Compost, joy and gumption…..

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My heart hurts.
Bad.
And I don’t want to run from the pain or hide out in false places,
but I’m not going to sink down into the ache and go dull to the salt and sizzle of living,  either,
so I’m hurling clods scraped raw from the clay that I am
like bottle rockets exploding thanks,   setting fire to the night,
because there’s fierce medicine in the kind of joy that won’t sit down
and with perspective comes a healing tide.

And for the record,  I’m not gonna lie that I’m grateful for this heart-rip,
either,  ’cause I’m not.  Nope.  Not one bit.
But I’ll say this true,  from the bottom of my bruises,
that I’m grateful,  yes I am,  for this pile of shit dumped fresh
because I believe in compost
and I won’t waste this.

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So let these punctures dig and poke and pull out plugs of my hard ground
until I’m soft and open and full up with air and sky and yes and fruit
and fresh and ripe and dreams growing thick on the vine.
Go ahead and fertilize me.
I’ll love life more for it.

And so,  dear life,   I’m gonna lean into the grace to square my shoulders,
hold still like a rock star,
and dare to let you love me back,
with a crazy kind of hope that won’t leave the dance floor.
And I won’t busy this pain on down but I’ll taste and listen
and let my lens be dipped in truth until I’m seeing clear
and knowing deep the Love that covers and keeps me here
because when I don’t trust your goodness
I don’t even see the light when it’s burning through my fear.

I’ll surrender everything but this joy.
That’s not ever gonna be on the table.

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“But trading joy for less vulnerability is a deal with the devil.
And the devil never pays up.”
– Brene’ Brown

~

Learning to love the lion of things…..

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I will be grateful for the fires of winter
burning into the deep,  hard,  steely cold,
for the crackling sounds of earth giving up her strength
until ashes and coal
re-heated the heart and bones of me

and my soul sings thanks over old,  dirty snow,
over the slick of ice that skidded and slowed
what wanted to go faster,
wanted to outrun the gray skies closed in harsh
and find pretty things that pull my eyes
to softer places easier to see

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  and I’ll call them good,  the little luminaries
in the bitter slow-going,
the bright little beings flocked close around the birdfeeder
and life calling me sometimes out
onto streets I didn’t want to travel,
for the ways it made me braver
and tugged me farther into the wilds of my soul
where seeds waited long for me to sing warm breath
over their hard little shells
until they,  too,  went green and glowing
.

and how odd that maybe it’s a rich thing ,
how slowly winterness melts and thins,
and draws it out long,   this waiting
for the stuff of fruit and herb and light and loam and bloom
and I’m grateful more than weary
for the lion of even tiresome things

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I’m learning to love both the lamb and the lion of this thing called living:)

“….gone are the dark clouds that had me down,
it’s gonna be a bright,  bright
sunshiny day.”
-Jimmy Cliff

I’m gonna give away a copy of the March issue of my bright little zine,  Ripplesongs,
to the name I draw from the comments left on this post
……..jump on in,  if you like!
I’ll post the winner next Sunday:)

The swooning season….

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Hello November,
you great big beautiful blustery season
of harvest and homefires and holiday.
I love your generous,  engaging way
and your early lamplit evenings,
the deeper sleeps beneath the blankets
and your uncanny gift for drawing chairs up closer around the table.

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I love what you do to my heart,
stoking gratitude burning bright and sending me tumbling again
head over heels in love with the ones I love already
but focused in rich and stronger somehow.
You churn up celebration
in the hard business of living
and I appreciate the way you set me to swooning
over the stuff I sometimes forget to see and count and savor.

Here you come again,
the gathering season.
Welcome,  you,  with all my heart:)

(yeah,  I’m an appreciator,  so this month is strength and sweetness to my soul;
 I’d love to give away two copies of my November zine….the gratitude issue…..to the someone
whose name I draw next week.  Leave a comment and I’ll send you one to keep and one to give away.
With much,  much love)

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“I want my everyday to make God belly laugh,  glad that He gave life to someone who loves the gift.”
-Shauna Neiquist

 

anyway and everything….

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It’s groaning with gratitude,  my anyway jar,
filling up with goodness glinting like unpolished gold
in these hardscrabble times
and my heart grins brighter with each plunk of plenty
and I remember laughing how I thought I’d fill one quicker
with “stuff that sucks”

and I think that maybe,  in time,  I’d have had to dump
the “holy crap,  this bites” pile into the
“thanks for this brilliance” jar and see it all true
and call it all good,  the whole lump of it,

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because it’s all being worked together that way,
crafted into something I wouldn’t have wanted to miss
or control
or sleep through dull

and now  I’m thinking thanks for it all,
the bits that are beautiful and blistering and balmy and broken;
I’ll take it all grateful
because loving genius is weaving the parts
into story large and strong
and I can trust this resourceful heart
with my everything.

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Just doing a little heartcheck as the year unfolds
and the one little word I chose
*anyway*
still challenging me.
Do you have a word that’s speaking to you?

If you are kind,  people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,  you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Be successful anyway.
What you spend years creating,  others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness,  some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
In the final analysis,  it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them,
anyway.”

– attributed to Mother Teresa

Like someplace made of sky…..

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August rolling in under stormy skies
and my heart pounding hard on the keys,
singing songs I’ve never heard before
while strong winds blowing in some cool change
and I need to pull thanks around me snug
to keep out the chill
because I’m unnerved
and gratitude has the potent power to steady
where we tremble.

I want to be curious in the places where I shy,
to be open to the mystery of the messy in-betweens
and so I fling ebullient thanks for summer soup growing wild,
for blossom to apples,  tender sprouts to pickles in a jar,
and baby bump to laughing child,

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to lean into it grateful
the hope I hold inside
for a roominess of life
that feels like somewhere made of sky

Now can be delicious,
and it’s what I’ve got,
a rich full slice of it to notice and nuzzle.

And what’s around the riverbend that we can’t dare to see?
…. it may be startling goodness
we wouldn’t ask or dream.

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“If you don’t die from thirst,  there are blessings in the desert.
You can be pulled into limitlessness,  which we all yearn for,
or you can do the beauty of minutia,  the scrimshaw of tiny and precise.
The sky is your ocean,  and the crystal silence will uplift
like great gospel music,  or Neil Young.”
-Anne Lamott