Thursday, November 19, 2009
(Hint: You must make your own map. )
A MAP TO THE NEXT WORLD
In the last days of the fourth world I wished to make a map
for those who would climb through the hole in the sky.
My only tools were the desires of humans as they emerged from the killing fields,
from the bedrooms and the kitchens.
For the soul is a wanderer with many hands and feet.
The map must be of sand and can't be read by ordinary light.
It must carry fire to the next tribal town, for renewal of spirit.
In the legend are instructions on the language of the land,
how it was we forgot to acknowledge the gift, as if we were not in it or of it.
Take note of the proliferation of supermarkets and malls, the altars of money.
They best describe the detour from grace.
Keep track of the errors of our forgetfulness; a fog steals our children while we sleep.
Flowers of rage spring up in the depression, the monsters are born there of nuclear anger.
Trees of ashes wave good-bye to good-bye and the map appears to disappear.
We no longer know the names of the birds here,
how to speak to them by their personal names.
Once we knew everything in this lush promise.
What I am telling you is real and is printed in a warning on the map.
Our forgetfulness stalks us, walks the earth behind us,
leaving a trail of paper diapers, needles and wasted blood.
An imperfect map will have to do little one.
The place of entry is the sea of your mother's blood,
your father's small death as he longs to know himself in another.
There is no exit.
The map can be interpreted through the wall of the intestine --
a spiral on the road of knowledge.
You will travel through the membrane of death,
smell cooking from the encampment where our relatives make a feast
of fresh deer meat and corn soup, in the Milky Way.
They have never left us; we abandoned them for science.
And when you take your next breath as we enter the fifth world there will be no X,
no guide book with words you can carry.
You will have to navigate by your mother's voice, renew the song she is singing.
Fresh courage glimmers from planets.
And lights the map printed with the blood of history,
a map you will have to know by your intention, by the language of suns.
When you emerge note the tracks of the monster slayers
where they entered the cities of artificial light and killed what was killing us.
You will see red cliffs. They are the heart, contain the ladder.
A white deer will come to greet you when the last human climbs from the destruction.
Remember the hole of our shame marking the act of abandoning our tribal grounds.
We were never perfect.
Yet, the journey we make together is perfect on this earth
who was once a star and made the same mistakes as humans.
We might make them again, she said.
Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.
You must make your own map.
~ Joy Harjo ~
(A Map to the Next World: Poems)
Need a roadmap? Bob Marley is singing the song of freedom to the Next World.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I've been up since 5:00am as usual...I've finished my morning brew and made a gallon of green tea for the house. I'm sitting here groovin' to the station I created on Pandora.com, Angelique Kidjo Radio. As a matter of fact, at this moment SHE is singing Bob Marley's anthem, Redemption Song, which actually speaks to the thoughts on my mind -- "emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds."
Here's my morning rant --
I'm tormented in my life by my sloppy discipline and lack of attention and presence. I find myself distracted by the "drop of a hat" and glued to this screen for a great deal more time than the necessities and requirments of my life allow for. So when Brooks' lyrics showed up as my poetry offering this morning, it really "hit home" for me since "tomorrow has become today."
I have managed in my wellness journey to keep a lid on my weight since losing the 80 pounds back-when. When the pounds start packing on, the emotional emergency systems "go off' and I get back into an acceptable range. That's not to say that I'm at my ideal weight...notice my term "acceptable range." I don't seem to have the *huevos* to make that final effort to knock off the last 10 pounds or so. It just hangs there as a way of saying "you just can't quite 'emancipate' yourself, can you; your mind is still being held prisoner by your body."
MOVEMENT, my body's cardio and strength-training (ST) requirements, are an ongoing challenge. During the better weather, much of my cardio needs are met via my trusty Trekmobile, my bicycle. Now that winter will soon be upon us, cardio needs must be met in other ways -- at the regional fitness center (RFC) or via fitness DVDs that I have on-hand. I choose to meet my ST needs that way as well. Hatha yoga is another movement modality that has been a part of my life for almost 30 years, and I've recently added some Pilates to the mix since joining the RFC. But am I consistent in any of this? Do I honor the needs of this body that serves me so well by giving back in this way? When is the last time I did ST? Yoga? I'm getting tired of hearing myself say this! How about you -- are you also tired of hearing me say it?
Since becoming a vegetarian, I have been on a quest of balanced eating, with awareness of the types and amounts of the various nutrients that make up said balanced intake. I have acquired a fund of knowledge and I generally manage to meet these needs...and then some. It's the "then some" that is my challenge...portion sizes and the treats being the major culprits keeping me from being where I really want to be.
Then there's my difficult living situation which, indubitably, impacts body-mind-spirit in searing ways that can result in set-backs at any moment. It is an extremely complex situation and one that I grapple with daily, looking for creative problem-solving. I know there is a way. I simply need to be open to IT. And that's a story in itself.
The FOCUS difficulty rears its ugly head bigtime in my university pursuit. I get seriously anxious and freaked out because of my serious procrastination habit and attention-deficit tendencies. Today is the final day to complete a draft for a paper that I turn in tomorrow...and I haven't so much as begun the draft. The day will be filled with it (of course) and I can't go to the RFC yoga class or cardio there because of this.
Next semester I've registered for nine seriously academic units. Without a different approach, I'm liable to literally make myself sick. So, I'm digging deep into my psyche and spirit to dredge up some answers...no more sitting on the shoreline, to paraphrase Garth!
And that's just the TIP of the iceburg ladies and gentlemen! So here's everyone's friend Garth Brooks talkin' to me, tellin' it like it is, offering gritty wisdom, answers that might really work in the context of life lived, "a life interrupted" --
You know a dream is like a river,
ever changing as it flows
And the dreamer's just a vessel that must follow where it goes
Trying to learn from what's behind you
Never knowing what's in store
Makes each day a constant battle
Just to stay between the shores
Too many times we stand beside
Let the water slip away
Till what we put off till tomorrow
has now become today
so don't you sit upon the shoreline
and say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
Dare to dance the tide
~ Garth Brooks ~
(excerpt from The River -- enlightenment is where you find it)
Monday, November 16, 2009
I LOVE Billy Collin's *in-touch-ness* and I even own a CD of him reciting his work. This poem speaks deeply to my soul and deserves to be shared in its fullness with my friends, "in the tremble of thought taking the vast outside into ourselves."
You know the brick path in the back of the house,
the one you see from the kitchen window,
the one that bends around the far end of the garden
where all the yellow primroses are?
And you know how if you leave the path
and walk into the woods you come
to a heap of rocks, probably pushed
down during the horrors of the Ice Age,
and a grove of tall hemlocks, dark green now
against the light-brown fallen leaves?
And farther on, you know
the small footbridge with the broken railing
and if you go beyond there you arrive
at the bottom of sheep's head hill?
Well, if you start climbing, and you
might have to grab on to a sapling
when the going gets steep,
you will eventually come to a long stone
ridge with a border of pine trees
which is as high as you can go
and a good enough place to stop.
The best time for this is late afternoon
when the sun strobes through
the columns of trees as you are hiking up,
and when you find an agreeable rock
to sit on, you will be able to see
the light pouring down into the woods
and breaking into the shapes and tones
of things and you will hear nothing
but a sprig of a birdsong or leafy
falling of a cone or nut through the trees,
and if this is your day you might even
spot a hare or feel the wing-beats of geese
driving overhead toward some destination.
But it is hard to speak of these things
how the voices of light enter the body
and begin to recite their stories
how the earth holds us painfully against
its breast made of humus and brambles
how we who will soon be gone regard
the entities that continue to return
greener than ever, spring water flowing
through a meadow and the shadows of clouds
passing over the hills and the ground
where we stand in the tremble of thought
taking the vast outside into ourselves.
Still, let me know before you set out.
Come knock on my door
and I will walk with you as far as the garden
with one hand on your shoulder.
I will even watch after you and not turn back
to the house until you disappear
into the crowd of maple and ash,
heading up toward the hill,
piercing the ground with your stick.
~ Billy Collins ~
(The Art of Drowning)
Friday, November 13, 2009
To conquer oneself is a greater task than conquering others.
-- The Buddha
I had this seemingly simple little process tucked away among saved files and after Sandra's blog yesterday which spoke, among other things, of discipline, it fairly jumped out to me. It sounds deceptively simple, but there can be great power in simplicity!
I wonder if this is something we could do together -- make a 30-day commitment...I think we can comment on this blog as our forum (???), instead of creating a team to see if this makes any difference at all in our lives. (If it seems to be something we want to continue with we can create a team in December.)
Each morning, I post 3 things I am committing to do that day. (If your tasks require revisiting, come back and click on "Edit" to complete them as the day marches on.)
1. Something I absolutely will do, like breathe or get out of bed.
2. Something I have been putting off for a while (days, months, years...it doesn't matter, but one of those things I hide behind!)
3. Something fun/rewarding.
Next morning, let us know how many you achieved and post your next 3.
What do you think? Wanna' play with me? In any case, I'm beginning today and doing it here, because I want a witness!
Fri, Nov 13 (our LUCKY DAY!) - Sun, Dec 13?
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
That's all (and that's enough when it's Mary Oliver)....
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
~ Mary Oliver ~
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