At the Corner of Wisdom and Love

PURE, 2018
Mixed media installation of washing machine, mirror, globe lights, mallet, plaster Ivory
soaps
Dimensions variable

I find myself, thirty-nine years old, at the self-help book stage of my life.

It dawned on me about two years ago (and progressively became more clear as time went by) that I knew next to nothing of value to me. Give me a hammer and I’d build you a fence, give me a piano and I’d play you a song, show me a sentence and I’d diagram it, but ask me a couple years ago to articulate my needs and I’d sit there, baffled.

Ask me what I’m feeling and I didn’t actually have the vocabulary. I didn’t even know what a feeling was half the time, and when I did feel something, I couldn’t tell you why I felt that way. I might have had an idea, but I was most likely wrong.

Ask me why I became unrecognizable to myself in romantic relationships, and I’d have explained that it’s because relationships were simply ridiculous and not worth the ninety pounds of flesh they required of me. Ask me what I believed and where my values lie and I’d throw you some scientific explanation excusing myself for my total lack of spirituality.

I’m not there yet, and am confident I will never get “there,” but I’ve started down a path. I’ve begun a quest for Wisdom, having realized how much wisdom there is to gain in the world and how good it feels to feed my neglected and malnourished soul. My predilection is for books that address spirituality and interpersonal relationships, and I’ve been gobbling them up like Garfield with lasagna.

With so many books of wisdom under my belt now, I begin to see where they all point to each other and where, when shaken together and left to rest, the richest cream that rises to the top is simply Love and Human Connection. There are a lot of wonderfully delicious nutrients beneath that cream, and I’ve been trying to articulate them all into some sort of personal ethos that I would then tell you all about and how this has created so much peace in my life, but it feels like proselytizing and I’m no Paul. I think of a poem by Hafiz, the 14th century Persian poet and Islamic mystic who speaks to me in a way that Paul never could…

 

What Happens

What happens when your soul
Begins to awaken
Your eyes
And your heart
And the cells of your body
To the great Journey of Love?

First there is wonderful laughter
And probably precious tears

And a hundred sweet promises
And those heroic vows
No one can ever keep.

But still God is delighted and amused
You once tried to be a saint.

What happens when your soul
Begins to awaken in this world

To our deep need to love
And serve the Friend?

O the Beloved
Will send you
One of His wonderful, wild companions –

Like Hafiz

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