The Necessary Art

The Necessary Art December 23, 2019

Each of us is called to listen our way into the underlying truth that connects us all, though we experience this calling as a very personal journey, the way plants and flowers grow and blossom differently, though they all root in the same soil. This rooting and breaking ground until we flower is the necessary art of coming alive.

As Rainer Maria Rilke offered in his legendary Letters to a Young Poet: “Go into yourself and test the deeps in which your life takes rise; at its source you will find the answer to the question whether you must create.”

I would take this further, because I believe we all must create—that is, we all must root and break ground until we flower. This necessary art of coming alive is not reserved for the few. It is every person’s destiny, though there are always things in the way. Not because we’re unlucky, but because this is the nature of our time on Earth.

In your mind’s eye, imagine a wave building and cresting as it approaches shore, only to have the undertow pull it back out, only to have that returning water gather itself into another wave that will build and crest again on shore. In this way, we are called to gather ourselves in order to come forth into life, and the difficulties—like fear, pain, worry, confusion, and loss—comprise the undertow that pulls us back. Until we can gather ourselves again. And paradoxically, it is the undertow that swells into the majesty of the next wave. This is the human journey.


A Question to Walk With: If our heart is our gill, describe an experience that moved through your heart and the one essential thing your heart extracted from this experience that has helped you stay alive.

This excerpt is from my new book, Drinking from the River of Light, published this fall by Sounds True.


*Photo credit: Matt Hardy


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