How to Play Attention*

How to Play Attention*

  Act 1. first sounds first words: pick a direction, any direction you could have any man you want you have to struggle why can’t you just choose one thing and stick with it   Act 2. I need a drink a job a bag of chips a lover a second to breathe to think my own...
I, Miss Montreal

I, Miss Montreal

 We are the continuation of our father and mother, like the plant of corn is the continuation of the seed of corn.   Thich Nhat Hanh   We are always on our way to somewhere else. That is the nature of being alive, of relationships. It is also the wisdom of the natural...
Birds of Compassion

Birds of Compassion

 As I let my heart open and close, open and close, I learn to take a risk, to let go of what I thought was true, to see things in a different way. I become the beginner again, the student again, the child again; the one who loves and loves and never stops loving....
Reflections on The Sea

Reflections on The Sea

There is an intimacy here that includes you.     David Abram My partner and I spent 5 days in Tofino over the holidays, on the rugged West Coast of Vancouver Island. We stayed at a beautiful seaside  lodge and spent our days walking, reading, writing, eating and...
Be a Dancing Fool

Be a Dancing Fool

  Dance the dance of a fool Become what you become without a thought of what you could have been   Be the fool, dancing your body the present unfolding before your eyes a moving picture of a paradise your body the paint as you explore your many colours on canvas  ...
The Paradox of Loving Ourselves

The Paradox of Loving Ourselves

  Sun in my eyes, the creek murmuring in the garden outside my studio. Many days, and nights of rain have assured its steady ebullient flow. I open the window slightly so I can hear it. Let the cool air visit the warm space. Then comes raven’s guttural cry; Jetplane’s...
Allowing Creative Abandon

Allowing Creative Abandon

It is up to the writer to recognize everything that happens to her as gift, to love each thing that comes under the eye’s contemplation, inner and outer. Jane Hirshfield I choose an angel card out of a beautiful tan basket, brought home over 20 years ago after a...
This Startling Cornucopia

This Startling Cornucopia

  As I sit in  my studio and write, the apples fall. I listen to each soft thud as one-by-one, they land on the ground. Over and over this staccato symphony of release. On my deck, and around the tree, hundreds of shiny marbles, a field of plenty. In the loft I cook...
Writing and Loving Inquiry

Writing and Loving Inquiry

  Whichever way we look into the nature of inquiry, we find that it has to be open. When you inquire into something, you are opening it up, you are revealing it. So the very nature of inquiry is a process of opening up; and what you open up are boundaries, limits,...
Illuminating The Journal

Illuminating The Journal

I have been journaling for 24 years. I’ve written in every kind of journal: spiral bound, hand-sewn, hard and soft-covered, lined and unlined. I have bought journals in bookstores in Canada, the States and Europe. I have written in several different colours of ink,...
A Wardrobe of Stories

A Wardrobe of Stories

Montreal circa 1971 I recently started to consider, since finishing my PhD, what it would be like to commit to a completely different kind of writing project. I have always wanted to write a memoir. Reading the advice from writing teacher Natalie Goldberg, in her book...
The Lost Art of Presence

The Lost Art of Presence

In response to a post on a LinkedIn group for storytelling organizations, I retrieved this story I had written about getting lost on my first day as a PhD student, as I was on my way to my first class in Performative Inquiry.  I have juxtaposed images from the last...
Joy of Budding

Joy of Budding

A few weeks ago the doctor told me I am completely healthy, good news that stemmed from all those tests I took last month having come back normal. He also let me know that I am post-menopausal i.e. my ovaries have shut down and I am no longer capable of conceiving.  I...
Once Upon a Tree

Once Upon a Tree

Today they are cutting down some trees on the farm in order to build a new road. One of them was already dead, but the others were very much alive. Because I do not own the farm, I am not in control of what happens here. That fact, in and of itself, is a wonderful...
Bridge of Dreams

Bridge of Dreams

Remembering why I came here, why I dream Sea moves constantly clouds shift light enters through rifts what appears still shivers, sways Remembering how I love myself such simple joy this eddying with language   why horizons of possibility how words release restructure...
Temporary Shelters

Temporary Shelters

A morning meeting with my writing sisters–two women with whom I am writing a book about the communal act of journal writing, called “Writing Alone Together: Journaling for Creativity, Compassion and Connection within a Circle of Women”. After our delicious...
Seeing Clearly Now

Seeing Clearly Now

When I was a child I started the habit of picking the cuticles around my fingers. My mother used to ask me to stop; she could hear the picking as we sat on the couch in the basement and watched TV. Try as I might, the picking continued, despite her desire for me to...
The Gift of This Moment

The Gift of This Moment

There are days that feel like gifts. A bright sun streams through the kitchen window. Your lover touches you just where you want to be touched. You get a call from a dear friend and breathe deeper after the intimate conversation. Your radio show goes well and you feel...
A Family Affair

A Family Affair

I just spent a week in Montreal with my family. I know, that’s a loaded statement. There is a lot of baggage that we each bring to the experience we call “family”.  Still the time there was precious. Just sitting in the same room beside my mother, father and sister,...
How I Walk With Love

How I Walk With Love

As I sit here in my studio and write these words, sun pokes its head over my shoulder, wondering what exactly I am writing about. Creek also wonders, its murmuring, a fierce and steady reminder of my need to listen. I perk up my ears, curious about what this days...