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for myself or for the world?

I write for everyone. I don’t just write for myself, or perhaps sometimes I do. Well, alright, very often I write to emerge from the small cage of myself into a larger and brighter space. So that is for myself but it’s also to release myself into the world.

I walk for the world as well. Perhaps not at first, when I start out all bound up in myself and the particular sensitivities that have plagued me that day, but after a while, when the world has grown tired of being patient and decides to assail me with abundant trails of starry clematis climbing through the branches of a tree, or a duck flying in hard to land on a narrow stretch of water, or the sunlit trunk of a manna gum stripped of bark and glowing with subtle colour. Then I wake up to the world in a larger way and I can leave my personal preoccupations to sort themselves out or await a later untangling.

I then grant the world my more expansive and attentive consciousness – now narrowing in on the greenhood orchids, then widening to reach between horizons or encompass the farthest range of blue hills.

I have aimed for a while to make this my mission, at least at some brief moment of a walk, to focus on some re-sanctification of places that have been desecrated or merely neglected, but in truth, it is a combination of effort and surrender.

‘Fake it ’til you make it’, someone once advised me when I was struggling with a low mood. I’m not a huge fan of such fakery and actually it wasn’t all that effective at the time. ‘Dive in until you reach it’ may have been more helpful, but definitely uniting with an intention of some kind sets my course.

Now I’m doing this – walking as a sacred act, writing as communion with the world. Signing up to move beyond despair, lassitude, procrastination.

As I observed, the world will prompt us when we forget and get lost in the difficulties and distress of our little lives, but I have a sense that the prompts come to me more readily if I’ve signed up consciously for the broadest scope of the activity.

And we can’t forget the unseen world which, of course, I can only say exists from the evidence of my own tiny glimpses and borrowed understanding, and not from the experience of a metaphysical researcher, but the sense that there may be legions of beings longing both to help us and to be nourished by our activity helps me move beyond the persistent nagging of my inner critics, those voices filled with judgment, cynicism and fear.

So, I undertake these inner acts – this writing, this solitary walking, this [insert creative activity of choice here] as acts for everyone, in the largest sense of that word. This calms and reassures me. Although my voice of judgment constantly attempts to persuade me that the act of writing or walking is yet more evidence of my self-indulgent laziness, my egoistic narrowness or my pathetic wimpiness in the face of the larger world, I can resist.

With the inklings I have of these broader cosmic pictures and the sense in my soul of taking physical and metaphysical journeys that shift me into new and more generous spaces, well, I know that I’m writing or walking (or knitting, painting, drawing or sewing…) not just for myself but for the world.

Not that one should give up, forget or neglect one’s inner life for a moment but we must learn to work in it, with it and out of it so that the totality of our souls may break out into our activities and our activities shall lead us back to the unity.

Meister Eckhart

keeping in contact

I’m no longer using my website clarecoburn.com because as some of you know, over the past year I’ve reclaimed my given name of Tanya, so my new website is tanyacoburn.org.

I will continue to offer an occasional blog post from that website mostly about my interests in working with what’s difficult in our lives in creative ways so we can truly turn up to the vocation and life that is needed from each of us. Continue reading “keeping in contact”