"May you be embraced by God in whom dawn and twilight are one."
Last night, I got to watch the sunset from a friend's porch in Union Square. It was remarkable. I sat on the porch from around 7pm until 9pm watching the sun slowly sink behind the horizon. The bright colors of the clouds in the west and the deep slate grey creeping up from the east - it felt like I was living in a poem.
Sometimes the word "God" immediately turns people off. I have to admit, I still experience hints of that reaction whenever I encounter God in O'Donahue's blessings... and sometimes more than just hints. Though I can't say for sure (because my only knowledge of O'Donahue is through his poetry), I think that when he uses the word God, he's not referring to the God that makes me want to roll my eyes... but rather to the God I feel when I lose myself in dance, or when I'm singing harmonies with friends, or when my niece reads me a story she wrote, or when I witness quiet love between strangers... He's talking about the God that I witnessed in the sky last night as the sun was going down.
This week, I intentionally put the line with God in it right at the top of my post in the hope that it will help get rid of my preconceived notions of what God is or should be.
A week ago today, I played a show at the Burren for their Sunday Songwriter Series in the back room. Since I started playing on my own again, without a band to share the stage with, my shows have been surrounded by a lot of anxiety. Usually the morning of the show, I wake up, and for a few hours, I have to force myself not to call the venue and cancel. I think I've had more butterflies in my stomach for the past four shows than I've had in my whole life!
Last week was no different. UNTIL.... My dear friend Ryan made a fantastically generous decision. While we were walking around The Davis Flea together, I spotted an absurdly awesome sequined dress hanging up in one of the vintage clothing booths. After much deliberation, wandering, contemplating and conniving, Ryan said to me: "I'll buy you that dress... But you have to wear it tonight."
So I wore the most ridiculous, unbelievable, sparkly, heavy dress in the entire world for my finale song... and I gotta tell ya, it was amazing. I had so much fun - I don't think I stopped smiling all night. It felt so wonderful to bring joy back into my performance, and to sing and play and smile with friends. The entire evening was just magical.
And if that's not God in dress form, then I don't know what is!
This week's blessing rocked me to my core.
What is absence? What is loss? How can you lose something that was never actually yours? Where do those lost things, or people, or feelings go? Are they really gone?
My art project this week is a series of paintings of eyes.
Eyes are these magical organs that allow us to take in the beauty of our surroundings. They also provide us with windows into another's spirit. This might be a strange thing to admit, but sometimes I like to spend long minutes in front of the mirror just looking at my eyes. We get to look into our friends' and our loved ones' eyes so often, but rarely do we really get to see our own eyes.These four paintings are what I see in my eyes, and what I imagine others find; there is loss, and grief, there are hidden secrets that only I can see, there is light that only others can see. But most of all, there is presence.
Every week I struggle with putting myself out there with this blog. The vulnerability is scary... and I think it will continue to be scary for the duration of the project. But I'm proud that I'm still doing it. I hope that some of you folks following my journey are finding hope, and comfort and courage in the blessings, like I am. <3
"May your compassion reach out to the ones we never hear from.
May you have the courage to speak for the excluded ones.
May you become the gracious and passionate subject of your own life."