I have a new website, a new look, and a new vision.
Wait: not a new vision. A clarified one.
Because that’s what we all get to do – I’d even venture to say we must do – in this life. Clarify – what calls us, what we stand for, what we live for – and even what we would die for. Again and again. I used to feel weird about that, as if changing my mind made me a shady person. Now I’m proud of embracing change.
I launched my last site with the tagline Savor & Serve thinking it was a project, like A Year of Living Biblically or The Happiness Project. But I quickly discovered it wasn’t a project but a soul mantra, a tagline for what was calling me. Trying to make it a project felt forced, so bit by bit, I dropped it.
But inside, it was shaping me, and thus, I hope, helping me serve you better.
It shaped me by urging me to take life in. To bite into it, to relax with it, to roll it around on my tongue. For when I do, I experience such a deep, boundless joy. And when I forget? I’m a cranky comparison-addled judgmental poop. But now I see the difference!
Savor & Serve showed me, slowly, how to serve in a new way. The old way was, “I must hide from the world because people will suck me dry, so here – have this little bit and now leave me alone.” The new way is bowing my head and whispering, “O Mitakuye Oyasin,” a Lakota phrase I learned 30 years ago during a very important journey on a north-flowing river. It means “all my relations.” One day not long ago, I found myself whispering it in yoga – not having thought of it for years – and I realized that, for me, serving now springs from that place because now I am one of those relations. I am in the circle, sometimes in the middle needing serving, sometimes on the rim serving others. Before, I wasn’t. By dent of my own closed heart.
Savor & Serve altered me. It will continue to.
And it’s time to widen it.
When I decided I wanted a new design for this website, I sat with the idea of changing the tagline. I asked Isabel Partlett to have a conversation with me about it. We got on the phone and she said:
“You know that poem you read in Taos every year? What if we took the tagline from that: no holding back? Maybe it could be, ‘Live and Create with No Holding Back’?”
I shivered all over like one of my dogs fresh from a wet walk. My whole body quivered with “yes.”
The poem was near me, as it usually is. I read it aloud.
I believe in all that has never yet been spoken
I want to free what waits within me
so that what no one has dared to wish for
may for once spring clear
without my contriving.
If this is arrogant, God, forgive me,
but this is what I need to say.
May what I do flow from me like a river,
no forcing and no holding back,
the way it is with children.
Then in these swelling and ebbing currents,
these deepening tides moving out, returning,
I will sing you as no one ever has,
Streaming through widening channels
into the open sea.
From Rilke’s Book of Hours, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy
I said quietly, “Live and create with no holding back. I like that.”
Immediately, an inner voice fretted, “You can’t have that. It’s too big… It’s too good.”
Then another voice pipped, “You’ll confuse people. Don’t change!”
To all I said, with tenderness, “I’m learning to want what I want and part of my work is to claim that in public. It’s wonderful to own what we want.”
Living & Creating with No Holding Back makes me happy. It feels like Rumi’s field beyond right doing and wrong doing where we can open and explore together. I feel a radicalness in this tiny tagline.
(But please know that no holding back is not a battle cry for “having it all” or some other inflated nonsense. Never!)
Who knows what the future holds for me and my writing and teaching? All I know: I can’t wait to see where it takes us together. Thanks for evolving with me.