Tonight, I’m going to Graduation. Again! In this case, Graduation from the Intentional Creativity® Coaching program known as Motherboard.
Yes, we finished a while back. And the planned in-person celebration was postponed because of the pandemic. There seems to be no way to predict an end to that, so we’re going to celebrate now, courtesy of our friends at Zoom.
The invitation reads something like, Dress creatively. Bring a candle and a cuppa, and perhaps some chocolate. And a favorite Motherboard drawing.
I foraged in the closet for the black velvet cap that came along with my doctorate. And blew off the dust!
Deciding which drawing to bring was a no-brainer. It’s not re-copied and pretty. In fact, it’s exactly the way it happened live. And yes, it’s the one in the picture.
Why did I pick it?
Because that’s the moment, in the whole Motherboard journey, when I learned the most. The most about me, and what was holding me back. And the most about where Intentional Creativity Coaching fits in my world.
Which is a lot to learn in a Zoom meeting with a wise friend and a big sketch book and some markers.
I’d been working on learning it for quite a while. And it is all about voice.
In fact, I was writing about the same notions of voice just after 9/11 for a paper in a course called Approaches to the Study of Myth. Dr. Christine Downing led us through some of her journeys with Freud and Jung, with some help from a writer named Bruno Bettelheim and some old notions of soul.
Chris told us that “what Freud meant by Seele or Soul was what the Hebrew scriptures meant by soul… what the book of Genesis meant by soul — that which enlivens us while we are still alive.”
Suddenly, I had a place to connect! Here was a concept I knew. The nurse in me knew about those (dare I say?) holy moments you can literally see, which are so much larger than simply breathing, and yet are so tied to breath, with which life enters or leaves a body.
…My head was spinning with stories in which the Hebrew notions of breath, soul, wind, and spirit were pivotal. And then, there in class that day, another layer of meaning.
Voice. How could I have missed it? How could I not have been told?
(I’m assuming you won’t mind if I skip along a good bit, to the big thing you need to know… The Advent before all this pondering of voice occurred, I was preaching in a traumatized church down the road a bit.)
The lectionary text was Isaiah 12:2-6. “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and will not be afraid,” spoke the prophet in what we now know as verse 2. Not a bad place to start, certainly, but first I had question. You probably did, too. Why did the lectionary text start with verse 2? What was wrong with verse 1?
Were we not ready to say, with Isaiah, “I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though were angry with me, your anger turned away and you comforted me”? Was it the notion that we might have done something to anger God that we could do without? Or simply the notion of an angry God?
I learned that the Hebrew word the NRSV translates as “comforted me” actually means something much closer to “fixed it so I could breathe again”!!!
Fixed it so I could literally inspire trust and certainty in the God who had become my salvation, even though God had been angry with us.
At the time, that seemed like a pretty big promise for a person who has asthma.
Not to mention seeming like a pretty big promise, still, for a person who learned, in the program called Motherboard, that while she used to be afraid, in a not quite conscious way, of being burned at the stake, she isn’t any longer.
Today, I’m using my voice to speak out for International students, including my friend and intern, Gloria and a whole lot more young people who are hoping to graduate! USA friends, should you wish to use your voice, too, you can find your elected legislators here. I had hopeful conversations today with the Legislative Director for Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA-04) and the campaign manager for The Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, candidate for the US Senate and both of them value our input on this issue and issues like it.
And I’m using my voice, along with a bunch of markers, to help others unstick stuck stuff. If you’d like to know more, I hope you’ll email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
And I’m using my voice to say another pretty important thing that I just couldn’t stand to leave out. Whatever understanding you might have of the Divine is welcome here. If the “angry” thing troubles you and you’re at all conversant with the Judeo-Christian traditions, I highly recommend a stroll through the Hebrew scriptures, in which we find tales of God experiencing all the emotions we identify with humans which says something, at least to me, about being created in God’s image, though that isn’t the way my Sunday School teacher explained it!
For now, a quote from Rumi, with thanks to Havi Brysk Mandell who is also graduating from Motherboard!
Let your throat-song be clear and strong enough to make an emperor fall full length suppliant, at the door.