I’ve been listening to this Steve Martin & Edie Brickell song on repeat in the background, either sitting on Steve’s strings dodging his fingers and trying to get a closer look at how to do the clawhammer style of playing, or I’m riding out of Edie’s mouth, swimming on the words and being rolled in them as if by a dumping wave, spinning you above the sand. Then I stopped though, and I gave it more attention, in its entirety, and I heard some underlying sounds that are wistfulness and moving down a road and the real story between two people playing out, fundamental to the true meaning of the song.
It’s much fuller in its effect now. It’s the power of a different perception. It’s their musical wizardry and my deliberate attention. It’s kind of like finding the frankness in creativity and finding true references.
Today my true reference was drops of water on my fingertips, forming and clarifying and falling. Watching them shape, knowing what was going to happen, but each one singular in its creation, becoming a clear pane then etched though with a kind of perspicacity, unique in its reflection of what surrounds. Watching this over and over was revelation. Reminder of the power of presence in creation.
More than that though it’s what we make of things isn’t it? In present moments or in the busyness of life, with deliberateness or accidentally, thanking serendipity and through chosen, brave endeavours.
Joseph Campbell, philosopher, mythologist and author, known by some for the phrase “follow your bliss”, says
“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”
Sometimes when I don’t like something I just change the way I see it or believe it. For example I don’t like the idea of Hell, it doesn’t fit with my belief in an all loving and forgiving God, so from a young age I decided to not believe in Hell. I don’t like the idea that life has no meaning, so I’m tempted to just ignore that bit of Campbell’s assertion. In both cases what I bring is a decidedly positive perspective, but crafted I’m sure to be loud enough to block out what I do not like! So with that sorted out, I can get past my little issue there and get to what Campbell invites. He’s not saying life has no meaning, he’s suggesting that meaning comes from action, from us.
We can define the meaning of our life by choosing our definition and then defining it by how we rise to act, to see, to feel, to move, to be moved.
I’ve been spending time with my nieces and nephews lately, and receiving photos by email and text message, and talking with their parents on the phone. It’s always so great to hear and see what funny things they have been doing, and wonder at how they see and understand and make meaning in the world. I was in a park with Sam last year. He had so much joy going on in his face and body from toddling up and down a grassy slope, like that was the best feeling. The freedom of his feet and the gift of his ability to navigate and negotiate. And he licked a tree. That really made me laugh, with delight. It’s never occurred to me to lick a tree. What a great way to add to the experience of running your hands over the messages in the bark.
Why not taste life? Why not come together into the experience and be expanded? Imagine if you could create all the answers? If you could be the answers?
Tonight I finally got around to starting to read an assignment I did on self-portraits back in my undergraduate teaching degree. I wanted to read it before I threw it away. It was a bold attempt at a self-selected topic, as I really don’t know much about art. I chose it though because my sense was that writing is self-portraiture, and that our own self and our experiences come out in our creations whether we intend them to or not. Whether it is painting or literature, neither mode of portraiting the self produces work independent of the creator’s culture, life history, and all manner of expression of every aspect of self.
My manner of experiencing influences, as do the things I have experienced, both positive and negative. What we bring to the world allows us to communicate with it. I am wholly satisfied when I am able to converse with the self-portraits of myself that I both make and discover I have made. It is substance and speculation, patterns of perception, evolution and regression, building and returning to lay on my foundations, love and fear, barriers and softening edges, honesty and starkness. I try not to be an accidental answer.
And each day is a creation that we partake in the making of and it is our very selves, often with others that are forming, clarifying and falling – we are making, and intending and moving. We are being the answer.
We can be many answers for our lives have many meanings and possibilities if we search them out and if we pay attention, here in the homelands of our hearts, in our abodes and familiar places as well as out in the world.
“But it is only when we connect with another heart and put our skills and learning in the service of others that the true meaning begins to take shape” – Gitie House
There is a group of global citizens who are finding meaning along a path uncovered by the big-hearted actions of a pathfinder. Taking a different route with eyes opened to an alternative way to be the answer. The question is about the survival of children.
Matt, the pathfinder for the Building Bridges initiative explains:
Philanthropy is described as having a concern for human welfare, and mostly this definition is associated with giving away money. But here I want to challenge that definition. What about if we consider other resources we enjoy that we can draw upon to use to good effect to benefit human welfare? True philanthropy. Using your time, your talents, your networks, your imagination. Connecting with others so as to help address someone else’s problem in the interest of their welfare is a selfless act of generosity. It is also shown to be the best, fastest, and most reliable way to obtain a sustainable state of happiness. That is, happiness comes from working toward the betterment of others. And don’t worry, the way the world works, these things come back to you in spades. To paraphrase Churchill: “it is by giving that we get.”
Lao Tzu said “At the centre of your being you have the answer”. Yet the answer doesn’t form and clarify and fall into being in its fullest way until you share it. John Lennon sang “love is the answer”. Be this answer. It doesn’t matter if you hum it or sing it or strum it or dance it. If you’d like to be a part of it in small ways by signing a petition, or you’d like to create through designing the way forward, or if you’d just like to read about it to join the greater body of knowledge, then click here, we’d welcome you as part of the answer.