Stuff goes into the writer, a whole lot of stuff, not notes in a notebook but everything seen and heard and felt all day every day, a lot of garbage, leftovers, dead leaves, eyes of potatoes, artichoke stems, forests, streets, rooms in slums, mountain ranges, voices, screams, dreams, whispers, smells, blows, eyes, gaits, gestures, the touch of a hand, a whistle in the night, the slant of light in the wall of a child’s room, a fin in a waste of waters. All this stuff goes down into the [writer’s] personal composte bin, where it combines, recombines, changes; gets dark, mulchy, fertile, turns into ground. A seed falls into it, the ground nourishes the seed with the richness that went into it, and something grows. But what grows isn’t an artichoke stem and a potato eye and a gesture. It’s a new thing, a new whole. It’s made up.
Ursula Le Guin
Early in the morning and I couldn’t sleep. The heat was exquisite, my body bathed in desert sun. The birds were refuge, their songs reaching into some deep part of me, calling me here, welcoming me home. Telling me I am a singer just like them. My voice necessary, if hesitant.
In October my partner and I attended a business seminar called Product Launch Formula in Scottsdale, about a half-hour drive along a 12-lane freeway from Mesa, where my dad lives in a mobile home park. We were there to learn about online marketing for my business, the Centre for Loving Inquiry, where I use the practice of Loving Inquiry to help women learn to love themselves through opening to their authentic creativity and deepest purpose.
It was good to be there with my dad. He is ageing and I want to keep honouring our shared story.
A client who is no longer a client. Now a friend. I am in a process of transition and separation. I help them until they don’t need me. Like the birds found on the deck or in the grass. Recovered and held in loving attention until they are ready to fly again.
My poems are written for my own arc of loving, their rhythmic plotlines are power journeys toward healing. Understanding how we are all in this together. So much we offer each other in the telling and retelling.
In the journal, there is lots of room to make it up. To tell it this way and that. Carvings from the stone of our stories, beliefs and limited vision. Learning to not take it all personally, nor permanently written. Opening to uncertainty of outcome. All our words are transformation.
Language is powerful. Telling our lives with creative and compassionate awareness. Compassion comes when we realize that we are living as best we can inside the stories that are always unfolding, always incomplete, always imperfect.
We are so much more than what we know or see, so much more than these bodies, these clothes, these sold-to-us definitions of woman man beauty guru. We are so much more and these words remind us that…
I live a healthy life, so prosperous. On a beautiful farm, on a resplendent acreage. Among horses and birds and geese and sheep and deer and ants and so many other lovely creatures. I live in a community where I am loved, where I can be fully myself at home, on the radio, in the streets of the village and in my work. My skills and gifts are valued. I eat good food, much of it from local growers, people who have devoted their lives to sustaining the land. I love a man who loves me so much back that he is here beside me to help me keep sharing my work.
We are beginners here, and we are seasoned at what each of us does. There is vulnerability in stating that we want to learn how to take care of ourselves. We have both been successful at our art for a long time and we have chosen lives with less stuff and more meaning. And now it is time to learn the ropes of business so we aren’t tethered to others (though we always are) so we don’t have to wait for the inheritance. And we are learning this now in our midlife.
There is complexity here, and poetry, and the southwest traffic turning inside a turbine of creation. A passage wending through tumult and darkness gathered and released. Balloons of light drain into pools of possible and shoulders rumble like drums in a Schubert symphony, their cymbals symbols, clairvoyant clothing in a poem that places its fingers on aha and says this is where I see you in myself, where reflection reflects and whistling wrens raise awareness. In the unperturbable presence of love.
I am here on the page to love, like Helene Cixous who wrote the words of the title to this blogpost. That’s the truth here. As I keep telling the next story, the new story, another story, I see that they are all interminable and impermanennt and interdependent. I attempt to not get caught in the mind’s flimsy madness by moving forward with devotion to the moment and what is arising. Leaning into compassion and reverence for what is as it is changing. Transformation happens, at the tip of this pen.