Saturday, June 28, 2014

keep hoping, st francis.


"Pilgrimage" - Oil on Belgian Linen: Arturo Samaniego. Link.
Dear Friend,

That's enough, now. It's time for you to stop it. Everything they told you, every bit of praise that passed you by, every measure you didn't meet? Hurtful, deeply rooted with the passing of time, but false or falsely blamed on you. Why give them permission to keep you where they put you? Stand up, for God's sake...for your sake. For ours.

We can see it, you know; that slope you're on. That devastating pull to your underground. I can feel your clawing, even when you can't. We're watching you die, and you have no idea.

I thought about handing you this letter, but even then, I don't think you'd realize it was for you. It wouldn't sink in, because you can't let anything sink in anymore. So I'm sending it to space instead, hoping the stars will shine to tell you: that's enough.

Our love for you is big, but the well we reserve for tears is running dry. How much longer can we watch you give up on yourself? How many times more should we ask you to be honest, to do the work, to live freely in the soul you won't accept? Should we still have to ask you to be loving toward us, even when you don't love yourself? Or should we still have to ask you to love yourself. You don't even see how you could help the world by showing it what you're made of; you see a shadow where we see radiant light.

Admittedly, communal grace is running out. Most of them are tired of trying to reach you. Your saviors have become embittered; martyrs for the cause of seeing you thrive, though it doesn't work. Because you don't believe you'll thrive, you also refuse to. I'm not sure you know you refuse to.
It's okay to be finished with the lower hand, the prostrate, the silent, still, apathy. It's okay to say, "You know what? Watch me" whenever you're told No. The people who should have prepared you, didn't. The people who should have prepared for you, didn't. So here you sit, having survived your certain past. Nothing you swallow, no bitter pill, no bile, no sentence, can change that. It's already done. What isn't done yet is your life. You've got too many years left to watch them go like this. And we've got too much invested to let you.

There is a love hidden inside your borders, just waiting to be realized, so keep hoping -listen here.
I hear that song like a prayer for you. Maybe like the quakes of San Fransisco you'll let your pressure go, shake the dust, and settle into yourself again.

I keep hoping.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I'll be alright

All the broken hearts in the world still beat, let's not make it harder than it has to be... I've got two hands, one beating heart, and I'll be alright. 
~Ingrid Michaelson, Girls Chase Boys
photo by Tamlyn Rose
Isn't it funny how a song can lift you?
Where are my dancing shoes,
I need to get up and move.
Where are my pens & pages?
There is a world to be written.
Something new begins;
I press play and the Universe forgives me
for my faults this morning.
Heaven skips stones and it sounds like melody,
rhythm, beat. Carefree.

There is so much wrong with the planet, and the weight of everything cements my shoulders in an eventual slump. Rest is elusive; Peace, a tricky bastard to catch.

A couple of days ago, there was a flash rainstorm above our part of the city. I've not seen or heard the skies like that since my time in Tornado Valley, USA.  It started, and my chest caught on a word & worry: windows. Windows. An odd feeling, but I stood on the porch for a few minutes to try and clear it, staring intently at the rain, made sure our cars were all closed, checking my intuition against what I saw. Satisfied I must be paranoid, I went back in. I stood and listened, said out loud, I love rain like this. Fifteen minutes later, due to Grace alone, we discover a flooded window well downstairs, and a quickly flooding basement.

Rainboots fill easily, but I wore them anyway as I stood thigh deep in the water-filled window well, chest deep as I bent to find what should have been a working drain. Our roof was a waterfall to the spot, and I, underneath it. Frantic and purposeful, I managed to clear the rocks away from the drain cover (they'd been dislodged by the sheer volume of water landing heavy on them). I helped the water escape down it's intended path, away from the house.

When you ask the world to shake, it just might. If you ask it to be still, it might quiet you yet. Sometimes I feel like that window well; I was given all the right parts at the factory, but the water in the world overwhelms me, dislodges my intentions. I mean to hold up my end of the bargain, but I end up spilling in all the wrong areas.

Admittedly, there was something healing about that waterfall hitting my back, the cold up too high on my legs. It was cleansing, almost. I've been so tired, the heavy wet awoke me. The shock of cold and water was so tangible, I felt human. I've been feeling so uncontained, the vision of our overflowing window felt like a prophetic dream come alive. A sign so clear I've pinched my heart for days. Watch your perimeters. Follow your instincts. Jump in, the house is flooding.

It's easy to get down on ourselves for the basements of our lives - all that dark space we normally avoid, or thought we'd use. But think of this: without our foundations (no matter what they're made of) our houses would sit on nothing; we would give way to the rain, and we'd crumble. Maybe that sense of urgency we have about our faulted selves is a blessing. Take a look at the storm above your head, in your chest, your belly, your gut, under your feet. You've seen it. Now, follow your instincts. We'll never get a hold of Peace if it's the only thing we're chasing. We've got to do the work of healing, too.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

there, through the glass

In a dream the answer came;
in the midst of my frustration,
my convulsive inner shaking,
spiritual retreat.

What should I do!
I gripped her shoulders;
shook her 'til she came to life
and pointed down the corridor,
to the window, the sun,
beckoning peace;

"kiss the wind,"
  she said to me.

photo credit Stephen Alkire

Thursday, June 5, 2014

a sky full of stars and a tiny planet

by siiso
I wasn't ready for it, even after weeks of unsettled feelings and a growing awareness. A recent morning met me with a reminder: that dark chapter? It happened. In a place I thought was absent of the realities of my world, there the glass was broken. That dark chapter? It happened.

Oh. The roots.
Poisoned though they are,
deep as I've hidden them,
there they sit.

At the public mention of an old name, I caught my tears, but in privacy a few soon fell. It's not an easy task, you know, to be broken and then to rebuild, and then at the height, to realize you still need fixing.  I was not as broken as many have been, and this makes me feel weaker, this weak feeling; everything I became feels unwarranted.

In the space between then (that old name and that dark chapter) and now, this aspect of my life has been a quiet pool of healing waters, and for this I am eternally grateful. Lately I've seen ripples, though: inside each crowd now are familiar faces from a time long past. Near misses. Names that roll like bile off the tongue. For awhile there was a pause on these encounters; like noise cancelling headphones, but for people. It seems the pause is over: God or The Universe is shaking my interplanetary dust, poking me in the eye with certain remains. Turns out, my world is still too small to let these people back in.

I wasn't ready for the reminder, and this concerns me. Isn't it bizarre that we can be walking in cool breezes, hair and clothes a-billowing in happier winds, when BOOM, our faces hit the sidewalk. What tripped us? Reality, maybe; a memory, encounter, conversation. Life continues, even when we expect it to stop and let us doddle around in bliss.

by siiso
For about a week now, I've had a shamrock on my desk. The little plant was dying in my coworker's corner, and so she nestled it up to Phoebe, my succulent, and there they sit, buddies under my sunlight lamp. Apparently, the shamrock has found it's happy place. What was once a pot of soil with two megre leaves has become a wellspring of life -- tiny sprigs grow every day. Right now there are nine new stems, each in different phases of development. All of them have shown up in the last three days. Each day, in the order they came, they get a little taller.

As I sat here just now, staring intently at each new bud, my nose inches from the pot, I wondered if this is how God does it. I wonder if he takes us from our dark corners and puts us close by, on his desk, where he can keep his eye on us; his nose one inch away from the pot. I wonder if each sign of life makes him giddy, or thankful, or calmed somewhat about the insignificant thing that's growing before him.

I wonder, too, if he hears us as we push our way through the dirt, still recovering from our time in the shadows. When our tenderness remains apparent, and we get taller anyway (because this is our nature), does he stop the wind, does he keep us in the light, or does he tear up our roots so we might lose pieces of ourselves all over. Is the ground beneath our lives meant to shake?
I can't answer these questions just yet.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

making it work

What is more beautiful than an artist, fully immersed in, and enjoying, her own work? Not much. We went to see Chersea at the Biltmore last night. Click her name & make your first audio stop on the song "I could lose it all."

This girl has won competitions and audiences with her mad skills & abilities. Earlier this year, I became quite obsessed with the CBC Searchlight competition - an annual Canadian music hunt put on by my favorite broadcaster. Here is where I discovered Chersea, and from there I went on to scour the internet for references, recordings, & links. Tip: Google search, Chersea, Wolf. You're welcome.

What's my point. While I'm in danger of becoming a very dorky fangirl -- yes, I hung out by her table and waited for her to sign my freshly minted copy of her new EP -- I do have a reason for bringing her up.

This girl works. Lyrics with weight to them, musicality with thought, performance with energy and precision. So while I'm grooving at my desk again to her music, I'm thinking about my own goals, and how far I am from them. The thing is, art requires all of this -- effort, thought, energy & purpose -- and I am far from filling the requirement. I'm a bit aimless at the moment. So while I still can't write anything brilliant, I can point you to someone who has figured out how to work for her art, and in turn, has made it work for her.