A miraculous event unfolds when we throw the lead of our personal story into the transformative flames of creativity. Our hardship is transmuted into something golden. With that gold we heal ourselves and redeem the world. As with any spiritual practice, this creative alchemy requires a leap of faith. When we show up to make art, we need to first get still enough to hear what wants to be expressed through us, and then we need to step out of the way and let it. We must be willing to abide in a space of not knowing before we can settle into knowing. Such a space is sacred. It is liminal, and it’s numinous. It is frightening and enlivening. It demands no less than everything, and it gives back tenfold.
from Mirabai Starr, Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom of the Women Mystics, p159-160.
During Advent I spent time imagining what would happen if an angel appeared in my living room, and angels, as God’s messengers, seem to have continued being on my mind, somewhat untraditionally, as I contemplate entering one of my favourite few weeks of the liturgical calendar: the Epiphany season.
I have written before that I call Epiphany the ‘Feast Day of Contemplative Photographers’: a day to celebrate and give thanks for the slow becoming that is the transfiguration my mundane vision must undergo in order to become God’s extraordinary seeing. I suspect that Mirabai Starr would widen that definition to name Epiphany as the ‘Feast of All Artists’.
Because epiphany isn’t just about a momentary flash of insight, a light bulb, an aha that surges forward when I am suddenly connected to the divine mains and our circuit is momentarily made complete, although it is all that. An epiphany of the Source of Being, is an epiphany with the Source of Being. For there to be an epiphany, there must first be a relationship. Epiphany depends on an indivisible interdependence, on an intimacy, felt or not, artistic or not, that declares I am not all, You are; that I am not alone, You are with me; that I am not in control, Your Will be done.
I don’t just have an epiphany; I am the epiphany.
When my I is enfolded into the divine We until even my very sight is transfigured, my work this Epiphany season might just become the holy exciting, wholly terrifying vocation of co-creating with my God.
There is a grace approaching
that we shun as much as death,
it is the completion of our birth.
It does not come in time,
but in timelessness
when the mind sinks into the heart
and we remember.
It is an insistent grace that draws us
to the edge and beckons us to surrender
safe territory and enter our enormity.
We know we must pass
and fear the shedding.
But we are pulled upward
through forgotten ghosts
and unexpected angels,
And there is nothing left to say
but we are That.
And that is what we sing about.
a tool of insistent grace. Canon 7D. f2.5. 1/2000. ISO 400.