This morning, while reading my daily quote from Barbara Abercrombies A Year of writing dangerously I read there about the necessity for solitude in order to remain sane and keep writing. Without solitude, no art. Without solitude, no sanity. I couldn't agree more. Its a sometimes painful truth for me in this busy life we all have to lead that it can be so very diffucult to find enough solitude for my sanity.
Among others she mentioned Naomi Shihab Nyes poem The Art of Disappearing as a written testimony dealing with how to have these times of solitude often "against" the demands of others, and ones life in general.
I really liked this poem. It expressed a lot of what I was thinking, what I was longing for, what I was trying to express myself during the past maybe fifteen years, could be even more.
The Art of Disappearing. I want to learn it. I want to be able to just disappear in the middle of everything. When everybody in my office is dealing with bureaucratic demands I, in my heart of hearts find less interesting then a louse on one of my daughters heads, I want to disappear. Find a place away from this ever more complex everyday demands of a life in the 21st century. I can not see the value of many things I do, I have to do in order to maintain this life in this society, in this city.
I want to remember the ocean underneath the monastery of Belem. Its absolute beauty and quietude. This scenery is the perfect translation of how I want to live, into a landscape.
Couldn't the quietude of Belem be the basic soundtrack of my life?
Instantly it becomes clear that this has nothing to do with the outside world. Instantly I understand that I could have this sound even in the midst of a crazy office day in the middle of crazy Berlin. It is a question of my inner being. Couldn't the quietude of Belem be the basic sound of my inner world? Why is it not? It's not the others. Though I often think it's exactly them.
Maybe it is not so much about the art of disappearing but about loving. Oneself of course too. And others. If you truly love yourselves and others, there is not much left you have to worry about.
The time one needs in order to become quiet is not as worthy if you have to drag it away from others in a mind frame of violence almost, as if you had to fight against an enemy in order to survive sanely. The same amount of time will be much more beautiful and quiet if you can take it in an act of confident grace. Which is possible, I know that.
This morning I disappeared, no phone, no door bell, only 5 minutes of internet. After reading, I wrote a little bit in my diary, then I did Yoga, my favourite position being right now "The Crow". Challenging. Not that I can hold it for more then 2 seconds but in my book it says: the crow is the position to teach you that the impossible is possible. I think this is the reason I like it so much and am totally determined to become as good as the woman in the video.
Afterwards I sat in quiet meditation for 30 minutes and while I was doing this I of course was thinking. One of the most electrifying thoughts I had was "You should love, just love, then everything would be fine." I don't know where my thoughts during meditation come from. It is often like a deep pond they are surfacing from and a second later the next not so profound thoughts arrive and in my mind I am writing the grocery list. Not so electrifying. But this thought was beautiful and all worries I had nurtured during the past week seemed to dissolve in its wake. At least for a while.
After the meditation I started my computer to write. First I checked on my mails and my facebook account and there it was again, posted by my friend Amy from Richmond, the Thomas Merton quote, the thought from the pond:
"Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and in fact, it is nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbor worthy if anything can." - Thomas Merton -
And it felt like, the universe nodded in my direction. "You were right, Susanne! Keep going that way. It will lead you where you need to go!" So maybe the impossible will become possible for me step by step, and instead of fighting against life and others for what I feel I need, to be happy, instead of disappearing, I could try to pour my love into the universe - which doesn't have anything to do with giving up myself - rather the opposite. On the other hand: it has everthing to do with giving up my expectations about what others should do or not do, how the world should behave towards me. Reading the Merton quote I realized how much of the basic undertone of my life is about disappointment and every disappointment is about expecting. Every expectation is unjust and therefore my life is, instead of as quiet as the view in Belem an inner turmoil. Expectation, Disappointment, Inquiry if the disappointing person is still worthy my love, of course not, bastard....and so on.
So the art of disappearance is not bad after all. It gives not only time for writing, but really for sorting through the turmoil and finding back to the quietude in which we all were born, in which we all still exist, in the middle of a crazy day in the 21st century.
So if anybody invites you to a party this weekend remember what parties are like before answering and if anybody says: we should get together again ask: why? And if by these confident means or others you gain some solitude, enjoy it.
Remember the song of a bird,
the hum of a bee,
the sound of the wind in a cherry tree.
© Susanne Becker