My heart is a clenched fist at the center of my chest. Some dark force pushes me forward, forcing me to peer over the edge of abyss. I have always had a fear of heights, of falling or worse yet jumping into the unknown. In a reoccurring nightmare, I am tumbling down a steep hill. Large bags of sand are inches behind me. With every roll, I fall deeper and deeper into darkness. I awaken just as the sandbags are about to catch up and crush me. Rabbi Yisrael Baal Shem Tov said: “Let me fall. If I must fall, the one I will become will catch me.”
Now as I sit at my husband’s coffee shop (Relevant Roasters) reading Anne Truitt’s Daybook and waiting to leave for a ten o’clock appointment, I realize the extent to which my life has been ruled by urgency. In the past, I viewed the exigencies of my life as tempests wrought with anxiety, fraught with tension and ladened with foreboding, but today, I choose to see them otherwise. Why not direct my urgency into my work? Like paint on a canvas, I can apply it to time and space, harness it’s energy for the highest good. I will strike a bargain with my inordinate need to do something, anything to alleviate my discomfort. I will require my urgency to work for the highest good. By using it to cultivate a higher degree of consciousness, I give it purpose and in so doing, silence it. Once quieted, it is malleable and can be easily pressured into service. Urgency extended toward higher consciousness becomes art.
Art is, by it’s very nature, a superior level of action. The space between an idea and its manifestation, is a world unto itself, a place where, with a “little touch of grace,” one can know the presence of God. “But,” in the words of Anne Truitt, “we must pay attention to that area in order to notice the grace, or even perhaps to attract it.” If I am to notice grace, I must channel my urgency. I must pay attention to that part of me that knows God. For it is there that I will find immersion “in a process so absorbing as to be its own reward.” (Anne Truitt).