Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Joy, where have you been hiding?

Quiet rush of stilled air around the ears. Ho, you say, it’s nothing, only silence; or wild cheers, hosts of angels, violins, water rushing, wings beating?

Picture of myself 12 years ago at someone’s wedding: wide smile, clear face, Joy? Where have you been hiding? These days the face is a mask that sags into tiredness and fatigue, battling inertia or exhaustion. Fight or flight mode. Too many ancient walls crumbling, retreat from defenses, desire to come home to simplicity, breath, stillness, stretch the body to find its source, not will power, a different motive for moving. Plans yes, plenty, and renovations, vacations, readings, publishing projects, meetings, the Green coalition, the 6th Grade committee, annual general meeting of poets, computer emails phone calls, designer, friends, sisters, all want to plug into the computer already. Start the day! But I lay sleepless in the night for three long hours. Finally dreamt so I must have slept –one eye twitches now, signs of stress, fatigue. There is nothing I can do to save the world today.

The kids are safe in school, the laundry pile awaits downstairs and this rendez-vous
with her untold stories, unmet ghosts awaits her too. What did that singer say- her shed is immaculate, cause she is putting off doing her music work, cleaning house instead. How long can she put off meeting with her younger self? The dark younger One waiting in the shadows, too much evasion, no self-honesty. How deserted she still feels. Time to book a vision quest in the woods. Time off, alone, somewhere to leap into ghazals or poems, on Cortez island, or find a teacher she has not met yet, still wants to learn about this mysterious shaping of words, this in-between state, the cloud of unknowing, learn to trust her dreams, messages, unspoken hints, directions she is too timid to take, but can’t the muscle of trust can be strengthened with use, like any other? Who else if not an intuitive introvert to interpret the signs? It makes her an observer, a reporter, describer of small details, perhaps not a builder of novels or characters yet, but that will come later, if she trusts the small words forming, where? Not on the tongue, it moves not. In between the ears? Or eyes? This awareness looking through her glasses (far sightedness), or the impulse sending words/neurons to the end of her fingers and pen, where do thoughts come from? and why in the middle of the night are they so dark? And unfriendly?

She doubts everyone, even her faithful husband in the dark. It comes, sweeps in like a tidal wave (or a mad dog), insidious at first, but builds into a crescendo until she wants to squeeze her eyes, wring the thoughts out of her brain like a wet cloth, find calm sleep.

Who does she love? Who is the actress playing the part?
Rose scented cream, a raw silk pink shirt, tight over the breasts, the phone rings it’s the bar St-Sulpice, changing the room of the reading planned for the Writes of Spring, and it is a good thing she is rooted in the breath of Tao because she forgets she has decisions to make.

Volunteering at the lit festival, leading authors to their signings and readings, she loved the stimulating panels, the multi-media poetry and sound shows, the gentle conversation with women authors about “chick lit” and the brash New Yorkers, versus calm Montrealers, she would have bought all their books, but came away with just three. Love being around writers, hanging out in the atmosphere of this meeting ground, and of course came away thinking of I shouldn’t have said that, or that was smart, so self-centered and foolish to tell my birth stories to the pregnant CBC host who was kind enough to remember my poetry reading at a Mothering Matters group. We volunteers arrive causally, are thrown into the confusion and crowds and learn to swim very quickly. Did a stint at the info table and learned where everything is, I love to be helpful.

And what I saw was a need to climb out of my cozy nest and make a name for myself. Oh that naming thing again. The hermit poet doesn’t need a name or a public but the writer woman self (still childish) wants to play in the big playground on the big swings with the kids who have published books and risked looking foolish and put down in writing their obsessions – see Joel laughing at his own self-obsession, unrequited love. Well, we all write from something, some desire or need to tell a story, our own story preferably (if I am honest) and have an audience. And the love of theatre, the appeal Catherine says is mixing the private solitary art of writing with the performance before an audience, that mystical alchemical bond with people’s eyes ears hearts listening while you pour your heart out –need confidence in the rightness or deepness of what the heart’s voice has to express – can it be deep uplifting hopeful (reassuring, yes, there is a purpose to all this searching) without being formulaic as a romance novel. Want to work on poems, stories, plays –whatever can bring me to that play acting place of words on a stage, under lights, an audience drinking it up like reading Naming Adam in the Zenon Bar in Trois-Rivieres. I was happiest then, on stage, at those moments with the rhythm of a good poem, words moving through the heart and mind, lips body, out into other ears heart body – so to do this, write your hear out, then in, again.

“This outer is an elaboration of this inner. I prefer the origin.” Soul of Rumi

Do I?

Monday, January 28, 2008

A note: I am posting extracts from A Woman's Way, Tao of Turning Fifty, sporadically on this site. This entry jumped out at me today, because last Wednesday was Fani's funeral. Beloved Fani, beloved by many, whether patients or friends, whose words still inspire me to be true to myself, spread my wings. This is for you :)

Feb 2, 2005

I am stubborn in believing that my healing and answers will come from inside of me-- like a locked cage or a labyrinth I am lost in seeking the mystery image or sacred word at the center that will free me, or click into place, suddenly turn a light on, or gradually lift the darkness of night in the pinkish gray peace of morning. This morning my daughter points me to the pink puffs in a misty sky at 7 am and although I had been up since 6:20, it had been dark. I thought it was odd that dawn was still happening, I was lost in my newspaper not paying attention to the world outdoors. It is a hazy kind of winter day, soft smothering cloud low on the earth like a damp layer of gauze, holding humidity in the air, making the snow mushy. I felt the cold creeping in, making me sneeze and shiver in my robe. A blast of cold air when I opened the door for the cat – attacked my neck with cold.

Fani believes society has sexualized even young children’s bodies and we can’t go back to innocence. That is so sad. I feel lighter today in my solar plexus, but sore in shoulders and neck. Going for massage later. Need to treat the neck gently-- it is hardened, rigid with fear, crisp with defensiveness, afraid of cracking open the mind-body split. “You are so strong” says Fani. “Yes, woman of steel,” I reply. But the ‘carapace’ is cracking, failing, and it needs to open. My warrior spirit energy is mostly gone – softening. The inner child wants me to honour her feelings. When Fani asked me at the end of our hour if I wanted a hug, and I said not right now, she applauded. I broke into tears. So hard for me to express my feelings, stand firm.

Reading Women’s myths and secrets I was struck by the positive accent on menstrual blood. It has been so demonized, it’s hard to take in the positive spin, making it a holy source of power. Our female power is so lost, so far back. Somewhere in a pre-historic cannibalistic past…can it be reclaimed, made less bloody, more soft and inward? And where is the recognition of the real meaning of breath, the Name of God that is nameless--these are secrets that belong to the human soul, neither male nor female. But our female mysteries of blood into milk, the stages of a woman’s life, bleeding, wedding, conceiving, making one into two, birthing, these, too are holy.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Creativity and Rest

Some days I am so busy, so intent on learning how to be better prepared, more informed, on top of my game, I forget about the importance of creative loafing, of surrendering to a higher or inner power, of letting go to let new ideas come in. I am much too focused 'out there' on other authorities, books, resources, and forget to look inside of me for insight. David Whyte is a poet whose work inspires me to slow down.

"The word 'expert' seems to be like a fog in which we lose ourselves. We feel our lack before we have done the essential work of touching our own inner longing. In other words, we put the cart before the horse. Creativity has much more to do with giving ourselves over to our deepest longings than it does with giving ourselves over to any kind of strategy.

Often the first impulse people have around their creativity has to do with signing up for school or arranging their schedule to fit more of everything in. The great poetic and mythic traditions say it's actually the opposite: Creativity has to do with unburdening, with giving yourself a break, with letting fresh air in through the windows, with allowing yourself to be lost-profoundly lost, deeply lost."

"Silence doesn't necessarily mean being quiet. Silence means you haven't already got the answer when you ask the question. It seems that in the true art and the true poetic line, the answer lies in the very resonance of the question."

from Poetry and Personal Passion, by David Whyte, found in an old issue of Magical Blend

Enjoy some silence and quiet time today. Even nature is dormant in winter, so it would seem to be in the nature of things to slow down, go to bed early, sit in front of a fire and let the muse reach us through the flames. Keep warm, in this bitter cold time of year, and keep open to magic.

dream the dream,


Monday, January 7, 2008

A Secret Life

by Stephen Dunn

Why you need to have one
is not much more mysterious than
why you don't say what you think
at the birth of an ugly baby.
Or you've just made love
and feel you'd rather have been
in a dark booth where your partner
was nodding, whispering yes, yes,
you're brilliant. The secret life
begins early, is kept alive
by all that's unpopular
in you, all that you know
a Baptist, say or some other
accountant would object to.
It becomes what you'd most protect
if the government said you can protect
one thing, all else is ours.
When you write late at night
it's like a small fire
in a clearing, it's what
radiates and what can hurt
if you get too close to it.
It's why your silence is a kind of truth.
Even when you speak to your best friend,
the one who'll never betray you,
you always leave out one thing;
a secret life is that important.

Friday, January 4, 2008

menstrual cycle and stress

"A little stress gets you going - too much of it and you start to unravel...You're already up to your eyeballs with things to do and now you've got to sort out your new diet, get regular exercise, and take time out to meditate on the meaning of your life...

but if you don't take stock now you could be in much worse strife further down the track. Remember, the menstrual cycle is the stress senstivie system in women so think of menstrual symptoms as an early warning sign for your overall health.
Feeling under stress is also a signal that you need to stand up for yourself more. Your stress is an opportunity to take a personal stand. You've probably been saying 'yes' to others too iften and 'no' not often enough."

from Wild Genie, Alexandra Pope

"We rely on so much on what is visible, active and 'out there' and need also to trust he dormant, the invisible and the numinous aspects of life. The cycle embodies the continuous process of bginnings and endings, birth and death, the eternal return that keeps everything alive. " A woman's quest, Alexandra Pope

Oh ladies, take time today to put aside your agenda, and busy list and lay still, hang out, stop mentally as well as physically. Give yourself some quiet time, especially if you are having a period right now, take time to be silent, even if just 15 minutes. Start liking yourself enough to be alone with yourself and make your own sanctuary for resting in, even if it's a corner of your bedroom with a comfy chair. Or a spot in the back yard where the outside noise is lesss.

"There is an enormous elemental force at work in women's bodies that is both intensely intimate and universal - ecstatic, creative, restorative and full of love. We experiecne this force at menstruation (and also during pregnancy and giving birth). the post-menopausal woman, who has understood and lived the journey of the cycle, fully inhabits this power." A Woman's quest.

Are you ready to be initiated into the Quest? look up this book on the web site www.wildgenie.com

It's a marvel to me that more women are not aware of the gift of their cycle. Come back and visit, I'll have more info later, for all you questers.