a Mind with Joy

She wears my name and it’s a tug of war.

She’s as tough as they come…

I know this for sure.

She’s the guest I can’t ask to leave,

I can only tell her, “It’s all right. Stay.”,

even when we’re in a quarrel.

Even then, with tight chest, fists up and tears coming down,

I retreat to a far corner of our tiny home

hiding my face in my shaking hands.

And then I find out she is scared, just like me,

and not like me,

she doesn’t know about joy.

She doesn’t know about waking up

early to make pictures of friends harvesting

food from their fields at dawn,

or about the satisfaction

of sharing my pictures in a

paper that is delivered to every postal

box in our little town.

For her, there is only fear.

Only fear of being found out as a fraud.

Only fear of being caught out in the cold

with out a coat, locked out of her house

because I have found a new partner,

a new wife called joy.

Joy, who is a little more kind, who wraps me up in her arms and

with a big sloppy kiss, she says, “Go on.

You can do it. You are, in fact,

fabulous, and nobody does

being you

better than you can.”

“If the things you do bring you joy,” she says,

“than you can be sure

you are the woman for the job–

the best one

to get the thing

done.”

Rain pattered just a few drops

last night. Plants in their pots

still dry as bone this morning

even with a pattern of small

circles on the sand.

The sun was shining when I woke, groggy

from an early morning visit by the girl

called inspiration.  I invited her to come

before shutting off the light

last night.

I never know with this wild woman–

I just never know when

she will show

me

up.

When the timing is right…and my ducks are in a row.

I have watched myself, throughout life, move in and out of action towards what seems to be my purpose here on this planet. It has probably looked from a distance like I am winding a crazy labyrinth through life, but for me it has always been about following a feeling of aliveness, and finding a life path that precipitates that feeling. The times when I experience myself going astray are times when I am unsure of the stability, or have a clear lack, of one of my basic needs. The times that I see myself thriving and moving forward with clear passion and purpose are instances when it occurs to me that I have my basic ducks in a row.

During a recent two-week road trip to Canada I saw the difference it makes to have my basic needs taken care of.  I observed the futility of trying to focus on any other thing when I had not secured – and felt unsure of how to procure – food, fuel or shelter.

I stayed for a few days with a friend of my dad’s who works as a county councillor and he was sharing with me his thoughts on the governance of a community.  We explored the possibility that never before now, in our culture, have we ignored the need for security in all three of what are considered to be humans’ basic needs at the same time.  Instead, we are putting our focus on “progress” and expansion to the detriment of our lives and communities.  I am seeing the possible effect of this misstep in my own experience as I live on the virtual edge of homelessness and fear of exposure to the elements.  There is essentially no extra energy or attention for self-expression, expansion or creation.

In the last few years, my urge to have a home of my own has been getting stronger. I didn’t realize until recently that I probably won’t be able to get on with my life, so to speak, until I get that sorted out.  Author Sonia Choquette talks about the idea that we can really only take on and have miraculous results with our current heart’s desires. She speaks of having had an urge to write a book but not being able to get going with it. Upon further reflection she realized that, at that moment, what she desired most was rest, tidiness in her home, and a chance to spend quality time with her young children.

There is a time for every purpose, and I am seeing that the going can be maddeningly slow when I am taking on a purpose of mine that is meant for a later date, or when I am looking for inspiration in my work without having secured a roof (literal or metaphorical) over my head.  Lately I have been coming up with all sorts of ideas for my work in the future, but I haven’t been able to get myself moving with any one of them. Just as Choquette shared in her story, my failure  in having these ideas take flight doesn’t seem to be for fear of success, though that may play a small role in my hesitation. Instead it seems to be more a case of timing, and lining up my ducks (and getting roofs over their heads). Currently I am hearing the call, loud and clear, that it is time for this cancerian homebody to find a rock of my own, and when I do, when my basic needs are taken care of…watch out world, because here I come!

Stillness First

“Your first daily priority should be stillness, attention to
what you really know and what you really feel.”
–Martha Beck, Leaving the Saints

I receive a quote from Martha Beck in my email inbox on weekdays.  Almost without exception, they are perfectly relevant to my life, or a close friend’s.  I read this one yesterday as I walked up the grassy hill at Owen Park, having just spent the first couple hours of my day down at the beach: walking, practicing yoga, meditating, swimming and writing (the beginnings of a blog post that I will complete later today).  Sometimes the quotes give me direction, and sometimes confirmation.