April 7, 2019. No, nothing to do with martial arts!
One week into Poetry Month, and under the influence of an evocative SoulCollage® group session yesterday, I take my stand – as poet, yes, but not just poet – as creative human giving creativity space, attention, support to flourish.
A word about SoulCollage® – a Jungian therapy process developed by Seena Frost – I’ve been practicing this since 2007. It’s something you DO as opposed to read about, but if curious, go here: https://www.soulcollage.com/
This image is a collage for four SoulCollage cards created yesterday. Image details were clipped from calendar/magazine pages and pieced together intuitively. Each of the four cards (5×8″) can be “read” – imagery speaking to whatever inside me chose and arranged the pieces. Collectively, they delivered this poem.
April 12, 2016. This post is a tribute to Story Circle Network and its founder Susan Wittig Albert – for the force motivating me (and so many others!) to put into writing the stories running through our lives, our hopes. I found Story Circle in 2000 when I was still getting my feet wet writing poetry. At my first Story Circle workshop, prompted to write about something important to me, I spurted out the story of the rocking chair that helped me transition from home to college. I was hesitant to read aloud, but that seemed to be expected, and so I read. Susan Albert’s exclamation “You’re a writer!” went right to my heart.
Now Story Circle has given this blog its “Star Blogger” endorsement. I’ll figure out soon how to make this badge part of the blog’s opening pages (learning curves never end!) but for now …
… in gratitude, I go back to that rocking chair. Like many a story that defines me, over time my telling of the story tightens to the essentials. It feels really good to do so adding an image. (Those clouds are the sky two days ago over Austin’s St. Edwards University.)
January 27, 2016. Yesterday morning, driving along a familiar freeway, attentive to motions of other vehicles, exit signs, all the usual stimuli – suddenly James McMurtry’s voice singing “I only want to talk to you” leapt out of memory and song context to put me in Mother’s kitchen, desperate to talk to her. She’s been gone since this month, 1990. Her kitchen is not an option.
I went instead to my journal. Among other insights, this poem emerged.
The image is from the dining area at Red Corral Ranch, a retreat center I visit several times a year, near Wimberley, Texas. The shadows were moving as the breeze stirred the curtains. Not unlike thoughts changing partners for the next round in a square dance.
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 …
July 26, 2015. I pay attention when the same message arrives from multiple angles boom – boom – boom. My third encounter within a week encouraging macro photography sent me prowling through my photo archives. I love peering at tiny things through my camera lens, so those archives are loaded. One particular set of images grabbed hold. As I let mind and heart return to the scene, a poem bubbled up (as they often do, unsolicited). None of the individual images were quite right for the poem, so voila – collage.
Whether through camera lens or simply kneeling to peer, I pass along the encouragement to look closely at the mundane and tiny. Beauty lurks in surprising places!
May 28, 2015. It’s been a year, and the now-empty onion baskets still seem full to me. They were the solution to the challenge of storing an abundant onion harvest. They were an expression of creativity. Then, full of onions. Now, full of promise — ready and waiting for next harvest.
This year’s harvest will be more moderate. Hey, we really had too many last year! This year the baskets will not be overflowing, will not make quite the visual impact. But they will serve us well. And I offer last year’s image and poem in honor of abundance and creativity — in onions and all matters.