Friday, February 27, 2015

fighting fire with water

Powerful and Surreal Self Portraits by 20-Year-Old Rachel Baran | Bored Panda

if our souls are made of anything, i think they're made of water
in shape demand we not, in form as it wills and wanes.
by nature, reactive
still and quiet happy and splashing grieving and falls
torrents can pick it up
shifting ground can move it
rocks create ripples create rings create laps in perpetuum.

so, what choice have we? we, this watery soul
made of tears joy and shadowed
hope wet and desert-threaten dry.

we can choose only to be water
do our best to stay water
though the fire comes
and threatens to evaporate
everything we know
about water

Poetry ©aftethoughtcomposer
Photography © Rachel Baran Photography. Source. I will stop using photos from Rachel Baran when she ceases to amaze me. So, never.   Visit her on flickr or on facebook.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

catching stones

All my fragile strength is gone by Rachel Baran, via Flickr

let the morning bring word of your unfailing love
and may grace shine a light on our pain.
may truth fight fights to win again.

exquisite photography, once again, by Rachel Baran. All my fragile strength is gone.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

at night

What does the moon do?

It shows, in the middle of my night,
at some point in the universe, if not here,
there is light.

Friday, February 20, 2015

when love wins

There's something ready to be carved, out there, but I'm not sure I have the time to find it. I've got a list a mile long, checkmarks to delegate, and pride to honor. I keep three calendars; four if you count the one I forget to write in. The desk I'm at is not the desk I'd like to be at, but inspiration doesn't wait for proper placement. So much of life tempts itself toward quarantine: do that later, do that when. But now, internal suspicion calls me out from task and superstition, and I find myself writing.

self-portrait rachel baran series
the incomparable Rachel Baran

I surprised myself this week. I got angry. Polite girls don't have emotion, and somehow life taught me to respect my manners before myself. Lately it's been harder though, to keep calm. My pulse has actually been wavering. The thing that set me off this time was little (as limit breakers often are). Nonetheless, I watched my feelings spin across the room to demand attention and apology. Was I right to be upset? Probably. Was I appropriate in my response? I'm not experienced enough to be sure. It took me until adulthood to stand up for myself; it's still new art. But these words stung, so I threw up my defenses. Besides, there are bigger Monsters at play that I can not speak to, so this little example became its own version of pressure release.

The truth is, I don't know how to get angry and feel okay about it. My brain swells and my words get fumbly. My adrenaline runs to the mountaintops with my guilt and self-consciousness in tow. I usually retreat at the end, embarassed. In my head, I'm a living comparison, even when I'm not.

Thankfully, Love doesn't leave me at the start of every lesson. Love won't even leave when I feel angry. I rely on this. I heard an analogy this week involving trees: Oak vs Willow. Oak trees are strong and unmoving, but when the wind comes it returns in strength and breaks the tree. The willow, though, bends with wind. So there is a dance, instead, and once the sky has settled, the willow stands intact. When I think of how often I storm against the limits of my humanity, how often I lose patience with being taught, and when I think about the grace I lack, it is then I realize: Love must be a willow tree. Because as broken as I am, I have not broken Love. And even though I continue to rail against it, Love hasn't moved. Love stands with me, even when I can not stand myself.

Monday, February 9, 2015

here's hoping

I stumbled onto some old emails, from a young, floundering version of myself, from a very different, and very difficult, time of life. What an odd thing, to see those moments as little, to be gathering snapshots of what was, once, so major. Looking back, I can see now that the shifts taking place were definitely as important as I thought they were, but they certainly weren't as finite as they felt.

Things got messy for awhile there. I had no idea who I was, and as a result, my life and everything in it rolled around me. Instead of decisions, I would make hasty stabs into the dark world of pretense, unplanned desire, and impatience; a practice I'd long since made a habit. I'd grab for anything that seemed like certainty, I idolized anything that looked like independence. I was desperate for a footing, and in my desperation, found none. These waves crashed in a terrible anti-rhythm for quite some time.

Thankfully, I got broken. I backed myself up the shoreline and let the water take the last bits of my house; I'd never gotten settled in it anyway. And then I sat there. For a long time, I didn't move. I didn't build myself up because I didn't know how. I was finally at peace, but I was tired. My body stayed put to memorize the sand, the sound of remaining winds, and I watched the ocean do to others what I felt it had done to me.

Now, looking back, I can assure myself that nothing's ever finished. If only I had known, then, what was to come. How often have we said this to ourselves? If only I'd known.

The thing is, we do know. We know every storm has an eye and an ending. We know time is short and we should make the most of it. We know we should save for the rainy days. We know every tide has its turning point. So our stretching, and the punches we take, become less about what we are ready for and more about how we respond. Less instruction, more intuition. Less pruning, more roots.
Less stress, more assurance.

When our problems are big and resolution eludes us, it would do us well to remember this: we will be okay in the end. If we choose growth, we'll be thankful, too. This will pass. We will learn from this. We are only ever a less experienced version of our future selves, and experience is a non-stop process. If we don't know it now we will know it eventually.

We may not know how to swim, but we are made almost entirely of water. No matter how deep you feel you are, you are always in your element.

Every ocean touches a shore.

photo: link