Saturday, March 29, 2014

Beginning Again...

Spent the morning as part of a writing workshop at the Servant
Leadership School of Greensboro. Ten of us were part of this
"One City, One Prompt 2014" experience which is taking place
in communities all over the country. This year's theme is BEGIN
AGAIN, creatively addressing the questions of how do I begin
again- personally, professionally, relationally? How can my
community begin again? How does beginning again relate to
humanity's needs and to the needs of our planet? and How
shall we begin again to connect across faith, race, ethnicity, and

Our gifted leader, a young woman by the name of Jacinta White,
led us into several creative writing exercises, using a variety of
"prompts" and it was a great joy to feel my creative juices
flowing be in the company of others who, like me,
take pleasure in the creative expression of our thoughts and
feelings through the venue of words, painting word-pictures as
surely as my artist-friends use paints or clay or metal for their

Our first "prompt" was a visual one. Each of us was invited to
take a folded piece of paper from a bowl and then reflect and
write whatever came to mind and heart. My photo was two-
sided and I chose the side NOT intended for use but which
spoke to me anyway...a Cartier watch...and so I wrote-
Time...a relentless enemy,
it seems to me,
reminding me, challenging me,
to start anew
to relish and use each second,
aware that once it's past,
     it never comes again...
reminding me, challenging me,
to dare to risk
a new beginning even
as life's clock
ticks away the minutes
                       years of my life...
and even
a Cartier watch
cannot hold back its passage.

Then, we shared a poem, an incredibly beautiful poem written by
Louise Gallagher, entitled Always Begin Again, and we were
invited to use it or some of the other things we had been
discussing as another "prompt" for our writing. I was transfixed
by these lines of the poem:
           With the tenderness of a raindrop
           clinging to a leaf
          I hold onto life
          fearing the finality
          of the fall.

The last three lines especially would not let me go and so I wrote:

letting go?
How I cling to the branch,
longing to grasp it tightly,
to never, ever let go.
The fall is fearsome.
Where will I land?
In a welcoming, gently-absorbing puddle
or splat on the sidewalk,
breaking me into irretrievable pieces?
Can taking such a risk
really be a new beginning-
or will it simply mark the
end of all that is,
obliterating what will be
in the fool-hardy release
of the familiar?
              I don't know...
              I wonder...
                      which gives me hope.

Our final challenge was to answer some probing questions
for ourselves. If I were to begin something again it would be
_____________ because _____________, but I haven't yet
because________________ and __________________.
was the first of these, and I found myself answering in a way
which surprised me. If I were to begin something again,
I discovered, it would be the play on which I began working
some 5 years ago and which has lain dormant in my notebook
and computer for a long, long time, because I would really
like to see where it goes- and where it takes me. Why haven't
I done this before? Because I hate to fail- despite the fact that
I know, I know, I have consistently learned from my failures,
and because I have no idea what I will do with it if and when
I get it finished. But Jacinta challenged me: perhaps it is not
important to know at this point what will happen...perhaps
right now it is simply important for me to follow the promptings
of my heart to see where this
strange road will take me, letting the future take care of

And finally, we were invited to create a small poster- just
for ourselves- on the theme: TODAY- I COMMIT TO BEGIN...

So, here I sit, sated and stimulated at the same time, filled
to the brim with the desire, the determination to BEGIN
AGAIN...knowing that it is never too late to truly live, to truly
create, to truly be immersed in the wonder and beauty and
miracle of life. May I be daring...and BEGIN AGAIN.

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