Rumi quotes – art journal page

I wrote these quotes with a plain ink pen, then painted over them using Tim Holtz’s Distress Ink.  I used the ink as if it was watercolor.  The colors are vibrant and translucent on the page.

rumi full

Details –

rumi toprumi2rumi

Advertisements

Poem – What gets you up?

What gets you up?
You have to have a reason
for getting up in the morning
and for making it
through the day.

Children? Work? Art?

What brings you joy? Do that.
What does the world need? Do that.

Can you get paid for it? Even better.

But even if you can’t,
do it anyway,
because it will feed your soul
and that kind of nourishment
can’t be bought
in a store.

There is no nutritional supplement
for a soul deficiency,
like there is for scurvy.

Rumi says: “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”

Buechner says: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

Poem – In the winter, we can see

In the winter,
we can see the bones of things.
We can see the true shapes
of the trees.
We can see where the birds
have made their homes.
We can finally see
the river that nourishes both,
that sustains.

In the winter,
we know what is what,
without any pretense,
without any show.
No more padding,
no more guile.
In the winter,
you know where you stand
and what you have
to work with.

It is like this in our lives
when the storms tear down
our defenses,
our walls,
our artifice.
Only when we have nothing
do we see what we really have
to work with.
Only when the tornado has come through,
the divorce is final,
the tragically died has been buried,
do we see what we really have,
what is our foundation.

Who knew?
We might have been building
all our hopes
on something frail,
something false.
We might have been
pinning our dreams
on something as insubstantial
as the morning mist.

It is a gift, this stripping away.

Staying sober with Rumi

In the book “Teachings of Rumi” by Andrew Harvey, there is this following story.

“A self-styled dragon hunter went into the mountains to trap a dragon. He searched all over the mountains and at last discovered the frozen body of an enormous dragon in a cave high up on one of the tallest peaks. The hunter brought the body to Baghdad. He claimed that he had slaughtered it single-handedly and exhibited it on the bank of the Euphrates. Thousands of people turned out to see the Dragon. The heat of the Baghdad sun started to warm up the dragon’s frozen body and it began to stir, slowly awakening from its winter hibernation. People screened and stampeded, and many were killed. The hunter stood frozen in terror and the dragon devoured him in a single gulp.

Your lower self is like that dragon, a savage tyrant. Never believe it’s dead: it’s only frozen. Always keep your dragon in the snow of self-discipline. Never carry it into the heat of the Baghdad sun. Let that dragon of yours stay always dormant. If it’s freed it’ll devour you in one gulp.”

Whatever you did to get sober is whatever you’re going have to keep doing to stay sober. The work isn’t over. Discipline is the only thing that keeps your sobriety going. There is no letting up. The same is true for staying fit. You can’t diet and lose weight and then start eating whatever you want again. It has to be a lifetime change.

Poem – path

The path that leads away, also leads to me.
It isn’t just for me to walk to the unknown.
The unknown now knows how to find me.

We are on the same path, it and I.

It, like the father of the prodigal son, is coming to me.

That which I am seeking is seeking me as well.

It is no longer a one day, someday goal.
It is already here, on this path, with me.

At the intersection of grief and anger.

What is in the middle between grief and anger?

These are conflicting emotions. My spiritual director once asked me what I felt towards God, who took my parents. I’d never thought of it that way. I’d always just thought they made bad choices. They died early because they smoked and ate poorly.

But if I truly believe that God is in charge of everything, then I have to believe that they died when they did because it was the time that God had alloted for them to die. And then the next thought is that all the grief and ugliness of my childhood was meant by God to help me. Eckhart Tolle says that waking up to the truth is easier if you have a hard life. If it is easy, you don’t have to work on it. In the same way, God is said to put trials to us because God wants us to do better.

You push those you want to encourage. It may look like you are being difficult to them, but in reality you are putting a lot of effort into them because you want the best for them.

It is kind of a paradox.

So is this feeling. I was angry at my parents for making bad choices, and for abandoning me. Then I framed it in terms of God’s will. If this is all something from God, then I’m OK with it.

I’m no longer one who gets mad at God. I’m starting to understand that God’s perspective isn’t my perspective, that the things that look “bad” now are just part of the process. Rumi speaks to this in “The Guest House.” Everything is as it is, not good or bad. Grain has to be ground up and then baked to make bread. Grapes have to be pressed and then fermented for a long time to make wine.

The same is true for us. We are the grain and the grapes. We are raw,unprocessed. We are better when we are molded. Our hard experiences create us into who we are.

Once I remembered that God was in charge, I wasn’t angry or sad anymore. I was a bit of both, and then they cancelled out and I found myself somewhere in between.

I think we call that grace.

Talking to myself.

Oh my God. I still have another 3 and a half hours until supper. Then two more hours until we leave. So maybe less than 5 hours of having to be by myself.

How will I stand retirement? How will I stand my vacation coming up? At least half of that I will be alone. How will I stand being a widow, if that is to be?

I’m not really by myself, but I am. We can’t talk. There are others here, but the convent is big enough with enough areas that we can wander around and have space to ourselves. There are porches, and swings, and trees, and libraries, and snack areas that we can go to. Or we can stay in our rooms. But we can’t talk. So it feels like I’m alone.

Perhaps I don’t like being alone and silent because I’ve just not done it before. The day here is broken up with meals. We see each other then, but we still don’t talk. I write. Boy, have I written. I’ve wandered around outside. I took some pictures. I read two “elf-help” books. I did scrapbooking for the first time.

And I listened.

And God listened with me.

I’m waking up to the voice. I’m hearing the echo. Rumi says “Who is speaking with my mouth?” and it makes sense.

I’m afraid to say that the voice is me, and I am the voice. It sounds vain, petty, selfish. It sounds crazy. Yet if “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine”, it makes sense.

If we are a way for the universe to know itself, then this praying to God is self-reflective. God is within all of us. God created us, and gave us life. When we slow down the noise of our lives we hear God’s voice. It is inside us, as close as our breath, as essential as our heartbeats.

We aren’t God. But we are part of God. And God dwells within us, every one of us. God is within all things. It all came from God.

There is no division between living and not, animate and not. Everything has value. Everything has a purpose. It does not matter if it benefits humans in general or you in particular. God made it for a reason.

(Written 9-14-13, at 2 pm. Three quarters of the way through a silent retreat.)