Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Change

from Poetic Asides prompt: a change poem

Today I saw a black monarch,
signaling the full breadth of summer.
Yet already,
the solstice has passed and
the days are shortened by seconds.

Sometimes change comes
on the wings of a butterfly,
sometimes by the shifting of stars.

For me, these past few days,
it has come with tears and
heart strings pulled taut.
But my spirit rebounds and
I change,

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

office cleansing

I don't know if this is an actual concept, but I did it for real: put away files from a work project that had become toxic to me and from the files to the box to the garage it goes. As a result my work space is less cluttered, I have new spaces for new (and healthier) work files to eventually be placed in and I feel oh-so much better.

Shifting gears is painful. Yesterday was very tough--I could feel my heart strings being pulled taut, but today is better. While doing my 8 a.m. laps, I could feel my breath resume a natural pattern unlike yesterday's manic hyperbreathing. When I am in a toxic place, I cannot read much or write at all. I am stuck. But once the change has begun, air begins to filter back into my internal systems and I sense my psyche opening up and aligning with the healthy energy of the my Higher Power. Ideas for next steps, whether a new recipe at home or a new work potential, begin to emerge and the cosmos returns more energy.

Example: within 24 hours, I have received communication from colleagues that support my change and that might be offering new venues for my talents.

And then there is the writing. Here I am again at the blog and while I have "miles to go" before I feel I am back in rhythm with writing, I have a good book of prompts, by Julie Cameron, The Right to Write, that is my take-it-with-me-everywhere book. I am going to see a funny movie with a friend on Thursday and movies often inspire me to write. I am moving again and so are words in my mind; even though it's 111 degrees at 12:30 p.m. as I write this, I feel lighter.

So try an office cleansing if you are stuck: get rid of papers and newspaper articles, notecards and whatever clings to the negative in your life. Box it, toss it, and let the open space around you offer possibilities for your skills, talents, energies. It works!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

running on empty

I am listening to my husband chuckle about the post-motorcycle ride story of his friend who, with him, went up Mt. Lemmon today but, on the way down, ran out of gas.

It's good, I suppose, to find humor in those circumstances, but I know how it feels to be running on empty and I am not laughing. That's how my week is ending: on fumes, no fuel.

Part of it is the 110 degree heat, the dusty wind and unrelenting sun in June. But a larger part of it is what happens when I put my heart into community work and while the essence of the work throbs with good intentions, it is soured (the work, not my heart) by the rags and bones of the human condition.

So today, I am pausing to refuel. I swam laps in the Y pool and had a long cool coffee and longer conversations with two good friends. I am making a renewed commitment to refocus on the community work I can do (but won't get money for) with those whom I do trust and respect and to refocus on my creative life. One (now former) colleague and new friend and I want to start a Creative Cluster, based on Julie Cameron's guide found on p. 341-349 in The Vein of Gold. I send out this blog invitation to my readers to see if, for those who live in Tucson, this is something they would like to join. Here are the guidlines (summary):

1. A weekly gathering of 2-3 hours
2. No self-appointed gurus
3. Listen
4. Respect one another
5. Expect change in the group
6. Be autonomous
7. Be self-loving

So, if you are interested in becoming a part of a Creative Cluster, let me know and we can refuel together!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dark Farm Forest

From Poetic Asides prompt to write a welcoming poem

The picture shows bracken hiding
most of the broken gravel driveway.
But, fifty years ago, the sound of rocks rubbing on the
tires of our Ford, welcomed me to my grandparents' farm.

It seemed then, to be
a long way to drive and even longer to run--
from the white-porched house to Randall Road
where we were forbidden to cross alone.

Strangely now, as the unkept unloved trees and grass
have turned into a dark forest,
the magic of the farm is stronger
as remnants of memory blaze
even as the shadows darken the welcoming past.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

buddha bird

I know that in the summer when the temps get to 105 which they have this week, I hunker down inside with the air-conditioning as much as I can between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Early mornings are still nice for a walk and once the sun sets, walking and outdoor pleasures are plentiful. But I worry, sometimes, about our wildlife critters and how they stay cool during the hot days.

When I was walking our dog in our nearby natural park this week, I watched a bird (unknown type) settle in comfortably on the spines of a cactus. S/he fluffed her feathers and closed her eyes and I thought: ahh, a buddha bird. She really did seem content and I could detect a small curve in her panting beak.

So, as the summer heat throttles up past one hundred degrees, I want to get through the days like a buddha bird.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

sounds of summer

This morning as I was doing my laps in our neighborhood pool, I heard the sound of cicadas rubbing their legs together. It reminded me of 20 plus years ago, when my son and I would go to the pool at a hotel where cicadas breeded beneath the palo verde trees. All summer their high-pitched cckkkking sound would play in the background as we swam, paddled and played.

Growing up in the midwest, I recall the sounds of the leaves on the corn stalks brushing against each other in the wind. We went to my grandparent's farm several times a week to play in the fields and go the garden to pull weeds, pick berries, peas, lettuce.

Every season has its sounds but with the sounds of summer it is intermingled with a sense of possibility--of books to read while in the lounge chair, of movies to watch on a swealtering afternoon, of lightening bugs to catch in crystalline jars, of food to harvest when ripened and ready to pick.

This year, the season feels tinged with uncertainties that swirl around us in the global news. And when "good news" comes, I have to grab it while it is ripe and share it at the table.

Our son was just promoted to Sous Chef at the Arizona Inn. He has worked at this profession since he was 12 and setting tables for his Grandmother Lila with her catering jobs. He plucked chickens for her and then got early high school jobs as a dishwasher, then prep, then line cook at local places. Seven years ago he started at the Arizona Inn, took and passed the Culinary Institute's PRO Chef Assessment test, and lately has been functioning as the Inn's Banquet Manager. So while this is a big leap up the industry's career ladder, he has earned it with hard work, burns, cuts to his finger, metal filament in his eye--all part of the profession he has chosen.

And, although it's not quite clear yet what will happen in the long run, it appears that my husband may have a few more months of a different type of assignment at the UA so, at least, our health insurance will continue and he will accrue points for retirement when he is ready to take it.

So summer is bringing some early gifts and the table of life is bountiful if I don't get preoccupied with the turds on the table!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

writing for a reason

I had an interesting and helpful meeting Friday while I was in Phoenix with Mark. (His job interview went well but nothing definitive yet to share).

I met with Diane Owens from She has several small writers groups going in the Scottsdale area. Most of them are focused on writing memoirs. As I was talking and listening with her, I realized that going down the memoirs path is not for me at this time. Yes, I am doing a blog which is in the memoir-genre and I started it to help me keep my sanity-by-writing during my time with my ankle injury. But, she wisely pointed out, unless I get sponsors (which I don't intend to try to do), and/or develop a wide readership (which I would like but obviously don't have nor do I have to time to devote to improving my blog platform to entice more readership), I am spending my valuable writing time and energy on a genre that doesn't have much traction.

I mostly agree with this assessment and think where I do want to put my writing energies is into my a) poetry and b) short story writing. I might like to expand my essay talents, too, but less sure about that.

So, just to put the word out there--I may be taking a break from my blog and/or taking it down some time this summer. I don't have to decide right now and won't but I am putting my thoughts about this on the "page" so I can reflect back on them and see what should be happening next.

Right now, as the summer heat is building up on this Sunday afternoon, the room that I write in is also warming up. It faces the Western sky and absorps the heat from the hottest time of the day. But it's cooler than Mark's office space and, if he has to shift his work to a home office for more hours of the day, I may need to shift my workspace as well. In any case, writing in mid-afternoon, even with the shades drawn isn't ideal so I just have to be open to natural and woman-made changes in the days ahead.

How does changing a workspace affect a writer's reason to write? That's a question I will pose to my readers for feedback, as well as to myself.