In 2005, I spent some time with Master Career counselor Damona Sain, as I was feeling restless in my librarian world. Every inventory I took said art, art, art, and librarian was not coming up, and in fact may have been on the “make me loopy” list. I was making collages at my dining room table, and loving the world of color and pattern, but I assumed that I wasn’t an “artist”. But I started listening to the voice that said “you can make art,” and when I discovered mosaic, I knew this was my medium. The challenge was the kernel of truth in my librarian self, my attraction to research. I read 20+ books on making mosaics. The photo of the tower of books only represents books I own, not the ones I checked out of the library!
I read until I thought I would burst if I didn’t make a mosaic soon, but I was still in a holding pattern, wondering if I should read one more book. This limbo was an uncomfortable place, as I searched for everything on “doing” but remained in my head. Making the leap was the scariest part, but once I landed, I was on holy ground, feeling truly like myself. I loved the poem The Waking by Theodore Roethke when I was in high school, which captures the paradox of learning by going where we have to go:
Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.
Aptly, my first step was making pebble mosaic stepping stones, for the house Stratoz and I had just bought. I was in heaven, sorting pebbles, seeing the subtle gradations of color.
What was a first step that you took toward learning by going where I have to go?
I’ll leave you with Kurt Elling’s lovely jazz interpretation of Roethke’s poem.