“I regard monks and poets as the best degenerates in America. Both have a finely developed sense of the sacred potential in all things; both value image and symbol over utilitarian purpose or the bottom line; they recognize the transformative power hiding in the simplest things, and it leads them to commit absurd acts: the poem! the prayer! what nonsense! In a culture that excels at creating artificial, tightly controlled environments (shopping malls, amusement parks, chain motels), the art of monks and poets is useless, if not irresponsible, remaining out of reach of commercial manipulation and ideological justification.”
–Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
I loved The Cloister Walk because it integrates my love of monasticism and poetry so beautifully. For me the contemplative life and the creative life are really two aspects of one way of being.
What if we cared less about achievements and being useful, and did more “useless” things? What if we made art, danced, and wrote poetry purely for the delight in the act of creation? What are the “degenerate” activities that call out to your heart?
thank you for mentioning Kathleen Norris’ book. i’ll be reading it asap!
well…thank God for monks and poets :)
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