The past few days I have been…noting… jotting down my thoughts on this and that…or tracing out quotes from the various books I am reading all at once this week.
Today, I veered off after an image that came to me this morning at The Oasis.
Jen asked us to invite something else into the room. Something we have been pushing down, ignoring, “Let it come in the door and take a shape and…”
And I was off and scribbling….
My death slopes into the room and leans back in the shadows like a cowboy
and it isn’t fear or regret I feel
A pulse of of do more do more do more
Of waste less time zings through me
But this lanky cowboy, Death, just spreads his hands wide and shrugs.
And the truer feeling, clearer seeing, lands.
Freedom to speak what I need to speak and do what I need to do because, yes, of course,
we are all dying
And I think back on something a Wise Woman told me,
When we have wisdom, it needs attention, it needs welcoming and then it needs honouring through action.
I see you, cowboy, and what you bring with that crooked grin of yours.
I welcome your sunsoaked eyes and dusty hands that smell of sage and red-rock desert.
I take a breath, close the laptop and go into the kitchen
To drink my coffee with my sweet Raggedy Man before he heads into town.
Because that is the action called for.
The rest can wait.
So it goes.
Have a good weekend, all.
Sending out extra blessings to my American pals who are gathering for Thanksgiving this weekend.
This morning, I read a blog post that cracked my heart open.
Loosing faith by Bethani Jade– On her Self Study blog.
In the comments/ Reply section… I wrote:
Walking with you.
I began a new file today on my typer-machine. Under Spirit — Cries of/from the Heart.
I save your words as the first entry.
I hesitate to say “thank you” or to “like” this post. I want a different button to press.
I am grateful for your words.
I love that the post is titled Loosing faith… not losing, though there is that as well.
The despair of losing faith. The hope of loosing faith.
All in one. Brilliant.
In the sending forth, there is a blessing offered up.
I believe that. Our creations, whatever they are, spark for someone.
Oh the ways we save our own lives.
I am drawn to Bethani’s post, because I need it. We all so desperately need the honesty and truth of it.
For me, today’s spark lit around what Bethani says about telling others… About talking to others when thoughts of suicide or desperation arise within us and how “I can see my weight transfer from my mind to yours, but I am no lighter for it, and again I am afraid.”
I want to write something for Bethani and for all of us who find ourselves reaching for “the things that help.”
I try to reach for something in the scribble book….
You say, I can see my weight transfer from my mind to yours, but I am no lighter for it, and again I am afraid. And that is the biggest ache for me. That you feel no lighter.
That I, when I am in that dark-dog place, feel the same. And how that knowledge makes me clamp down, clam up, hide.
And how I know that when a friend feels this despair, I want them to come to my house and lay it out. I want to share it, lift the weight somehow. Even though I know it doesn’t really work like that.
I know it doesn’t lift the weight. But I want to… try.
I want to make them soup and tea and go for a walk by the river and cuddle up to watch a teary hilarious movie. I want to read them a poem.
I want, so much, to write you a poem that you can fold up and carry in your wallet, tuck inside your memory, like a talisman.
Words to beat back the dark.
A spell… a casting… a circle of …. light. Of warmth. Of cell vibrating love.
Hold this word, darling, like a pebble in your mouth.
Run your tongue around the d and g, slip smooth along the a.
Let it carry your breath warm into your body.
Let it run like water cool.
Any word will work.
To pebble-skip across the pool of being
And wake you.
I like that.
It isn’t like, the greatest poem ever written. It may not even be a poem for true for true. But whatever it is… I like the shape of it.
I need to work on poems. On finding the shortest way to something. The keenest edge. The knife that cuts through the dregg-o dread-o.
Clumsy as it is, I offer it up.
To Bethani and to you.
Today’s post features a picture of me from the way-back. The photo was taken by my friend Rick and used in the promotion of my one woman show barefoot.
The play is… well… it’s sort of a journey though one woman’s healing from Child Sexual Abuse. Fun, right? It was actually … in parts. I could always tell who the survivors were in the crowd, because they were the ones laughing. Somethings are only funny from the other side.
Today at the Oasis, one of the writing prompts was…
What I am brave enough to feel these days…
And here’s what I wrote….
I am brave enough to feel the helplessness, the hopelessness that waves over me. Knowing that it shall pass.
I am brave enough to feel this call towards creating art — even though I feel like I never actually DO, that these notebooks are not art, not ART at least.
I am brave enough to feel the challenge from artists like Patti Smith and Georgia O’Keefe to… “Do the work. Do the work. Do your work.”
Yes. I do I do I do hear you, and I will, I do, I will, I am—doing it.
I am brave enough to feel that I am an artist and that I have something to offer.
I am brave enough to feel that I will find my form, my expression. That the flailing about has been part of it. Part of finding my way. Towards the writing of love letters to the world. To the drawing of maps.
Oh yes please….
Let us do our drawings.
~ our collages.
~ our photography
~ our writing
Let us do it ~ do it ~ do it.
And I am brave enough to post it here because…?
Because I know that you are out there reading this and that you, whoever you are, need to see my flailings and…take heart.
You need to know that you are brave enough to do your work, and to get your work out there, no matter what.
Work on, my loves.
PS: here’s a lil inspiration from Patti Smith (who I am insanely in love with these days). It’s a video of her speaking about Robert Mapplethorpe at the Grand Palais in Paris.
At 2:36 she sings the most beautiful little song…. get ready to weep.
Ever have one of those days when you go and look for something and you trip down the rabbit hole of…memory?
Like boxes of old photos or paper files or, even scarier somehow (to one like me who tends to hoard old things), DIGITAL versions of …. Stuff… old files and photos on an old computer that somehow didn’t make the move from one hard-drive to another?
So went my day today.
But still… some time spent scribbling and for that I say, Bless. And am grateful.
And… for this one photo…
This great shot of the Raggedy Man walking down a beach near Ucluelet. I say, Worth it!
Write on, my people.
Today I got to spend an hour with Sarah Selecky and a group of wonderful writers.
Sarah called it an SOS call for writers. A time to just come together and write our way out of … reactivity… and re-connect with our own deep-inner terrain. Getting back to some basic, calming, writing practice. Back to the deep-noticing state that feeds our work (and our souls).
It was lovely and powerful. Especially hearing participants read out their words – so raw and wonderful. I wept a lot as I listened. And I took heart.
The thing that I took the most joy in was…slowing down. Even when I write by hand in The Scrib, I so often write FAST. Fast fast fast fast – as though I will never catch the words as they fly by me. One of Sarah’s rules for writing practice is to write with CARE, meaning slowing down to form the letters of the word. I love how she described this …. “as if you are creating a pen and ink drawing with each word.” So often my morning scribbles are just exactly THAT – scribbles that I can barely read afterward. It was nice to slooooowwwwww myself down today and enjoy the flow of ink onto the page…word by word. Ahhh.
I am so grateful to Sarah for offering up this call. She’s amazing.
I loved the Yoko Ono quote that she closed the call with, so I hunted it down. The quote is from her song, Revelations, on the album Yes, I’m a Witch.
Thanks to the glory that is YouTube, I listened to some Yoko and meandered my way through today’s adventure in NaNoLand.
Hope the words are flowing for those of you playing in NaNoLand, and those of you who aren’t but are still out there scribbling away.
Thanks for stopping by.
Go easy ~p
Sarah Selecky’s personal website: http://www.sarahselecky.com
Sarah’s Story Is A State of Mind (online creative writing school):
A letter from Sarah (there are MORE letters to explore on the site): http://www.storyisastateofmind.com/for-writers-after-the-american-election/
And a lil Yoko…
I forget to pray for the angels, and then the angels forget to pray for us….
Yes. How I forget so very much. That seems to be my theme today.
The things I let slide away away away…. The things I start with all good intention. Always things that I feel will… both feed me and feed my work and help others, make the world a better place and make me a better person. What do I even mean by that? By better? What what what what do I mean?
I mean….less NetFlix (especially violent shit), more praying, more time in silence or with music that uplifts my spirit.
I mean… simple things. Small steps that happen daily that take me towards that Future Self that I sometime get glimpses of.
She is so cool.
So cool that she can’t really be me, right?
You ever have that feeling?
It isn’t that she is “perfect” — it’s that she is strong and sure and she is so incredibly … generous (in a way that doesn’t drain her) and … capable. She is capable. And calm. And mostly smiling. But I also know that she is able to stand when called upon — to defend (others, the land, the waters).
I want to capture this in a poem. Something I can memorize and carry with me. Something simple.
I want… a blessing from this future self.
Like … All will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well.
Like… You do not have to be good…you do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles though the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves….
Again again… I vow to learn Oliver’s poem (Wild Geese) by heart.
And again I am grateful for the wisdom of Julianne of Norwich.
And again, always, I feel that my words are not…good enough, clear enough, simple enough YET.
But I honour the yearning.
I honour the yearning, and the showing up to work each day. I do this. I work each day, towards clarity. On and off the page.
When I think about what it is I have to offer the world, what it is to “carry my own weight” here on the planet, I return and return and return to this gift I have been given. The gift of being able to string words together with a rythmn and an honesty that sometimes brings my meaning, my yearning, home to others in a clear way. Words that once in a while can reach into people.
Oh man, I so often I feel that I am frittering this gift away. I seem to be afraid of my own words. I seem to take every wrong path towards whatever it is that I am trying to get to, to express. I hang my head. I hang my head. I hang my head.
I know that it will not come from the chasing.
I know that I do need to be here (in my Scribble book), every day, and to continue to work at expressing myself to myself — because this is how I am learning to craft… words.
The work is the work is the work but the thing I seek will not come from racing down the so so many roads that other people have lain.
I believe that what I am seeking is…more like… grace. That doing the work is the way to… allow this grace to manifest.
The work is to come here each day and
The work is to breathe and listen and
The work is to pay attention out in the world—be the world outside the house or inside this computer.
But more so, more often, outside this computer.
In this skin, on this planet that is so very often full of pain and fear and injustice.
The work is in the opening.
Well all right. I feel a bit better now. And…
I need to go and sit for a time on my wee meditation bench.
Thanks for stopping by.
Go easy ~p
A strange, unsettled morning.
No. That’s not right. It isn’t strange, but I am unsettled.
It was a morning of…distraction. Good distraction if that is possible, but still… distraction.
I am doing something different this month. Working on the computer FIRST THING, in the time I usually work by hand in the Scrib. I am doing this as a way to…clearly see how much I actually write each day – including the time spent doing my morning scribble.
I KNOW that when I do this, I need to be sure to CREATE before I consume –meaning that I DON’T log in to online forums or facebook or even check my email before I do my morning’s “work.”
I didn’t do that this morning and I’ve spent over 3 hours now wandering around devouring the words of others and getting very few of my own onto the page.
So it goes.
My wanderings began with this wonderful offering from Sarah Selecky over on her Story is a State of Mind site:
It is such a beautiful post and in the comments, people are sharing poems and… she also offers some amazing resources and recommended reading for writers (and other humans).
Sarah is also offering up a “free SOS call” — a guided writing practice — on Wednesday.
I plan on being there.
And now… I need to go for a walk to clear my head and then I will settle in to see what comes of today’s rich rich inspiration.
Thanks for stopping by.
May your day be full of wonder.
go easy ~p
I love this quote from Jeanette Witherspoon’s The Passion: “Sequester my heart. Wherever love is, I want to be. I will follow it as surely as the land-locked salmon finds the sea.”
I love it except that, today, I got to thinking about the first line– about the idea of sequestering my heart. I don’t want to do that. Or at least not in the sense of hiding away or shutting myself off from things or people. Though sometimes, like this week, the urge to do so is strong strong upon me.
My writing and thinking and poking about online today took me towards something else. Towards the idea of using the energy of this love to move towards this world, instead of hiding away from things that seem hard.
So today I say no to sequestering my heart, but a hearty YES to the idea that wherever love is, I want to be. Not romantic love – but love for our fellow creatures, for this land, for this planet. Turning to love as opposed to hate. To bravery instead of fear. To caring and compassion instead of anger.
My friends are so wise and so wonderful.
My friend Wendy posted the most glorious thing on her facebook page the day after the election. I don’t feel right putting up her entire post, but I hope that she will glad for me to share a bit of her wisdom with you. She wrote:
You need to be you. You need to be you in goodness and “other” centric focus – for our sisters, our brothers, other species… the planet. As much as possible – YOU NEED TO BE LOVE.
I need to be. Every moment, every minute I can muster – I need to be thinking clearly, creatively responding and walk a better path – and I need to know that this little flicker of energy that is me and my approach, unwinds from me and trickles in [to the collective mass of energy – a Guf of sorts that houses all the opportunities out of which we can guide our future] – and I need to be okay with not getting the WINS or the PRIZES or the POWER, I need to be okay with actively doing something to balance the energy for all of us.
I love this and I take up the challenge to do likewise. With my work and in my daily round.
With everything I can muster.
And when I grow weary… I will replay the wise words from The Patchwork Grandmothers as offered up by my dear friend Andrea Menard it this wonderful video about Embracing What Is.
Hope you are all having a lovely weekend.
go easy ~p
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Because there's never enough time to do it right the first time but there's always enough time to do it over