Open To It [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

stripes of grey copy

I stood gobsmacked on the deck. The horizon, the straight line bank of clouds. It was a piece of contemporary art worthy of Richard Diebenkorn or Ellsworth Kelly. A study in grays and greens and purples. Monumental.

Sometimes I forget that the very best art can only approximate what already exists in nature.  Try to capture the totality of a sunset. We simply can’t do it. We can approach the feeling but our scope will always be smaller, less dimensional. Our work is to see it – to see beyond the thought of it. To dance with it. To be vulnerable to it. To share the dance.

Last night we saw author/musician Michael Perry on stage. He closed his performance with thoughts about gratitude. He told his audience that, as an artist, he is vulnerable every time that he takes the stage or publishes a book. Opening himself to the thoughts and judgements of others is not an easy thing to do. It is, however, a necessity for an artist. But, here’s the gift: vulnerability becomes gratitude. If you are never vulnerable, living in a fortress, you will never arrive at gratitude. Gratitude is forged from the fire of vulnerability.

Openness begets openness. There is a full spectrum of color, an embarrassment of riches that vibrates between vulnerability and gratitude. Grays and greens and purples. Stand on the deck and open to it. Stand on the stage and open to it. Stand with your neighbor and open to it. The best of contemporary art. Monumental.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about GRAY

 

sunsetonisland website box copy

 

Open And Experience

658. Join me in inspiring truly powerful people. Each day I will add a new thought, story or idea to support your quest and mine.

Walking through a driving rain in downtown Seattle, I had my hood up and eyes down and stepped into a flock of pigeons just as a bus passed spooking the entire pigeon squadron into taking flight – straight at me. I was suddenly and completely engulfed in a swoosh of wings and riot. I don’t know why but I closed my eyes, not for protection, but because I wanted to feel the experience of so many wings flapping around me. The sensation was as if being lifted, stirred and then returned to the ground. After having so many crow attacks I am generally skittish when birds fly at my face; my first reaction is to duck and cover. Not today. For some reason (that is beyond my capacity to reason), rather than close and protect, I opened and experienced. Lift, stir, gentle return to the ground. “The pigeons took me with them,” I thought as I opened my eyes and laughed.

I flipped back my hood and looked up into the rain. The pigeons vanished and I was getting soaked and awakened. It was as if I left this plane of reality for a moment and needed a cold splash of rain to bring me back. It was just a few days ago, upon Marilyn’s request, that I went outside to pick a fight with the crows and instead of having a good crow bout I ended up doing the same thing, hood back, looking into the sky as the rain soaked and cleansed me of my dark mood. This time, staring into a steel grey sky, rain running down my cheeks and off my forehead, I remembered a phrase that I read this morning from Thom Hartmann’s book, The Prophet’s Way: “You must behave as if your every act, even the smallest, impacted a thousand people for a hundred generations. Because it does.”

I stared into the sky surprised at my reaction to the birds and asked myself, “What ripple would I send through a hundred generations if my first response to any situation was to open and experience rather than close and protect myself?” And, an even better question followed, “How different would I be in the world if I lived open to any experience?” Isn’t that another way of saying, “be present to what is?” Flipping my hood back up I discovered in a chilly rush that my hood was filled with water that poured down my back so I took flight a second time, howling and dancing my own version of the pigeon launch, chanting, “open, open, open…!” Of this I am certain: a hundred generations from now they will most likely still be laughing!