From Thomas Merton: If I had no choice about the age in which I was to live, I nevertheless have a choice about the attitude I take and about the way and the extent of my participation in its living ongoing events. To choose the world is not then merely a pious admission that the world is acceptable because it comes from the hand of God. It is first of all an acceptance of a task and a vocation in the world, in history and in time. In my time, which is the present. (Thomas Merton. Contemplation in A World of Action, New York: Doubleday & Company, 1973)
From Rabbi Rami Shapiro: Cultivating grace is a bit of a paradox. You cannot get what you always and already have. There is noting you can or need do to merit grace. All you need do is accept grace. The reason this is so difficult for us is that our hands are full. We are burdened by carrying the past and future around with us wherever we go, and have no room for the grace of the present moment. Cultivating grace means putting down the burden of time, and opening our hands to the timeless now.(Rabbi Rami Shapiro, The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness:Preparing to Practice; forward by Marcia Ford, SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2006)
When I write and think about art, I often use the words acceptance, vocation, grace, and now. Thomas Merton and Rabbi Shapiro are my teachers. What they teach me about art is transmitted from heart to heart; soul to soul. Be here, be now. Listen. Accept grace. Give it all back. Start again each morning... each moment.
Words and Image by C. Robin Janning