Tag Archives: poetry

Words

2 Apr

I wish I could take language
And fold it like cool, moist rags
I would lay words on your forehead.
I would wrap words on your wrists.
“There, there,” my words would say —
Or something better.
I would ask them to murmur,
“Hush” and “Shh, shhh, it’s all right.”
I would ask them to hold you all night.
I wish i could take language
And daub and soothe and cool
Where fever blisters and burns,
Where fever turns yourself against you.
I wish I could take language
And heal the words that were the wounds
You have no names for.

- Julia Cameron

Quote

Life comes to find us

13 Mar

” ‘Life comes to find us as much as we go out to find it.’ … could be a line from a Hallmark card, except for the radical imaginative step he asks us to take next. Life can find you, only if you are paying real attention to something other than your own concerns. If you can hear and see the essence of otherness in the world, if you can treat the world as if it is not just a backdrop to your own journey, if you can have a relationship with the world that isn’t based on triumphing over it, or complaining about it… Wordsworth tells us, that we put ourselves as the center of the world, strangely, by eliminating our concern for the smaller self. When something beautiful and overwhelming, like a waterfall, or the morning light, or the mountainside takes us outside our worries… we are put in a privileged position, that is far more than the ability to appreciate a good view. Hearing and seeing, without the filter of interpretation, is seen by Wordsworth, as the act of reaching the real conversation at last. And it is this conversation that does all the work of helping us find our way into the future.”

- David Whyte, in The Three Marriages, talking about William Wordsworth’s poem Prelude.

Holding Back

13 Jan

There’s a way in which I am holding back, from the deepest parts of my heart.

And I’ve only just become aware of it.

Just recently been able to string it together

The hints of it in a small collection of instances and odd occurrences.

A dream that left me feeling heavy

An inner resistance to a mundane change that didn’t make sense

A hesitation, around one of the most basic and fulfilling forms of expression


And strangely,

It’s because I already love so breathlessly…

                                                              with such awe

                                                  and such reverence,

That it’s hard to tell that there are even deeper wells inside of me to access.


I’m holding back for a reason familiar to humanity.

I’m holding back, because I have lost before.


And that loss, builds a barrier.

Even if it’s thin enough to let love through as it grows, changes, expands.

Portions of whole heartedness still get caught in the web that is left.


And time doesn’t heal completely,

if you don’t take the time

to understand the effect your own story has on you.


And the benefits of avoidance,

or oblivion,

do not outweigh the heartbreak

of not experiencing the truest

and most unabashed depths of love.


                             The love of motherhood.

                                                          The love from being a wife & partner.


I want to be able to devour these emotions wholly and completely

and let them pour freely out of every pore in my heart and body and soul.


and to be able to do this…

I think I need to tell my story.

21 Days. A week later…

19 Sep

21 Days

So.  It is almost a week to the day since I got a text message from Miss Kimberly Gill saying, Would you be willing to commit to 21 days of moving outside of your comfort zone with me?

Now, those who know my friend Kim understand why this text did not cause me the least bit of surprise.   A handful of clarifying questions, a sunset and a sunrise later, a post showed up on her blog, followed by an email to friends and family.   Yes, she was presenting a challenge to herself and those willing to join, to spend 21 days to doing things that she wished to, but normally wouldn’t for fear of being uncomfortable.

This sounded like a fantastic idea to me!  I love to play these kinds of games, like little dares to myself.

So I added my affirmative comment to her post, read over the others, and set about with a pen and paper to figure out what my plan of attack would be.

I started listing things that I had really been wanting to do but hadn’t because they’ve felt too silly, scary or otherwise have made me squirm at the thought.  As my list grew, panic began to set in at the thought of tackling all of the things that I’d been putting off for weeks, months, some for a few years!   That panic proceeded to plague me for the entire week.  Lovely, hmm?


Enter David Whyte

He reads this poem on an audiobook I downloaded:

START CLOSE IN

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first thing
close in,
the step you don’t want to take.

Start with the ground you know,
the pale ground
beneath your feet,
your own way of starting the conversation.

Start with your own question,
give up on other people’s questions,
don’t let them smother something simple.

To find another’s voice
follow your own voice,
wait until that voice
becomes a private ear
listening to another.

Start right now
take a small step you can call your own
don’t follow someone else’s heroics,
be humble
and focused,
start close in,
don’t mistake that other
for your own.

Start close in,
don’t take the second step
or the third,
start with the first thing
close in,
the step you don’t want to take.

~ David Whyte ~

Start close in.  Don’t take the second step.  Or the third.  Start with the first thing.  Close in.  The step you don’t want to take.

So I reconsider… and I remember an email I got this week from the Inner Mean Girl brigade.   It was about ditching expectations.   Lightening up on an unattainable quest for perfection and underpromising instead of overpromising.

Start close in.

I think about the 21 day challenge again.   I know that I have a couple of security blankets, ie. things that keep me cocooned inside of my comfort zone.   Mainly they are: sleeping far later than necessary and extreme internet usage.   Both of these things eat up time in my day like no other, and set me off in a cranky mood because of that time I feel like I’ve wasted.

So.   In an attempt to broaden my chances for exiting my comfort zone… I’m going to start with curbing those things first.   AND in an attempt to wig out my inner perfectionist, I’m not going to overpromise.  I’m not going to lay out my master plan with my list of 21 things and my do’s and don’ts for the next 21 days.   I’m going to start with those first things, and let the rest unfold.   That’s what this 21 days will be about for me.  Starting now.

phew!

Built up thoughts that pour out at midnight

8 Sep

WHAT IF…

you said exactly what you’re feeling right now?
you let your no be no and didn’t back down when someone pushed back?
you let yourself say yes to something that delights you even if it appears foolish or impractical?
you stand by your intuition and decide it’s okay not to explain or apologize for your wordless wisdom?
you ask for what you need and don’t wait for someone to offer or understand?
you allow yourself time to let go of the struggle and do nothing at all?
you stop doing that thing you do just because someone expects it?
you take things at face value and decide there is no reason to walk on eggshells after all?
you assume that underneath everything is NOT something dark and dangerous or scary but something more like goodness and love?

what if you assumed that compassion for yourself is a powerful way forward? that being gentle with who you are right now is a kindness that spares the world a certain kind of suffering?

what if you could let yourself imagine being held in a divine embrace?

sitting in my room tonight, holding the what ifs, wondering if you are, too. sweet dreams, dear friends. i’m thinking of you.
-Jen Lemen

That felt like a direct challenge to me. So here is exactly what I’m feeling right now, however unperfected.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. A LOT. About so many things. And at so many points, I’ve also thought, I should write that out… Writing it out helps me to figure it out along the way, expands my own consideration of it.  But as soon as I evolve one notion, another flicker starts to attract me in a different direction.  For instance, I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships. What makes them strong and lasting, nourishing to each other… what causes them to deteriorate or transform into a sustained energy suck. And going down this thought path keeps leading me back to myself over and over again.  To consider the ways I relate to others and the ways I relate to myself.  The thoughts and habits that keeps me alive and strong and enchanted with the world, and the ones that cause me to feel like I’m withdrawing from it.
I listened to this talk yesterday, with a man named Mike Robbins. Right before he and his wife had their first child, he had a mentor that told him that he had two main jobs when it came to his new daughter. The first was all about teaching her how to get by in the world. Things like tying her shoes, blowing her nose, crossing the street safely, and all of that stuff. Then he says, “But the second job you have is the most important. And it’s harder. You gotta teach her how to love herself.” And Mike says, ok… how do I do that? And his teacher says, “Well you love yourself. And you let her see that.”
It’s got me thinking about how many things that is true about… how much more of an impact something has when you can witness someone living it.  How much more you can reach out when you have your own reserve to reach from.  My friend Megan just wrote a post about an exercise she did.  Imagining herself at her own funeral, standing in front of all the people most important to her in her life… what one, brief message would she want to give them all.  She chose, “Love one another.”  I think that’s beautiful. One of my favorite quotes of all time is a Storypeople quote that says, “Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again.  That’s what takes a real hero.” I agree with that. But I’d add to it.  Try waking up every morning & loving yourself all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.  Love yourself ((be patient with yourself, don’t demand immediate perfection of yourself, encourage yourself, listen to yourself))… so you can love one another.
So, ever so slowly… I’m holding up pieces of myself up to the sun… inspecting them to see which beliefs and habits still hold any sparkle for me and which have dulled without my realizing it.  There’s times when it’s an overwhelming process. When I feel like I need to show some kind of tangible measurement of my progress in order to know that my days are being well-spent. But I’m finding that this kind of work doesn’t respond like that.. and trying to remind myself to be gentle.
I feel like I’ve had so many lightbulbs go on at such a rapid pace in the past several weeks that I almost haven’t had time to catalog them all… which is what I’ve been feeling like I have to do. I had been trying to put a finger on why and I came across a few lines in another blog that sparked some recognition in me… “Just as surely as my outer geography has changed, so too has what’s inside. I’m in need of new inner maps; the old ones don’t seem to be of much use here. They no longer match the terrain.” (Kate’s Ordinarium)  I feel a need to re-orient myself to my own life again, because I feel like I’ve made a lot of changes recently and haven’t quite caught up to myself yet.
I guess I’m writing these half formed thoughts now as another reminder to myself. That everything is always evolving. That the more comfortable I can become with the parts of me that are unfinished or not quite smoothed out and nicely packaged and presented, the wider and more steady my foundation becomes.  As one of my new favorite writers Jen Lee says, the more we are loved, the braver we can become.  And for me that includes loving all those parts of myself that are still being worked out.

Reinventing the Dog Walk

20 Aug

         Okay, I’m about to admit something that I’ve never admitted to anyone for fear of sounding like a beast of a human being, a spoiled brat, or at the very least a bad pet owner… but I do not enjoy walking the dog.

         I feel terrible saying that! But it’s true.  And I adore my dog, love to cuddle, love to rough house with her, love her crazy noises and stubborn sneak attacks to crawl into bed with us after she thinks we’ve fallen asleep.  And I envy those people who list long walks with their dog among their most favorite activities… but I’ve tried to love it, I’ve pretended I love it… I do not. I get bored.  I make frequent pleas to her as we walk to do her dog business as quickly as possible so that we can head back home (sometimes I even read a magazine as I’m walking).  I’m sorry! I really am… but it’s also something that had started to believe just isn’t going to change.

And then one day, the sun was in my eyes…
         On one of our trips outside, I brought my sunglasses.  And WHAT a difference!  You have no idea what a little tint and color did to change my whole neighborhood into a brand new eye candy filled place!  It sparked a little memory in me… followed by a little idea…

         Whenever I come back from a vacation… I swear that I’m going to treat the town that I live like a foreign city.  It’s not hard to imagine really, old Mediterranean style tiles and buildings, views of the water and hills, bricked pathways, parks galore.  And when I’m traveling, my favorite thing to do is walk.  I walk for miles, eating up the architecture, the scattering of leaves colored for the season, people watching to no end and lingering whenever I think something deserves a little more attention.  I only succeed in this in Santa Barbara when I have friends or family in town.  A little excuse to play tourist. But who needs an excuse to do something that will give their eyes a little feast and perk up a sadly unbeloved event!

         So I pulled down the leash, rallied the little dog leaping in excitement, grabbed my sunglasses and a camera, and went off to pay attention as I walked.

The Result Follows…

         Oh! I almost forgot to add. Yesterday I also came across a site with a challenge… to imbue intentional creativity into every day. I like this because it refers to creativity in a really broad sense.  Meaning I don’t have to be specifically creating a piece of art… but creativity can be brought to doodling, cooking, playing, or as in my first day, walking.  Yes, this was intended for the year of 2010 and yes it’s halfway through August of that year.. but hell. I’m in. The (optional) theme this month is fire.  And since I’m feeling like my attempts at creativity are needing a little jump-start… “fire” for me is being translated into anything that sparks my creative fire again.

         My first day involved the reinvention process of the dog walk, and resulted in a handful of photos, most taken through the lens of my sunglasses because it had the coloring and provided the shadows that I loved.  Today… I uploaded them to flickr and meant to just write mini descriptions to each one… and ended up getting so enchanted by my walk all over again that my descriptions ended up taking the form of a rambling traveling kind of poem.  It might not make as much sense to someone outside of my head… but it was really a lot of fun!

So really this time…

Walking Ruby:

A Different View
Led by anticipation and whatever smells new
Intent on seeing things through a different hue



Lights and webs
When the colors tint and shift and fade
The light shines through webs and tangles
that deserve to be noticed,



Hearty Arrangement
Romanticized by a passerby.



Still Truckin'
With each step and a quick catch of breath,



Glancing Back
pausing to glance back,
the realization hits me
that as lovely as the image
of what was planned might be,
It’s just not yet for me.



Keep Up
So we keep moving down the path we’re on
led by the steps and spurred on
by the occasional sweet jaunt of blissful contentment.



Flowers in My Heart
Holding the small blooming in my heart
amongst shadows and light.



Firegazing
Rekindling that firey red inside



Violet Eyes
and the violet blue that was and
(I’m finding) still is my creativity.



Still With Me?
Stopping to play along the way
Because isn’t that what we say
that we’re missing most days?



Living the Dream
A moment to contemplate
the clash of free thinking schemes
with the big shuttered house dreams.
And realizing that maybe its not a conflict to be solved.



Fenced in Wildflowers
That maybe its the juxtaposition that creates the beauty.
That not only have the white picket fences learned to live with and be enlivened by wildflowers,
but also that the wildflowers are enhanced and supported by that white picket fence.



Hidden Rainbows
Ah, the crossroads we come to,
the hidden rainbows we’ve climbed.
The ease we find after redesigning the stories in our mind.
The alluring and reassuring play of colors right above
the path that leads to home.

Love,
Me

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