miracle signs

Posted on Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My husband and I are planners. In our own ways, we are organized and calculated. We have trackers for many things – our workouts, our finances, our grocery lists. It makes sense for him – he’s always had a calculative kind of mind, even during the early days playing LEGOs as a child. He then grew up to study engineering, physics, computer science and business. But, as he remembers in what seems lifetimes ago, he also pushed aside his determined mind and dove into the wilderness as an Eagle Scout, a trained Ranger and, as we’ve discussed below several waxing and waning moons, a Native American Indian in some past life.

I wasn’t quite as calculated one could say from the outsider’s perspective. I enjoyed dance, writing, and the Spanish language, but I too had my own decisiveness. Sprinkled across my room as an aspiring academic in high school, I laid Post-it notes as constant reminders of tasks to complete, homework deadlines, to-dos to remember. As I grew older, my planner became my heart-throb, then my outlook calendar and task list.

But in this organization and fulfillment of some sense of control, both of us are truly grasping at thin air. Day to day, in all of our computation and orderly piles, we are slowly driven mad. I was reminded of this in Rumi’s The Miracle Signs.


Here are the miracle-signs you want,

that you cry through the night

and get up at dawn asking,

that in the absence of what you ask for,

your day gets dark, your neck thin,

as a spindle, that what you give away

is all you own, that you sacrifice belongings,

sleep, health, your head,

that you often sit down in a fire like aloeswood

and often go out to meet a blade

like a battered helmet.

When acts of helplessness become habitual,

those are the signs.

Excuse my wandering.

How can one be orderly with this?

It is like counting leaves in a garden,

along with the song-notes of partridges

and crows. Sometimes organization

and computation become absurd.

We are creatures of the land, but we’ve come to idolize technology, progress, forward thinking. Have we forgotten the sacredness of spontaneity and presence that cannot be explained? Think about the mesmerizing impression of a campfire – its rainbow flames pull you into some world you once knew. Be the aloeswood. Become vulnerable, pliable. Get up at dawn asking. We do not know it all and we cannot control the days. Become humble and eager.

While we live in this wild modern world, we must pull away from the madness from time to time to re-balance our delicateness and strength. Keep sight on the miracle-signs, or one day, you might become the absurdity you’ve been trying to run from.

Sometimes we must take away the numbers scored behind our children’s performance, close our eyes to the number of goals we much achieve to reach a bonus, and run toward, what Rumi calls, the sharpened blade. Our obsession for calculation is a blanket slowly covering our heads until we can no longer breathe. The partridges and crows do not count song-notes, the leaves do not compare the size of their delicate green bodies. Take away measurement, comparison – take away your mind for once – and go back to living from the heart.


feature image, endless, provided by Olivia Joy St. Claire

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