A Kindling's Reflections
I was on an island near the coast of Washington for about a week with a rather diverse gathering of artist, writers, theologians, philosophers, poets, film makers, and quite simply, rich individuals as part of The Kindlings. I wasn’t sure when I started the trip why I was making this journey and once on Orcas Island, I still wasn’t exactly clear, but my gut knew something worthwhile was taking place.
The full green beauty of the place alone would make the trip a win, but the conversations and movements around an open-handed exploration of friendship and its catalytic nature in culture, the arts, and Life took the word “beauty” to a different level.
Elaine Scarry says, “The beautiful, almost without any effort of our own, acquaints us with the mental events of conviction, and so pleasurable a mental state is this that ever afterwards one is willing to labor, struggle, wrestle with the world to locate enduring sources of conviction – to locate what is true.” In this time on Orcas, I experienced Beautiful as something that wasn’t seen with the eyes but churned underground rivers in me; it brought me to a place of admitting my errors, of hiding too much, and that in my friendships, in my living, in each creative act I do I desire something more, like beauty.
That is the best summary I can give of the week. Even so, as I was flying back from Seattle I read the end of “Flight to Arras” by Antoine Saint-Exuperey and in its last pages he writes: “My eyes have been unsealed, and I want now to remember what it is that they have seen.” Here is what I wrote in my own remembering what of I have seen and heard…
- A community, a gathering of artists and creatives can form an encouraging space to explore numerous levels of friendship, creativity, calling.
- I want more Nigel Goodwins in my life - men who are openly themselves, open-armed, and constantly exploring, reshaping the edges and depths of what it is to be loved, human, free, alive.
- What it is to listen AND speak…it’s ok to be quiet, but don’t hold back either.
- Not to fear when there are deeper waters churned even if they can’t be easily seen or defined for they might be movements of who God made us to be awakening
- The Creator’s voice is never condemning or shaming, so if I hear this, it’s not his.
- To ask: “Who are the friends with a long-suffering history? ” Because they are worth whatever it takes.
- I am wooed to higher standards, higher creative moves
- To “chew on it, chew on it some more, and again, chew on it again.” - N. Goodwin
- Sometimes it takes a shadow of something bigger to get me out of the sandbox and run to shelter; that maybe a bomb in the sandbox needs to happen once in awhile (even if it isn’t intended for good) to move us out into the world.
- I can’t hide anymore, even if I’m unsure of where we are going in the daylight
- Vulnerability and intimacy are not the same thing, but one can lead to the other.
And like Nigel said, I will be chewing on all this and more for weeks if not months to come…