considering trees

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

sometimes i am stuck
in the mind-skin of the child i used to be
when i’d climb my pepper tree
to hide from all
that i was not,
would never be.

this morning i awoke,
sun glancing through full branches
of my pear tree,
reminding me that love
is quite enough

and that whatever this day brings,
whatever the years may hand me,
i shall always find a tree.

Written for Marina Sofia’s prompt for dVerse Poetics in response to the question: “Describe a morning when you awoke without fear.” I also had in mind an earlier  prompt of Shanyn’s that I was unable to write to. 

Keeping Sabbath–Monday Meanderings

The Paradise

Last Sunday, I chose to practice Sabbath—a tradition that was a strong factor in my growing up years, but that waned with my work as a nurse…patients need care every day of the week. Most of us know and understand the concept of a day of rest, but our frenetic lifestyles tend to get in the way.

Sabbath crisscrosses most cultural, spiritual, religious and secular societies, even pre-dating biblical times. The Babylonian Enuma Elish prescribed a day of repose. In the Genesis creation story, God rested after his six days of work and, I suppose it worked out well so that he added it to those tablets of stone he handed on to his people through Moses. Wicca, Islam. Buddhism, Cherokee teaching and others all caution humans to take a break, chill out, and rest.
Wisdom, it seems to me, embraces our need for refreshment, for replenishment of body, mind spirit and emotion, for regeneration and reflection.

For many of us, well, for me anyway, the need to be in control seems to take hold and it becomes oh-so-hard to let go of time, accept idleness and non-productivity and, perhaps, the feeling of uselessness. I suspect that there is a trust issue here. Can I really believe that God will take care of things in my absence? Can I believe that the work of creation on this particular day will go on without my amazing intervention?

So, what kind of things did I, Ms-Doing-Not-Being do?

• Meditation—a bit longer than my ordinary routine.
• Journaling. And in the process really waking up to what was happening around me. I wrote of all the wonderful sensory experiences that the pristine late-spring day offered—the finches song, the brilliant orange of the male oriole at our feeder, the spicy scent of new-born flowers and the basil in the vegetable garden. I noticed the play of light and shadow in the now-expansive boughs of the ash tree we planted almost twenty years ago and watched the hummingbirds fly back and forth sipping nectar from both flowers and feeders. I felt the gentle kiss of the breeze and delighted in my dogs’ warm bodies flanking me on either side. I listened to David busy chopping spices in the kitchen.

Photo Credit: D. Slotto

Photo Credit: D. Slotto

• Spa Stuff. I pampered myself with a Pomegranate/Cranberry exfoliating scrub courtesy of Burt’s Bees, did a manicure/pedicure and, well, thought about taking a nap. I thanked my body for its almost-seven decades of service and praised the many scars that it bears, a reminder of the life-threatening illness I have survived for now.
• Creativity. Maybe some consider engaging in the creative process to be work. For moi, I allowed the muse to come out and play, more by way of brainstorming than actualizing any project. Sabbath time allows ideas to gestate and gives clarity as to where to take them.
• And, yes, a final confession. I did laundry. So, it wasn’t a perfect Sabbath, but for this woman who tends towards OCD, that’s probably not a bad thing. Besides, we needed clean clothes!

Photo Credit: Bergen Linen

Photo Credit: Bergen Linen

That night I slept well, but will I be able to repeat the experience? My history tells me that this is not something that comes easily to me. I am aware that Sabbath doesn’t have to always be on Saturday or Sunday, or even occupy an entire twenty-four hours. How would life be different if, each day, I remember to tuck in an hour or even minutes for the divine repose, sit back and let go?

“What If?”–in Writing and in Life

As writers, we’re cautioned to write what we know–or to do some thorough research before diving into a subject that is murky to us.  A good way to do that is to take a situation with which we’re familiar and ask ourselves the question “What if?” For “Winter is Past” I asked myself What if something happened to Paula, my kidney donor? That was the jumping off point for the story that evolved through many rewrites.

This morning at meditation I realized the same question doesn’t work so well in life. As we face difficulties and uncertainties in our journey on earth, many “What if’s” present themselves to us. What if my investments tank? What if I lose my job? What if this is cancer? What if I never get published? It’s so easy to drain our energy by ruminating on our worries–on all the possible “What if’s” looming on the horizon. And it’s betrays our lack of trust in God.

When “What if” knocks at our door, can we realize the invitation to give attention to the present moment? That is where opportunity–our  potential–dwells. Here’s to relegating all those worrisome questions to the creative process.

Writer’s Doubt

Being a writer is fraught with doubt: self-doubt throughout the process of creating; the doubt that surrounds submission and rejection; doubt that you will get an agent and then, when you do, if she/he will be able to sell your work.

Is the antidote for doubt faith or trust or a bit of both? Faith that your writing is part of a greater Plan, that you are sharing in the Divine Creative Impulse. Trust that you have done your best and that your agent will do the same. Taking the risk and putting a part of yourself out there to be accepted, or criticized, or ignored.

And while you wait, just keep on writing.