A what? If you who know about Dada and the Surrealists you’ll be nodding wisely at this point, but I didn’t have a clue.
But nothing ventured…and it was interesting – spending a day at a long table with a dozen or so others, rearranging random words, making masks, snipping, sticking, writing and generally messing around.
I learned something about poetry, art, surrealism and the glee to be had from in unleashing my inner 5-year old. I also revisited a long-lost wail of ‘I can’t do this….’, and then found that maybe I just about can.
But what I learned most, was the extraordinary power of the unexpected.
Embrace the Unexpected
Because strangely, the gift of the day was not the chance to play, or the feeling of community in the room.
No, it was none of that. It came instead in a conversation with someone else on the course, that sprang up like a Spring storm and died away again just as quickly.
Maybe it was the art that opened the door, or the air of risk-taking and experimentation.
Maybe it was the influence of the letter I wrote from my 80-year-old self, who wants me to be more open.
Whatever the spark, this person simply sat down beside me as I worked and began quietly to talk about a recent and very painful experience in his life, a near-loss which had affected him profoundly.
It felt natural for me to carry on with my cutting and sticking, and let our talk flow effortlessly and honestly into discussing losses in both our lives.
How there are things that can’t be spoken of – until suddenly they can.
How very long it sometimes takes to even begin the drawn-out process of grieving.
How sorrow can resurface years later and feel just as scalding as it did early on, and then drop away again, leaving a sense of release and relief.
The Unexpected Happens in the Moment
His ease in launching into that conversation was the most unexpected and memorable part of a day that was filled with the unexpected and memorable.
And made me aware, not at the time, but now, that perhaps one hidden purpose of this blog is to find a sideways route into writing about grief in a way that heals.
Our talk ended as suddenly as it had begun with the call ‘5 minutes until we’re done!’, and with no acknowledgement of what had been said we both turned to focus on finishing off our pieces of work.
Creativity opens channels. If there’s any message here, it’s to remember that, and explore it.
What have you learned unexpectedly, through trying something new? Please leave your thoughts and comments below.