NaPoMo 2019


The breath of fresh air and words…

pop-up-poetry

It’s a perfect spring day here in Kelowna, B.C. and it put me in the mood for an installation. I headed out with a giddy feeling in my stomach, and with my supplies…poems, bull clips, a couple of promo postcards, my camera. I chose a S.E. Kelowna location for PUP today, just down the road from where we live now.

As I was walking through the stillness of the forest, I became suddenly aware that I was alone in a somewhat wild place, and I admit I began listening more intently for wild things. I recalled that it was in April 2012 that I began my Pop-Up Poetry initiative which has taken me to scatter poems and bits of poems wherever I travel, and many times at home .  Sometimes I forget about PUP, and then it comes back to mind, or someone will mention it to me, and then…

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Be brave


Yes, be brave.

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IMG_2097Inside, your voice speaks: You know you can do it. You know you have something to say. You’ve dedicated years of time, talent, and treasure to this, and seen the ripple effects as others receive the gifts. Yes, there is that fine line that you walk between true humility and feeling…joyful and proud to share your poetry…that it is even yours to give. You know the excitement you feel when you get out there, that freaky, wonderful, guerrilla prickling under your skin feeling as you imagine someone finding something you left behind. You know it’s a good thing.  Be brave. 

So I do it. I am brave. I install my “Pop-up” poems in a lavish sprinkling all over the woods. I watch from a distance. I wonder is it good enough, will it touch someone, will someone find it and like it, will someone say something, or will it all remain a mystery to me of what happens next?

Last day at the retreat, one of my new circle of creative…

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Life is a prayer, and God hears yours.


Thoughts from 3 years ago, a prayer blog I forgot I had, and this ever deepening lived experience of the last line “life is a prayer and God hears yours” ringing true, more and more so.

And in everything that I saw, I could perceive nothing except the presence of the power of God, and in a manner totally indescribable. And my soul in an excess of wonder cried out: This world is pregnant with God! —Angela of Foligno (1248-1309)

LAE

BUDDY BREATHING

dsc_05151.jpg Bench with a view, Fort Worden, Port Townsend, WA.

It’s been 82 posts since I started my prayer blog… my online prayer journal. And I tell you this because what I will tell you next might surprise you. I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel any closer or further away from God. What I feel is a more relaxed way of being. I now feel quite natural about writing God a note that could be an angry outburst or a thank you. But I don’t feel like I’ve tapped into a deeper way, nor do I feel enlightened. I just feel more… dare I say… peaceful, about it. And I thank God for that.

Prayer has haunted me since I was a young adult. In fact, one of my big hang ups leading me away from the church and faith was prayer… how one could justify whatever the…

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And they wrestled all night


My intention is to continue unpacking what I began yesterday, talk about it, bring it into the light, consider what it means, consider how being at this juncture is where I’m supposed to be.

Today I opened The Good Book, which led me to a commentary by Alexander MacLaren, and there I discovered his wonderful essay about Jacob wrestling with…a man…an angel…the divine presence…God!

Alexander Maclaren (February 11, 1826 – May 5, 1910) was an English non-conformist minister of Scottish origin. “Called the “prince of expositors,” Alexander MacLaren was a renowned preacher of the 19th and 20th century. [The published collection] Expositions of Holy Scripture brings together many of the sermons over his fifty years in ministry.”(https://www.ccel.org/ccel/maclaren)

Here are some highlights from MacLaren’s commentary on Genesis 32 :

So this failure of natural power is the turning-point in the twofold
wrestle, and marks as well as symbolises the transition in Jacob’s
life and character from reliance upon self and craft to reliance upon
his divine Antagonist become his Friend.

How interesting to land on this particular story, and these particular insights now. Spiritual formation study and practise have been part of my life for over ten years. My recent studies have led me to the teachings of Contemplative Christianity (Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, Margaret Silf etc.) with distinctions between living from the false self vs the true self. I am beginning to understand my longing for authenticity and integrity, and my unique place as an artist/poet in the world. I have begun to look at The Enneagram as so much more than a diagnostic justification of identity, rather a starting point toward spiritual transformation, balance, and healing. These teachings are rich, impacting. I continue to sense the draw toward this way of being.

And yet, ironically, I find myself wrestling with certain fundamentals of faith…and perhaps wrestling is what is required of me to continue on The Way with God. Do I truly desire to be transformed? Do I?

Further highlights from MacLaren’s expository on Jacob’s encounter with God (bold text by me);

God desires to go, if we do not desire Him to stay. He will go, unless
we keep Him. Then, at last, Jacob betakes himself to his true weapons.
Then, at last, he strangely wishes to keep his apparent foe. He has
learned, in some dim fashion, whom he has been resisting, and the
blessedness of having Him for friend and companion.

The desire to retain God binds Him to us. All His struggling with us
has been aimed at evoking it, and all His fulness responds to it when
evoked. Prayer is power. It conquers God. We overcome Him when we
yield. When we are vanquished, we are victors. When the life of nature
is broken within us, then from conscious weakness springs the longing
which God cannot but satisfy.

And God prevails when we prevail. His aim in all the process of His
mercy has been but to overcome our heavy earthliness and selfishness,
which resists His pleading love. His victory is our yielding, and, in
that yielding, obtaining power with Him. He delights to be held by the
hand of faith, and ever gladly yields to the heart’s cry,’Abide with
me.’ ‘I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me,’ is music to His
ear; and our saying so, in earnest, persistent clinging to Him, is His
victory as well as ours.

This is far from being tied up with a bow. I will continue to lean into what is revealed…in word, deed, circumstance, and the world around me. I don’t yet know what it means…this seeking and longing for…answers…peace…justice…love…God?

I continue to read and consider the the new name “Israel” that Jacob receives from God after morning comes and wrestling ends. I admit there is a teeny shift for me when I read MacLaren’s words;

To impose a name is the sign of authority, possession, insight into character. The change of name indicates a new epoch in a life, or a transformation of the inner man. The meaning of ‘Israel’ is ‘He (who) strives with God’; and the reason for its being conferred is more accurately given by the Revised Version, which translates, ‘For thou hast striven with God and with men,’ than in the Authorised rendering.’

A true Christian is an ‘Israel.’ His office is to wrestle with God.

jacobwrestlesgod

An encounter with the Divine…

Wrestling as worship, leading to transformation…

I wonder…

Ice, not ice


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Reflections on creek and her transformation

She is cold shouldered, hard edged. She is lifted above herself and perched topside, hard memories filled with small stones wait for the bottom to fall. She is thick with gathering.

dsc_0156How she wears so many faces; still and impenetrable under the overpass and upstream where she breaks tumultuous along fault lines, falling into herself again and again along breached edges.

Sometimes I see her clearly, other times she is shrub obscured, a stark backdrop to rich shades of ocher and brown, left-right axis to sky pointers, cottonwoods, Sunday afternoon walkers.

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A slit widens in her breast. She opens herself to a black and white diver brave enough to discover sustenance below her horizon. He floats and dives, floats and dives, finds a way where she appears solid as stone.

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Further upstream she is more exposed, her heart warmer, more willing. She flows wanton here. Mallards and Mergansers dip and fly.

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Eagle’s view of her is wider still. He anticipates the taste of spring salmon, how creek’s scent and navigational pull will entice a pink run and then exhausted demise. He watches from cottonwood, preens his tail, waits for the inevitable.

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She is ice becoming open water. She seeps from concrete abutments and along gravel pathways seeking the path of least resistance back into herself. She is the heart of greening.

She may soon rise above these banks. She will carry everything in open hands, her shoulders wide, and powerful. She will make herself known.  She is just beginning to remember words like ebb and flow. She feels the sharpness of each necessary fissure. She breaks into smaller and smaller pieces.

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I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.

John O’Donahue.

Friday Poem 2017.7


dsc_06472017.7

The heart,

always the heart. Those matters

of heritage, lifestyle,

and circumstance.

We make promises

and say what we mean

when we first say it.

Forever after we are somewhat unsure;

Did I say always? Sometimes?

Yes, I will walk each day,

eat more raw broccoli

and taste collard greens.

Yes, we will be kinder to one another, practice

lightheartedness, and forgetfulness.

By now some arteries are permanently closed,

but collaterals may grow, who knows.

Damage is indicated by various dashed lines

on the cardiac print-out. Your family doctor

will interpret these with you, and review

your wellness plan.

Blockages, self-righteous debates,

where to win feels like death by drowning;

selfish for air we grasp at anything.

How much tissue

has been greyed out

where once bloody and vital?

LAE2017