Monday, October 11, 2010

Honoring Our Gifts: Letter to My Talents

The following letter was written during a retreat weekend at The Fen. Not far from Three Rivers Michigan, on a tributary and wetland that is part of the St. Joseph River system, The Fen is a very special artists’ retreat center owned and shared with others by the great Canadian singer, songwriter and poet Ferron and her partner Mary.

Our retreat weekend was structured around keeping silence for a good portion of the day and “talking your walk” with the rest of an intimate number of participants at the end of the day.

One of the suggested assignments was to write a letter to an important some one, something, or some place, and/or to address your fear of expressing your talent: what keeps you from sharing your gifts? I chose to write a letter to my talents.

I found succor and connection in the exercise and in the product of the exercise, which I share here. I heartily recommend similar experiments to others as a way to get to one’s center of worth and worthiness, whether you identify as an artist or not. Besides, it’s fun!

Dear Talents;

First of all I’d like to thank you for a wonderful weekend. You went out of your way to make my place with you comfortable and exciting and included enough risk-taking that I felt somehow I could be new and renew.

Of course the customs in your country are somewhat strange and alien considering the restrictions in the place I find myself living. But, in spite of that, it didn’t take long for me to see that lifting that veil, that veneer of masks and meaningless prohibitions and letting them fall away, was all for the best. Your rules, if one can even call them that, to honor your heart, to speak the best parts of yourself, and to connect with the best parts of others – and then to make something lasting and worthy for the next generations – are strange at first, but soon come naturally; so naturally that I find myself humming those tunes even in the most adverse situations.

This must be how people, even in the most oppressive lands, those dim and dank mine shafts of the collective shadow, survive: they know their music, they remember and honor the songs of their loving predecessors, and they always discover what is new and can be depended upon. And they find ways and people with whom to share what they have discovered. That is what I’ve learned from you my friend.

I know you have been with me since I was a child but your name, or names, were hidden from me even as you were born in my own house like some secret sibling I could turn to in the dark night afraid and we could cling together – and laugh or hum our little new songs back and forth, back and forth, never to forget we belong together, we are in one another, even if the circumstances of kings and queens would have us doubt our worth.

I like your country and hope I will find time in my waking hours and even more often in my dreams to be near you there. Until then, fare thee well. Let us speak often and well as we have been able to and reconfirm the inseparable nature of our bonds.

I am sitting by a river now. It is Fall and the bright tree -- orange, yellow, and amber -- is mirrored in the moving water. Strange. I could be in your country even here. Yes, there are trains and the drone of far away trucks, even gun shots, sometimes fearsomely close, close enough to remember the wars others have to dream through to remember you and the possibilities of where you live. I cannot forget them, can I?

So I hope I can bring you to my living even here – these small places where we make enough quiet to hear you in the intermittent rain of Fall leaves, the owls and kingfishers, the crickets behind me, the little green frog with duckweed on its back.

Look at all the little leaf boats! They are coming around the bending water toward me. And then, even then, I must let them go on!

Thank you for your gifts to me,

Forever yours, inestimably mine, infinitesimally ours –



No comments: