never reveal Truth through words (or even art)

I glued down the pieces of the pages from the “Mysticism” book – all about a direct experience of God. How funny that you can’t talk about it, but this author certainly tried in many pages. After gluing down the pages, I inked over them. I let it dry and noticed later that some of the pages had overlapped – I’d not put matte medium on top of the pages, just on the journal paper. Thus, some of the edges could be lifted up to reveal the un-inked words underneath. How awesome to the theme that they happened to include
Truth
God, dwelling

Which is what mysticism is about, and this artwork. It was positive feedback that I was on the right path.

I inked the three poems that spoke about mysticism (included in the pages I’d torn out of the book) with a pale blue to indicate robin’s eggs. They are the eggs in the nest. They are the fruit of the tree. They will mature and fly away, spreading the truth.

Yet the nest is not filled in – there is a big hole in the middle. This is where you find yourself.

I dripped the ink on, but then used a brush to wick some up. It made excellent patterns and colors (very subtle) in the bottom right. I’ll try to replicate that later on another piece. Some blots I left solid to dry. They became “rocks” in the Zen garden, so I used a white pen to draw the waves around them. They too obscure the words, but yet reveal more in their obscuring than the words do in their revelation.

Poem – intersection (the thin places)

Here we are again.
How many times have you seen the connection
between the worlds?

These are the thin places.
The edges.
The margins.

These are the places where
there
meets here.

These are the times
when you
and I
meet.

There isn’t a mark on the map
for these places
no thumbtack to tell us
where to go.

We are blazing our own trails here.
We are making our own maps.

We are ready for anything,
and we haven’t even packed a lunch.

These moments can happen anywhere.
The thin places are
all around us.

The Greyhound station.
The pool at the Y.
The corner table at the Steak n Shake.
The deli counter at Publix.

God is just waiting to break forth
Shining
into this world
wherever
and whenever
possible.

Ah! God!

I’m noticing a connection in the different names for God. Jehovah. Allah. Yahweh. Hosanna. Adonai. All have the sound “ah” as part of them. Is there something we should notice here?

Is God, (which is not a name so much as a descriptive) the surprise, the awakening? When we are surprised in a gentle way we often say “Ah-ha!” It is a sound of coming to ourselves, of waking up. It is a sound of an awareness that is deepening. It is a sound of new understanding and growth. It is a good sound. It means that we are stretching ourselves and growing into awareness and consciousness.

Or, another idea, do we find God in the exhalation? A breath out is an “ah”. Of course, God breathed life into us, so the sound we breathe out is that same breath. It didn’t change from going into us to going out of us. And when God was breathing into us, God was actually breathing out. God breathes out, and we breathe in.

Another idea, is God to be found hiding in “amen” and “alleluia”? In our giving thanks, we are pointing back to God. With our God-given breath we are giving it back in praise. I’m reminded of the idea of giving up the first born of the livestock. It takes a lot to give up the firstborn – you aren’t guaranteed a second. It takes a lot to give up your breath, for the same reason.

There are no guarantees. But we are made to love and serve God, and not to hoard up any of the gifts we have been given by God. To use our breath to praise God is the simplest and most honest gift we can offer.

Wherever we go, there we are. Wherever we go, there is God with us.

There is a Jewish podcast that I listen to a lot. The writer/speaker likes to talk a lot about the first word in the Torah. The word is b’reishit. It sounds a bit like “Bray-sheese.” It is often translated as “in the beginning”, but the author says that “with beginnings” is better. It isn’t about the beginning of time, but beginning itself. Every moment is a new beginning, a new chance.

He has said that if you rearrange the letters of the first word, it spells the “song of the aleph-bet (the alphabet)”. That is pretty poetic, and it makes a lot of sense. I’ve heard that the Jews believe that God spoke or sang the world into existence with the Torah.

The writer/speaker has talked about many different meanings and depths to this word, this beginning of beginnings, but I don’t think he has ever talked about the fact that the Torah begins with the second letter of the alphabet and not the first. So I will.

Why would the Torah’s first word start with B, and not A? For starters, God is always surprising us. The underdog is constantly getting promoted in the Bible stories. The second son gets the inheritance most of the time. The last shall be first.

I think God wants us to not expect things with God to be the same pattern as it does with the world. God’s ways are not our ways. The rules change. Don’t become complacent. What you thought was going to happen isn’t always what is going to happen. You are not in charge.

But then, it all goes back to the sound, Ah. Sometimes you only notice something when it is missing. By having B as the first letter and not A, it points back to A. And A, “ah,” points back to God. And God is the beginning of everything.