Saturday, April 14, 2007

Truth and Perspective--Moving into Week 9

Lately, I've been reading a lot of Annie Dillard. It started with receiving an Advanced Copy of her forthcoming book, The Maytrees--and then progressed to a return to one of my old favorites, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Why am I writing about Annie Dillard, you ask? Frankly, I'm not sure except that her writing has been on my mind a lot. I read a chapter of her book titled "Seeing" the same night that I read Cameron's chapter "Uncovering a Sense of Truth"--and, together, they seemed to have planted similar seeds of thought.

My favorite sentence of all time is found in that particular chapter of Dillard's book and it goes: "Night was knitting over my face an eyeless mask, and I still sat transfixed." It might not seem like the most earth-shattering of sentences, but I remember the moment that I first read it. I was sitting on the porch reading by the light of the setting sun and stopped to read it again...and again...and again. The idea of night knitting over my face an eyeless mask describes the perception of dusk so perfectly--I couldn't get over it. Even now, just at the thought of it, I can almost see the darkening threads weave themselves over my eyes. In the same chapter, she writes, "there is another way of seeing that involves a letting go." And isn't that when we are able to see the most clearly--when, finally, we are able to loosen the hold and let go?

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about truth in terms of a way (or ways) of seeing. I've also been thinking that what we perceive as TRUTH is based largely upon the PERSPECTIVE from which we view our lives and ourselves. Last week Julia talked about reaching out and creating new connections. She inspired me to step outside of my comfort zone and extend myself a little further. In the process, I've met a whole handful of new people in my neighborhood including Anne, the potter; Julie, the barista; Mary, the woman with two big dogs; and Kaji, the clothes designer. Of course, working at the neighborhood garden shop has offered me an incredible opportunity for new connections, but I've still had to extend the effort. And I'm glad I did--because it has resulted in a new and profound sense of belonging.

My current truth is that I am exactly where I should be at this time in my life. I have been so busy looking at the "big picture" that I forgot how important the little details in life are--and how much both of these elements effect the another. These days it is important for me to be outside, to write, to make new connections, to be physical, and to spend my time and energy on creative endeavors. By shifting my gaze I have started to see my life (and where I am at in terms of my life's path) in a whole new way. Sure, I still have my fair share of anxieties and struggles...but lately I've been feeling a shift towards the positive. It is a welcome relief that I attribute, largely, to a change of perspective. How fitting that Week 9 should be "Uncovering a Sense of Perspective."

This week Julia Cameron reminds us that "the Grand Canyon was carved a drop at a time" and that we must have faith in both ourselves and our art. A little at a time--we need to keep on keeping on--because it adds up. This week I'm going to pretend I'm an infant Grand Canyon. I'm going to try and let go of the tight grip I've had on my future and see what happens. I have a feeling that if I just allow the weather to work its magic, beauty is a distinct possibility. Anyway, as Henry David Thoreau once said:

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."

What do you see?

with love,
Jessie

7 comments:

Marie said...

Annie Dilliard - The imagery of that sentence is etched in my memory...what beautiful language and a great metaphor. You're right about how uncomfortable it is to get to know the very people you walk by everyday...but in the end, it is rewarding because we all have a story we want to tell and one we want to matter. My husband and I talked with our new neighbors today while we were on our walk. It was actually fun! By the way, I'm always on the lookout for a new book, especially inspiring ones. Thanks for the post.

marie said...

My Finding Water entry for this week is about Comparing - No Bullying! I want to thank this wonderful community of writers who really support and build people up. That is what I adore about you! Thank you, thank you, thank you.

tammy vitale said...

As this appears to be right where I am right now, I will now go find the book and pick it up and start reading it again.

Thanks!

My favorite Dillard is Holy the Firm.

wish studio said...

i love what you are doing here - so inspiring! i can't wait to connect with you in person in june :) so great melba brought us together. xo, mindy

Bohemian Mom said...

Oh how you inspire me!
I have recently moved to a new neighbourhood, so this gives me the perfect opportunity to meet my neighbours.
Don't you just LOVE the Grand Canyon metaphor?

Kelly said...

Good for you for stretching! And what a great reward...a new sense of belonging in your community.

It's not what we see, it's how we perceive it...that is a lesson that could change every aspect of our lives.

Erin said...

I love how you shared about your truth here and what you are seeing right now- it is so important to open our eyes to what is happening all around us- and appreciate the goodness of it all. thank you.