Friday, March 30, 2007

in between

The Jewish holiday of Passover begins on Monday night. The retelling of the story of the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt asks us to identify with the theme of going from slavery to freedom.

I have always been taken by the idea that often we talk about going from slavery to freedom, as if it is a quick jaunt from one to the other. It is true that physically, one goes from being enslaved to being free. However, going from an emotional or spiritual state of enslavement to a state of freedom is a much longer process.

At most points in our lives, we are probably somewhere in the "in between." We can remember what it feels like to be in the difficult place and we can imagine ourselves free of hardship. Yet, in order to become emotionally and spiritually free of these burdens, we must go through the "in between"- a place of struggle, confusion, growth, potential and healing.

Are you in a state of "in between"? What is it like? Can you feel the potential and growth? Is it painful? Do you have others who will support you? As you ponder these questions, think about one more- where can I find beauty and joy in the "in between"?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

choosing patterns

We all have our emotional patterns that we use to navigate the world. We have created these patterns consciously and subconsciously in order to deal with the various situations we have experienced.

At times, it may seem that our patterns are in control of us and are nearly impossible to change. These patterns are all we know and even though they may be unhealthy, we feel some level of comfort in them.

Lately, I have been seriously looking at my patterns and evaluating the benefits and disadvantages of keeping them around. I have chosen a few to challenge and change. Picking new patterns is not something that comes easily or quickly. Like anything else, it is a process of learning and growing. As difficult as it is, I am willing to try it to see if I can achieve a more positive result in order to live a healthier life.

Do you think we have the power to choose new patterns? Do you think about changing any of yours? What are the steps you can take to change them? If you do choose to change your patterns, remember, it takes time, but there may be shapes and colors that you could never have even imagined.

Monday, March 19, 2007

surrounded by silence

I am lucky to be a part of a women's group that gathers at the new moon to celebrate and learn with each other. Usually we do an activity that involves expression of some sort- discussion, art, craft, writing, etc... However, last night we spent our time in silence. We prayed, meditated and thought.

At first I was a bit apprehensive. Not only did I resist the idea of spending a long period of time in silence, but I also didn't want to lose precious moments engaging with friends. I spend a lot of time in silence or trying to fill it with something external (i.e. music, television). I do enjoy being quiet, but at times I feel lonely. However, being surrounded by these strong beautiful women, I felt safe enough to delve into the silence and stay there. I was able to be silent and feel embraced at the same time. We were able to engage with each other on a level beyond outward expression.

Have you ever experienced this? If not, do you have a relationship where you can explore this idea? For just a moment, I encourage you to imagine being surrounded in silence.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Submission 2

As you know, I have submitted my poetry to various publications and have had some poems accepted. (See my previous post: Submission).

I have also received many rejections. In some senses, the rejection piece has been easier than I thought. I try to think about the greater context of the struggling artist and all of the poets that I look up to and admire. I also try to imagine all the other poets sending in their poems hoping and wishing to be accepted and published.

At other more vulnerable moments, the rejection does not come as easily. Each poem I write is a mixture of my thoughts and emotions spilled on the page. I then carefully select my most poignant poems and submit them to what I think are the publications that best fit the tone and style of the poem. To receive a form letter or even a personal rejection can sometimes hurt in a way you don't expect.

Even though I have written all about rejection, I have been blessed to have another poem accepted and published on the web. The publication is Right Hand Pointing. The issue is entitled "Very Short Poetry." Here is the poem:

Blue Screen

All settles
In the graying brows
Of an octogenarian
Watching Jeopardy
Waiting for the question
To come

Monday, March 12, 2007

gentle strength

Craft idea inspired by Keri Smith

Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as true
-- Ralph Sockman

People are always telling us to “be gentle with yourself” or “be easy on yourself” when you’ve had a hard day or you are going through a hard time. For a long while, I thought this meant that I could do whatever I wanted to feel better like- sleep for hours, eat sugar, watch tons of television, etc. (what I would now deem “unhealthy” behaviors). It wasn’t until a couple of years ago through talking to various people, when I realized that being “gentle” with myself actually means loving and taking physical, spiritual and mental care of this thing we call our “self.” It means doing things that bring you joy and soothe your soul. For me, this may mean making a healthy meal, taking a luscious bath, going on a long walk, talking with a friend or writing poetry. I am not suggesting that I always choose to go for a run or paint instead of sitting on the couch watching tv. But, I do understand that taking care of myself is a state of mind and it comes from a place of self-respect. I now recognize that I am precious and something worth being gentle with. I have a strong feeling that you are too.

Monday, March 05, 2007

it rained solid

The other day, my friend and I did a poetry exercise where we both started with the same first line and wrote from there. My poem came out in the form of prose and I thought I'd share it with you today.

It rained solid that afternoon when the earth felt right. brown earth. ready for new water. to soak. to feel. to pray. to dance. to let the fire flow. to witness the growth of beauty. the solid rain creating paths lined with roots delving deep into the soul of things. the flesh of mud. aching to reach the core of it all. the orange ball of life stretching and moving to find the secret places hiding even from themselves. the rain hides. pounds and hides. we never notice the hiding. where do you go, dear friend? when your drops fall away? to a magical place of gentleness and joy. to a magical place of gentleness and joy.