My sculptures usually come from words and phrases that pair
themselves with images. Such is the case with this piece. I
heard once that there is great value in being still,
that action is not the only choice. In fact, there might be
great harm in doing something just to do it, or in being
busy just to prove oneís worth. I paired that thought with
words that a student posted on the quotation wall at my retreat center:
You canít keep the birds from flying overhead but you donít
have to let them nest in your hair.
And so I thought about being still and taking action. How
about a woman who stays still long enough for birds to build
a nest in her hair? Though it most certainly would create
a story to tell over morning coffee, it wouldnít seem to me
to be the best use of her time. Granted, being still that
long would surely give her time to listen to her heart and
and, perhaps, connect with the mysteries that are at the
center of existence. But, just as surely, there would come
a time when the birds, even if they were talismans from the
would need to be turned out so that she could get on with
the everyday activities of being human.
I finished the sculpture and thought that I had the answer
to its question, that one must sometimes choose action and
at other times choose the act of being still. Then I looked
sculpture again and how the woman was concentrating in the
moment in order to balance the nest on her head, and I
wondered if she was saying to me that there is a third way,
of being still and taking action at the same time.
Stillness in the center of the tornado. The calm heart in
the center of chaos. The knowing in the midst of the
mysteries. The coexistence
of doing and being that is the well-lived life.
I looked, and I listened, and I knew that this was true.