Friday, August 22, 2014

From the Inside Out

I took a noontime workshop this week on “Beautiful Living from the Inside Out,” which explored how the space around us reflects the space within us.  There’s a close connection, naturally, and an obvious opportunity to change (or enhance) one by means of the other.

Not coincidentally, I’ve been struggling for the past couple of weeks to clear the inner space at home, to figure out how to consolidate and make coherent the confusion of my writing—old and new, fiction, poetry, scrawled scraps, ideas, letters, notebooks (some with just a page or two filled), false starts, unsuccessful endings, quotes I’ve borrowed.

Artistic file folders, with peacocks or Victorian patterns?  Bright colored plastic envelopes?  White cubes, or wooden?  More magazine files?  Banker’s boxes?  Another three or four of the wooden literature organizers that I’ve got my father’s writing in?

Much easier, somehow, to organize that.  And to make beautiful the space outdoors, and in my office, than in the rooms I live in.  Why is that, I wonder?  What is it that defies me?  What in my inner being causes this outer chaos?

I need to regain my inner calm, the beauty that is there when I am still and happy in myself.  Maybe I need to get at that from outside in.  Perhaps I need only to keep cleaning the house, the vase.  I am in need of cleaning, as in this favorite poem from Jane Hirschfield—

The Cloudy Vase
Past time, I threw the flowers out,
washed out the cloudy vase.
How easily the old clearness
leapt, like a practiced tiger, back inside it.

What I need (now, in any case) isn’t the beauty of the old flowers, the worn-out things, but the taut forward/inward-looking beauty of the tiger.

These images all speak to me of the emerging state I'm in, a kind of slow erasure, a blurring of intention and being.

images:  She Who Is
Panthera Tigris, Indischer Maler um 165
Georges Seurat - Seated Woman with a Parasol

No comments:

Post a Comment