No Thoughts on Work and Soul Food

No thoughts on the work 014

The Great Work is not social work. It is not artistic creation, much to the chagrin of my artistic self. It is not what I once thought it was. In fact it’s not anything I can think. Anything I can think of to speak is but a box that will be destroyed. However, I can say that at this stage of my experience, the Work has much to do with resistance. And resistance takes on the form of coincidence control, which is, from what I’ve been told by an expert I trust, always benevolent. ALWAYS BENEVOLENT. The demolition of boxes – which include all and everything that a self can point to in its individuation, is a given. Resistance training of the soul is extraordinarily unromantic, unsentimental, and as cold and ruthless as the ocean or outer space. Tough, but blow your mind awesome.

Compassion in the form of caring for those in need may become an expression for Work. This I don’t know for a fact, but I surmise from what demolition and resulting exposure has shown thus far which is, there is no one Way. Artistic expression in the form of what some systems call “Objective Art” may also serve as a medium through which the Work is expressed. But in both categories of activities, there is a trap of perceiving the moment’s means as an end in and of itself.  Not to mention the trap of sentimentality, which has a sneaky way of presenting itself as righteous among those who claim to love the Work. But watch what happens when you call out sentimentality, or devotion, which can be a close cousin to it. Watch what happens when you actually take on the resisting tinge of the Work. How quickly the beatific smile of the devoted social “worker” or “work” artist turns into a killer’s glare. And I am painfully aware that I am looking at a mirror reflecting the state of my consciousness at any given micro moment. You can’t win for losing.

I do not love the Work. In speaking about the Great Work, it is like I’m telling a fairy tale – because like anything else that can be told, it is a story. But it’s a bit of a horror story, really, without a happy or unhappy ending, as there is no time to speak of. I use the term because it is the one used to point to what is actually pointless – you can’t point to it ‘cause when you do – chop, chop goes that tree, and voila, nothing is there. That is if you are actually working at resistance training for soul growth. Not pointing to a museum enshrining the time, place, and people of a different era. Then you got a big ole sequoia that takes a lot of chopping.

But I digress. A thing easily done when you realize you are talking to yourself again and you want to avoid the issue. Let me get back to what I wanted to say to whoever or whatever happens to be within earshot. I have said a lot of “no” here because experience of resistance training is very much about no, but one finds that it takes a lot of no to make the right kind of yes. A monumentally subtle yes. Sentimentality tends to have a lot of obvious yes to it from the get go. Yes, I love you. Yes, you are wonderful. Yes, you have every right to feel hurt over your experience. That kind of thing. So does artistic expression in the ordinary sense. Yes, that is beautiful. Yes, you can really dance. Yes, how amazing that you made that. And so on. But it seems that these yeses don’t make soul.

There was a time when I spoke in terms of being a Lover – in the Rumi/Sufi sense. My book, “Journey to the Heart of the Maker” reflects this perspective. Like nostalgia, mystical experience ain’t what it used to be. I don’t know if I’m much of a Lover anymore, but Rumi, a great Lover, sure has a way of saying things just right. He says that the soul is like a porcupine – it gets strong when you hit it with a stick.

And it seems some of the richest food given for soul to grow – the fine pastries – are a form of resistance. They taste like poop to me still. But I am grateful for the feast that is given to me daily, nightly, 24/7. The feeding has been accelerated. Exalted conversations, accomplishments and other such happinesses have been replaced by a new kind of culinary language altogether. A coincidence controlled language of hummingbirds hovering, circling, going east and west, coming toward me or away, peeking in the window not bothering to eat – every direction and action speaking volumes of mirror reflection. Bird sounds, house creaks, deer (particularly distinguished ambassadors), “chance”encounters with passersby dressed up as daily bread. And the very special idiom of longing for a Friend that will never be seen. This too will be chopped.


About gracekellyrivera

I am a perfumer and an artist of multiple disciplines located in California.
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