I recently watched two “moving art” documentaries by Louie Schwartzberg in which he uses time-lapse photography to capture the unfolding of flowers around the world. The images are incredible as the dance of opening begins, and the inner beauty of the flowers unfolds, and the pistils and stamens arise and sway around the center of the flowers. In one scene he captures cactus flowers in the desert which have only one day to bloom.
That scene especially captured my imagination and served as a metaphor for what I think is happening within my own being lately. I believe I might be in the midst of my “one day to bloom.” The transformation out of the last two years of suffering with my wife through her breast cancer treatments seems to be feeding an explosion of creativity, as though I too have one day to bloom.
This explosion began in the past year with the writing and publishing of Monks in the World with Wipf & Stock, and moved me into creating a documentary on “Oneness: walking a contemplative path in community” with my friend Don Downey and the larger community of our School for Contemplative Living. Now a second book, The Gate of Heaven is Everywhere, is beginning to be written and so is this blog: A Contemplative Path. I was offered the opportunity to spend three delightful days training spiritual directors from Alabama and Florida in contemplative living. And every week some form of poetic expression seeks to emerge through a message at Parker United Methodist Church here in New Orleans.
Within the School I returned to leading sacred yoga classes this summer, and launched two new classes on meditation and the contemplative life. Next week I will give a talk in a public library along with a book signing. Then I will create a webinar for Loyola University on “Seeking God in a Frantic Culture” from my book. A new song on the guitar is being written through me in honor of William Ackerman, founder of Windham Hill.
Meanwhile, our team who steer the unfolding of the School has also been in a creative spurt in designing monthly workshops and programming for the year. Even the birthing of the School itself has been like watching one of those time-lapse scenes of a flower blooming. This journey has truly been beautiful to behold, a blossoming of human beings in contemplative community.
One of the mysteries of all of this blooming process is why now? How did a period of intense suffering in our lives turn into a period of intense creativity? If I knew anything about physics I would wonder if the Great Mystery uses dark matter as the fundamental substance from which creative sparks spring forth. Is there a divine plan emerging through this transformation from suffering into birthing? Is this a resurrection from death into life, from darkness into Light?
All I really know is that I am enthralled in the joy of watching the birthing, enriched by the opportunity to experience the dancing blossoms, humbled by the wonder and awe of this journey, and filled with gratitude for this awakening into one day to bloom. To any reader I say this: if you are in the time of dark matter, despairing in the death at hand, hear the Truth – resurrection is coming, the Light is just around the corner, and you too have one day to bloom in your future.
(I recommend viewing “Moving Art: Flowers” on Netflix or any of the time-lapse scenes created by Louie Schwartzberg. You can also see him interviewed on YouTube to learn of his motivations for his work. I also recommend viewing some of the recent documentary work of Don Downey at http://www.dondowneywork.com).