A former student, the fabulous Racher Gramer, recently gave me a chapbook of poems by Wendell Berry, Sabbaths 2006. It’s a most appealing collection, but she knew one poem would speak to me. And it did. And today, I want to share it with my readers, because you, too, may need to hear Berry’s important advice.
The truth will never be complete
in any mind or time. It will never
be reduced to an explanation.
What you have is only a sack of fragments
never to be filled: old bones, fossils,
facts, scraps of writing, sprawls of junk.
You know yourself only poorly and in part,
the best and the worst maybe forgotten.
However you arrange the pieces, however
authentic, a story is what you’ll have,
an artifact, for better or worse.
So go ahead. Gather your findings into
a plausible arrangement. Make a story.
Show how love and joy, beauty and goodness
shine out amongst the rubble.
Doesn’t this poem say exactly what we’re all trying to do? Aren’t we each trying to fashion the story of our lives, and trying each day to make that story more real, more true, more beautiful. This is my work now: to lead myself and others in expressing what most wants to be expressed within us. And it takes a village to get such instruction. I hope to be helpful to others as I search for ways and means to lead life creatively and beneficially.
A major source of instruction in my life is my creative coach, teacher, and inspirational guide, Jeffrey Davis. This summer, he’s helping people tell their “brave new story”–the story, or book, or business, or project that’s been roiling in your mind and heart for years and has been stymied by fears about your creative capacity. I cannot recommend his mentoring highly enough. Check out his four-day intensive on telling your “brave new story,” and track wonder with him on his website and blogs for more inspiration than you’ll know how to handle.
What story are you wanting to shape these days? What conditions, skills, and habits of mind do you need to tell this story? Check in with Jeffrey; he’ll have good advice. And stop by the LifeArt Studio, too, for a lesson or two. It’s not wishing that brings a story to life, or a life to life; it takes time, intention, and dedication to make art happen.
Today, make an intention, “shine out amongst the rubble,” create LifeArt!