the knowing.

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Dear Ruthi,

I’m in that phase, that time, that zone, that space, where I’m spinning in serendipitous swirls. Where everything is interconnected and circling back in on itself. The repetition – again and again – the things coming back. Right back to the start. The thoughts in rapid succession exploding outward in connectivity. It’s such a thin place. Such a web. Such a silver strand.

Thin skin. Big emotions. Hard discoveries.

Is there a word for it? If not, can you help me create one? That moment before the knowing, but after the slugging. That feeling of being held up, of being guided, the assurance you’re on the right path. Your path. Moments too few to be aware of how long they last – how fleeting the comfort. But sufficient to make those moments where you feel its absence so wearisome.

They make me want to scream “Alright already! I’m paying attention! What are you trying to say?!” I can’t help but believe that’s exactly what’s wanted.

I had two big break throughs this week. Thursday and again this morning. I hope I can keep these in my hands and head long enough to put them to words before they’re gone. The strange thing is that it’s still rapid fire.

Today, I sat with Rilke on my screen thinking how your tearing down to the studs brought to mind my studio in progress photo. This one.

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So pretty. But so empty. Which is why I like it so much. The space, the ease, the invitation, the simplicity. The thing is, there’s this massive pile of stuff sitting in the other room still to be sorted and dealt with. Things to come back in. Those things are the heart of the space. The heart of me. My To Dos. My collections of messages. My symbols of encouragement and self. The reminders. The stuff in progress, to be fixed, given, or some how saved. The supplies for creativity. The tools of my trade. The trade I don’t have. Ha.

All the parts of the whole. Including the stuff of wallpaper, plaster and insulation. Smells and history and time. All the elements together that make a home. That make a studio. That make a life. Sure it was stuff, but it was more the intangibility of it. The flickering, transparent spirit of it. It reminded me of “The Shack” which has come up a few times in conversation as it makes its way to theatres. I thought of the character of the Holy Spirit, though only vaguely, which seems so fitting.

I love that when I go back six months to the start of the studio transformation, it lands me at a photo I posted to Facebook inviting my friend (the one you crossed paths with yesterday) to come work some magic with me on the disaster of that room. It also happens to be the same day, in the same small collection of photos, that file of 20 images out of the 5,200+ I’ve taken since then, that includes the hydrangea from “Lest Thou Forget” and the Silver Strands spider web.

As I was simultaneously enlivened and discouraged by sitting with one of the Letters to a Young Poet (who am I to write? It makes so much more sense for me to just read – these words so tight and bursting) I found myself looking up ‘languish’ to see how it fit with what was being revealed. (You know my love of definitions. If only I could remember them!) I stared at the screen long enough to realize I was also staring at this.

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Which lead me to ‘prophesy,’ which got me trying to remember something Brad had once said to me about it being a gift of the spirit no one talks about. Which is all just total randomness, but I’m noting here because of what happened as I exited the UofW art exhibit today. I was chatting with a woman I had just met and madly hit it off with. You actually might know her. We were discussing the role of encouragement (or lack of it) in our lives as children and as parents, what role constructive criticism plays into it, how I find I’m in need of that critique but don’t know how to go about getting it. So then she says, “You know, one of the gifts of the spirit is ‘discernment.’ No one talks about that one anymore.” I told her I’d always thought of ‘discernment’ as ‘knowing.’ She said, “No, no it wasn’t the same as knowledge.” Not knowing anything much about the gifts of the spirit, they not being part of my tradition, I didn’t know to say – not ‘knowledge’, but ‘knowing’. ‘The knowing’.

So now, I sit and dig into these gifts (what the hell is up with administration and helps?). The knowing I’m talking about is all of these in a way. I guess I’m talking about the Holy Spirit. So what happens right before the Holy Spirit? I need a word. One for this space and zone and time and phase.

With love,

Jules

PS – The synchronicity goes on and on and on, but these two stories I mentioned to you on Friday keep popping up, so maybe you can give a read and let me know what they do for you: Hat of Red and White Space 

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