Thursday, February 20, 2020

POETREE

If I could,
I would
write
poetree,
plain black
lines scrawled
against the azure sky.

No matter what the
season,
poetree need not
have a reason to
be other than
its vital urging to
stand tall
and call all to see
its full breathtaking
shape.

No paper wasted
(ah, trees saved)
Nor ink.
I think today
I am
satisfied that
I saw this sprawling bit
of God's beauty
and I knew enough
to bow down to it, and
be done speaking.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Babies? Boring? Hardly!

Some mornings when I wake up,

this thought comes to me:

"Oh gee, another boring day."

Thankfully, I get up at that moment

and a few minutes later,

armed with steaming coffee in my turquoise cup,

I head down the hall to meditate.

Sitting cross-legged in front of a tall window,

I look out onto the meadow.

And there I unravel

the word "boring."


Before I know it, a little animal, a mink,

chocolate brown in color,

scoots across the stone steps, and then,

dashes back into the woods.

Up above, the morning clouds are tinted pale pink

as they drift across the blue sky.

Birds are swooping and dancing on the lawn.

Pine trees tower over the edge of the meadow.


And here, right beside me is the red
vase of flowers my

husband bought me for Valentine's Day.

Miraculously, they are still fresh a week later.

Now I see how silly a word boring is.

How can flowers and trees and birds and clouds and the blue sky

be boring?

That's like saying a baby laughing and gurgling is boring.

Or that breathing is boring.

Sure, we do it over and over and over again, but whenever I think about it,

I'm always exceedingly grateful for the next breath.


By the time I finish meditating, golden strips of sunlight are lying on the brown meadow.

Tall marsh grasses are waving in the distance.

Once again I realize what a miracle it is just to be able to see!

The sky, the grass, everything around me.

That's the way I start my day,

breathing.

Awed and full of appreciation,

love and gratitude.


Friday, February 07, 2020

HEALING JOURNEY: OPEN YOUR HEART AND STAY PRESENT!

Every once in a while I think I have written far
too many words for my own
GOOD.
I’ll be browsing through the computer searching for this or that
and I'll happen on an old scribble and it will surprise
or maybe even upset me.
Dear God, why the hell did I write that?
A friend of mine once said that she had a dream
that I got swamped (or was it drowned?)
by all the millions of words I have written.
No.  I reject that notion.
I still stand by the idea that writing unclogs your heart and starts you understanding the mysteries of your own mind.

Writing is healing me at this very moment as I do the free writing that well respected researcher James Pennebaker claims heals college students and all kinds of other groups of people. Just write freely about your feelings two or three or four times a week, make sure to attend in depth to what's bothering you, such as right now the frozen feeling within when I gaze out at the lawn and the icy bare trees and the white sky and the grey rock. If I just keep writing and writing and letting my feelings go down on paper and unlock my heart and let it flow, if I do that, my immune system will work better and I will have fewer trips to the doctor.
I have a therapist named Mary M and there is no therapist like her. She is a Jungian psychologist which means in part that she can analyze dreams.

(Last night I had one of my old recurrent dreams about finding my high school boyfriend. Dear God how can I keep dreaming the same old same old _____ for 50 years?)

Anyway, what Mary has done for me in the years we've worked together is mind boggling or heart stopping or popping or something even more profound.

She relies deeply on keeping your heart open, on spirituality on BEING PRESENT WITH YOUR FEELINGS. She works with EFT otherwise known as tapping on meridean points, a very simple technique with profound results.

But to say that's how she's helped to heal me is way too simplistic. Better to say that she has taught me that LOVE IS EVERYTHING LOVE IS AS IMPORTANT AS BREATHING which may explain my fixation of late with hearts in my painting.

Suddenly I feel a flood of fear right here write here about the fear that somebody will come along and read this and decide I'm not mentally stable which of course is a crock of 

(Why do I have trouble saying the word shit?)

Instead, write the word LOVE. 

It happens to be February 7th - one week away from Valentine's Day.

How many trillions expressions of love will there be in the next seven days? 

How many different ways can a person say, I LOVE YOU?

The other day I listened to a Sounds True podcast with clinical psychologist Shauna Shapiro who has a Ted Talk about mindfulness that has been viewed more than1.5 million times on Ted Talks. Basically Shapiro says that it's not just mindfulness (the paying of attention to the present moment without judgment) that we need to practice. We have to practice mindfulness with a LOVING INTENTION.

She talks about how important -- AND HOW DIFFICULT -- it was for her to learn how to say "Good Morning, I love you Shauna." (She has a new book out called Good Morning I Love You.)

AFTER I LISTENED TO THAT PODCAST ON SUNDAY I DECIDED TO SAY "I LOVE YOU CLAUDIA" IN ITALIAN:

"TE VOGLIO BENE, CLAUDIA." It rolls off my tongue so lovingly.

And perhaps it's that achievement that has helped to bring me to this essay today.

I want to say that on Wednesday I had a breakthrough, I wrote a piece of fiction called "LEAH ON THE FROZEN LAWN" and it went deep into the heart of me.

But the real awakening happened a few weeks ago when I finally understood that I can LIVE IN THE PRESENT MOMENT AND NO MATTER WHAT I FEEL I CAN FEEL MY FEELINGS IF I SIMPLY FOLLOW Eckert Tolle's advice. Tolle is the brilliant spiritual teacher who wrote quite a profound tome, THE POWER OF NOW. I pick up the book with all its wisdom frequently during the day. And every time the least negative thought arises 

Bam, I turn to page 192:

"So whenever you feel negativity arising within you, whether caused by an external factor, a thought, or even nothing in particular...look on it as a voice saying "Attention. Here and Now. Wake Up."

Tolle's profound teaching is that the PRESENT MOMENT offers us immediate access to the BEING, the sacred, or whatever word you'd like to use for

GOD.

He also guides us to "offer no resistance" to whatever you are feeling in the moment.

I first read Tolle's book in 2008 or so but it has taken me all these years to really absorb his teachings and honestly if it weren't for Mary constantly reminding me to feel my feelings I don't think I would grasp The Power of Now right NOW.

So that's my schpeil for today. MAY YOU JUST KEEP OPENING YOUR HEART which is the phrase I wrote over and over again in my journal on Wednesday when I suddenly had a breakthrough in writing about a character named Leah.

Writing about Leah has helped me realize that I can write about my healing journey of the last seven years. Heaven knows there are a gazillionpeopleouttherewritingabout their healing journeys. Does the world really need one more?

Yes. The world needs one more because I was frozen before. And now my heart

and mind are open and flowing.

So be it. 

SO BE

PRESENT.

It is ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING.

Friday, January 31, 2020

January Garden

How can you make spring flowers grow in January?


Easy. Just write about them so they come alive inside your mind and heart.

Start with the itty bitty crocuses -- yellow, white and purple -- that can poke up even in a late season snow.

Go forward to the dazzling tulips that bloom in yellow, red, orange, pink, purple and so many other colors.

When spring is in full force, there will be hyacinth and daffodils,
bleeding heart, phlox, lupine, dogwood, magnolia, lilac, poppies, rhododendron, azalea and many more.

Before you know it, a whole garden has risen up in your imagination. Stay with it and let Mother Nature plant her finery in your soul.

It's a great way to get through winter!


Wednesday, January 01, 2020

All at Once


I stop and
drop inside
into silence
where energy
sensation
settles thick in my
arms and legs
abdomen back and torso.
And there I
stay feeling the
breath come in
And
outside the window
I see the grey
mottled clouds above
and thin patches of
white snow on the brown meadow.
How long it has
Taken me to
Understand
Really know
That the PRESENT MOMENT
Is simply the Now of ETERNITY.
When you see it
That way
You feel ever so
Briefly ever so
Much closer
To INFINITY.

And then you’re
Back in the old
Head and there
Is a runner in a
Turquoise sweatshirt
Moving quickly down
The road at the other
Side of that meadow.
Oh how I wish I could
Go running. Because
Of my knees I have begun
To walk, and today because
Of a wickedly thick  congestion
In my head I am
Holding forth on
The sofa.
JUST WATCHING.
Waiting.
So terribly excited.
That I might
be
PRESENT.
At
Any
MOMENT.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

HeartArt

I have started painting hearts.

I can't stop.

I painted one for Sharon.

And one for Mary M.

I painted one for my daughter Jocelyn.

One for my husband.

One for my dear friend Nancy D.

One for my wonderful cousin Mary Lou.


I painted wedding hearts when Lindsay and Geoff got married in July 2017.

I will paint them as often as my heart calls me to.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Breath
Comes

Breath
Goes


Ever\so\slight\
Pressure
Air.
Nose.

No limbs
No feet
Just 
Soft
MELTING
heat

light.

ENERGY
Urging
Flowing
In all
Hands
Arms
Knees
Fingers
Toes
Starting
And
Staring

Heart
LUNGS
Ribs open
Ribs close.

NO WORDS
NO WORDS
NO MEMORY
Of meditation
So 
Still
So 
Close
SO FILLED
With
Ecstasy
And
Peace.



Monday, December 02, 2019

Utter Snow

And still.
It snows.
And snows.
Everything
goes white.
Rounded.
Soft.
So quiet.

How do those tiny
snowflakes make
such giant piles?
It is a wonder.

Some moments
see me feeling.
Shut in.
Squeezed.
No air.

When I do,
I stare.
Intently.
At the Buddha
statue.
That sits.
That sits.

Shouldered
in utter
silence.
And peace.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Living on a Sunny Lane

This poem appeared this week in Two Drops of Ink. 
"November Poem"

The crisp brown swamp grasses are glowing
in the wetland.
The grass is still green despite the
sheen of white frost this morning.
We are between autumn and winter
in that uncomfortable place
where everything is dying.
Yesterday I tore up piles of limp yellow hosta and
stiff black bee balm stems and peony and bleeding heart.
How quickly their time passed.
As I sit here, I know that all comes alive just to die.
I look longingly at photos of chubby-cheeked babies
and earlier versions of myself.
But I don’t land there except for a glance.
Don’t think for a moment I am
going to lead you down some
depressing
alley way of words.
Find the whole poem at Two Drops of Ink, a fabulous on-line writers' blog.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

November, Eighth Birthday

This being the first day when the fluffy stuff falls
over the lawn and meadow, it’s too cold
to meditate in front of the open door.
Still, I carry my turquoise mug outside
and stand
in the whip of the wind.
Snowflakes fall into my coffee.


This is a day when there is nothing
pressing.
So I go very slowly. I bundle up and
take a walk.
Then back to the mat to do yoga.

In between I am visited by a
an image that scours out my heart.
It is November, 1960, and
I am seven years old. My birthday
is coming in a day or two.

But my family has just been
uprooted from Connecticut
to upstate New York
where my dad has a good job
with IBM. Health benefits.
A pension.

When we moved into the
brand new Cape Cod house
the upstairs where we three kids sleep
is just two-by-fours
and thick chunks of insulation
the color of pink flesh.

That was such a scary time.
I’m remembering my baby
sister crying and saying she
wanted to go back home to
her “real house.” I remember
my  mother, distracted.
I am pretty sure she
was deeply sad, so homesick,
and scared shitless being two hours
away from her beloved parents and
family.

Suddenly I am determined
to run away.
I leave by the back door in the garage.
I wander through the
neighborhood of white houses.
Snow is crusty on
the ground and ice is in
my chest.
I’m not sure but I think I
cried, feeling sorry for myself.
Because it was almost
my birthday and that was supposed
to be a happy time and
I am not happy at all.

At some point I
decided there was no
point in running away.

In my mind, I am still
so awfully sad. I am still poised
by the back door into the
garage. My hand is in a mitten
and my heart is empty.

Today I see that little girl
and she is still crying. I
hold her in my memory
and wrap my arms around
her tightly. I pray that she may
know how much she was
loved then and
now.