September 6, 2021 – New Moon. Today is Labor Day, but likely the New Moon is a bigger influence on my inner focus – responding to surrounding ruckus impossible to escape or ignore. Even (maybe especially?) for an Enneagram Nine (aka Peacemaker). This year is not over, and I’m braced for more challenges coming ’round the bend. A new moon (dark moon) suggests pausing, summoning from within courage and inventiveness to cope, to keep going.
I’ve included both before and after images, in reverse order as focus is on current conditions: messy. We have an amazing succulent in a pot on our back porch: Mother Of Thousands. Prolific bloomer from early Spring well into June. We went traveling in July and August, leaving the succulent on its own (they really don’t need much water, and I figured this one might prefer fewer camera invasions) – but a sad sight greeted us on return. Yet, a closer look offered a whole new perspective on renewal in spite of circumstances. Hence this plant becomes my model for coping with a world gone wonky in too many ways this year.
February 2021 blooms – Mother Of Thousands
October 3, 2019. Had a relaxed nap this afternoon in my zero-gravity recliner – recently moved into the living room to increase wiggle space in the den. When I woke, I was staring at two images blurring together, becoming one big tug on my imagination – a waking dream. I lay back awhile exploring possibilities, then got up and did the obvious next thing: I wrote a poem.
The oil painting (perhaps by my grandmother) is of Texas bluebonnets along a country road, near Cuero, Texas. The cat is one of many feline figures decorating various surfaces in my home. Positioning cat within the frame was not entirely imagination – my angle looking upward (glasses nowhere near) contributed. I’ve reconstructed what I “saw” as collage.
Tomorrow I plan a repeat nap, same space. Who knows what I’ll see?
June 1, 2017. The last half of May was a bombardment of encounters – a piling on of understanding my own impermanence, connectedness, and choices. This poem has been finished multiple times, only to reopen given the next day’s encounter. Not all-inclusive, some pieces were trimmed to make space for others. I’m calling this complete now. (Though there could be a sequel!)
This began with breaking open during Jimmy LaFave’s final performance three days before his death – witnessing his choice to live his last year on his own terms, embracing life rather than fighting death. The wrap-up arrived as a scientific article on lichens.
References:  Poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer’s poem “Dear Christie”: https://ahundredfallingveils.com/2017/05/22/dear-christie/  Scientific American June 2017 issue, “The Meaning of Lichen”
Collage: Raven from Bryce Canyon, UT. Lichen from Red Corral Ranch, TX.
April 16, 2017. The many currents of thoughts and other energies can blend in surprising ways. Sometimes the nonverbal among us present the clearest responses.
January 31, 2017. Lately, a series of dreams have occurred driving solo in my Rav4, and while I puzzle over the varying symbols (a horse in the back seat, a bear hauling me and Rav4 up a huge tree) the constant of behind-the-wheel is perhaps of greater significance. Pondering if the Dream Maker is promoting solo travel, I found my way back to this poem.
My last big solo drive was January 2013, to Taos NM for a meditative intensive. I was quite hyped about going, both for the experience once there and for the long hours driving. Driving solo is a unique meditative experience in and of itself.
But going entails separation … this poem wrote itself between home and Taos. While I have no photograph of the departure scene beyond the poem’s imagery, I do have the contrast view a few hours post arrival. Parting words of caution rang in my ears as I skidded into Taos along with a major snow storm, icy roads, and much anxiety. Nothing prettier than an undamaged car, blanketed down for a few idle days.
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.)
April 14, 2016. In a recent workshop with John Fox (Mr. Poetic Medicine) and Mirabai Starr (Mystic), we practiced the poetic therapy of reading a poem several times and then writing a personal response – a new poem perhaps tied to the one read, and perhaps off on some diverse tangent. In other settings, I am practiced in reading poetry ala Lectio Divina – three times (for phrases that resonate; then for feelings engendered; finally for meaning to the listener). Mirabai shared her father’s emphasis on reading poems three times which struck me as a beautiful description of Lectio: First reading, you are knocking on the poem’s door. Second reading, you open that door. Third reading, you enter the room of the poem.
A few days after that workshop, I sat with a friend and David Wagoner’s poem “Getting There”. We read it to one another – knocking, opening, entering – and then wrote. This poem emerged, stemming from Wagoner’s reference to cheek against sandstone – which took me back to Lake Powell on the Arizona/Utah border. Tall red sandstone cliffs rise from bright blue water under blue skies. Tour boats take you past row upon row of what look like ancient women in robes, shoulder-to-shoulder. I’ve been there twice, and both times had the sense of being called to by cliff voices. This image is from 2007.
You can read David Wagoner’s poem “Getting There” here: www.ayearofbeinghere.com/2014/08/david-wagoner-getting-there.html
Go here for more on poetry therapy: http://www.poeticmedicine.com/
Go here for more on Mirabai Starr’s many contributions: http://mirabaistarr.com/