A few days ago a friend left me a voice message recounting a near mystical experience she had while journeying through Myanmar. She and a friend had decided to rent bicycles for $1 and cycle through the countryside to visit sacred caves containing shrines to Buddha. After making their way barefoot through a series of dark caverns which altered in temperature, going from unbearable humidity to freezing cold air pockets and involved bugs, they came upon a path that led them to an edge. As they rounded the corner, the cave opened up to an incredible look out of a field of sunflowers where a monk sat nearby meditating. The giant red sun was just touching the horizon and illuminating everything unlike anything they'd ever seen. Light cast itself in bright beams and there was absolute quiet, not a sound to be heard. As the two of them stood, bathed in golden light, they were brought to tears by the magical beauty. My friend said she had to look away it was so beautiful.
Hearing my friend's story, something inside me opened, much like the effect the sun has on sunflowers. Inside, I felt a leaning in, a turning towards; an, "I know this place and this feeling" even though I have never been to Myanmar and have never had quite an experience like that. Nevertheless, I could hold it in my mind's eye as if I were there, could keep some sliver of my friend's healing vision in my heart.
A few hours later, my sister FaceTimed me. She pointed the camera on my beaming nephew who was strapped cutely into his high chair, ever the little man, smiling wide, awaiting his next meal. I wanted to reach through the screen and nuzzle his plump chubby cheeks, feel and smell his smooth, sweet skin. We beamed at each other like that; me, one of his many doting aunties and him; my one and only love of my life nephew. "Hi!" I said, my heart so full of joy, while also longing to be closer than London is to LA. "Hi, beebs! I miss you!" I cooed. Then, my ten-month old nephew did something I've never seen him do before. He waved at me. It happened so fast I wondered if I was perhaps seeing things but my sister, who was holding the camera, confirmed it. "Oh my gosh! Did you see? He just waved at you!" And just like that, hot tears gushed down my cheeks. I didn't know where they came from, where to put them or how to get them to stop. My nephew. A ten month old little boy. Hello, he says without saying, from wherever he is.
Maybe it has had a specific effect on me because lately I am looking for magic. I am looking for it anywhere I can find it. And I am finding it. In the budding flowers on the trees, in the tender green sprouts of newness, on my yoga mat, inside a perfectly ripe avocado, in the way that passing dog caught my glance on the street. The way it felt he might have just seen my soul. A secret connection. A blip of communication from somewhere not here.
Somewhere not here. That is where creativity comes from. It's the source of all magic, where it all hails from; those sunsets worthy of tears, the little babes sending a nod of a wave from the innocent beyond, an understanding yet languageless space. It is a place easily not found, terribly overlooked and often forever forgotten. I have learned that this place can be present in just about every moment if we allow for it. But allowing for it requires a fierceness that isn't for the faint hearted. It requires an abandoning. Of ego, for one. It requires drawing boundaries, around things / people / activities that whisk you further and further away from the place you so long to connect to. It requires discipline. Meditation. Walking. Yoga. Dancing. Maybe a trip to Myanmar. It requires dedication; a full-hearted wanting that's so big and broad that you'll do just about anything to get your next fix.
Does this sound like a drug? Does this sound reckless? I suppose that's because it is. The deepest form of listening requires listening with our whole selves. My ear is forever to the ground below the ground below the ground. So when I get a little wave, or hear the sound of a crow calling at night loud enough to wake me up I fill with yes. My heart seeps with gratitude in knowing with all certainty that perhaps we are not all alone here, afterall.