Taking Risks

My own words will not do tonight because I found these and they spoke to me. And it always feels wrong not to share the things that move me, even at the risk of making myself vulnerable. Our impermanence is what drives me to expose myself, my heart…. and to soak up anything I can find that shows me how. Otherwise, those words inside could die with us. After being mute for so long,  I’m no longer willing to let that happen. So while I wait for those words to come, I will keep reading things that remind me why I started writing in the first place.

“I write because I believe in words. I write because I do not believe in words. I write because it is a dance with paradox. I write because you can play on the page like a child left alone in sand. I write because it belongs to the force of the moon: high tide, low tide. I write because it is the way I take long walks. I write as a bow to wilderness. I write because I believe it can create a path in darkness….
I write as ritual. I write because I am not employable. I write out of my inconsistencies. I write because then I do not have to speak. I write with the colors of memory. I write as a witness to what I have seen. I write as a witness to what I imagine….

I write because it is dangerous, a bloody risk, like love, to form the words, to say the words, to touch the source, to be touched, to reveal how vulnerable we are, how transient we are. I write as though I am whispering in the ear of the one I love.”
Terry Tempest Williams, Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert

Keeping it Holy

Cleaning the wax off the Sabbath candle holders tonight, I couldn’t remember the last time I had had seen them shiny. I had forgotten how beautiful they were, the words, “Holy Land”  carved above little houses built into the hillside. “Is it Friday?” one of the kids asked when they saw what I was doing.

“No, it’s Saturday,” I said. Normally we light the candles on Friday but I’m not all about rules. Because if we aren’t keeping the Sabbath in our heart, then we aren’t really keeping it. The point is, if it isn’t meaningful, why do we just go through the motions? It’s what we do, I suppose, go through the motions sometimes when we get tired, lazy, bored. I’m as guilty as anyone. I’ve been on autopilot for years, it seems…. just going through the motions. But I’m done with that. Like the years of wax I cleaned out of those candle holders tonight, I have remembered that I can shine too. It calls to mind a poem by Marge Piercy, If They Come in The Night. I forget that’s what we are meant to do and then when I come back to center, I remember.  When I look at my children, my husband… when I connect with others in a meaningful way and remember the divinity in our humanity…..I remember.

If They Come In The Night – Marge Piercy
Long ago on a night of danger and vigil
a friend said, why are you happy?
He explained (we lay together
on a cold hard floor) what prison
meant because he had done
time, and I talked of the death
of friends. Why are you happy
then, he asked, close to
angry.

I said, I like my life. If I
have to give it back, if they
take it from me, let me
not feel I wasted any, let me
not feel I forgot to love anyone
I meant to love, that I forgot
to give what I held in my hands,
that I forgot to do some little
piece of the work that wanted
to come through.

Sun and moonshine, starshine,
the muted light off the waters
of the bay at night, the white
light of the fog stealing in,
the first spears of morning
touching a face
I love. We all lose
everything. We lose
ourselves. We are lost.

Only what we manage to do
lasts, what love sculpts from us;
but what I count, my rubies, my
children, are those moments
wide open when I know clearly
who I am, who you are, what we
do, a marigold, an oakleaf, a meteor,
with all my senses hungry and filled
at once like a pitcher with light.

 

This is for us….

IMG_4541“… so this is for us.
This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love
and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know
because the beauty is in the act of doing it.
Not what it can lead to.
This is for the times I lose myself while writing, singing, playing
and no one is around and they will never know
but I will forever remember
and that shines brighter than any praise or fame or glory I will ever have,
and this is for you who write or play or read or sing
by yourself with the light off and door closed
when the world is asleep and the stars are aligned
and maybe no one will ever hear it
or read your words
or know your thoughts
but it doesn’t make it less glorious.
It makes it ethereal. Mysterious.
Infinite.
For it belongs to you and whatever God or spirit you believe in
and only you can decide how much it meant
and means
and will forever mean
and other people will experience it too
through you.
Through your spirit. Through the way you talk.
Through the way you walk and love and laugh and care
and I never meant to write this long
but what I want to say is:
Don’t try to present your art by making other people read or hear or see or touch it; make them feel it. Wear your art like your heart on your sleeve and keep it alive by making people feel a little better. Feel a little lighter. Create art in order for yourself to become yourself
and let your very existence be your song, your poem, your story.
Let your very identity be your book.
Let the way people say your name sound like the sweetest melody.

So go create. Take photographs in the wood, run alone in the rain and sing your heart out high up on a mountain
where no one will ever hear
and your very existence will be the most hypnotising scar.
Make your life be your art
and you will never be forgotten.”

― Charlotte Eriksson

If Poems Come

DSC_0841“And if out of this turning-within, out of this immersion in your own world, poems come, then you will not think of asking anyone whether they are good or not. Nor will you try to interest magazines in these works: for you will see them as your dear natural possession, a piece of your life, a voice from it. A work of art is good if it has arisen out of necessity. That is the only way one can judge it.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Poetic DNA

IMG_1210

If words could become part of our DNA (they can), then these must be part of my genetic code by now. Words I’ve read so many times they’ve no doubt been translated into corresponding base pairs and amino acids, ones that have become rungs in the ladder of my double-helices. Maybe that is why sometimes they are the only thing I can find sense in, as if my very cells recognize their song from memory. These are words that always feel like home…

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