A dancing hope defiant…..

I need to dance with a barefoot heart,
to twirl in the darkness of the wee hours
and wriggle free,
unloading heavy things
into hands so warm and available and open
that they tug the sun up through the woods
while the birds prattle joy
and the candle burns slow,
flickering sandalwood and spruce
and I take it in hungry
and peer into the face of light.

so there is somewhere for the torment
to tumble out and go,
all this anger over unjust things
that hurt the ones I love
while my stomach screams hard for help and change
and my small hands burn to take hold of everything cruel
and make it stop,
to make this big world well
until it goes kind and peaceable and just.

I want to rest deep and also live awake.

So when I need to lay my mind down
on something soft and tender-strong,
and remember deep the shepherd psalm,
and take in the love that speaks truth into storm
so that the fog and the cold doesn’t take me,

I can dance on it,
can paint and sing and write and move and shout and love out loud
in stuff that speaks like prayer
until my vision climbs up higher
and my heart holds firm to peace
and I breathe into hope that is defiant
against the dark.

This is a little re-write I shared a few years back
and it moves me that it’s stirring fresh again inside
and I share with a fresh sprig of new-grown herb
and serve it up with love:)

“The belief is that enough hope and tenderness will lead to world peace,
one mind at a time.    All nations will come together in kindness and justice,
swords will be beaten into plowshares,  spears into pruning hooks.
This is a little hard to buy with a world stage occupied by so many madmen,
and so much suffering.  But setting aside one’s tiny tendency toward cynicism,
in the meantime – in Advent – we wait;  and hope appears if we truly desire to see it.”
–  Anne Lamott

The making and the medicine…..

I’m coming back from a hard prune,
grateful to see little tenderlings shooting up fresh from the cuts.
It’s tricky to celebrate the shears and their scars and I’m not there yet
so I won’t pretend to hurl thanks for those slices;
instead I’ll say quick the pain
and then share the medicine
because we all need the balm when life cuts like a knife.

Doing the big-girl-panties work of grieving the loss
of my old jalopy laptop and it’s hard drive crash
which swept away every picture and bit of writing I’ve made for the past 15 years.
Every last word and image
(except what I’ve shared here on my blog or in journals and notes to loved ones).
I’d let my backup lapse for the last weeks of Summer struggle
when our cash flow dried up with the rivers,
waiting for the Autumn rains which would hopeful stir the flow.
The back-up backup I thought was in place was not.
The loss has felt crushing.

Also, the “miracle” shot I’ve been taking for my asthma
stirred a full blown rheumatoid flare which has my body red hot with swollen pain
and feverish for weeks after each injection.
Pressing through to do my daily work in the hot Summer sun
has felt like a Survivor challenge
and sometimes the frustration runs down my cheeks without my permission.
But grace has swarmed in – even sometimes as bee stings (!)
Who knew?  I work among honey bees and they seem to know when I need another shot
of their anti-inflammatory wonder:)

Then I got my heart broken in a double-you-over kind of way
and so the pile of hard clippings grew
until the bare of me felt barer still.
I know – this sounds dismal – but please read on;
I won’t tell you a forest fire without the rain

Because when losses start to pile like branches tossed to flame
it can feel like un-love and here the story can get spun
because we’re meaning-makers – we need to make sense of suffering
and when it comes storming we get busy writing our narrative
because it makes us feel a little control.
“It’s all my fault” even feels a balm because then we can know.
And knowing,  even if it’s false,  feels better than uncertainty.
(this is what the great teachers say)

So while I was making up my story I remembered (thank you dear friends who remind)
to lean into the heart of wisdom
where I’ve learned to find my rest
and do the messy, often awkward stutter-step of going open again,
of unfolding my angry hurt where I clamped down tight
to seal myself off from feeling it all too hard.
Courage to let go,  to open the fist of me and breathe instead into the waves as they wash in
– it came as I prayed help…me….trust,
help…me…open,
help me

and in ways I couldn’t manage or imagine
I began to feel again the river flowing,
to sense the whisper of buttery quiet truth in it’s unassuming way,
“how do you feel when you prune something you love?”
Prune something that I love – I know this feeling well,
have spent years there in my work.
I feel hurt for the hurt but hope for the next…..like “please feel the love”
because this is temporary ache and your roots know what to do.

 Good Lord,  how perspective paints the pain a healthy shade of true.

And so I’m landing bumpy but safe
in a place with no despair.
Ache,  yes.  But without the burden of hating the cuts
there’s this energy enough to draw from these roots and pull life on up
into every space left barren and bleeding,
to draw deep from the river that keeps flowing
and to hope and yes and open and rest
and flourish untethered into the flow.

So I will celebrate it,  this creativity that we share
with the fountain that never runs dry.
Will celebrate both the making and the medicine,
and lean, open wide,  into the next try.

Thanks for reading along while I process.
My words here sound way smoother than the wrestling it took to get me to them:)
Forgive anything that sounds trite or oversimplified – still finding the wordsand spilling them slow.
I appreciate you,  dear reader friend,
and can’t wait to share what may grow in this freshly pruned place:)

“But grace can be the experience of a second wind,
even though what you want is clarity and resolution,
what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on.”
– Anne Lamott

Of life-living and so-telling…..

I’ve been standing in the strong winds of the word that found me for the year –
blameless –
winds whipping high with opportunity to blame like crazy,
to max out my capacity to resent and hold grudge.
(isn’t that the way these things go – you get a word and it challenges you so)

Yeah,  my little word has been riding shotgun while I wrestle with the wishing
to slam down my gavel and spit reasons why I’m right,
to stomp my feet to make it fair,
to lock my jaw and close up tight
because the way I see it is the way
and I want to keep my mad about it.
( sigh:))

The urge to say I told you so – there they are,
the words that can hiss and rattle alongside my longing
to be grace in gravely places.

“I told you so”
-is there even a shimmer of light in those self-righteous little words?
That I was able to predict something that heaven never wanted,
able to say the worst before it had the chance to happen
and then get to feel like I’m on higher ground?

Ewwww

When I get over myself and look with love I can see a little clearer
the choices that I’m choosing,
because when I leave this planet and burst blazing into the next thing
what kind of fire do I want to have lit with all of my telling?

I want to have told things that massage hope into silent questions,
that knead whatever light someone holds until it expands and fills their lonely places,
telling that rubs away the anxious rumblings that can make a hurting heart feel separated from love.
To say how you don’t have to be clever enough, or strong enough,
or fast or smart or good enough –
that you’re already there and wrapped in love enough
to help and heal and hold you close through anything
and maybe someone can open and receive it
because another someone told them so.

God how I want my told-you-so’s to be life instead of darkness.

You are worthy and wanted and welcome
and I want to tell you so:)

“Certainty is missing the point entirely.”
– Anne Lamott

(i’ve been a bad blogger lately – thanks so much for coming around
and saying even when I don’t get by to visit as often as I will soon.
I miss our visits)

A trust-fall back into the flow…..

Sometimes,  when I barrel into a block with my writing,  I wriggle free
by doing this something that comforts loose the flow
and I wonder if it’s an odd quirk of mine,  or do you do it too:
list-making.
I love lists.
Sometimes the list becomes the thing.
Like today,  when I’m trying to back into a project I started in the Spring,
because I still can’t seem to find the front door.
These times I often go around back and see if there’s a little service entrance
where I won’t feel so conscious of my muddy-ness
and I can sit on the porch and leave my shoes to dry
while I walk on, barefoot,  inside.

I began a series back in March to explore the stories stirring in my heart
about my messy dance with God on this noisy planet,
rocking always,  this world,  to the strobe lights of scattered messages,
sweet and sullied,  soothing and strangling.
To discover more what really fits for me and who am I anyway
in the wide river of this mystery.
Yeah,  just a little tidbit to chew on.
Then life splintered down pretty hard and I pulled back for awhile.

So I’m offering up my list
as I do a trust-fall back into the flow……

Religion vs. Spirit
(when I speak of “religion” I’m not calling out specifics.  No disrespect.
I mean fundamentalism,  which can disease any set of beliefs or thoughts)

~ Religion dries;  Spirit is fluid.

~ Religion  is push;  Spirit is flow.

~Religion is strain; Spirit is release.

~ Religion is punitive; Spirit is creative.

~Religion is flint sharp and squint to balance scales;
Spirit is lightning strong and redeeming what is.

~Religion is pity,  for it stands above and apart;
Spirit is compassion,  for it identifies with and meets.

~Religion is strive for perfection; Spirit is permission to thrive.

~Religion accuses and shames; Spirit reveals and restores.

~ Religion is performance; Spirit is presence.

~ Religion drives; Spirit woos and calls.

I’ll be back around with my stories and songs as I bob on down this river and see where it takes me.
Thanks for being a place where I can share it safe in the borning.

“Everyday I wonder how many things I am dead wrong about.”
– Jim Harrison

“I’m here to be me,  which is taking a great deal longer than I had hoped.”
– Anne Lamott

Sharing below a little video I made for you;

A barefoot mercy…..



I wrote a post and hurled it up “on time” – my self-imposed deadline,
then took it down again for the love of you and I
and the scurry of words which needed a good bit longer to marinate.
Felt like I was forcing them through a sieve instead of letting them be
what they wanted to become.
So I’ve got lots of space here
that I’ll
just
let
breathe.
No fillers.
So interesting to sit with this discomfort.

Mercy – it’s what I tried to wrap words around.
Such an evocative word,
mercy.
Mercy and forgiveness.
Since the words aren’t crisp yet,  I’ll leave you with these brilliant ones:

“…we are always the ones
who need to be absolved,
taken back into our hearts.
I forgave myself for the fisherman’s words and behavior,
for taking on his ugliness and making it something I believed
to be true about myself.
His words had gotten on me and then in me,
and then I had hoarded them,
building evidence that I was right about being fundamentally wrong.”
– Anne Lamott

And I’ll share my first video (happy sigh)
on my fledgling youtube channel.
Come see,  if you like.