she just wants

source unknown – but I do wish I could have drawn this!

SHE JUST WANTS

She does not want to fit into anyone’s box.
She just wants to love the earth, her fingers deep in spring soil; to remain strong
and engaged; to let her words spill onto the page.
She doesn’t want a product to justify her day, or to defend or explain herself.
She just wants a walk by the lake, creativity in process, evening wine; to snuggle in front of a winter fire with a good book and her dog by her side.

She does not want to go forth into tumultuous throngs.
She just wants to touch the hearts of those few she calls friend, or to whom
she extends the pen of discovery.
She does not want to listen to discord or chaos.
She just wants to live simply, choose silence or animated conversation
or Bach cello suites.

She does not want additives, modifications, directives or exclusions.
She just wants to ensure the health and well-being of living earth and her creatures.
She does not want to see the world collapse around her offspring.
She just wants to speak up for what she believes, for what is morally right and just.

She does not want 50 years of social progress burned in one moment of fevered frenzy.
She just wants people to listen to/treat/learn from one another with respect.
She does not want self-serving skeptics to destroy natural connections.
She wants us to re-member our humanity and shared responsibility toward our world.

She does not want to live in division, hate, falsehood.
She just wants to lift up what is beautiful and true with.

She does not want it to end quite yet.

3.7.17 fastwrite in ‘writing outside’ group, prompted by ‘Employed,’
by Beverly Rollwagen, from She Just Wants. Nodin Press, 2004

to be or to do

To be or to do — is that the question? For reasons perhaps found in the stars, this thread has run through no fewer than four intense conversations I have had in the past 48 hours with thoughtful, creative, middle-age women.

The specifics are less important than the shared tug-of-war within. Between feeling a need to be ‘out there’ offering proven gifts to others, tugged by a sense of generalized obligation; and a vague sense of being called by a very different need, the one that lives deep ‘in here’ at the core of who we in fact are.

Universal? You bet! And I could ask a whole host of additional questions, such as ‘why do we only ask this question in our 50’s or 70’s?’ ‘What has our culture DONE to us that we no longer value our BEING?’ Or ‘what about the moral imperative to make the world a better place?’ Apparently us Vermont women are not the only ones poking around in the hearts of ourselves; Parker Palmer recently wrote, in part:

. . . Who we ‘be’ is far more important than what we do or how well we do it  . . We pay a terrible price if we value our doing over our being. When we have to stop “doing” — e.g., because of job loss, illness, accident, or the diminishments that can come with age — we lose our sense of worthiness.
– Parker Palmer, On Being March 26, 2014

For my part, I come by this struggle honestly. One parent ‘just wanted me to be happy;’ the other wanted to know ‘what I had done to justify my existence today.’

Perhaps, after all, the question is NOT whether TO BE or TO DO. Perhaps, it is how to truly live a balance between BOTH being AND doing, such that one is nurtured sufficiently to be able to give well.

 

wisdom of soft strength

Photo of Elizabeth Lesser

credit originmagazine

“Strength without softness becomes aggression. Softness without strength becomes victimhood.”

On her Facebook post this evening, Elizabeth Lesser – a wonderful wise woman and co-founder in 1977 of the Omega Institute – shared a practice from her recent workshop. It was so beautiful, this way of bringing us into the paradox of strong and soft, that I needed to share it here.

“While leading my annual weekend workshop there, I taught my students a practice that I have been using in my own life—a way of cultivating a fearless and strong backbone, and at the same time staying open and soft.

Have you ever seen a statue or picture of the Buddha sitting or standing, with an expression of peace, extending his right arm and holding up his hand in the gesture of STOP? That is called the abhaya mudra and it symbolizes an attitude of fearlessness and strength. Take a few quiet breaths right now, come into stillness, straighten your back, extend your right arm, and make the gesture of abhaya mudra. Just holding my hand like that for a few seconds gives me a feeling of inner power. It reminds me that I am a noble human being; that I already know the way if I follow my heart with clarity and courage. It says: it’s is good to be strong. To know my own mind. To speak and live my truth. Continue reading

writer tell all

balance

balance

One of the things I most love about blogging (which by extension means ‘the blogging community’ both broadly and narrowly defined) is the layers of serendipity that emerge between/among individuals and themes. Take this blog hop, for instance, with its theme of ‘writers tell all.’ I have just been posting a few snippets about why women write – a particular passion of mine and the focus of my work-in-the-world.

And now the questions point squarely at me, thanks to Monica Frazer (who by the way has just joined the incredibly gracious, informative and connected WordPress family – congratulations!!!). According to the template of her invitation to me, I see two responses and a set of nominations in my immediate future:

Question 1: What are you working on? 

Two chapbooks of poetry: Turnings about the many cycles of release and return as inhabitants of the natural world; and Fruit and Seed: Digging in the Mother Garden, a collection decades in the making and finally blossoming forth this summer about mothering and its lack.

Release and launch of Hear Me, See Me: Incarcerated Women Write, an unedited anthology of the raw prose and poetry of Vermont’s incarcerated women with whom my partner and I write weekly. Our Burlington VT launch event is set for October 3; the book is currently available from the publisher, Orbis Books, and Amazon. Continue reading

balancing need

Credit: magnitudemedia

Credit: magnitudemedia

Surrounded by abundance sometimes
I forget to balance my own needs
with all the others that move in
and around my just-full-enough life

wrapping their tendrils around fragile
lessons learned through lean and bend
or occasional SNAP! of the too-long held
whose growing time is passed, yet clings

as if tenacity might bring renewed growth
to the vine yet instead, crowds out
young energy sprawling itself greenly
into tomorrow. Today it’s balance I want

to re-member as I mold my pieces together —
old, new, not-yet-become or even imagined . . .
How one plucked blossom emerges again
and again into ongoing abundance, season

upon season! Love is like that. Balance, too.
The more we practice, the easier it becomes.
The more we have, the more there is.
The more we give, the more we get.

I strive to recall the simplicity of this knowing
that balance is a practice like writing, love –
not a cancellation of one extreme
for the other. No erasure, just active paradox

reaching a shared sense of purpose,
achieved with intention and focus
looping and turning to create a whole
of otherwise disparate parts.

With time.
With practice.
With patience.
Balance.

swb
2-25-13