When, last year, I heard the announcement of his winning, I started scouring the internet for what I could find of the Swedish poet of whom I knew not a single thing — and now Nobel Literature Prize laureate –Tomas Gösta Tranströmer! I found two quotes that immediately stirred something within me. Oh, and how I was refreshed by his lucidity!
The airy sky has taken its place leaning against the wall.
It is like a prayer to what is empty.
And what is empty turns its face to us
‘I am not empty, I am open’
Ahh Perspective! Empty vs. open is but a matter of perspective! And with new perspective is born new discovery. My discovery of Tranströmer is not unlike what Keat’s describes in “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” (a poem about finally understaing Homer’s Oddesy through Chapman’s translation):
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes
He stared at the pacific — and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise–
Silent, upon a peak in Darien
Suddenly there is a new planet in my universe; a new voice (to me) to express the human heart. And how beautiful it is to visualize the words Tranströmer has painted and to think of all that seems empty rather as being open; ready– ready to be filled; accepting.
I suppose a sort of openess has been required for me to create this blog: an openess to sharing and to future criticism and the acceptance that one does hope it is discovered, enjoyed even; an openess to hoping one’s perspective does matter.
and so, from Trantromer’s “The Outpost”:
Mission: TO be where I am.
Even in the ridiculous, deadly serious
role- I am the place
where creation is working itself out
Apt as those words are this very moment, when I first read them, they transported me to a level I Iyengar Yoga class over a year ago. My then (and always) teacher, Anna, talked about honouring the place where you are ( in your abilities and practice) and yet, at the same time, finding the tools to transcend this place in order to progress (Yoga, the science of paradox, I like to call it). In other words, having the patience to understand that your body is “working it out”, as it were: that creation is happening within you and that creation takes time. I envisioned physical connections being made in the brain, neurons growing and carving new paths like a ravenous rivers snaking through the earth and neurotransmitters whizzing through synapses like some sort of intergalactic dance of the cosmos: all this just because you took your body where it had never been before and created/ are creating, in that moment, something/someone new…the connections are being made (literally and figuratively).
I thought also of a dear friend, H, and conversations we had recently had about what happens when we suffer suffering. Similar to the quivering of quads when we bend into the uncharted territory of the the first uttanasana (simple forward bend yoga pose) and our body and mind learn to understand and love this new place through neurological and psychological growth, when we go through personal earthquakes, our being is thrust into the chaos of creation– the “ridiculous, deadly serious role”– and we have to trust that even as every molecule of our world oscillates faster than our current comprehension, the connections are being made: the dervish dance shall lead utilmately to higher conciousness. We are being created and we are creating (in more ways and nuances than I care to ennumerate). We are that place “where creation is working itself out”.
A very personal earthquake led me to a greater dedication to the “creative habit”, as Twyla Tharp calls it. As I continue to create my life, — and this blog –I shall try to share it with openess. There is so much for me to discover!
Ustrasana: a Yoga pose that calls for the front surface of the body to be entirely open
Location: Saint Sulpice, Vaud, Switzerland infront of Lac Léman (Lake Geneva) with view of Evian, France