My assignment was to write a poem–one that rhymed. “This shouldn’t be a worry. I’m not in school, ” I thought. “This is not going to be graded, Norma. This is just for fun,” I told myself in an effort to move past the fear of exposing myself. I continued to stare at the blank screen. It stared back at me. I was knee deep in opening the doors to my creativity via Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.” I’m not quite sure how it came to pass, but I was heading out every week to the ‘facilitator’s’ home, joining other creators-in-the making in a dance of self discovery. We made paper, painted ceramics, created bookmarks, arranged flowers, wrote prose and poetry, and simply shared our souls with ourselves and the others in this small group. (I didn’t realize at this time that we are all co-creators! It was not something to ‘become’ but something to ‘uncover.’)
My life was different then. I had three children living at home, a husband, and a beautiful home on the lake. You know. The American Dream. And this was around twenty years ago, in the 90s. Many things have changed since then. My children are grown, with independent lives of their own. And that is good. I am single now, and living alone in an entirely different state. (And state of being.) And that is good. But one thing has remained constant– my quest for growth in the midst of an ever-changing and ever-evolving world. The poem that wrote itself on that blank computer screen still speaks to me today. I have taken its advice. I simply entitled it “Clay” (Should I subtitle it ‘Emergence’?)
Cool clay within the earth
Unformed and motionless it lay.
Its quiet womb within the ground
Beckoned it to stay.
Yet warm hands delivered it,
An embryo of the past,
And gently kneaded and molded it
To become a shape at last.
Rough it seemed around the edges
That clay began to see
How much work ahead to become
What it was going to be.
It had a vision of magnificence–
Hoping for the best.
But, the Sculptor’s skill and artfulness
Would be put to the test.
What shape, what form will I become?
That piece of clay did ask.
The answer came quite slowly–
Be yourself, take off your mask.
Norma (Kirkpatrick) Costello
I am grateful for the joy of being. The joy of emerging. The joy of revealing what is under the mask of illusion for each one of us.