Tag Archives: Inspiration

Heavenly, challenging prose

From “Unexplained Presence” by Tisa Bryant:

What we have is Woolf’s then in our now. Parse the registers. The cusp between them dark as oil, snaking and slick, cleaving the land with a liquid that moves dusky beings on ships and barges from one country to the next. We talk to the page, the screen, or the scrim of imagination. How to be a man? A woman? See to the mark: there, there, and there. And we are? Where? Reading the figures of time, image after image after image.

We add our voices to history and bodies move across time. Lineage, not forgetfulness, is spoken and does not define and demarcate “us” from “them”.

Her prose blows the top of my head off. I love it that I can’t even really say what she means. I love that I will read the 8 or 9 page piece more than once and let the words flow over me in a delirium of appreciation (much the way I did with Woolf’s fiction in college) and STILL not necessarily know what she means.

Here is a link exploring Tisa Bryant‘s, including some taped remarks.

And there’s this.

Hail Mary, solicitors, and hope

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Two days ago, when I was editing a published post about the only Catholic prayer I still say and a little about travel by air, the phone rang. It was a persistent solicitor — a number I’ve been seeing every day for weeks. I picked up to politely request my removal from their list while simultaneously saving the post —

and the whole thing vanished. Not just the updates — all of it.

I walked away, resolved not to let negative narratives spin up around the glitch, but also without the energy for a re-do. The negatives arose anyway (was silence imposed because the post was braggy instead of vulnerable? was it too facile with the Catholic rituals? not remotely concerning what is truly and deeply on my mind?)

What IS truly and deeply on my mind?

Yesterday, the wordpress app on my phone seized. Geez! Haven’t I said, I’m not shutting up?

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So by way of recap, here’s a little from the other day — I hope I never stop feeling a sense of wonder about being up in the air and seeing the coast lit up below. I hope the Virgin hears our prayers. I hope Mary’s mercy can guide me to learn more about the complicated landscape of South Carolina. Help me filter history through a tender and flexible compassion.

Here’s one surprise from my recent trip. The most restorative aspect of our visit to Charleston came from a major reduction in news consumption. Not the sun, the 70 degree temperatures, the incredible food or historic sites (though they were amazing, too). It was LESS NEWS.

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For wisdom about the business of balancing duty and lightness, I turn to Rebecca Solnit (“Hope in the Dark”). Even though since November I’ve had a hard time reading political commentary that predates the election, she will be an exception. She wrote:

“Joy doesn’t betray but sustains activism. And when you face a politics that aspires to make you fearful, alienated, and isolated, joy is a fine initial act of insurrection.”

Giving is an act of insurrection, too. Did you hear about the crowd sourcing that planned to raise $20k in a month for purposes of repairing the vandalized Jewish graves in Missouri? They exceeded their goal in THREE HOURS. Or about the million-plus dollars raised to rebuild that burned down mosque in Texas? Twenty-three thousand people contributed.

Closer to home, my city just voted to be a sanctuary city.

Powerful examples of our collective goodness absolutely abound right now. To stay sane, I really need to pay as much attention to them as I do to the ugly and dark work of the GOP.

  • Photos of Virgin, magnolia tree and house were shot at Magnolia Plantation, SC last week.

Jude Hill – a little look back

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This is a small gallery revealing Jude Hill‘s influence and inspiration. I am feeling nostalgic. It’s been different without her private classes. And I’ve been ‘away’ from her and others’ blogs — more consumed with writing and the ten month project for Charleston. I miss being on a learning curve that was as exciting as it was steep.

Life is all about change. And it’s hard, too. We are all constantly adapting to various burdens, impositions or difficulties — aging not the least of them. One of the things I have admired about Jude the most is her capacity for invention — not just of her cloth creations (the way she can take an idea in fifteen directions, each of them further than I could possibly have imagined), but also of how she has conducted herself online — generously, with poetry and beauty, and with unbelievable technological skill.

The reinvention of late seems to be toward greater privacy, which of course I respect, but the thought of her going away makes me panic a little.

There is so much more I want to say about this, but I haven’t done my morning pages yet and the dog will need walking soon, so it’ll have to wait.

Five “Roads not Taken”

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SoulCollage — fifth or sixth ‘Surrender’ card — here specifically about dancing

In Week One of “The Artist’s Way“, Julia Cameron suggests making a list of five alternate lives (the Progoff journal method does this, too, calling them “roads not taken”). This is a simple but effective way to re-discover parts of ourselves that we may have left behind.

Cameron adds another step — to try and bring some flavor of one or all into the week.

Here’s my list:
Japanese scholar
Jungian therapist
Constitutional lawyer / social activist
Sheep farmer and weaver
Dancer

What are a few of your “roads not taken” and how might you let them into your life?

I’ll let you know how it goes.

[I’ve picked up Cameron’s book over and over in the past decades — Years when I have done the ‘Morning Pages’ practice have been better than the years when I have not. Her wisdom has been more than useful to me. This time, I was inspired by Heather K. Powers — a Charleston artist and organizational guru whom I met in September at the Sea Island Indigo Workshop. She just started an ‘Artist’s Way’ group in SC, which I found myself wishing I could participate in.

I hope to go week by week without breaks in order to let the momentum of Cameron’s 12-week process build. I am already dreading the Media Fast, which will be very, very hard for me. I also hope to find the journal pages from when I did this before — to compare].

 

others’ words

How much human suffering, mine and others’, comes back to our ambivalence about being here, our uncertainty about committing fully to a human life, to living awake with what is within and around us!

The Call, Discovering Why You are Here
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

To live in this world

you must be able to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it,
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

Mary Oliver, from ‘In Blackwater Woods’

What you can plan is too small
for you to live.

 David Whyte, from ‘What to Remember When Waking’


And if we are truly not trying to get anywhere, but simply allow ourselves to be here in this moment as it is, we can stumble easily upon an ancient stillness…

Jon Kabat-Zinn, ‘Wherever You Go There You Are’

A community is a well to drink from, a place to nourish our spirits and find the strength we need to ride life’s ups and downs.  It’s also a place to discover what we have to give.

Gabrielle Roth, ‘Sweat Your Prayers’

Have you ever felt that if you were to really ‘expand your borders’, God would have to accelerate your already busy life? You are not alone in the assumption.  But you should know that God has entirely different ways of enlarging your influence and impact.

Bruce Wilkerson daily calendar based on ‘The Prayer of Jabez’

And now the ‘Prayer of Jabez’ itself, from 1 Chronicles 4:10:

Oh, that You would bless me indeed,
and enlarge my territory,
that Your hand would be with me,
and that You would keep me from evil.

and speaking of inspiration…

Clicking through my Google reader, found this dense compilation of sources of inspiration (artistic) put together by book artist Seth Apter on his blog,  The Altered Page — “Secret Sunday 5“.

(guilty pleasure — I bought one of his pieces on Etsy to give someone for Christmas — I’ll NEVER tell for whom!)

P.S.   For this wreath, I used a $4.99 fake-red-berry Christmas Tree Shop wreath as its base, because I hadn’t had time to cut the wisteria, soak it in five gallon bucket to shape, let dry and wire into circle.  A good short cut!