Since around Passover, some Rumi lines have been following me everywhere. It was around then that I opened my copy of The Essential Rumi (Coleman Bark's translation) and scrawled the following on a piece of scratch paper:
The way of love is not a subtle argument.
The door there is devastation.
Birds make sky-circles of their freedom.
How do they learn it? They fall, and falling, they're given wings.
I copied these words in pencil on a small piece of paper--approximately 4.25 inches by 5 inches--and now slightly crumpled and tea-stained. I've carried it from room to room with me, have placed it on the floor beside my bed, sandwiched it between books on a shelf, and forgotten it for days only to find it again. Yuki was sleeping on top of it once and another time I found it under the kitchen table. I've also knowingly used it as a bookmark and to set cool glasses of water on.
I've begun the process of interpreting this message of Rumi's and the birds' into a painting. And although I am actively drawing and playing with the images that the words evoke in me, it is actually the birds that are stirring things up. Birds are flying around in my dreams (making great sky-circles) and while I am walking about my days, I see and hear bird messages. Mostly, I am learning--in my body--that it is okay to feel devastation. In fact, it is through falling that we learn how to fly.