On Holy Work
There comes a time, in everyone's life, when the fear must drop away so that we can drop down into the space we are meant to occupy, here.
When the incessant messages of "not-good-enough-ness" and "too-much-ness" must get overwritten by messages of "just-right-for-right-now-ness."
When the person meant to hold the brush must pick up the brush, and the person meant to type the words must type the words.
I ask myself: What am I doing here if I'm not doing what I long, every day, to be doing here?
I am doing other things. Some of these other things are important things, too. But some of these other things are filler things. Things that just take up space because they can, and because they are easy.
Easier than sitting, in front a blank screen, and doing the wordwork that writers do.
But a writer must do the wordwork. Just like a mother must do the motherwork. Just like a carpenter must do the woodwork.
We are the bird and the work is the song and we must sing it, while we can.
And when this song comes not from a desire to please or to prove or to achieve, but from a profound and earnest longing in the sacred nucleus of us, it is holy work, too.
It is work that (often) doesn't pay the bills, but that makes us feel at home, here—on this blue water marble spinning in space—because it keeps us connected to the source of it all.
The source that spins the marble is the source that sends the song.
We know this. We have always known this. We came into the world knowing this.
But being a human is about forgetting. Forgetting the holy knowing so that we can fit into a society that values not the song itself, but the profits it may bring. The rewards. The external manifestations that symbolize "success."
But we—strange, sensitive birds—recognize the earnings for what they really are: yearnings.
A deep, collective yearning to achieve a sense of belonging, to reach a place of inner peace, to fill the gaping hole inside where joy—real joy—is tragically lacking.
We see this, almost everywhere we look. We feel this.
We feel the insatiable hunger of the world weighing down our tender feathers until we, ourselves, start to doubt our own ability to fly.
But there is the thing—that thing—that brings us back to the truth of us. That thing that exists as both an integral part of us and an otherworldly part of all-that-is. That holy heartwork that helps us breathe.
There is a poem by Rumi that says:
"There is some kiss
with our whole lives."
Doing the thing we long to be doing is like finding that kiss, again and again. It's like falling in love with the temporary self that allows the eternal self to express itself, here. It's like watering our own feet so that our roots may grow deep, allowing our heart to expand as wide as the sky, without fear of breaking off or of getting lost.
And so, we gather the troops: Trust and Courage. We pick up the instruments. We carve out a bit of time in the daily or weekly rhythm of our lives.
And we do the thing. The painting. The dancing. The gardening. The building. The quilting. The climbing. The clowning. The filming. The playing. The sketching. The sculpting. The writing.
Maybe we feel rusty, or wobbly, or nervous. But we move past that. We move past that because the calling is so clear and the desire is so pure and there is no pressure, here. The invitation remains open, always. The source keeps spinning the marble, the source keeps sending the song.
And someday, one day (maybe today), we open our eyes, our hands, our heart, our mouth.
We drop down into the space we are meant to occupy, here.
We do the strange, sensitive bird thing.
[This piece appears on Rebelle Society, under the title Do the Strange, Sensitive Bird Thing.]