Writing and dreaming and stargazing

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I am a story teller in search of a story.

A dreamer, a stargazer,

searching an imaginary sky,

for distant galaxies of meaning

and metaphor–

trusting that somewhere,

beyond thedark matter–

of a blocked imagination–

there is a something waiting to be seen.

A stargazer knows that  beyond the glimmer

of a billion years lies astonishment.

And I must trust  that beyond the disappointment

of my failed experiments, and my unfinished drafts,

beyond the storms of my own fear and shame,

beyond all the evidence that I will fail,

there is something that can only be imagined by me

A story–poem–a painting that only I  can tell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A New Year Wish for anyone struggling and not able to celebrate

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“Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

 It’s December 31st 2017.  I am re-blogging this post from 2013, a very difficult year in my life and I’m sending it out to anyone who has struggled in 2017..

Life this year has been stamping it’s foot, screaming at the top of it’s lungs–that I should face my life and not look away.

Well I have faced my life.

I’ve stared it down, and looked directly in the eye of many harsh truths. I’ve struggled with all my might, mostly against my own self torment. And here is what I have learned.

1. Not to fear my fear.

2. Not to feel bad about feeling bad.

3. Not to be ashamed of my shame.

4. I have everything I need to create change in my life.

5. And sometimes  disappointment and grief and loss are our greatest teachers.

So on this last day of the year when people are celebrating, I am going to take a moment to speak to those who are not.

If it has been a tough year for you–and you think you have nothing to celebrate–let me send you a message of hope. You are brave and amazing and resilient and strong, even if you don’t feel that way right now. And if you are looking into the abyss of your own lonely heart, let me tell you that I know what that is like.

Be kind to yourself. Be loving with yourself. Forgive yourself. Let yourself feel whatever you feel.

And if you have a hole inside you-that you can not fill or if you are angryand afraid, if you have a wound that has never healed–a mark that will not go away–remember you are absolutely beautiful, and your torn and tattered heart, only makes you more so.

I like to think of the Japanese idea of Wabi-sabi- and the beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

So Happy Wabi Sabi New Year to you my kindred family.

I have hope for you even if you don’t right now.

Let me hold your hope for a while.  It will be here when you need it.

You are going to feel happy and  stardust shiny  again.

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I am trying to write a poem

faint-hope.jpgI am trying to write a poem

because I am sad–

and because

summer is ending-

and because

a poet I love has died.

I am trying to write a poem

because–

as the days grow short

and the nights fall so suddenly-

all my summers-

of innocence and invincibility

are coming to an end again.

As I face the ever expanding sadness

of this moment of my life–

As I face the turning of the season–

I am facing a turning in my soul.

I am longing to mark this moment

with something that will capture

it’s meaning.

I long to write something

to add to the map

of the unknown world.

Something to guide a weary traveller.

Something to put in that corner

where it says

“Here be monsters”

Isn’t that what a poem is?

A map of the soul’s geography?

I am trying to write a poem because

I am not a poet

Not really.

I am just a lost dreamer looking

at summer roll past

and needing to write a poem

to hold my sadness.

So here I sit fingers digging

into the soil of my lost

summers like the poet

who died has taught me to do-

trying to write a poem.

old map engraving

Insider Secrets

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When I was a kid- my grade eight math teacher told our class about a mail-order scam where someone would put an ad in the classifieds–offering an ancient secret to becoming rich and famous. All you had to do was send nine dollars to a box number and the secret of unlimited wealth would be yours.

A few weeks later, a booklet in a plain brown package would arrive. You would tear open the package to discover that the secret was putting your own ad in the paper-and sending out the booklet yourself.  You could buy the booklet in bulk. You could put your ad in multiple newspapers and then before you knew it  you would be raking in the millions, nine bucks at a time.

I don’t think the mail-order scam is still around, but we have plenty of high tech versions of the same thing.

Recently out of curiosity,  I signed up for a free seminar that promised to teach the secrets to becoming a best selling author on Amazon.com

I realized pretty quickly that the the free seminar was just a pitch for the upgrade.

An upgrade would give me instant access to the special secret insider info, which was being shared for the first time by the hottest-most powerful, most successful superstars in the booming billion dollar e-book business. Apparently there were over ten thousand people who had already clicked through to the upgrade according to the ticking counter on the sidebar.  The upgrades were going like hotcakes.

Now I am a little bit overly skeptical by nature,  probably because of the x-ray glasses that I trustingly sent away for when I was eight. My x-ray glasses were a real life lesson.  But apparently there are many people who are willing to  believe that the flow of  wealth is only a secret away.

I clicked over to the upgrade page just to see what the deal was.

I saw–various upgrade packages available. For  two hundred and fifty dollars you would get the seminar but the  five hundred dollar bundle would get you the seminar plus the bonus lessons, and if you wanted to go directly to the sanctum of  insider secrets– well that would be a thousand dollars where you could get the seminar and the bonus lessons and a private coaching session from one of the experts,  plus  they would help you build your own website so that you could sell your ebooks and offer seminars  where you could sell  insider secrets. Well, I clicked myself out of there pretty quickly– but I have to admit a part of me was thinking, “Was I being negative again? Was I being fearful and closed minded? Was I blocking the flow of wealth and money?”  “No!” said the other part of me. What kind of inside track would you be on if ten thousand people were on it with you? That seminar and all those so called secrets were just the mail-order scam 2.0.

It’s kind of a metaphor for our human frailty. We want to believe there’s a short cut, a secret door, an easy way to get rich quick. Even rational intelligent people with college educations  and a lot of success in life will fall for Ponzi schemes.

Here is my secret.  And it’s free.  If you want to get rich writing ebooks, write one. Find out how hard it is to  actually write a book. Find out how difficult it is to shape an original idea and then develop it into something that makes sense. Find out how writing is painful and takes diligence and determination and time. A lot of time. Then when you have done that– you can look into how to sell it and get people to buy it.  It goes for anything in life. Do the work. There’s no shortcut. There’s no secret.

 

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Mind your own business

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“There are only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s.” ~ Byron Katie

Today, I had the urge to write about something that I was outraged about. I was annoyed  about a particular internet  art star. I wanted to be the kid in the crowd who cries out that the emperor has no clothes. But I changed my mind. And even if I am right and the emperor is truly naked a lot of people love her. A lot of people hang on her every word and lavish fawning praise every time she overshares on her facebook fan page.

My grandmother used to say- “A still tongue in a wise head” In other words, keep your opinions to your self. So I will. I will not blab my snarly opinions, even though I want to. I will not be a critic. I will not be a judge. I will hold my tongue. It is just me being skeptical, about what I see as bullshit.

Truth is, I feel threatened by it. Not sure why. Some form of jealousy maybe? Some kind of resentful feelings about her success. Feelings of injustice maybe? My judgements might be my own insecurity. I don’t know. Then again I could be right. My skepticism could be spot on. What I see as a load of crap, could be indeed–crap. But it’s not my business. People apparently love crap. So who am I to try to counter that. Who am I to tell them what to believe. So I have told myself– Don’t sit around grumping in self righteous indignation about whether or not someone deserves their success.

You have your own work to do. I am reminded about my grade two teacher Mrs Clippingdale who never listened to tattle tales. She said if we were busy doing our work we wouldn’t be noticing other people not doing theirs. So thanks Mrs. C. I am taking your advice. I will do my own work. It’s not my job to save the world from naked emperors. Life is too short. So now–Back to work on this play. I am on draft three of that and I have a ways to go. Right now my play sucks so I need to stop avoiding it with indignation and other wastes of time.

Sally LIves Here
Sally LIves Here

Poem from a recurring dream.

I have built a little cage

on the edge of a cliff,

where I pretend–

to live contentedly,

rather than learn to swim across

the turbulent waters below.

Cushioned by the delusion of safety,

I hang there trapped–

above murky waters-

as if sitting alone in a cage–

is  preferable to the risk of drowning.

I watch with envy, all the

happy swimmers passing by.

They seem to calm the water

with their powerful strokes.

But the thought of being

swallowed by the current,

keeps me here,

behind the iron bars of

disappointment.

I  have dreamed this flooded landscape.

I have dreamed this turbulent water.

I have dreamed the murky depths.

And I have dreamed this cage.

Now  wide awake–

I am dreaming of a little red boat.

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Life is too precious to rush.

Making art teaches me–

that life is too precious to rush.

I don’t want to miss any miracles.

And there are always miracles unfolding.

It takes time to truly become conscious of

how art opens the doors of perception and reveals

the deeper parts of the soul.

Drawing, painting demands that I slow down.

Hand made is a slow process.

Writing is using the mind like you use your hands.

You can’t just let the thoughts dart around.

You have to get a hold of what you are trying to say

and mold it, trim it, build it construct it.

And you have to observe deeply

the world of the five senses, so that the doors

of perception can open and reveal the soul.

The practice trains your mind to see more–

to see what is there–

to see what you have missed.

Monkey mind does not paint or write.

The anxious, worried, fretting, multi-tasking mind

is not present to the miracle of a tree.

Art is like catching a butterfly without a net.

It takes patience and perseverance.

I have to be enormously patient with myself.

I am learning to do less, to expect less

but accomplish more of what truly matters to me.

I am learning to be less pressured–

less anxious and more productive

with the important things.

I am learning.

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE ACCEPTED

I am re-posting this entry from a few years ago when I was afraid but ready to go forward inspire of my fear.  I was about to travel to the Gabriola Theatre Festival to perform my solo show and I was struggling with debilitating stage fright and anxiety.

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur
when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled.
For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort,
that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for
different ways or truer answers.”

M.SCOTT PECK

I need to step out of my rut.
I need to search for different ways
and truer answers. 

I need to be fearless,

 

My old arch enemy- tStage Fright has reared it’s ugly head and is taunting me and leaping out at me when I least expect it. My  mission is to transform my Fear into Courage and vanquish my enemy for another day. I accept the Mission. My method Love. My super power. Gratitude.These are the magical alchemical tools that will turn the base metal of negative emotion into golden light and give me the super power I need. I will fly, soar, and float through the sky powered by the golden light of love even though I am terrified.

Please  forgive this flowery language.

I remind myself how much I really want and need to do my play.

I remind myself how grateful I am to have the opportunity.

I created my script with love and really hard work and commitment

and passion. I remind myself of the diligent writing process-

and my willingness to keep going when it seemed as if

I couldn’t bring all the elements together and I wanted to quit.

I am grateful to the audience who have bought all the tickets.

I am grateful to the festival that invited me to perform.

I am grateful for the opportunities I have to make art and share it.

I am grateful to special friends that generously supported me.

RAHEL B. EMMA H., WEAVER MEL. MARY K. BARBARA P.

I am grateful for my cohorts Loretta and Susinn in Wet Ink Collective.

I am grateful to Connie H. and all the painters and art-makers in my painting tribe.

that have sent me words of encouragement because they know exactly how I feel.

I am grateful to the Divine Creative Source and all the beauty in the

world that has possessed my soul and urged me to try to

express and celebrate it in art.

I am grateful for the healing power of art.

I am grateful for everything good and bad

because even the bad is part of it all.

I am even grateful to my Stage Fright

which I realize has been just trying to protect me.

I can thank her for her love and let her know

I am ok now with out her. I am pretty darn good

at this performing thing. I am I really am.

If she shows up in my dressing room on Saturday night

She better be carrying a bouquet of flowers.

Remember to look at the sky.

Sometimes

I get scared.

Overwhelmed

Shut down.

Oh– these endless yammering clamouring thoughts.

Inner turmoil.

Craziness.

What’s wrong with me?

It’s just the old wounds weeping.

Just the old anguish re-instating itself.

It’s just the ancient inherited sorrow of my ancestors–

Mourning their loved ones.

Grieving their losses.

It’s just the old trauma,

My trauma,

My losses, my sorrow,

Claiming their hard won territory

In my torn and tattered soul,

Warning me of impending danger.

I succumb. I surrender.

I shake and quake and shiver and shudder.

But then I remember.

This is just one waking dream.

This is just one ancient human drama.

This is just one ancestral dance.

One story,

One memory in the ancient human story.

I can clear this.

I can dissolve this.

I can transform this.

With brush strokes.

With song.

With prayer.

Meditation.

I can both honour and transform the sorrow in me–

With Love-

With the living breathing–

and very much alive–

Love that does not perish.

Love that can not die.

Breathe. Exhale. Inhale. Release.

And remember to look at the sky.

Look now– at the endless unfolding grey

and white and blue–

and the windy clouds scudding across the endless sky–

rolling on to Tomorrow and Forever.

Look at the rain moving from the north.

Look at the miracle of the sky and remember the love.

I can remember my little brother, my father, my grandmother,

my grandfather.

In that endless rolling canopy above our world–

I can see the love that still lives in me.

The love that passed between us.

The love carried in my ancestral line–

The love that connects us all.

The love that never dies.

About a month ago my friend Connnie– artist and soulful mentor of so many– created a very special project to honour a beloved friend who had suddenly passed away. She invited online friends and fellow artists to participate. Come see it here. Piecing Together the Sky