writingmybrain

writing, practice, contemplation, poetry, journal, clinics, salons, spiritual, possibilities, gratitude


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Opportunity Knocks

We can live as a shell/waiting to crack or as a/dove waking to its song. Poem excerpt: For the Thousandth Time I Want To Know– Mark Nepo- The Way Under The Way

With uncertainty knocking on our collective consciousness in the guise of the COVID-19 virus we are also being called to how we choose to weather the storm. Will hysteria be our reaction, or will calm be our response and prevail?  We are being called to examine ourselves, family, communities, conduct, and culture and move in awareness towards recovery for the greater good.

We can only do this in baby steps; through observation rather than denial. The path is uncertain which is no different from everyday life; however because of the evidence of the virus we are being shown the very real nature of uncertainty which at its simplest is unknown. Consequently how we respond individually and collectively will influence the outcome.

I see this as a great opportunity to evaluate how I live my life. Educate myself rather than deny indicators; take precautions rather than give way to fear; create networks of interdependence rather than separation; maintain calm rather than panic, and with it take the necessary actions to maintain equilibrium in my own circle of influence.

My sway is a mere sand granule on the beach of life, but like a pebble is given to the pond, and that action brings ripples in the pond, I can only hope my words will empower others to maintain balance in this uncertainty; allow the unification of our actions to provide stability to the whole. It is all we can do collectively in such uncertainly. We are all interconnected.    

“What can anyone give you greater than now…” Poem excerpt: You Reading this, Be Ready—William Stafford from The Poetry Remedy: Prescriptions for the Heart, Mind, and Soul; by William Sieghart

Writing Practice: In this technological age even in our isolation we are connected. Not in the interpersonal sense at the moment.  So with the view of staying close to home I am taking the opportunity to sort through boxes of journals and other such ramblings that have accumulated over the years. Sort and discard. Declutter. Only keep the relevant and resonant. Sort through photographs, images, books, papers etc. Keep or let go.

In the event you also have accumulated “stuff” to sort through, high cupboards where things have accumulated, boxes that haven’t been opened in years—take this time to sort and let-go. Now write about your experience in any form you choose [journal, story, poem-making, art, imaging, photography etc.] on how it feels to let go and refresh your living space given this opportunity. I’d love to hear from you.  Email me at: writingmybrain@gmail.com Happy sorting!


Red Dot

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Summer stretches into presence, her attendance announced by the imminent buzz of mosquitoes and a resounding swat as a hand hits flesh.  Warm weather won’t worry the absence of wet days but rain collected in barrels becomes a hot spot—a not-spot for bare arms or legs.

I remember my daughter at a young child when she returned from summers at the farm, boasted a phenomenal array of bites. They seemed to like her, and she would scratch, and they, sadly would swell and blotch her skin like polka dots. I remember the bed, a canopy of mosquito netting warding off attacks at night.  The errand bug buzzing irritatingly close yet inconceivably invisible or the clap of hands slapping air and then the sting as the sucking straw siphon dug in for a sip.

I’d find the Zen of it myself, somehow when it was my turn. Allow the pest its blood- because she had chosen me, and there was nothing I could do, just breath into it and get it over.  I may as well find some impermanence in the moment because all the claps and slaps never quite eradicated their peskiness or the inevitability of it all.

Now, I’m settling in for the season welcoming the warmth, the heat and any accompanying airstream, breeze or waft to help keep the bugs at bay, finding equanimity and practicing loving kindness and compassion as much as I am able after my skin, like my daughters once-upon-a-time ago, turns into a swollen red amalgam.


Lost Art of Letter-Writing?

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Dear Fellow Bloggers and Followers;

This morning I woke to snow on the ground. Rapidly it began to melt because believe it or not yesterday Spring had arrived and the sun was hot. Hangin’ out on the deck chatting to neighbours seemed to be what my agenda called for rather than working inside on a blog post. So when I woke this morning two things were on my mind- my blog post and what was going on outside.

As Spirit calls- more often than my to do list, I donned a pair of hikers, grabbed my camera and spent time “seeing what I see” in the rapid melting scene of my garden. One gift was this snowbird hanging onto the branch slowly melting in the warmth from the sun. I couldn’t help but see “him” hanging out waiting for my lens to capture his last moments before he returned to water.

I had thought that I may blog about the “lost art of letter writing,” because it seems to me, it is an art, and sadly in part due to the speed of technology, and in part due to the instantaneousness of our expectations, and pace of life, it is in many ways become a lost art.

I went to boarding school,and as part of the weekly routine; Sunday was letter-writing day. A time was set aside- we sat dutifully in desks for at least an hour, and wrote “home”.

Having been gifted at birthday, holidays or gone “out” or “over” to friends, part of the “after” ritual was writing “thank-you” letters. In truth, at the time, I found it tedious. However, I now see the gift I discovered then, in two different ways now. First, it was a small gift to offer in gratitude to someone who had thought of me, and second, it was a gift of connection.

Now I see the gift it offered me. The art of contemplation and focus; in a sense, I had to contemplate the other person before I was able to respond, and rather than focus on myself, I was able to “walk a moment in their shoes”- see from another point of view first, rather than my own. That, in and of itself, was a huge gift although as the time it brushed by me rather innocuously. [I just love this 20/20 vision, hindsight thingy!]

I have several dear friends who are at least twenty years my senior, and this morning I was mulling on one in particular, and their ability to letter- write. I began to wonder what was it they offered that surpassed other missives.

First and foremost, they draw from years of practice, the art of honing and refining, and an ability to listen to what is said, and respond in a thoughtful, quiet, present manner. When I receive an email from this particular person, what is it that makes a difference in its message? The technology is the same as many others I receive, yet the contents are radically different.

It came to me that it was as if I was being asked to pull-up a chair close to a blazing fire, and spend a little time with a friend when I read her letter. She shared what was happening in her life, she made references to our connections over the years, she walked a moment in my shoes, she built on her own contemplations and asked me wondering questions- and in doing so, brought me intimately into her circle. The experience of reading one her letters is an embrace; a gift of connection, compassion and contemplation. It is her community of caring. The ability to achieve this seems to me an art she practices by drawing from the inside-out, and making a connection with whom she communicates.

It isn’t the technology that is being used so much, as the attitude of approach. Her attitude is one of compassion, the ability to walk a little in another’s shoes, and draw who she writes to into her circle of influence- and I am grateful to be included in that circle.

Yours, in contemplation

writingmybrain@gmail.com