As I joined Tracking Wonder’s #Quest 2015 midway through, I’m answering, in mingled order, the challenging and stimulating prompts put to us by the thirteen visionaries Jeffrey Davis chose for us. Somewhere in the middle of December the merry efforts of hosting the holidays meant I responded with at most a morning color meditation. In the peace of the last day of December, I’m so pleased to be back, blogging to the drawings inspired by the prompts.
Jason Silva (described in his bio as an epiphany addict) on Day 2, asked us:
In what ways might you artfully curate your life in 2015 to occasion serendipity, creativity and awe?
Ontological designing says: We design our world and the world designs us back.
What are the linguistic and creative choices you can make in 2015 that will in turn act back upon you and transform you?
On my way to wholeness, I worked with a counselor who helped me learn to turn alone, mid-dream, and face the rapist chasing me night after night in a series of dreams I couldn’t shake back in graduate school. As I wrote earlier in My Cat, My Familiar: Manifesting Totems:
“Astonishing things happened then in the dreams: the rapist morphed into a boat with wings, a butterfly. I could fly higher and faster. The ticker tapes of past lives, that ran like wine at Blacks’ Gaslight village (where I woke often like a child wearing a dress inside out), slowed some and I slept occasionally without the exhaustion of dreams dumping out their vessels into my memory.”
When I read Jason’s prompt, I immediately lingered over the line: We design our world and the world designs us back.
How freeing. Could it be true? In my experience, facing down my worst fears in dream transformed the attacker into something generative, beautiful. Years later, on #Quest2015, as I began the practice of morning color meditations thanks to Visionary Sunni Brown (Phoenix Eggs in the House of My Father), the boat image returns in response to a Seth Godin prompt:
Who would miss you if you were gone? If you didn’t show up to work, didn’t send out that newsletter, didn’t make that sales call, didn’t tweet that tweet… who would miss it? How does your answer shape how you’ll live out 2015?
I side-stepped the question, realizing I was more interested in who I would miss. So I drew a boat. Big enough to hold my fellow questers and the bright and familiar friends and mentors and family members I love.
And it wasn’t until I backtracked to consider Jason’s question that I see the sky boat is really that same boat, attacker/rapist transformed, in a sacred doodle for sacred joy. How can it be that the seed energy in a dream, of terror, when faced, mirrors back beauty?
I’m grateful I’ve lived long enough to begin to see that things are not as they appear on the surface. Not sorrow, not pain, and not even joy. We can’t always see the anchor points of the actions of another. But we can turn and look, and witness.
And not just witness for others, but for ourselves. Those moments of gravity and sorrow for me have held an aurora of energies to fuel new adventures. Specifically, for me, after years of soul searching and working with healers, that meant writing the poems that make up November Butterfly, risking my story.
To garner the strength to tell mine, first I leaned on the stories of iconic women in the collective societal eye, familiar women ravaged by our projections, including mine (Marilyn, Sylvia, Joan of Arc, Nefertiti, Guinevere and more). And so, projections exhausted, eventually I had nowhere else to go but into the nautilus chamber of my past.
As I fell asleep thinking about the concept of actor and acted upon (we design our world and the world designs us back), and the larger beautiful possibility that as our eye takes in the structures of nature those structures might inform or inspire our own physical or psychic bodies, I flashed on an image of the poems for the women in this collection, each poem a discrete light panel forming a common lantern, lit by candle–the kind of night lantern that floats up into the night sky.
It’s a grieving time and a celebrating time.
Celebrating the return, past freed, of the desire to play, to engage again, without fear. Watching Jason in his short, dynamic, and playful video, How We Create Serendipity,I’m struck by his freedom of motion and uninhibited expression of joy. So emphatic, clean and clear. I’m thinking about his message of juxtaposition, the generative power of opposites or diversities. In which environments might my creativity best be lit? I’m ready to explore again.
The serendipity, creativity, and awe Jason also asks us to consider are present for me in these moments of reflection and connecting with other questers and creatives in my life. I am so grateful for the hearts bridging mine when I faltered over the years.
I hope you’ll walk with me in 2015; if you are not able to come write with me in person on November Butterfly book tour, try your hand at writing to the eleven prompts I’ve posted so far and share your writings with us in comments.
Bio for Visionary Jason Silva, responsible for the prompt on serendipity, creativity and awe at the top of this post:
Jason Silva is an epiphany addict, media artist, futurist, philosopher, keynote speaker, and TV personality. He is the creator of Shots of Awe (13 million views) and the Emmy-nominated host of National Geographic’s Brain Games. See also this dynamite and lovely short video about the power of juxtaposition: How We Create Serendipity by Jason Silva. Find him on Twitter: @JasonSilva.
Bio for Visionary Seth Godin, responsible for the second prompt appearing in this post asking us to consider who would miss us:
Seth Godin is the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. You might be familiar with his books books Linchpin, Tribes, The Dip, Purple Cow, and The Icarus Deception. His latest, What To Do When It’s Your Turn is an urgent call to do the work we’re hiding from, a manifesto about living with things that might not work, and embracing tension when doing your art. You can find him on Twitter @ThisIsSethsBlog.
How to Curate Your Life by quester Saundra Goldman, with a wry and helpful look at the actual, not metaphorical, meaning of curatorship from one who knows her stuff.
Who Will Miss Me Quest 2015 by quester Suzi Banks Baum at Laundry Line Divine, also keen on ship metaphors.
Diving into Your Shadow Bag Part 2, #Quest2015, quester Ginny Lee Taylor at Women of Wonder offers sage exercises focusing on the pacing of gently dealing with memories of sexual abuse.
Serendipitous Curating, quester Molly Morrissey; a look at serendipity as conversation with one’s maker and the role of traditional astrology.
Spontaneity, Serendipity, Accuracy and Curation by quester Miriam Hall takes into account the teachings of Trungpa Rinpoche.
Patterns of Incandescence, Indigo Griefs and Sky Girl: Tracking the Body when the Book Goes Live, haiku and more at Feral Mom.
Image credits: all photos by Robyn Beattie with the exception of tania’s sky boat in colored pencil; November Butterfly’s cover photo is also by Robyn, cover design by Don Mitchell of Saddle Road Press.