Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Thousand Ways

The Universe works in mysterious ways. My spirit has been filled with a grateful energy since late Saturday evening, which found me sitting alone on the telephone in my dad’s California study, yet in the miraculous company of a diverse assortment of 9 like-minded women, showing me that connections such as these are not coincidental, that people are brought together for a reason. Today my soul is more grateful still, because my husband Abit had his 40th birthday yesterday, and a hit-and-run driver in a Jeep careening down a rain-soaked Sultanahmet alley sideswiped him to the sidewalk…and he survived. Mindful, that though cuts and bruises are a nasty way for him to celebrate such a milestone, it could have been much worse. And thankful, that I not only have a husband with 9 lives, but that I’ve connected with 9 women with crazy, joyful, challenging hybrid lives so like my own. Lives that seem to hinge on one particular characteristic we all share – creativity.

Tonight, this Universal energy had me planning to add to the posts written by some of these women, who are so beneficial to my own work and wellbeing. But then I remembered that I have a niece who will be confirmed into the Catholic Church this spring. My sister-in-law had reminded me again to write a letter of affirmation, to be presented at a retreat celebrating spiritual relationship and how each child attending is gifted.
It’s been years since I’ve attended a Catholic Mass; organized religions leave me cold, yet sacred interiors of churches, mosques, temples, or museums touch the spiritual cord that strongly reverberates in me. What do I write to my very talented niece, this taller-than-me-now 13 year old girl with the long strawberry blond hair, huge blue eyes, a disconcertingly smoky deep voice, and a wicked ability to train and ride horses, so much so that her room is papered with blue ribbons and I’m certain we’ll be watching her in an upcoming Olympic equestrian event?
I’d love to tell her about our conversation Saturday night. How creative, gifted women can come together from the disparate yet similar paths they’ve taken and create divine inspiration – for work, for art, for love, for living. How finding what she’s meant to do with her life is God’s greatest gift to her, and her greatest gift to humankind. And how creativity in its infinite forms is our best tool to realize what we are on this earth to accomplish.
So of course, when wondering what I could possibly write, I did what any creative being would do – I Googled “gifted”. Here’s what the Universe wrote:
"The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this:
A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive. 

To them... 
a touch is a blow, 
a sound is a noise, 
a misfortune is a tragedy, 
a joy is an ecstasy, 
a friend is a lover, 
a lover is a god, 
and failure is death. 

Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create - - - so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, their very breath is cut off ... They must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency they are not really alive unless they are creating." 

The passion that Pearl S Buck, Nobel Prize-winning Christian feminist, put into this statement nearly jumps off the page, yet she’s so right. Following our dialogue, I’m not sure I’d describe us 10 hybrid souls as “abnormally, inhumanly sensitive”, yet we do vibrate on a different level. We are compelled to create, to explore, to evolve. Were we born under wandering stars, or were we gifted these characteristics when we took our first step off the beaten path?

Regardless of how we came to be, my thanks to my hybrid sisters, already along amazing paths of their own, would be the same as my affirmation to my niece, just starting her path in life… Rumi’s simple 13th C reminder to find our purpose, do our work, and be grateful:

"Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth."


  1. What a lovely post Catherine. Your niece is lucky to have a aunt thinking so deeply of her and her gifts.
    Thanks for the link!

  2. Catherine,
    You make my mind spin! Ah, female dervishes we are, going round and round, spinning with the speed of thought, the thrill of connection.

  3. Female dervishes indeed! Thanks Catherine and Judith for your visits here. May we continue to spin...

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  5. Oh Catherine, that quote from Rumi has been my mantra for the past six years, but I'd only ever known the first sentence of it!

    I have often thought about the passage from the bible that says we are created in God's image. If God is Creator, doesn't that make us creative too since we are made in God's image? If this is what's written in our hearts, aren't we compelled to walk in that direction?

  6. Thanks Tara - absolutely, I agree! Reminds me of two favorite quotes from Picasso: “God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps on trying other things.” So, by example, that's what we should all do, right?

    Or even better: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” It's that spirit of creativity that I'd like to see my niece - all our nieces and nephews - retain as they become adults.

  7. Thanks for this Catherine. How eerie is that Pearl Buck quote? (I loved The Good Earth as a child, perhaps a little more than the other kids around who were reading it. Many parts of it have stayed with me for decades.) I'd agree the Dialogue2010 participants are not weak-with-creative-hypersensitivity, but definitely the idea of highly sensitive people as creatives and *needing to be creative* rings true.

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