Week 14, by Kimberly Prendergast
“Becoming the Poem”
Just when you thought Nepo couldn’t go any deeper….these last couple of weeks dig so deep I don’t know that I can capture it well, if at all. I was struck with the themes around being so fully present. In order to “be the poem” one must show up to the party and be fully engaged with what is in front of them. As Nepo writes on page 227, “ the fate of humanity: to weather the cost of standing in the open in order to be guided by the angels.”
That sounds exciting, scary, invigorating and heavy all at the same time. Thank goodness for his examples of Beethoven and Picasso because they help me to grasp what it all means. In reflection, I think about the times I have danced. I love to dance. I used to do it all of the time. As I have gotten older that pastime comes along rarely. But I know that I still love it. I think dancing calls one to be fully in the moment with their body, mind and spirit. The body moving to a beat or flow, connecting with the sound of music and sometimes others. When I dance I become the poem; dancing is pure, improvisation, channeling the stream of energy in the room.
Nepo talks about rehearsing as a means to “keep death at arm’s length”. Death being the opposite of life, then rehearsing keeps us fresh in the moment. It’s not about getting it perfect, it’s about engaging with the process. Currently, I am rehearsing for a play so I am particularly struck by this metaphor for my process–to keep it fresh and look at the words from a new perspective each time I practice. Then broadening this process to the rest of my life I wonder if I can show up fresh and engage with each shower or each time I cook dinner or walk the dog? Can I be the poem then?
Finally, Nepo leaves us with the question about being a conduit between other living things. In some odd ways this is my calling in both acting and as a therapist. To connect to or with, to speak in honesty and in truth, to channel the others perspective in order to bring to life or promote healing. When I am good at what I do it is when I am fully present in the deepest parts of my being to bear witness and let the story unfold in front of me. The opposite is also true, when I am invested in making the outcome mine, or caught up in my head full of judgment or fear I am no longer any good at what I do because I am no longer fully present and I have shut down the flow.
What struck you about this week’s reading?
Book Club Schedule:
- Week #15 The Empty Saddle through This Belongs to Everyone, Eva Tsoureka, Dec. 9
- Week #16 FINAL book club round up Zoom, Saturday, December 18, 10am pacific
Tracey here: Please RSVP to me regarding a final Zoom. If you’d rather, we could meet shortly after the beginning of the new year and discuss how we might incorporate some of Mark’s wisdom moving forward. Let me know!