Hug the Moon, Touch Life, Live Creation
"Yes, creation is moving toward us, life is moving toward us all the time. We back away, but it keeps pushing toward us."
~ Joan Halifan
The moon hung large and silver, resting on the ridge above, never before and never since has it been so close, so touchable. Thirty years have passed, and I can still smell that night, still taste its flavors on my tongue. A good horse beneath me, friends surrounding me, we wound our way along the steep path without fear, the night alive around us and fully accessible to us.
We'd been riding for hours, exploring the canyons, poking through the crumbling remains of cabins built by miners long ago. No hint of their success-or lack thereof-clung to the relics they left behind. Sage, its aroma hanging sweet in the air, grew around the fallen walls. Poison ivy crept along the shaded banks of their watering holes, the moist earth and quiet streams emitting their own alluring smells. A fun day but the stink of sweat-horse and human-grew throughout the day, as did aching muscles and tired eyes. It would be good to get home, but that would mean leaving the ridge where the moon was waking the night jasmine and begging us to stay. Which was the greater allure? Fortunately, we were young enough to believe the moon was more important than chores and sleep. We stayed, eating a quick snack of salty crackers and sweet spring water while swathed in pale moonbeams. That choice built a memory that has lasted a lifetime.
In "The Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch" Julia Cameron mused, "In order to make art, we must first make an artful life, a life rich enough and diverse enough to give us fuel. We must strive to see the beauty where we are planted, even if we are planted somewhere that feels very foreign to our own nature. In New York, I must work to connect to the parts of the city that feed my imagination and bring me a sense of richness and diversity instead of more overcrowding and sameness. In California, my friend must work to do the same. We must, as the elders advise us, bloom where we are planted. If we later decided that we must be transplanted, that our roots are not in soil rich enough for our spirits, at least we have tried. We have kept hold of the essential thread of our consciousness, the 'I' that gives us the eye to behold."
The eye to behold. I seem to have lost that over the years, letting weariness overtake wonder. Today the moon might lose out to the ache of my body. Too many times I've turned away from moments that would create treasures of the soul. This new habit crept up on me over the years; now I find it's created a new ache, a deep emptiness deep inside. Somehow my priorities changed. Keeping commitments and responsibilities grew more important than dreaming under a star-filled sky. It's time to change them again and go searching for my silvered moon.
Anna Quindlen in "Being Perfect", found herself in the same dilemma. "Trying to be perfect may be inevitable for people who are smart and ambitious and interested in the world and its good opinion. What's really hard and amazing is giving up on being 'perfect' and beginning the work of becoming yourself. Some day, sometime, you will be sitting somewhere...and sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for some core to sustain you and if you have been perfect all your life and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your sorority, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where that core ought to be."
I thought myself successful and others agreed, but not Quindlen, who called to my heart when she spoke of "the perfection trap": "When your success looks good to the world but doesn't feel good in your heart, it isn't success at all....I don't want anyone I know to take that terrible chance. And the only way to avoid it is to listen to that small voice inside you that is telling you to make mischief, to have fun, to be contrarian, to go another way. George Eliot wrote, 'It is never too late to be what you might have been.' It is never to early either. Take it from someone who has left the backpack full of brick far behind, and every day feels as light as a feather."
In "Eat Mangoes Naked : Finding Pleasure Everywhere (and Dancing with the Pits)" SARK agrees. " The struggle still feels more comfortable to me than the pleasure....[but] our spirits are in need of pleasure, like our bodies need vitamins, or oxygen, or water....It is our birthright to enjoy ourselves and find all the pleasure in our lives. Pleasure loves company and delights in being discovered. I frequently forget about pleasure. It is easy to become consumed by work and by doing. Pleasure responds to invitation more than declaration. I can remember times when my attitude was 'Where's the pleasure?' to such a degree that pleasure probably snuck out the back door."
SARK offers these tips on how to treat ourselves to pleasure: "Let pleasure discover you. Put yourself in new situations and be patient. Be open for unexpected pleasures. Awaken to pleasure. Create invitations to pleasures. Wait for pleasure to appear. Invent scenarios for pleasure to appear in and set the stage. Become the pleasure you are seeking. Instead of looking outside, find the pleasure inside yourself. It's there."
Leading an artful life. Eating mangos naked. Forsaking perfection for mischievous fun. That's where I started in life and where I have decided to ride again beneath the next silvery moon. They're right. It isn't too late. Let's unpack our bricks together and fill our backpacks and saddlebags with pleasure.
By Loretta Kemsley
Women Artists and Writers International
Writer, Editor and Editorial Coach
Loretta Kemsley's Personal Portfolio: Women's Writings