I recently both read and listened to two interviews with people who are quite distinct—a choreographer and a Buddhist priest—and I have enjoyed the ideas that the combination has inspired within me.
From the transcript of Krista Tippett’s On Being interview with the Reverend angel Kyoto williams, Buddhist priest. The interview originally aired on April 19, 2018. The full transcript and audio can be found here
Rev. williams: The way that I think of love most often these days is that love is space.
Ms. Tippett: Say some more about that. What do you mean?
Rev. williams: It is developing our own capacity for spaciousness within ourselves to allow others to be as they are — that that is love. And that doesn’t mean that we don’t have hopes or wishes that things are changed or shifted, but that to come from a place of love is to be in acceptance of what is, even in the face of moving it towards something that is more whole, more just, more spacious for all of us. It’s bigness. It’s allowance. It’s flexibility. …
And, from another interview—this time on PBS with the renowned choreographer, Twyla Tharp:
Jeffrey Brown: A lesson from Twyla Tharp in allowing our bodies to take up space…what she refers to as amplitude.
Twyla Tharp: Amplitude, moving out, constantly feeling that you can move out.
By chance, these two beautiful ideas met in me…Love is space, space that allows the amplitude of the other. Sometimes the space is physical, sometimes temporal—when I think of things in human terms. Offering either kind of space is an act of loving the other and claiming those sorts of spaces, claiming our amplitude, is an act of love for the self.
With God, though…physicality and temporality have no hold. Love isn’t space. If I take up space, that is, so long as I Am, so long as I live, move, and have being, Love Is with me, is inextricably a part of me, for I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus… (Rom.8:38-39)
Our amplitude, our fullness, wears the garment of God’s love. When I witness that in others, I want nothing more than to see it flourish and flow and be fertile and multiply.
For that to happen, space is necessary—like it is for anything else that is organic, that is both grounded and inspired toward greatness of being.
This has me think too about my beloved trees in the Public Garden. When as saplings they are given the room to grow into the trees they are meant to become, there is ultimately more room to shelter beneath them. Their branches reach out and gather in….chipmunks, squirrels, birds, leaves, lichens, mosses. They harbour a density and diversity of life and at the same time, they dance. They stand glorious in their fullness and they stand dignified and barren, beautiful against winter’s cold grey. We who draw near are allowed to witness the vulnerable fullness of a tree throughout the seasons.
There’s no intimidation in the way it manifests its amplitude and no distance of heart or spirit in giving it the space that amplitude needs to be healthy and vibrant.
To love spaciously and to move into our amplitude, this is an act of intimacy we both claim and offer. Let us dance for each other in the full faith that spacious Love inspires.