Monday, February 29, 2016

Poem for ordinary time

Looking out over the sky, you are.
Looking down into my lap, through my hair
shining in the sunlight, too bright to see
heating my back through black shirt.
Keeping our faces shaded
squinting briefly toward the sky.

Listening to the motors
cars or motorcycles or whatever
the passing of tires on the road
the dog's lips smack
a single bird's...         not a song, not a noise
the sound a bird makes.

      and looking out.
      and looking in.

un moving through the moments
no ticking of any clock

marred by progress
anxiety of all the All

Looking back into the sunshine in my hair
the dog's curious nose at my back
glowing, streaking threads
listen, sniffing curiosity

As the jet flies over,
the dog growls.
He knows something's no good.
Don't we all?
We don't.

He patters away to look after you.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


spending time
with thread and needle
with my face
and yours
spending time
and again

resisting the restlessness
exploring ordinary
with my self
and you
and the thread
and the needle
and the tiny
and the meditation on
each pixel
a stitch
another stitch

and mine

and everything in between
the fabric

Friday, February 12, 2016


I just got off the phone with a podcast, On Being with Krista Tippett interviewing Pico Iyer.  I had never heard of this man, but apparently, he's friends with some of my favorite knowns such as the Dalai Lama and Leonard Cohen.  He also lives in a very remote, mostly off the grid home in Kyoto and has a place in the US as well where he works in almost solitude on writing and thinking.  In this interview, he spoke of how in his twenties he became very successful - in the American fashion - as a journalist in NYC.  By "American fashion," I mean the fast paced, forward moving, self aggrandizing, never enough conventions that I know I, myself, grew up believing was my ticket to... Gosh, I'm not sure what I thought the ticket was for!  So then, at 29 he hit a wall, knew he needed something less like "distraction" and more like "attention," and embarked on a career of solitude, stillness and the resulting writings about his evolving philosophies on those human rights.

Wow Wow Wow.

I am so relieved as I contemplate what I just listened to. (....and of course there was more to it than stillness and solitude, so really, have a listen.)  The reason I feel relieved is that recently, I've uncovered in myself that convention of "fast-paced-forward-moving-self-aggrandizing-never-enough" and found it to be terribly uncomfortable and something from which I'd like to be free.  Having been convinced throughout my adolescence and young adulthood (via parent, church, school, and community norms and direction) that this American "way" is The Way, it's been a struggle with my SuperEgo to realize that it's not the only director in my psyche, but there are other players who not only have a critical voice, but have to be acknowledged and tended to.  Those other players have abstract names that are only relevant to me (the voices in my head - as they say), but for this format, I'll call them, Intuition, Wisdom, Feeling, and Myth.  (Some other time, perhaps I'll explain more about why I label them this way.  I'll say though that Myth, to me, is not "a lie" but instead, the story of Human kind, overarching humanness.)  Iyer talks about the knowing of one's self, the inner life as a human need and of course, despite the prevailing conventions, doing this inner work of self discovery is the foundational work to support all of our outer work and relationships.

So, this describes, for me, what the previous year was unfolding for me - a gradual shift into becoming a person who spends the majority of my time doing inner work.  Throughout the year, I felt great resistance from Superego when Intuition and Feeling were my primary focus.  Superego tried to distract me with chores and false obligations, but little by little, I noticed my own Wisdom, and she reminded me, in my own way, that Intuition and Feeling are really the Me that deserves to live as part of the great Myth.  Superego still pipes up with a shaming sensation as I lose track of time, allow myself to be completely absorbed in my art or music, or simply do not apply my creative skill sets toward a recognizable "career."  How sad, the shame that I (via Superego) feel or didn't want to feel was the unconscious motivator for my "success" and propulsion through professional realms.
Remembering Art made almost a decade ago when, however unconsciously, I decided my art-making is a vehicle for my stillness.  This painting, Breathing Room, was a real-time transcription of my breathing on a giant canvas.  I gave myself permission to do this work in stillness and solitude, and now too, I give myself permission - but consciously.
Without continuing down the long road of discussing SuperEgo, I'll bring this back to Pico Iyer's talk about the necessity of solitude and stillness as means toward attention (AKA awareness), and point out the big affirmation that I felt while listening:  I have permission - Intuition granted, Wisdom granted and Myth granted permission to be still as long as you need.  Up until 2015, I naturally possessed the Intuition, Feeling, Wisdom and Myth that I am now choosing to acknowledge and embody, but the hard-lined conventions of Superego steered against my right to know, legitimize and activate these players.  2015 was just the beginning of realizing true inner needs and the metamorphosis into a life of stillness that more thoroughly honors, reveals and empowers my essential being.  My creative survival and my art depend on this kind of stillness.