Berkeley is the kind of place where you find little surprises. As you climb down the hill from Hinkel Park in the Berkeley Hills, you may find yourself on one of the many paths that connect the streets. On the Yosemite steps there’s a wall of poems. On a walk in late January, well before dawn, I came across this poem, illuminated by the less-than-romantic light of my iPhone:
A Voice through the Door – Rumi
Sometimes you hear a voice through the door
calling you, as fish out of water
hear the waves, or a hunting falcon
hears the drum's Come back. Come back.
This turning toward what you deeply love
saves you. Read the book of your life,
which has been given you.
A voice comes to your soul saying,
Lift your foot. Cross over.
Move into emptiness
of question and answer and question.
The ecstatic words of Rumi often leave massive room for interpretation, making them ideal for projection. That morning my thoughts were on bliss following, or in this case, turning toward what you deeply love.
I am sure that many of the stories we hear as listeners in our practices of digital storytelling are a turning back toward the drum of our lives, of things loved, of things we want to hold dear, or process as a longing.
I thought about the coming of Valentine’s Day. We associate the day with eros more than agape, with romance more than loving kindness and friendship, but that morning this poem was a valentine to my heart. And it made me think that I wanted to start with this idea as the first in a series of singular workshops, Wise Words Webinars, that will have me sparking prompts for stories out of poems. We start on Thursday, February 13th in an online webinar for people to exchange stories about a passion yet to be explored, or a new learning about someone we love.
Rumi’s meditation reminds us that the choice to listen to the deepest part of ourselves is not easy. It needs prodding and cajoling, the risk of crossing a border we have constructed to protect ourselves. Our work in story is that kind of gentle encouragement – we never know when someone will feel ready to step over the threshold.
At least in my interpretation of his final stanza, Rumi also reminds us that this process is not definitive, but repetitive. For every answer, every insight about ourselves and our love, we evolve a new question. There is yet a new threshold of knowing awaiting us.
Isn’t this always the way of love?
Hope to see you at this or another upcoming webinar.
Turning Toward What You Love
Thursday, February 13, 2014: 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. PST
Stories about purpose, passion and people that matter to you.