Sunday, June 20, 2010

For a Limited Time Only

"Come on sweetheart
let's adore one another
before there is no more
of you and me."

Mevlana Rumi

When Melanie gave me the photograph of this ancestral oak tree in North Carolina, she wrote a note that said the tree was between 500-1500 years old. That's old.

Old. A worthy state of being. Not only for trees, but for humans. "What's old sustains the heart somehow," as I wrote in one of the songs in my play A New Wrinkle. In his wonderful book The Force of Character and the Lasting Life, James Hillman notes that what's ancient or old evokes deathlessness. Ancient cities, old trees, ancient forests, old gardens, old statues. The depth of the mysteries of antiquity and oldness. I wrote about the value of reclaiming old in one of the first posts of this blog, and it's a subject I contemplate often.

I contemplate impermanence often, too. A natural subject for a Buddhist. And for an older human. I will not last as long as that beautiful oak tree has lasted. Like George Bernard Shaw, "I want to be thoroughly used up when I die."

I'm preparing for a house concert that's a week away at Melanie's place. Its title is The Wisdom of Lived Experience. I'm going to be offering spontaneous wordless singing that I call Ancient Voice because it puts me and the listeners into a more spacious, timeless experience. Is it because of the long breathlines, the absence of language or the qualities of the voice itself? I cannot really say. Others have to reflect back to me their experience for me to get a look at it even after more than 30 years. But I do know how rich, nourishing and powerful it is for me to give voice in that way.

I'm going to sing one of the potent songs of the Tibetan yogi Milarepa, too. And I will share a beautiful poem from the Gnostic gospels and two real life stories about synchronicity and the experience of divine presence that blessedly visits us humans at times.

Last night, I had a healing session with Valerie and Edeltraud. I have experienced the work of many healers over the years. To me their work is right up their at the top of my list. I wondered at the end of my session with them what it would be like for them to work with/on me just before and at the beginning of a performance gathering. What would the voice be like? What would emerge? I believe we are going to set the stage for this to happen. I'm sure it will be a very interesting experience for everyone involved. Healing and creative expression are very linked in my heart/mind.

Yesterday, I went to the open house of Kagyu Sukha Choling, a beautiful new Buddhist center in Ashland, guided by two American women who are lamas or teachers. When I arrived in Ashland over 30 years ago, I was the only Buddhist, period. I feel moved and very fortunate to have lived long enough to see such a flowering of Buddhism here.

Of course, too much happened outwardly and inwardly even in the past two days to write about it. I saw The City of Your Final Destination--wonderful. Talked with many friends, applied for consideration for an Oregon Literary Fellowship, mapped out the next steps toward producing my play. I sat with a friend who had a stroke a week ago. I read a book about the development of the English language. I put a prayer up on the fence near the garden of potted flowers and herbs. It says:

May you be blessed.
May you be happy.
May you protect
and care for
all that lives and grows
in the garden of your heart.

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