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To know and be known by Now

Updated: Apr 27

Each week a different Architect proposes a question, prompt, or theme to accompany our individual and collective research. Our theme for this week, offered by Katherine, was inspired by an excerpt from a David Whyte interview (link below):

“So what do you do when you feel lost?

you must stand still.

Wherever you are is called here

and you must treat it as a powerful stranger;

You must ask permission to know it and be known”

If we think about the powerful stranger of ‘here’ as this present moment, what does it mean to be in it and ask permission to know it? What does it mean to be known by it?

Katherine Ferrier

If right here, right now is a powerful stranger, and we greet it with our schtick, or with our assumptions that we know what it is and what it has to offer, we miss the chance to truly be in conversation with what is emerging. Instead of a conversation, we talk over it, or ignore it entirely. 

To say “stranger” is to honor that we have never known the moment we are in until we are fully in it. We have known moments like it, perhaps, but never exactly like the one that is unfolding. To say stranger, then, is to enter the unknown. 

To ask permission to know something is to let go of your arrogance, to step out of the hubris that says, “I already know what this is” and into the humility that is “I let go of what I think I know, so that I might be fully present with what is.”

What really breaks my heart is the idea of asking to be known by the powerful stranger of the present moment, of right here, right now. To allow yourself to be known by right now is to treat the now as curious witness, as tender companion. To open up, be willing to be seen. To acknowledge that you are not alone; you are not here to merely fill an empty space with actions and sounds, but to be in conversation with all that is already here. 

Now is a field of intelligence we are both part of, and can be in relationship with. 

This is simultaneously humbling, exhilarating, and deeply freeing. 

Jennifer Kayle

Kathy Couch

Pamela Vail

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