There are many things I do not know. Things like how to pilot a Boeing 747 across the skies, or how to stand upright on skis on snow or on the water. I do know how to cook a soft boiled egg, make cheese on toast and plant a herb garden.
I do not know how to navigate to the South Pole, play a saxophone or how to rebuild an engine. I do know how to tell a story, hold a baby, write a poem, and sing my prayers.
No one knows everything; life is a process of learning. As new things are crafted in our minds, like making a new arrow to add to the quiver on our back, doubt also slips in, gnawing around the edges of the new knowledge that does not yet sit comfortably within.
My learning sits in my mind like a library of folders, containing the knowledge, wisdom, ideas and inspiration gathered so slowly over time. Sorted carefully into the filing piles that make up both my conscious mind of what I know that I know and my subconscious of things I did not know I knew until the knowledge was required.
Sometimes, when I go to browse folders in the stacks, some crumble to dust, another idea slipping quietly away because I did not hang on hard enough.
When my granddaughter wants a story, and taps my forehead, saying, it’s in the yellow folder Nonna, I listen to her framing the story she wants, then pull out the yellow folder of granddaughter stories and reframe what is there into something new. Sometimes new stories crumble into dust, there only for the fleeting time we had together telling stories in the dark.
Among the files, the uncertainty and fear of the unknown flows like rivulets into every space. Washing away confidence grain by grain until only doubt remains of what I thought I knew. Then I huddle, confused and uncertain, afraid to take the next step.
Yet, there is a small voice in my head, sometimes a mere whisper, at others pounding like thunder in my ears, saying ‘I AM’ and “I CAN”, stubbornly on and on.
As I look at the tasks I cannot accomplish, like open heart surgery or blowing molten glass into beauty, my “I CAN’ gets so soft it is barely a breeze strong enough to fold a blade of glass. As I breathe myself into guiding a meditation, playing toning bowls, drumming, splashing paint on canvas or guiding a ritual on a cross-quarter day, roaring like a steam train chuffing along the tracks, my ‘I AM’ makes its presence felt.
When we enter our ‘I AM’ zone, entering into contract with our language of love and bringing our hearts to the fore, we act on instinct alone. My language of love is food. This simple act of providing nourishment to loved ones puts me into my ‘I AM’ and keeps me enthralled in providing. Learning to cook at my mother’s knee, the old folders containing her wisdom with a pinch of salt are battered and dog eared now. Stacked on the high shelves away from the doubt and I Can’t messaging. Safe, secure, containing the dark earth notes of ‘I AM’. I guard them well, these precious jewels and add to them with each new pebble of knowledge that rings with the same dark earth notes.
I do not remember learning how to do many things. I just know I can do them well enough to make my ‘I AM’ smile. Sometimes the ‘I CAN’ is very soft, but just enough to get me out of resistance and into action, because if I want it badly enough, then of course I can.