Summer and times of light have moved on and made way for a very wet February here on the North Coast. The earth is saturated, the rivers full and plants are drooping and dripping. Sometimes the sound of rain is like smacking wet sheets against stone.
The last week I found myself rehearsing bits of writing for the blog whenever I sit on my meditation stool. I wonder whether these rehearsals are a waste of time or preparing for a course of action. What to write about, how, whether and why? I could get bogged in those sort of questions. It’s muddy there. Or I’ll just write something today.
I was just drawn to a line from a Rumi poem—‘Go up in the roof at night in this city of soul’.
To ‘go up in the roof’ is an enticing invitation in this wet and wild weather. It’ll be dry up there. I used to go up in the roof in the house of my childhood. The roof was made from dry pine logs and slate. A narrow, steep staircase led there. It was a forgotten place, where old suitcases, boots, broken chairs, old milk cans, dried herbs and flowers lay arrested in their retirement from active duty. They had become keepers of memories and broken dreams. There was an air of dozing, of quiet, of uselessness and waiting. I felt like an intruder upon these things and only visited during the day— at night would have been scary. There was no light source, only flickers of starlight through the small openings left for air vents.
But then soul loves the night, darkness, quiet, deep breathing and old and abandoned things. To go up in the roof is maybe a calling to take time out, to reflect, to find the deep quiet place inside. Time out from the bustle, the complexities, multiplicities, the fighting for survival ‘in this city of soul’.
The other day I found some notes from years ago that I was given in an experiential art-making workshop. They had lain in my attic but they have not accumulated dust:
‘ A fearlessness needs to be invoked to make work that is experimental. A sense of adventure and a certain degree of courageousness are also needed. One has to be prepared to take risks and try different and unfamiliar approaches. Try to be childlike; full of optimism and daring.’
Underneath, written in bold.
Banish your inner critic
Work fearlessly and boldly
Do not worry about outcomes and expectations
I do always start childlike, full of optimism and daring. That’s the best part of it all. But then it turns into something else, when, how? That’s another investigation. I do worry about outcomes and expectations— it’s the city of soul down here.
I’ll stick these guidelines on my old corkboard, take heart from the word ‘experimental’ and look at them when doubt is gnawing away.