“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
Howard Thurman quote from the book ‘The Living Wisdom of Howard Thurman: A Visionary for Our Time’
This reminded of someone who said this succinctly a lot earlier, St. Catherine of Siena, whose feast day is today. One of her famous quotes says:
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
There is a free screening of the St. Catherine of Siena movie available through the end of tomorrow, link follows, if anyone is interested in learning more about this remarkable individual: https://special.wordonfire.org/stcatherinebook?
What is meditative prayer if not poetry, a seeking to understand? The first example that comes to mind are the psalms of the Bible – a well known example of poetic prayer. However, it is more than just that. As a creative writer I search for words for the inexpressible, as a person of faith I entertain the unknown. Underlying both is a mystery. There are times that I am seized by something awesome, transforming, soul altering. Then I cannot attribute what I have put down on paper to any particular thought process or mortal inspiration. It is much more than that – as if something – or some being beyond me – used me. I do not understand, but accept the gift of divine inspiration. And whenever a poem forms from words, from fragments? I feel something working through me: a puzzle maker who is the only one who knows what the complete picture will be. When I engage in meditative prayer I also connect with something, or a being beyond me, that I call God. To pray I need to have faith, as there is that which I accept I don’t completely understand.
As in prayer, as in poetry, so in dance, hence my tagline of the dancing poet. There are times that I dance and the person I am dancing with asks what I just did and I helplessly shrug as I say, “I danced”. I have faith that there is something larger at work. The three (prayer, poetry, and dance) interpenetrate my being. To examine or represent only one is to see a small part. To see all and be all three is much more: the sum is greater than the parts.
If you are interested in more there is a Huffington Post article on just poetry and prayer, and a book, ‘A God in the House: Poets Talk About Faith,’ co-edited by Katherine Towler and Ilya Kaminsky.
And I leave you with a thought via Asato Ma, an ancient prayer from India that is a song for peace. If poetry and dance and prayer, why not song, why not all creative processes?
Today is Lord Ganesha’s birthday. Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to my Hindu friends!
Ganesha – The Lord of Success – The Elephant Deity riding a Mouse. The beginning of the religion and the melting ground for all Hindus. He brings faith to remove obstacles, forcing one to look beyond form.
As a source of positive change Ganesha, also known as Ganesh and Ganapati, is celebrated worldwide by Hindus and non-Hindus alike. If you would like a succinct rundown of common traits and symbolism of Ganesha, or feel that you would like to try out this source of assistance, check out Red Pixie. After all, it is from knowledge that acceptance of “the other” – those not like you and me – grows.
L’Shanah Tovah to all my Jewish friends!
For all those wondering about all those Jewish New Years – there is more than one – check an explanation out at http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday2.htm Another interesting fact is that for some Jewish holidays an extra day has been tacked on? Why? Read about it at http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday0.htm#Extra