You walk in, full arms all papers, water bottle and inadvertent slam
door against the wall and a cringe sorry to nobody in particular
in the empty waiting room. You try
for the appearance of nonchalance
like you’ve done this before, stomach twisting out prayers
as you wait, wonder why, and then
it’s your turn. Strong hand shake, smile
offer real, look him in the eye respond, and when he finally asks
if you would like to share some of your poems
you say yes, yes, I would, and you step up
to the borrowed music stand
your pop art sign glowing like a bright star
against every feeling of inadequacy
open your mouth
and speak him into believing.
When it is over he says good, good
and you feel a giddy gut pull where
you are almost sure
writing words and speaking words and living words
is more than just a square peg in a square hole.
324. kisses on the eyelids, so tender
325. the little bird that finds me in a parking lot, drinks water from the lid of my water bottle when I bend down to answer his question
326. dog napping at my feet
327. the first writing morning in a long number of days
328. returning to gratitude
329. summer birthdays
330. wine and sweetheart cherries in the candle lit garden
331. friends around the table
332. teenagers sleeping in late
333. teenagers who are gainfully employed
334. husband rising for work
335. healthy bodies
336. the possible
337. “Unless” by Carol Shields
338. remembering Port Townsend tribe
339. opportunities presenting when eyes and hands are open
340. friends who are patient and kind
341. morning sounds
342. finding poems where you least expect
343. considering laundry
344. God who never grows tired, never gives up, waits while I do both
345. wrinkles that prove living
346. a face held by hands, top of head kissed and life words spoken
347. directors of my spirit, soul friends
348. anticipating solitude
349. family holiday plans
350. blueberry waffle plans for tomorrows breakfast
351. photography and captured moments
352. children who pull away, grow strong, test wings
353. young adult son full license success
354. reminders of those with less that teach me more
355. reminders that intentions are not enough
356. reminders to act, phone, speak, write, touch, walk, move…
357. harvest… always
- I forgot… (buddybreathing.wordpress.com)
Part of me longs for extraordinary… while the other part feels rather comfortable with things just the way they are. But the first part, the one I often censor or squelch or call names, it’s the part that is most alive when I watch movies and read books and listen to people talk. It’s the part of me that holds it’s breath, that makes my heart beat just a little stronger than comfort ever will. That deep part of me has a voice that whispers over and over and over until I have to pay attention. I believe God may be calling my name.
What I’m trying to hear and trying to understand is this… that I need, or my heart might need, a jump start… an experience that would be like strapping on those ER cardiac paddles and yelling ‘CLEAR’ and holding my breath and feeling that whomp in my chest, as something big and electric and jarring and different and nothing near ordinary changes something in me. And how that change will effect my writing… as a witness, writing about things that really matter… all this and more…
I’m a pretty ordinary gal. I’m not much of an adventurer, I’m an artist. I’m not very flexible, resilient, crowd saavy, travel saavy, or extraordinarily brave. At least, I don’t think I am. I speak one language well. So, I’m good with ordinary most days.
And maybe it’s because of my recent birthday, maybe it’s because I just promised my husband that I’m going to live to 100 and I want to make the very most of the next 50 years that I’m thinking I’ve got to bust out and figure it out and get out there in a new way that might change the trajectory of my life… or not. You know what I mean. Talk is… well, just talk.
Last night was girls night out. We went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel… yep, a sweet movie with more than a hint of introspection/perspective on counting our days, measuring our choices, and experiencing a life of joy to the end. Made me wonder if I could be doing things a little differently, a little more focused/purposeful/passionate than I have been so far. I mean, my life in Canada is so… privileged, so…vanilla, so… expected. And it’s not that I can’t do good things at home, can’t impact the world/my world from here, but still it’s awfully safe and sane and sanitized… can you relate? Still I’m not convinced… still not certain if this is real, or my imagination.
When I got home last night I spent a couple of hours online investigating India…and today I’m thinking some more about it… and I’m wondering what will come of all this? What is this all about?
God, what are you trying to tell me?
God, I’m opening my ears, my eyes… to what is
India… far far away, crowded, hot, humid, beautiful architecture and people, deep poverty, intensely spiritual, rich in culture and history,
overwhelming humanity… India.
and I’m paying attention, God,
I was reminded (again) yesterday of the need to make a choice. That the outcome of my life is overseen (yes ordained too… how’s that for a mind stretch) by a God who is crazy about me, but the daily choices are mine to make.
So, here’s some choices for you and me to consider,
1. How tuned in are you? Are you willing to unplug so you can listen? Yes, I mean unplug… remember those e-free plans where you literally unplugged the TV for, say a week, or two… could we still do that with our computers… really? I mean, how could we do business, blog, communicate… :)
2. How networked are you socially? I mean, I’m a big facebook fan, but a couple of weeks ago I chose to log off until I found a better balance. I want to honour face to face time with people more. And I think I’m beginning to see some change for the good in this area. Cause really, life in the ‘pack’ is more fun than life as a lone wolf! (note to self…)
3. How busy are you? Are you leaving enough white margin in your life to respond to the unforeseen?
4. How grateful are you? I’m still reading and re-reading that book I told you about… “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp and it appears that gratitude is just the beginning of a mind shift toward living a life of fullness and joy. Hmmm… maybe it’s time for me (us) to start our own list of 1000…just saying…
5. How present are you? When you sit at the table with your family or your friends… are you really listening? When your child climbs into the car after school… are you willing to let them be silent and join them in that? (oh boy, this is hard for me!) When you husband/wife/room-mate arrives home from work and you re-enter family life… are you willing to let go of the pot, keyboard, text plan long enough to find out how their day really was?
6. Do you take time to say thanks to people for little things? You know, like the cashier folding your clothes rather than stuffing them in the bag at the checkout, like the guy who delivered the flyer to your door, like your husband for phoning every day from his business trip?
7. Do you tell people how you feel… in words, in deeds, in prioritizing them, in putting yourself and your needs after theirs? Time’s fleeting people… all can change in an instant and we’re left trying to figure out how to pack meaning into the time we have left.
8. Do you reach out for help when you need it… or are you too scared/proud/capable to ask?
9. Do you actually see the world around you? I just met a writer/educator who’s starting a movement… it’s called ‘Connect Kids 2 Nature’… and I’m sorry, but I think I can see why. How many kids do you know who live eyes down… eyes on the cell phone… texting… while they are walking on the side of the road, riding their bikes/long boards, walking with their friends, and all they have to do is look up and PRESTO… there’s NATURE… BEAUTY… GLORIOUS WORLD all around them. So, now they need to be taught how to see again… and I guess I do too! And you can experience the world in so many ways… read it, taste it, hear it, touch it… you can even… wait for it… ROLL IN IT!!! Oh yeah… her life as a dog… that’s our Emmy!
10. Are you turned on? I mean, in this busy, crazy, plugged in, uploaded and networked world, are you turned on to real life all around you? Are you passionate about… something? What gets you up in the morning? What really ticks you off? What makes you frustrated? What breaks your heart? I mean I want to live turned on! Don’t you? So, if you haven’t figured out what that means for you, take some time to work through the W5 of what that might be. Then go do THAT. It will make a difference… to you and to this world.
One of my new favourite quotes is this one… you might remember it from the movie ‘Chariots of Fire’,
“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.” Eric Liddell
May you be able to say and experience that about whatever God made you to do… that kind of life is possible!
OK, well I’m off now… managed to write and post this in under 30 min. And that gives me time to get out there and take on the remains of this glorious day.
With you all the way,
I’m feeling somewhat older these days. And it’s not just because of the way my face has transformed, my body morphed, and my energy levels declined … but it’s this feeling of a lack of connection to what’s happening ‘out there’ in so many ways. I used to feel ‘with it’, and I liked that. But, maybe I can find ‘with it’ again?
Yesterday I had a brief conversation with a promising young musician and family connection, and I was excited to spend a few minutes in the company of someone with abundant energy and zest and desire to experience life to the full. Because I still want that too… no matter my age… the last thing I want to do is to give up and become morbidly out of touch. So, thank God for the young people in my life that remind me of what it means to be relevant and real, and who keep me apprised of how things are, no matter how shocking that can be sometimes.
So this beautiful young woman and I were talking music… her passion… and she referred to ‘Indie’ music. I immediately thought of ‘Bollywood’ (film industry of India) and wrongly assumed she meant music with eastern references and overtones. The more she talked, the more I recognized how wrong my assumption was, so I swallowed my pride and asked, “What is Indie?” She was happy to explain that it meant ‘Independent’ music… sounds and voices and lyrics and an overall uniqueness that doesn’t fall within the norm of pop music. “Oh, I said… like Alternative music?” “Sort of,” she said, and then she cued up a couple of songs on her ipod and handed me the ear bud while explaining why this particular musician was Indie and so on.
I felt so privileged to have her explain this to me. And once I listened and she talked some more I began to recognize what she meant. Then I offered up some examples of my music (from the dark ages) that I considered to be ‘Indie’ and offered her my CD’s to listen to. She seemed enthusiastic about that too. So, thank you to that particular young woman and all the young people who aren’t embarrased by older people like me who are interested in understanding their world. And maybe it ‘s a world that I can participate in too?
Like Poetry Slams… for example. Fairly new to me, not new to today’s kids. Spoken Word recently came into the world’s eye when 34 year old Shane Koyczan from Penticton B.C. spoke his amazing poem about BC at the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies in Vancouver. The world paused in awe and listened to this talented guy speak a poem that was anything but pretentious or out of reach or what many remember poetry being from stuffy english high school classes in the past. His words were real, raw, funny, delivered in a funky hip hop beat type of way that made us pay attention. Wow. I loved it. And I’m now finding out more about this genre and what it means socially as well as to the literary world.
So, I went to a Black History Month event at the public library where slam poet Kevan Cameron a.k.a. “Scruffmouth.” (Grand Champion of the 2008 Vancouver Poetry Slam) delivered a few poems that rivited me to my stacking chair. Followed by a reading by Governor-General Award winner Dr. George Elliott-Clarke that cut into my guts with it’s honesty and content with words that mattered. Dr. Elliott-Clarke is maybe not young, but he speaks like he is.
Again, I’m thankful for the kids, and those young at heart, that are out there changing things up in their own way, and making us sit up and pay attention. So much talent, so much passion. I would count myself blessed to sit and listen… a fly on the wall… when they speak.
Reminds me of a video I watched once at a women’s conference when I was just beginning to believe I might possibly be a writer deep inside… perhaps a poet even… and I was so overcome with emotion because of the words and delivery of this young woman’s spoken word poetry, that I stood up and said, “I want to write like her!!!” Amena Brown throws down words in a way that hits me in the gut and squeezes my heart in response to things that I’ve felt but never put into words. Passion is contageous, isn’t it! Idealistic, untried, loud, lusty passion from the heart of the young. Do you remember what that felt like? Have you heard it lately? Here’s Amena;
I think I need to pay more attention to the kids in my circle, what they are reading, listening to, saying, singing, what they are passionate about. I need to be an explorer in their world in order to not grow old in mine. I think it might be one way to stay young, on the inside.
So I leave you with a song I know because of my son who introduced me to this artist this year. She’s young (30), and incredibly talented. I’ve not heard many vocalists who can do the things she does with her voice. Amazing.
Can you feel it???
Regina Spektor , singing “Dance anthem of the 80’s ”