Blank Page of the Sky

dancing_trees_2.jpgJason Silva asks of the #Quest2015 pilgrims:
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?


What is the world that I want to design?

No. I do not want to design the world. I want to be open to the world that is, the undesigned, rough, beautiful, and perfectly imperfect world.

I am tripping up on the word design…. How about change? We change the world, and the world changes us.

Today we buried our father. Even though he was 93-years-old, he seemed indomitable. He was not. As we sift through his belongings, we see evidence that he was weakening, that he might have known that his path was soon to cross a different threshold.

We choose what to see in the world. We can be world-weary or in awe. We can choose to be aware of what is amazing or focus in on the mundane, the shallow. My father started every day by noting the temperature and the weather. He didn’t do this by pushing a button on his cell phone; he looked out the window at an old school thermometer, he watched the sky. Throughout the day he would note who called, what he saw that was unusual, what moved his heart. He chose to pay attention. The small blue notebook. The black pen and the handwriting slanted as scratch-scramble italic script. Even after living so many days, each one was precious to him.

I change the world when I chose to be open to beauty, when I chose to focus on that rather than what is lacking. Not how the world is letting me down. How is the world lifting me up?

Two soldiers were at the cemetery when we interred my father. One was a young soldier who played Taps on a bugle that resonated outward on the frigid clear air. The sound pulled on my blood. It bounced like a cold stone off granite monuments and up into the scrawl of dark branches against grey sky. The branches like my father’s skritchy-handwriting. The sky a page.

It is easy enough to say be in awe. Easy enough to say leave room for creativity.

Harder to let go of the scripts we spin, the stake we have in our own manufactured (oh maybe even curated) selves.

When I lived in NYC, I told visiting friends that if they found themselves lost, they should ask the nearest New Yorker for directions and the proceed to follow the first three steps. After that, ask for directions again, and follow the first three steps. Repeat until arrival at your destination. In this way, even if one person gave wildly inaccurate directions, they would still find their way, correcting for vagaries and error.

What if in 2015, I proceeded the same way…. create goals, but only chart the next three steps? Upon executing those, recalibrate and ask the universe again. Leave room for serendipity, for chance, for awe, for creative dawdling, for excitement, for naps, for close attention that leads to new investigations, for abandoning oughts and shoulds in favor of the blank page of the sky.

5 Replies to “Blank Page of the Sky”

  1. Erin, I love this so much. Especially this week, in the aftermath of the awful events that have happened and the hatred that still exists. I don’t know what to do. But even though I don’t live in NY, I love the idea of getting directions, taking the first three steps, and then asking again. Somehow I feel like that applies here as well, to today, so I’ll write goals, steps, plans, and then just do the first three steps and reassess. I know I can’t change the world, but maybe, just maybe I can somehow help. I’ve always heard that if you change yourself, you change the world. Somehow, today, that doesn’t seem to apply and I feel there must be more. But I’ll start with three steps. Thank you for being you!

  2. God bless your father’s memory, Erin. You do such honor in sharing his persona with us in #Quest2015 and with others. That your father marked each day with observations more simple than his military experience encourages me to pay further attention as I age and to encourage youth to pay more attention. My daughter and son-in-law had to cancel their trip to celebrate my milestone birthday today due to my sil’s health issues. I encouraged 30 second vacations – even writing a word or six on any blank page or wherever one can fit in an observation to alleviate bottled spirit. Thank you for sharing your heart. May you find comfort knowing Questors care. Your writing has touched me deeply.

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