Meryl Streep and The Pocket Knife

pocket knife

The other night I dreamed that I was watching Meryl Streep while she mourned the death of her lover, Robert Redford, who had died in a plane crash. (No, I hadn’t fall asleep watching Out of Africa.)

In the dream, Meryl goes to the reading of Robert Redford’s will. He leaves to her one item: his pocket knife. She holds it as if she has found the greatest treasure on earth.

What was the pocket knife about? In the dream it seemed to symbolize the need to cut away anything unnecessary so as to live more fully. A pocket knife is incisive, yet it had an almost benign or humane quality about it, much like pruning sheers that pare down in order to spur new growth.

Each of us has a sense of calling, an invitation from within to live truer and bolder. Few of us need to be told what that is. Just a few minutes of honest sharing with a loved one about what we truly desire will easily reveal it, and we will likely hear ourselves saying what we already know.

We know the way forward. What we lack is wholeheartedness. We lack a fierce commitment to what we know resonates with our being because it seems too costly, lonely, scary or unpredictable. We lack a “pocket knife” to prune away anything, even good things, that keep us from coming fully alive.

What is your true north? What keeps calling you? What must you prune away in order to move forward with a whole heart?  

Sometimes what we most need is not another epiphany but a pocket knife.

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4 Responses to Meryl Streep and The Pocket Knife

  1. nancy mccranie says:

    I love these reflections, Scott! They make me feel like we’ve just had a conversation.

    • scott says:

      Dear Nancy,
      How I miss those conversations and miss you!! I’m glad we can stay connected this way. Love, Scott

  2. Cariadne says:

    Thank you for this clarity, Scott. I think you’re right that fear can keep us from following the calling, and that being able to heal the fear can release the wholeheartedness. It can be such a challenge for me to catch what the fear contains–from fear of rejection and disapproval to negative criticism to apprehension about what feels like deprivation or restriction of pleasures. Occasionally I have thought that one of the saddest predicaments is not being able to discover a calling–I have encountered that just a very few times, especially in people who have financial ease and so do not need to work for a living. It’s a strange suffering of wealth because everything is economically possible and so becomes very hard to make a choice and the person can become drifting, listless, and miserable about it. The knife that cuts away all the extraneous interference is a wonderful metaphor: what a dream!!

    • scott says:

      Thank you Margaret for your insights. I marvel at your ongoing commitment to answering your inner call and following it with persistence and grace, as well as your honesty regarding those moments when fear interferes. I experience you as someone who is truly courageous. I am grateful or your wisdom and presence.

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