Speak

A doodle in a journal becomes a message to oneself.

Not fancy.  Not elaborate and not necessarily meant for anyone else’s eyes.

Yet, here we are in a time when many of us haven’t spoken up.

Sheltering in place, we are taken out of society, given this time for reflection.  Contemplation.

Where are we going to go from here?

How are we going to do things differently, with more consciousness?

We see the effects, for instance, of global warming across the planet.
What are you and I going to do differently to preserve the planet for
the future generations?

How helpless are we feeling?

What are the topics of discussion that we want to air?

Instead of zoning out in front of a tv screen, what is it that is important to you, today?

What do you want to talk about that you haven’t given voice to yet?

What do you deeply know to be true that is different from all the belief structures that your society, culture has overwhelmed you with?

What needs to change?

SPEAK about it.

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We see the Himalayas.  The air is clear in areas where it’s been polluted for years.  Nature is in the forefront of our vision right now…especially as we experience spring in the northern hemisphere.

It seems that which we have put in the background, at the bottom of the list, is thrusting itself in front of manmade institutions and systems and saying

REMEMBER ME! I’M HERE!  I’M YOUR MOTHER!

Learning from History…or not

Do we learn from those who preceded us?  Or does each new generation go into a coma of forgetfulness?  Are the hard lessons that our ancestors learned forever lost on us and the generations to come?  Though we study history, we don’t seem to get the magnitude of what history tries to teach.  Inherent in the study of history is the key message, “Don’t make the same mistakes that I did,”  or “Learn from my mistakes.”

We don’t seem to be able to do this–learn from the mistakes of others.  There are definitely some things that we need to find out for ourselves.  However, in the social context of things, the bigger picture, why do we stubbornly refuse to learn from history?  How can society move forward if we don’t extract the lessons learned from previous generations and the history of other cultures?  Why does real growth and spiritual evolution appear to be stunted?

Reading the book, The Underside of History:  A View of Women Through Time, by Elise Boulding, I am naively stunned to see how little we’ve progressed.  Is it because our amygdala (the part of the brain that responds to fight or flight) is constantly triggered (and exhausted) by too much negative media input?  When are we not sitting on the edge of our seats, waiting for the next shoe to fall?  When do we get to rest deeply in our own selves?  It seems that continuous over-stimulation doesn’t allow for the quiet times necessary to go deep and extract wise inner guidance.

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Contemplation:
Do you allow enough quiet time in your daily life?  Do you take time to quiet your system and contemplate?

 

“My name is love…”

“My name is love
supreme my sway
The greatest god
and greatest pain,
Air, earth, and seas, my
Power obey,
And gods themselves
must drag my chain.

In every heart my throne I keep,
Fear ne’er could daunt my
daring soul;
I fire the bosom of the deep
and the profoundest hell
control…”

from Don Quixote Part II
by Miguel de Cervantes

L O V E

Love.  It amazes me that we fall in love.  As if it were a puddle, pool or lake.  Do we trip and fall? Are we walking, unawares, and suddenly we’ve fallen in loveInto love?

Everyone writes about love at some point, right?  Do they?  Do you?  How do you define what seems ineffable?  Intangible.  And, has attached to it one’s particular perspective on the definition of what love is.

When you say “I love you,” what are you really saying?

In the quote above, Cervantes has personified love–made it into a person with great power.

This poem, written and read by Edna St. Vincent Millay, surprised me on many levels.

First, the quality and tone of her voice.  Secondly, I had not read this poem before…listening to it for the first time, I felt a certain trepidation–where was she going to land?  And, finally, hearing the conclusion, I felt deeply moved.

Contemplation:
A poem touches us because we fit the meaning to our experience.  Does this feel true to you?  When writing, how do you personify love?

 

The Poet Responds to Herself/Himself

When I write a poem, it often stands alone.  However, there are times that it becomes a poem that sparks another poem and another and another.  A trilogy or quadrilogy or pentalogy or even a hexalogy of poems.  Don’t you love those words?  Who dreamed them?

When I wrote the first poem, To the God of Sunlight, it became just that for me.  Actually, it grew into a hexalogy of poems, that is six interconnected poems.

These poems toppled out, one after the other.

Here is the second poem:

The Eleventh Hour
© by Christine O’Brien

Not to say we shouldn’t desire more
of that which feeds the hungering soul.
For such yearning, it seems, opens the door
as we stare out upon a distant knoll.

Comfortable complacency is fine.
We all need pauses in our quest for more.
Grateful for the banquet upon which we dine,
fingers laced, beside the fireplace, shut the door.

But when the bell tolls the eleventh hour,
mustn’t we from our sedentary rise
step into our uncomfortable power
–this before our comforts become a vise?

The hungering soul feasts on freedom.
Quick! They are capturing the kingdom.

****

Writing Prompt:
Have you had this experience–a poem that arrives in segments?  Give yourself a poetic few hours writing about something for which you have passion and see where you go.

What’s It Mean?

You write a poem, paint a painting or sculpt a piece.  You’ve followed your intuitive guidance, the flow.  You stand back from it.  What does it mean?

Is your poetry or art a clue to your own inner experience or process?  Like a dream, does it somehow help with self-understanding and integration?

What do you think?

Why do certain symbols, colors, words, images attract you more than others?

Is there a story or a message for you in the poem you write?  the art you create?

Sometimes, it’s obvious.  Other times, it reveals itself over time or as you sit with it in inquiry or contemplation.

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Like with this recent painting.  I definitely feel it’s got something to say to me.  Getting quiet, I allow it to reveal itself to me.

Contemplative Prompt:
Have you written a poem or prose recently that has a self-revelation for you?  Or, a painting that you know is trying to tell you something?  Take the time to be with it and stay open to that which wants to be heard or seen by you.

Have a good day.

Poetry presents the thing…

 

“…in order to convey the feeling. It should be precise about the thing and reticent about the feeling, for as soon as the mind responds and connects with the thing the feeling shows in the words; this is how poetry enters deeply into us.”

Wei T’ai (eleventh century)

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When I am stirred to write a poem, though it is likely sourced in an emotion,  I do not say “I feel angry” and then “I feel sad” or “I feel uncertain”.  In poetry, I speak figuratively.  I relate the thing (whether it be an incident, a circumstance, an encounter, a person, a metaphor, whichever) and then, when a poem is written from the depth of this connection, it shows the feeling without naming it.  It rouses the reader to his own corresponding feeling.

Any good work of art connects the viewer to the feeling behind it.  A garden, a sculpture, a painting, a poem, prose, etc.

Meeting Someone New
© by Christine O’Brien

He wore a green raincoatfiguresinrelation
he, a huge forest
his face, the sun rising over the trees
open and casting its
smiling beam on me
as if we were old friends, familiar.
He opened the conversation
as if it were a continuance
of a suspended dialogue.
I whirled towards him
being drawn to sun, warmth, openness
and fell into his face
like a cushy bed with lots of pillows
then suddenly realized
“I don’t even know you!”
Felt myself flailing, directionless
seeking the friend
I had walked into the café with
solid turf, reliable old shoe.
I knew he wanted to continue
the conversation
take me to his beach
and slather sunshine like lotion
on my bare body
which all too eagerly sheds inhibitions
like clothes
and wants to trust this forest of a man
with the sunshine face too soon.
I wrestle with the confusion
of this odd familiarity
as I stumble backwards into safe shade.

****

FOR YOUR CONTEMPLATION:
Time for a poetry break.  Do you have a book of poetry lying around?  Is there somewhere for you to sit quietly and read poetry?  Indoors or outdoors?  Read the poetry for your enjoyment at first.  Then, contemplate a few poems to see if and how they “convey the feeling” by “presenting the thing”.

NOTE:  Poetry, by its nature, is meant to be shared (when the poet is ready to take this leap).  Poetry is humanity’s connective tissue.  Poetry has the capacity to cross cultural, spiritual, gender and boundaries of time, etc.  Recently, someone said the same thing of music.  I agree.