writingmybrain

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Silence

Enter the silence of your Soul.
There, truth resides waiting to burst into openness.
Pay attention to its cadence.
Its quietness will set you free and show the way to live your life with choice and intent.

REFLECTION
 
Readily we think silence
Energizes, and it does however,
Finding that quiet time means
Leaning into it—gracefully
Each moment, which calls for attention,
Clarity, consciousness and communication
To ourselves—especially when
Insights bring a certain uncomfortableness naturally,
Ordinarily, however when we choose awareness over
Numbness every time, stillness emerges wondrously. 
Trees
 
Tending gardens and trees
Rejuvenates our connection to the whole
Energetically speaking. Digging
Earth, composting witnesses’ cycles
Soothes our very soul, bountifully.
 
Haiku-July-2020

Writing Practice: Acrostic Poem

Pick a word (or more, a sentence even) that resonates for you. Take the first letter of the word/s or sentence and write them vertically in your journal. Start each line with a word that also begins with the letter of your subject. Do it quickly then take the needed time to hone as you choose! Enjoy. Within process, gems surface.


Masks—Perfect in our Imperfection

What masks do you wear? There is a lot of talk about masks these days; wearing them to protect ourselves from co-vid 19. Beyond this skin deep protection, I’ve been wondering about masks. The masks I’ve worn in my life to protect myself. Protect myself from what; vulnerability of one sort or another?

As a woman and stage lover, I could talk about the mask of make-up and how that plays out on stage and in life as an example. As a life lover, I could talk about all the ways I slap on a mask to protect myself from emotions, words, actions, or pain that surround me and the world in just about anything I could name like media (social and main), politics, economics, conversation, a witness to incongruences that impact my consciousness moment by moment, and the masks of indifference, denial, aggression, or apathy that I wear and switch-out within a day, a circumstance; each time in the hope of avoiding vulnerability and pain. 

So what is this thing named vulnerability that I, like billions attempt to avoid, numb, or deny? Why are we afraid to hurt, to be seen as a human being with all our imperfections?  Is it simply a human condition? Is it our spirit trapped in form—a body that seeks something beyond what is; presence, spirituality; a sense of belonging, connection?

I wonder. In my wondering I also reflect.  Somehow, like others I complicate through attachment to stuff like drama, acquisition, achievement, comparison, opinion and judgment to name a few generalities.

I see it to a lesser or greater degree playing out in my life which is really only a microcosm of the whole. It is in this recognition that I witness our interconnection. This helps me recognize my own imperfection; identify how I can only change myself, and how I respond, not anyone, or anything else. It falls on my shoulders to change and make different choices; no one else.   

For example; the pallet deer fence I built recently. I am not a carpenter so imperfection and intention were its key components as was its practicality. It is repurposing at its best (or worst) depending on which side of the fence you choose (!) It serves its purpose to provide privacy for my neighbour and prevent deer jumping over it to eat all things green. My neighbour sees it as a blot on the landscape, and an eyesore. Other comments include functional art, it works, its funky, what a good use of pallets, I like it…

Perspective is everything. How we alter it is about choices. We can be critical and judgemental and remain within the boundaries of our preconceived notions of how things are, and should remain—or we can adapt and change finding a different perspective. In making an altered choice we also bring in a light of opportunity. In choosing—to walk in another’s shoes for a moment—we can see with different eyes and discard the same old masks.

I’m all for shedding the same old, masks and all. How else can I let in the light? Vulnerability is one path to that light. Masks have temporary protection yet UV light cleanses dis-ease including co-vid 19, so I am willing to let in the light, literally and metaphorically—boldly too—even when I feel vulnerable to another’s opinion and judgement that differs from mine. It is not personal, simply different.  

Writing Practice: What masks do you witness in yourself? How are they mirrored in your life, others, the world as a whole? Write about it as often as you choose!


Meet Experience Openly…

“Listening is not reacting or responding but meeting experience openly, the way a lake is filled by streams.” Seven Thousand Ways to Listen—Staying Close to What is Sacred by Mark Nepo P85.

What a beautiful image these words form for me. How integral it is also to the art of listening. I am inspired by its sentiment and realize also that I am far from finding that middle place and space of balance, yet I strive towards its intention.

Of course like thousands, we work towards that middle way, that balance. And yet, in interactions we are perfect in our imperfections, and can only be present when we are able. I find this lack of presence in daily activities, a great goal, yet so hard to either achieve momentarily and certainly to maintain.

In fact, I am hopeful in my working towards, but hopeless in my presence. Not because of anything other than I am pulled, like thousands before, after, and generationally in many directions that tug me away from what I’d like to work toward in myself first, and the community as a whole—be it family, friends or a public forum. I can only esteem towards this when I work on myself in an attempt to reduce my own glitches.  

I may be pulled to a text, a phone call, an email, an ad flashing up on my screen, a meeting, a family need, an atmospheric adjustment due to an outside influence, or simply pulled to respond, or react to something that intersects my path within the hours of my life. This is definitely an intersection. Another is in conversation. Presence often wraps itself in confusion, complication, circumstance, or complexity by anything that intersects that moment.

What I have come to realize is those intersections are all about choice. Even in the most seemingly difficult scenario there is choice. It seems bizarre, almost contradictory, but choice exists with both intersections and conversations. We can listen, we can connect, and we can be present — even in the most trying and grim times we face in our lives, and on the planet—yes, we do have choice.

As our best and worst, we remain one molecule; a droplet in a stream on its journey to the lake; to the sea.  We are part of the whole, one moment at a time. Listening comes from inside out, rather than outside in, and listening within our conversations for the choices, is one way to make a difference in our lives as well as those around us, and life as a whole on the planet. In making choices, we aim to listen well for the intersections and conversations and leap into the whole without reacting or responding but meeting experience openly as the stream meets the lake; the sea, and is part of the entirety.

Writing Practice: A Reflective Pause—Journal Question excerpted from: Seven Thousand Ways to Listen—Staying Close to What is Sacred by Mark Nepo P.88.

Watch someone doing something they love. Listen to the motion and rhythms of how they work. Name and describe the song of their work. Journal this experience openly and be amazed.  


Poetry as Practice

“Poetry is the unexpected utterance of the soul. Much more than the
manipulation of language, it is a necessary art by which we live and
breathe.” Mark Nepo writing on the Nature of Poetry http://www.marknepo.com/

In my later sixties, I now recognize the heart of poetry, my heart of poetry. I began to express a deeper sense of connection through poetry when I was in my first decade. In fifty years of poetry, I have deepened that practice. Poetry is my go to practice when there is something unsettling in me, or in the world around me. An incongruence that I feel needs to be expressed in a form where I can digest it, move through it, and find resolution.

Yes, there is much to be unsettled about in our world at this time; much to be concerned about, much to find resolution about, within us and around us. How can we solve it? Many turn to spirituality, many turn to avoidance, many turn to numbing, many turn to denial, many turn to action. Each turning moves us past overwhelm to a place where we find either a peace, or further unsettling through acts and actions.

I have, through the years turned to poetry, perhaps as a form of resolution, but also as a form of expression—to tap into something sometimes I am consciously unaware of, bring it into my awareness, and release it into a concrete form; sometimes as an expression of contradictions, conflicts and confusion. Most of my work, or practice over the years was for my eyes only as a form of therapy for my psychological health and wellness. I am grateful for its presence in my life, truly a mainstay.

Because poetry has the capacity to reveal the rawness of our soul and spirit, the dichotomy and contradictions in our world, often we are shy to share because poetry makes us vulnerable. I can say this about myself at least. Poetry makes me vulnerable. Vulnerability opens me up for judgement, criticism or makes me wrong somehow in the eyes of others, and it hurts. However, I can also say that poetry elevates my sense of well-being, my mental, heart and spiritual health. And in turn revitalizes my physical health. Expression through poetry from the inside out has the capacity to bring forth, make sense of any chaos or crisis, and transform confusion towards hope. 

As I work with others using poetry as expression, observation, or a collection bowl of memory I am in awe of how the art is unique to the person, yet universal in its capacity to heal, reflect sentiment, and show ourselves to our self. Poetry is medicine. Medicine to our soul, and I recommend it to anyone wanting to explore the territory of the invisible. It helps us makes sense of what we face in our day to day lives. Poetry is not something that is to be known with our head as it was in school, it is to be felt through our senses and expressed through our unique voice onto paper. Poetry can be for our eyes only, or can be shared if you so choose. Poetry is a gift to ourselves.

Poetry Practice: Find a comfortable safe place and space. Allow the surrounding atmosphere to enter your awareness. Listen from inside out. What surfaces? Is there a moment in which your peace explodes through your senses; a memory, an emotion, an incident, an issue that just won’t let-go? Write from that place and get it down on paper. Write from the heart. Massage it much, much later if you so choose but right now, write for your personal expression and illumination. Repeat as the need arises.  In-joy.  


Summer’s Children-Part Two

Through play, we learn about ourselves and others around us—siblings, parents, friends. It all starts with how we play. Do we observe, get stuck in, wait, or blunder in, and see what’s happening as we go? How we play as children, provides indicators of what and how we will do our lives as we grow through the years.

I have been conducting an informal study on play for over fifty years. I started as a teenager looking after neighbour’s children. Three; the middle boy scribbled on walls, jumped on couches, threw pillows and defied everyone as he pushed boundaries. He defied preconceived notions and rules surrounding him. He exasperated his mother and his father dismissed him.

I found his capacity to play extreme as he pushed limits with a mischievous smile. He seemed defiant to see how far he could go. His ingenuity was captivating as he tested, re-tested and continued to test. I discovered his play was integral to what he expressed emotionally and later, how his life unfolded. What he felt came out in his play. As the young teen I was then, I witnessed links between behaviour, play, and attitude.

He became a salesman, and a general all-round dare-devil; motorbikes, jumping out of planes, extreme sports. It was part of his play at four, and it manifested in his play at 14, 24 and 34 each time intensifying play. I’d hazard a guess that at fifty-four and eighty-four he will somehow push boundaries.

Of course, I’ve had my own kids since that time, have grandkids and have worked with hundreds of young people and I have to say, in general, how a child plays as a youngster is frequently a gauge for what they will chose as work and more importantly, what activities really make their heart sing—where time evaporates—sometimes called soul or spirit purpose.

On those occasions, where we cannot imagine doing anything else; that activity that wakes us in the small hours, get us up in the morning early on a weekend, even on holidays. Chances are—our spirit awakens us to this activity because even in its most challenging moments—it feels like play. 

This excitement is what I see in children, still. I see the adult they will turn into and those activities that bring them alive. I think the sadness of it all, is not that it exists in each of us—that is its gift— it is rather that so many of us ignore it, and feel the drive and perhaps obligation to do what makes most money, rather than allow our awareness to grab onto that one thing that makes us come alive. It isn’t easy that much I recognize. We wander around a bit, sometimes an entire lifetime, but when we arrive at that place that ignites us, inflames our heart, that is our happiness, our joy.

Perhaps it is a luxury of opportunity, yet I see it as an inner compulsion that we are unable to let-go of because it feels like play to us. It helps us to connect to ourselves. Our inner selves and if there is a luxury attached to it, it is the luxury of age, and having time to reflect, and give it breath in our lives. That play—perhaps not the actual play of our youth—but our attitude toward play, still exists in our lives as elders. I like to track it backwards now, see if I can guess what they did as a child, and see how it is reflected in their life today. Awesome stuff!   

Writing Practice: Remember a time when you were actively playing as a child where time seemed to disappear. Write from that standpoint; identify your feelings, thoughts, the activities themselves, and how your inner and outer landscapes altered, or didn’t, during the experience. If you can’t remember a specific feeling, or thought, imagine it as you re-tell the story. How does this reflect in your life today? Does it? If not imagine how it may have. Have fun with this; its play!