May 11, 2017. Reflecting on a day at Red Corral Ranch in the Texas hill country – I go every other month with a spiritual awareness group. Last week, right after group reflection on a Stanley Kunitz poem – we went out into the May sunshine to spend some quiet solo time reflecting and observing. Red Corral is home to a number of peacocks, noisy birds, calling back and forth to one another. Their squeals are intense, sounding like “HELP” – mixing in with Kunitz words, the birds helped this poem emerge. They reminded me who I am – poet.
April 4, 2017. Not typical Spring Fever! My restless state stems from too many changes I am unable to influence – this urge to tackle something tangible, make something prettier, even if insignificant in the larger realm of unpredictables. Why not transform a once-stately (still-comfy) rocking chair into a bright turquoise meditation station?
January 22, 2017. Each year (for seven years now) I concentrate in Nov/Dec on connections, intentions, directions for the coming calendar year. I do this in a group led by Janet Conner (janetconner.com) tagged “The Lotus and the Lily”. Janet’s book by that title shows one of my earlier mandalas. A multi-step process, each year revealing more. The mandala changes year to year, evolving to reflect both my growth and changing surrounding influences. Initially termed intention mandalas, Janet now calls them invitation mandalas; I consider mine a contract with Spirit.
True to my SoulCollage(R) training, I rely primarily on imagery. I won’t try to explain all the symbols here! Just a little about the structure:
Background, a foot bridge into foggy unfamiliar territory: this is specific to 2017 US upheaval (beyond my control) – I will Step Forward across that bridge into the fog.
At center, a spiral “antenna” for receiving
Moving outward, my four commitments: observe, create, trust, accept
Moving outward, my four challenges: the Toltec Four Agreements
Moving outward, areas I rely on Spirit to help me sustain: harmony, resilience, open-heart hearing, sufficient resources … PLUS … acknowledgement that I need Spirit’s help in ways I cannot fathom: represented by golden footsteps
January 7, 2017. My 2017 has begun with a flourish of intriguing dreams, stirring me to create a collage of dreamscapes that have made repeat appearances in recent years – trails, steps, bridges, houses, fences, water, mountains. I’ve yet to figure out how to take a photo while in a dream … so these actual photos stand in as symbols for the illusive dreamscapes.
(Perhaps another night, another collage of dream animals – cat, duck, and a new one this week: horse.)
May 15, 2016. This poem began in late February – the trees have since leafed out, blocking any view of rooftop referenced. Today is muggy, cloudy. I find myself wishing for the crisp clarity of the February morning. So I dug out the poem and let it brighten my day. The image blends the one visible roofer and one of my djembe drums into a collage of wishful thinking. Enjoy. Tap your pencil, snap your fingers, join in the rhythm.
January 20, 2016. Aging presents itself whether courted or not, a presence to be accepted. Each year it seems doctors take a greater pinch out of the budget and out of my patience. I understand I have a choice in my response, but sometimes I slip into anger at a bill for a test I never wanted to need and never dreamed would cost that much! The morning after anger, I reconnect to my models of serenity on the brink – stragglers on the oak at Gary’s rental property in New Braunfels (his parents’ home before they quit hanging on). Today I choose to flutter in peace with what is, thus with what no longer is.
September 30, 2015. I’m always startled by questions such as “What do you mean by mindful poetry?” and “How do you start a poem?” Perhaps this poem can serve as answer. This one wrote itself while I was reading snippets from Joseph Campbell and Clarissa Pinkola Estes included in an essay on mythology, art, and poetry by Richard Rohr. My pencil just took off! There’s no defining what triggers the poetic response, but I offer this description of the “practice” that follows.
This mockingbird seems to be doing his own reflecting. I followed the sound of his voice while on the campus of St. Edwards University, here in Austin, in October 2014. When I found him, he abruptly stopped singing and seemed to pose for quite a while. Posing was my perception at the time. It’s just as possible he was reflecting on the large intrusion into his time and space that my camera and I represented. Did he savor the interruption? After, did he sing little camera-click songs? I wonder …