Saturday, September 28, 2013

And Old Blog Post and Today


Since I can no longer post on my old blog space, I'm reviewing and copying some of my old posts. This one made me smile: The Red Door, posted on January 16, 2012.

The Prodigal


Prodigal - Exceedingly or recklessly wasteful, extremely generous, lavish, abundantly profuse.

Commonly called Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, it's all here, in this one plant: past, present, future, with all its contradictions and contrasts.

I've been eyeing this plant at the end of my porch now for several days, noting the purples and the oranges: opposites on the artist's color wheel, complimentary colors used near the focal point to grab the viewer's attention. It's as if this one plant insists on hyperbole - a veritable burlesque show.

Yet, we too hold all our yesterdays, our today, and tomorrows, in our flesh; the cells of our bodies remember and know. We too hold the tension of the purple and the orange. 


Am I a flower? 


or a berry?



"I am." That's what this plant speaks to me at this moment. "Don't define me too closely - I am.  That's all. I simply am. I'm all of it in this one space, at this one moment. I am."





Monday, September 23, 2013

Missing My Mother






Sacrament of Grace
(Your days have disappeared silently and forever...
There is a place where our vanished days secretly gather. 
The name of that place is memory.
John O'Donohue, Anam Cara)


They've bloomed again, 
and once more I'm taking back 
to the sweetness of her life.

Your days have disappeared 
silently and forever.
There is a place where our vanished days
secretly gather.
The name of that place
is memory. 


It's amazing how quickly and how poignantly words and images can conjur up the face of a loved one and spring like arrows to our hearts. I miss my mother this morning. She was a sacrament of grace to me.






Friday, September 20, 2013

THIRD FORCE


Third Force
There is such an intimate connection between
the way we look at things and what we actually discover.
John O’Donohue

She stands on the near shore
and with keen vision
discerns contradictions that lie,
stretching into seeming infinity.

Betwixt the two,
creative connection unites the distance,
reconciling all separateness,
healing all gaps:
Body with soul
Soul with spirit
Here with there
Dark with light
Past with future
Pleasure with pain
Old with new
Father with Mother
God with goddess
Christ with Sophia.

Her life’s work
is to span the space between,
to embody the same spirit.


She and bridge are one.

Monday, September 16, 2013

ANAM CARA


ancient paths
holy walls
cloister
from shadows to light
from dark to day
from black to color
the greening of new life
open, yet protective
safe space
"Welcome, come, stay"
my anam cara
my mother's heart

With gratitude to Christine Valters of Abbey of the Arts for this invitation to poetry. Why don't YOU visit her website, download the photo, spend some time with it, and see what bubbles up for you.

Welcome to Christine's Poetry Party #70.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

fishbowl of aqua





fishbowl of aqua

“Colours are the wounds of light.” William Blake


the whole of life seems somehow new.
old paintings that hang on the wall
appear crisply fresh and brilliant.
worlds that hang in frames beyond the window panes
seem subdued, softer still.
aqua colors both worlds,
inner and outer,
with one brush stroke,
peace.


(September 14, 2013)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

IT'S A NEW DAY


video



As I was sitting on my deck outside this morning, enjoying another sunrise, my thoughts turned to a young friend of mine. I found out yesterday that her love relationship has ended, and I am sad – sad for her, sad for her lost love, sad for her family, and even sad for me. Their love taught me so much. Because of them, I am a larger person with a much larger viewpoint.

How earth shattering it is when love fails. Yet how affirming it is to know in our knower that Love Itself never fails. I think that one has to be learned, experienced, lived.

If there’s anything my 64 years has taught me, it’s that human love fails, over and over again. Love hurts. Sometimes life sucks. Pain is a constant companion as we walk through this earth school. It’s there from the beginning, and it lives with us all our allotted days. Yet something inside us persists in this thing called “life”.

The more glorious thing I’ve learned is that Love Itself never fails. Love is always renewing the face of the earth. The sun always rises, even after long pain-filled, grueling nights. Birds sing, even during the storms. Frogs remember their songs, even after long draughts. Hope really does spring forth on its own.

And if we look hard enough, we can see God’s face everywhere. I’ve been pondering St. Patrick’s prayer for a couple of days now:

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit,
Christ when I stand,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.


If I could, I would assure my young friend that she is not alone. Love Itself has not failed her.

Christ behind her as the love and life they shared, all the things they learned together, all the memories they made.

Christ before her as new doors open unexpectedly (for surely they will).
Christ beside her as she is held in the loving embrace of friends and family.
Christ within her as the music and song inside of her give birth.
Christ above her as the dawn of a new day breaks through the darkness of this night.
Christ below her as she puts her feet on the ground and just keeps walking, one step at a time.

There is a constant abiding that Love is. It is always bringing life out of death, and she will live through this pain into new life. It will take time to heal. It will take work to begin again. It will require letting go of what has been so that she can begin again.

But I know her – even if from afar. I know the stuff she’s made of. And I know the Spirit that lives inside her. That Spirit always brings resurrection and new days.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

DIFFERENTIATION


Concentric circles have always been a very important part of my journey to know God and to know myself. I am reminded of them again this morning as I consider the task of the last 24 years of my life, differentiation. Differentiation means to form or mark differently from other such things, to distinguish, to change or alter, to perceive the difference in or between. And differentiation is the task we are to make as we journey through life - it is "soul formation".  We are born into a family, a culture, and we spend our formative years being molded into an image. Soul formation demands that we find our own face, that we differentiate and become our own true self.  And it's quite a job...pretty much a life-time task.

And that's the work that I feel was finished yesterday with the burial of my mother. I didn't plan that. Who knew? But it feels like what happened.  

For a few days before we left for East Texas, I had felt a dread.  I've hated East Texas for a long time, and I've blamed a lot of my "stuff" on that place and that culture. And now, a very important piece of me was headed there to be buried in that red dirt, and I felt a heaviness, a sadness, a "stuckness".  But that's NOT what happened. What was fully and finally set free yesterday was my soul.  I am me, and I like me.  Me is beautiful, sure, grace-filled, conscious (most of the time), and free.

There was a hugeness about yesterday, which included a letting go and letting my brothers do what they do best.  For the most part yesterday, I was an observer, a smal-time bit player in the final act of my mother's life.  And I had a great view of the whole show.

I watched as my older brother's love and sense of calm blanketed the whole of yesterday. I watched as he tenderly held and carried my mother's ashes from the pavilion where we gathered for the service to the waiting open grave, her final resting place. It was as if I was watching him walk beside her as I've seen him many times over the last few years, tenderly helping her find her way home. He is the family patriarch now. He is the glue that holds us still together. He is wise and gentle, and kind - very kind. And I am grateful.

And my middle brother, the family historian, took care of everything at the cemetery.  He's taken care of all this little final details that some of us would overlook because "it's not our thing". He taken care of having the stone engraved. He's ordered flower urns for each side of the stone, and will have R.B. and Millie engraved them. And, I figure, as long as he and his wife live there close, Mother's and Daddy's graves will be cared for.  And in a way that surprises me, that comforts me. And I am grateful.

And my baby brother gave the final service, one that celebrated the life of my mother - not my best friend, but my mother.  And I needed that - something else that surprises me. I listened as he spoke of the Proverbs 31 woman, and I smiled.  She loved and fulfilled that role perfectly, while I have hated that passage and failed at it so miserably. I could feel her next to me saying, "It is what it is." My brother helped us celebrate her roots, her love for Daddy and their life together, and with his help, we celebrated the giving of her life to us, her children. I am grateful.

It has all comforted me.  And what are final "good-byes" to be, if not a comfort? Between the two services we held for Mother, we celebrated the whole of her, what she had been for us all her life, and what she became for herself and to so many others in her later years. And I am fully and finally grateful.

But something else happened yesterday, something inside of me. I felt a release, as if a great work had been finished.

Early Friday morning, with a very heavy heart, feet that dragged, and a pain in my spirit, I wrote this poem.

Burial Grounds

Back to the red dirt that stains your feet
like the culture stains your soul.
Back to the red clay that grips your feet
and holds them in place,
captive.

Boxes too small for large-lived lives.
Dreary and musty,
Not antique, just old
Dilapidated
Outdated.

Broken dreams
Broken spirits
Shadows, limits, failures, heartache
And lies spoken about ourselves,
our value and our worth as women – human beings in our own right.

Lies told about God and his expectations of our lives.
Creating a false me
A bound me
A crippled me
A caged me

A just-common me.

Clipped wings
Tail feather plucked
Grounded.

She and I soared together
Wild and free
All restraints broken.
She is fully and finally liberated.
She prays for me.

I didn't want to go back to East Texas.  I didn't want to leave my mother there. I knew that's what she wanted, so I was willing to do it, but I didn't want to.

Jim and I talked about it on the way home. Something inside of me let go of my hatred of East Texas. Something let go of the shame of being an East Texas girl. Something inside of me quit blaming East Texas for my "stuff".  It's just a place. That's all - a place on a map, a spot on the earth.

For so long, I've hated East Texas. I still know why. It's complicated.

But reality is, I lived there for 12 years of my life, just 12 years - only 12 of 64 years. That's all, not even one quarter of my life was spent there. The first 10 years of my life were spent in West Texas, and the last 40-plus years have been spent right here, on the Gulf Coast. This is where I raised my children.  This is where I met the love of my life. This is my home.  East Texas is just a place where I lived along the way. My parents are buried there, so a little of my heart is there, but it no longer defines me.

Who knew forgiveness includes places and cultures? And forgiveness is really about setting our own souls free to love and to grow. That's the release that came for me yesterday. I forgave a place and a culture. I have let it go to be what it is. And I am as free as she is.

I woke up during the night last night thinking of that double headstone, with R.B. on one side and Millie on the other. The journey of my own soul began with the burial of my daddy all those years ago. The realization of my soul fully came yesterday with the burial of my mother.  It has taken me 24 years to "become" my own face. But I am fully and finally me.

When my dad died 24 years ago, I heard Christ's voice saying, "Follow me."  I've always referred to that invitation as my "Abrahamic call": to leave your father's house and go to a place you know not of. Yesterday the words of Steven Charleston seared themselves fully into my soul. I felt Mother breathing them onto me:  

Lift up your heart today, lift it up to receive the warm light that seeks you. Lift up your spirit, release it to fly free from old constraint, a soul skimming the clear air of freedom. Lift your hands to embrace the love another day has brought near you. Lift your voice, sing even if you think you cannot sing, sing your own wisdom out into the weary world. Lift up your mind, lift it up to a higher place where visions wait between the passing clouds. No weight of sorrow or hurt can hold you down: lift up your life today. 

I am home, inside my own skin. Now for the next task - to erase all those lines inside those concentric circles and to realize the unity that's really there, to reconcile the differentiation and become one with all that is. Onward!