In a dream, I’m running through a green meadow with my dog when she turns to me and says “you must be yourself.” My message in a bottle that floats from the invisible sea of mystery I call the unconscious. It might be
the voice of God or as close as I can get to it. My dreams often give this
advice or I hear it from others. But what does it mean to be myself?
My strong belief tells me I have a soul and that soul has a purpose, a “calling.” I’m my best self when playing with words, metaphors and symbols. Creating poems is what I came for, fulfilling my purpose. As a child I made
up songs from a rope swing. I learned to read before starting school. No one
knows how. A test of being on the right track – the child you were would
be proud of you.
Experience has taught me that a key factor in creativity involves awareness, being open to whatever comes from the visible or invisible world no matter
what shape it takes. This is expressed by Rumi, the 13th century mystic poet:
DON’T GO BACK TO SLEEP
The breeze at dawn has secrets for you
Don’t go back to sleep
You must ask what is important for you
People go back and forth across the doorsill
Where two worlds will embrace
The door is wide and always open
Please, do not return to Sleep.
Through the soul, the “beyond” speaks to us in dreams, images we are attracted by and choices we make. Also in slips of the tongue or doodles we absentmindedly draw. As poet, David Whyte says, the unconscious “contains our experiences in a larger context, making room for revelation.”
Like others, I’m frightened of what I don’t know but half-sense. The truth is joy and enlightenment often await me when I take courage , allow my creativity to be fed by trusting the darkness, the invisible. I might also experience fear and grief but the result broadens my horizons. I’ve learned to go gently and with reverence, without expectation but with a sense of adventure when writing poems.
When I first began delving into the deeper part of my unconscious, I was afraid of what might appear – hurt, anger, fear. I began praying at the
typewriter and then the computer, that whatever came over the doorsill of consciousness, I would be capable of bearing.
When I’m stuck in a poem, if I can form some clarity about why, I ask my
inner soul to help me – put the night shift on so to speak – by stating where
the problems lies right before sleep. Most times I wake with the answer.
The poet, Donald Hall, wrote about the vatic voice – from the Latin, “vates” which means poet or seer. He asserts that he sometimes hears lines in his head. This happens at times to me, a message again from the Unknown. Usually these are the most powerful lines in a poem.
Awareness of the physical world, its mysteries and messages, is another major aspect of spirituality.
A Walk by the River
Water in a circle rims high
the deep splash a boulder makes
had some Goliath been here to toss it.
Nothing familiar bobs from the center,
No dishpan turtle angling deeper,
or wet pelt of a golden retriever,
no human body surfacing, palms together.
Had we not walked by at that moment,
would it have plunged? Satellite,
meteor, an angel falling? Were we
calculated to pass a moment before?
The earth holds its breath, crows
raucous in alarm, sirens distant
on the highway, strange absence.
The invisible world creeps from shadow,
undergrowth, blasts from a sky
too deep for our vision,
near-manifestation, something to be
explained away or ignored.
Yet the splash repeats inwardly,
Wave-altering perception, old tune I hum.
And finally connection with others is an important aspect of creativity.
My message – be who you were created to be – often comes from family, friends, strangers. I hold them in the great love that also surrounds
me like an old tune I hum.
Editor’s note: Judy Longley is our guest blogger this week. She is a well known poet and recently, is becoming a well-known artist. Her work can currently be seen at Monsoon Restaurant in Charlottesville. Her poetry can be obtained from Amazon.com
Share this post with your friends.