Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Reading: A Life at Work, by T. Moore

"Most creative people throughout history appear misguided. They live their lives by serendipity, inspiration and experiment."

Why am I persistently apologetic and hopeless about a life that appears misguided? Never have I been completely successful in shaking the heavy-handed expectations on my life toward greatness. To whom much is given much is expected. I hate this in as much as I need it to validate me. Using my giftedness toward the greater good (expectation) would somehow excuse the erratic life I live.

But, if openness, whimsy, a myriad of passions and talents can have value without clear focus or productivity, than my life is rather one of treasure. I have gleaned generosity, inspiration, tenderness, hospitality, creativity from life. Are these not eternal characteristics? Is not the work of my life the collage of these pursuits instead of an inflexible career, whether or not it is in my passions? Have I feared the idea of choosing a career, not for the sake of making the wrong choice, but rather at the idea of having to make one choice?

The question, then, isn't what am I going to do with my life, but what shall I do right now. I need not fear moving backward, away from my goal, but rather, make myself the goal and step forward with joyous ease knowing that I am moving ever closer toward myself.

"You have to be loyal to your essence... to trust the qualities in you that you know have not yet been revealed."

Fighting my essence is a battle with history in my life. I have long since known my qualities (and perhaps known them too well), but have rarely trusted them. Being "loyal" to myself instead prioritizing the resultant effect on others is an entirely new concept. The simple answer to why I don't trust God, is: I don't trust what he has made in me.

Can my soul trust that I am fearfully and wonderfully made without extending that trust to my creator? I feel inextricably tied to the stranger in the room pulling my strings, as though the strings are spindly extensions of my skin. To cut them, is tantamount to amputation. The bloodshed alone would kill me. I feel ready to be loyal to myself, but doing so demands loyalty to him. Perhaps I have been punishing myself to punish him.

"It may also entail fumbling for a period of time, making mistakes and failing."

I am too gifted in too many ways to fail. I only play games I win (or have a good chance at winning). I find peace in foreknowledge. I find joy in a success I can predict before I enter the room. These are the trite ramblings of a woman afraid of failure. To endure failure is one thing. To receive it as a sign of soulful faithfulness, that is a stretching that terrifies me. In fact, I may have located yet another aspect of my occupational panic of late.

"Chaos and calling go together."

Silliness and soulfulness, now that was a pairing I could endure. Chaos and calling, those are words which carry weight individually that slay me; collaboratively, I feel defeated before I begin. I see the truth of it. Chaos from the norm, relinquishing bonds of the expected, risking the unknown. Calling, vocation, vox, voice-ation, a space of life spent listening to self. But seeing has never been believing for me. Still, sparks of hope flutter ephemerally in my lungs as I inhale as a mantra, chaos and calling. We shall see.

"If flexibility is the primary virtue as you pursue your calling, then a philosophy of the polycentric life is a close second."

If there is a word to fuse all my spirit-led pursuits within the past 5 years, it is polycentric. A philosophers term for multiple centers or having various (if not infinite) points of origin and thus infinite radii or realms of meaning. In philosophy (Ricoeur), in fiction (Marquez), theology, relationships, cooking (random creativity with very little food in the house), and now toward a psychological pursuit of calling (Moore). I like themes. To be continued.

"A magus is someone who is plugged into the powers and mysteries of natures like the branch of an alien tree grafted onto a tree of a different species."

It seemed suitable to begin with a metaphor, instead of a more linear definition. Magus, singular for magi, is an ancient word dating back to Persian times. The general meaning is of one, descendant of a sacred caste, with magical properties or unique giftedness (as from the gods) related to healing, religious practices, and funerary rites. Synonyms through the ages might be: wizard, prophet, dream interpreter, priest. for more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magi

Recently, my conch shell of wisdom, Joel, described me as a tree, despised with its being and therefore anxiously tentative to root freely. When I begin to root, I feel the presence of this foreign tree in the earth. I know the deeper I root the more inevitably and indistinguishably I will be grafted to it. This different species and I are already one. So, perhaps, it is time to be the tree that I am: be that apple or plum or both.

"If you begin with who you are... your quest will be like a spring flowing from the font of your very nature, rather than a mere maddening search for a suitable occupation or position."

The wrestling over self I have been avoiding explains the maddening search I have been enduring. I choose me, not a job, not an occupation, but the vocation of my life: wife, sister, friend, teacher, writer, daughter, inspirer, singer, speaker, minister, magus.


mme. bookling said...

And what if you tree, your true tree is man-eating?

What then, my carnivore?

Will you continue to sacrafice your flesh in order to save others?

I shudder at the thought.

Iscah Mara said...

Then, i shall suckle at the marrow of innocent babes and wave a bloody bone at the messiah as my yelp echoes through the hollows of my desolate catacombs, "Feed me, Seymour."