1976 ~ One morning before dawn I dreamed of a door that opened under water into a different sort of water. I did not step over the threshold. That would be a step for waking life. When I woke up I sat at this desk in the picture, (I admit I tidied it up for the camera) which had been new in 1976, and wrote down the dream. Later that day I wrote Seek and Thee Shall Find and stuck it on the door in the center as a reminder.
And so it began. The inner search and the outer search, but mostly the search within. Which turned out to be probing, prodding and poking myself through the art of painting and then the art of writing memoir, in order to bring forth whatever lay hidden within. Art as research, because of those hidden doorways that tend to spring open in the silence of those solo forays into unplumbed depths of the soul. A singularly focused activity of bearing witness to the Self.
2001 ~ Twenty-five years later I found what I hadn’t consciously known I was searching for. Yet it was found all the same, because of seeking the art of the thing through images and then seeking it through words. The art of a thing because art is emotional and intuitive and right brain. And if it is heartfelt, its expression will be beyond what the mind can know. If it is heartfelt, it will be true, and the mind will recognize its truth.
2016 ~ Another fifteen more years have gone by and I am still sitting at this desk made of yew wood. It is worse for the wear, but then so am I. Lately my seeking has revolved around narrating the last chapter of my memoir. It is my second book. The first one was about everything that led up to having a dream where a door would open under water. The sequel is about what happened afterwards, and ends with another opening. Though not a door per se, certainly an opening into a different sort of life. A different sort of water, like in the dream.
It has been troublesome describing events that led up this second opening. I finally decided it was okay to say I didn’t understand what was happening. This was true in a sense, because my mind could not comprehend it. And I didn’t know how to write the chapter without sounding as if I’d lost my mind. (Which was also true, in a sense.) The truth was that I gave up. Even as I was seeking to understand, I surrendered. I let go. I surrendered to what was happening even as I had surrendered myself to the dream years earlier. In fact, both openings, the one with the image of a door and the one without it, came about through profound experiences of letting go. If seeking is active, it would seem finding requires a letting go. Which is not to say that finding is passive, or that surrendering is passive.
Whether I shall ever let go of this desk remains to be seen. It has traveled with me across the ocean, then was parked in several Manhattan apartments before crossing the river to Brooklyn. Then back it went to Manhattan for a bit, before coming at last to Brooklyn again, where it has resided ever since. And where I sit now, with my legs parked under it. Yew wood. Which I like thinking of as you would. As in, I would. Seek. And find. The search began when I sat at this desk one morning in 1976…