My Little Plans

I have never bothered to post pictures before, but today, wanting to honor Snow, my captor, I decided to put up these shots I took just a few minutes ago. The one on the left is outside my back door, the one on the right is my sweat lodge on a little knoll below my house.

I wrote an e-mail to a friend to tell her I wouldn’t be able to make it to the art gallery soiree we were planning to go to in Asheville today called Women and Wine, a fundrasier for the gallery; nor did my musician friends who were planning to gather on the mountain last night for fun and music together make the drive – because this, what you see above, moved in. I told my friend, “I am trying to stay in love with Mother Nature, but she doesn’t seem to give a hoot about my plans!” That brought to mind a memory of my spiritual teacher belly laughing as she was talking to us once, saying, “God doesn’t care anything about your little plans!” She could get so tickled, which was so much fun to watch, and the truth of this statement hit me like a little lightning bolt.

I’m not very comfortable using the word “God” anymore as I realize it is too overused, and that very few people have the same thing in mind when they say it, causing its use to distort communication more than assist it. At the time of hearing her say that, though, I knew what she meant of course. Now I generally use less charged words for the same idea, like “nature” or “universe.”

Which leads to my point. Nature doesn’t care anything about my little plans! It seems to me to be one of life’s biggest and hardest lessons. The economy breaking down is destroying a lot of plans. The tsunamis and earthquakes, mud slides and fires – not caring about our plans. How do we situate ourselves appropriately in the context of this much bigger mind of reality? I remember noticing long ago that in Taoist art they paint magnificent, enormous landscapes, with tiny little figures of people somewhere in them on a boat or a trail that you will notice if you look a long time. The Taoist relationship to that huge reality is expressed by the proportions expressed in their art. In Western art often humans are huge towering figures, way larger than life, with their myths and dramas the main expressions in the paintings. Landscapes are by comparison small, distant, lovely backdrops for human affairs.

In Taoist art, you can see right away that nature really doesn’t care anything for our little plans. In Western art, our plans and dramas seem to be the point, nature is decoration. Surely between these two perspectives there is a balance to be struck. I do believe it is one of life’s biggest and hardest lessons. Every night when I turn on the news I hear Nature making her point with all of these challenging natural disasters, most lately in Chile with the tectonic plates under South America moving into new positions. I believe we are not just meant to be victims of what nature decides, nor do I believe in the illusion that we have any control at all. We have a task that we are trying to discover rules and intelligence for in working out this big relationship; how to allow our “little plans” to fit into her “big plans.” It’s an Olympian task. I say this on the closing days of the 2010 Winter Olympics feeling it as such for us.

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2 Responses to “My Little Plans”

  1. Trace Says:

    I love your descriptions of Taoist art. But a balance between it and Western art is what we need, yes. I’ll remember that, thanks!

    Your snow photos are lovely. Serene. You know what they made me think? All that we are looking for and waiting on is there, hidden now perhaps by snow or whatever veil is present, but I do believe they’re there. We just have to find our way through the labyrinth. Or maybe we need to fly above it??

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