Liz Gilbert used this word in the last scene in her book, Eat, Pray, Love and it captivated me. Attraversiamo in Italian means “let’s cross over.” It’s deliberate, inviting and beautiful. And, it describes what my life feels like these days. I’ve been waiting for a chance to use it myself, and last night, I woke up with Attraversiamo floating in my head. No surprise, because I spent most of the night with my nephew Matt enjoying a great movie, dinner, and a glorious half-moon Kansas City night. He was in Kansas City on business and we hadn’t seen each other in years.
Matt has always encouraged me as a writer, maybe because he is one himself. But, it’s deeper than that. Matt understands that writing is an act of creation and the art of living faithfully, and courageously. Faithful to what, you might ask?
Faithful to the mystery and to the Spirit that informs it.
Matt read some of my early writings sometime around 1997, and was kind to respond to them, even though he did it almost a year later. He was an intrepid wanderer back then, and my mail got sent to the wrong address. Matt told me that the act of writing was really the art of living; the blank page was actually the canvas upon which my faith writ large, and it was all sourced by the Mystery; something lovely like a wind or a fragrance. It took me almost 10 years to learn to discern that wind and scent, because I followed all sorts of other distractions. I’m glad I finally learned the art of paying attention to what really matters, after some pretty rough and painful experiences. They were all part of it too, but it’s really good to say that from the other side of the street.
Driving through the famous Jazz District on 18th and Vine in Kansas City, I showed him that the thing comprised about 4 blocks. He was as surprised as I was the first time I saw it. We imagined it much larger because of its fame. Then, we talked about the pain and poverty and passion that birthed that amazing music. It might have been then, that I realized my work was born of those very same elements, right here in Kansas City; the Heartland of America. It didn’t matter how small my life looked because what arose from this place inside of me, was art, like a love letter to God. I knew Matt understood that. Our bond is deep, and arises from the Mystery; it’s just that we are conscious of it and free to talk about it too.
Such a gift to share this with someone.
So, this is the deal. If you want an amazing life, you might want to pay attention to things that amaze you, instead of things that scare you. Honestly, it began that simply for me. I learned early on in recovery behave like Sherlock Holmes about my life; observing everything as part of the mystery, and without evaluation that would shut my mind and body down to an experience. There’s real power in paying attention, and it doesn’t cost money. Not paying attention to my life before I recovered almost cost me everything. I’m glad I woke up, and stayed awake.
So, the crossing over that happened for me with Matt, was more than just the time I spent showing him around,crossing streets. It was the morning after, as his beautiful Spirit and words still lingered, that I realized I had been faithful and courageous in this process of living here. I had been true, as best I could be, to the Mystery. Intuiting life and responding to its movements has brought me to freedom of being that is richer than any bank account I might have otherwise filled, had I not embarked on this journey of self discovery. I did the steps of recovery, now I want the moves.
It feels like I’ve stopped waiting for something outside of me to happen too. I’m immersed in something vital, and paying attention. Life will show it up for me, just like Matt’s unexpected gift of a visit. He seems to understand the mysterious movement of “Know Thyself“, because he spoke of it often, like a mantra.
I’m happy today, and Matt could feel that. I’m glad he waited to visit until that was true. While no single event can justify a life, sometimes a shift in perception makes everything that came before it, line up in a mosaic of meaning.
The spectacular painting above is from Leigh J. McCloskey, whose work is a testament to the Renaissance of the Divine Feminine. Here’s the link http://www.facebook.com/pages/Olandar-Foundation-for-Emerging-Renaissance-OFFER-Leigh-J-McCloskey/223855995015