Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Poems/Poetry

Pandemic Haikus Collection by Anjum Wasim Dar

covid haiku

 

red killer virus

unseen contagious, small

stay clean, far, or  fall.

 

Social distancing

washing hands fast becoming

new law of all lands.

 

Corona dharna

houses safe, don’t wire us,no

lathi-charge*, just soap.

 

who locked me in first

now corona virus has

taken my revenge.

 

value the window

all the world is in it now

zoom in side, zoom out.

*lathi-charge: (India) The police tactic of charging a crowd with lathis or batons in order to disperse it.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Posted in April 2020 Poetry Month, COVID-19/Pandemic, interNational Poetry Month, Michael Dickel, Photograph, poem, poetry

Almond blossoms in the Time of Coronavirus—Jerusalem, 2020

Next to rusted bars
white blossoms promise
painting time will come.

©2020 Michael Dickel

Photograph of almond flowering through rusted fence.
Almond blossoms in Time of Coronavirus
Jerusalem, 2020
iPhone photograph ©2020 Michael Dickel
Posted in Poems/Poetry, poetry, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

Sacred Space in Community

I am currently away at a retreat. While here, I have been reminded of the importance of community. This community is working together towards a goal of having an imagination emporium. A physical space where the community gathers to imagine ways to transform the world to a more just society.

I thought, “We have that!

The Bardo Group imagines peace and justice every  day. And we walk with each other even with our diverse geographies.

That is Sacred Space.

by Lynda flickr.com/just1snap (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
by Lynda flickr.com/just1snap
(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Today, I would like to invite us all to build something together.  Words that imagine justice for the lost, the least and the lonely. I am sure there is an official name for what I am proposing, but I am going to call it “communal haiku.” I will start us out with a haiku and I invite each reader to respond in their own way. Each of us building on the gift of one another. Sacred Space in community, building a gift together that imagines a transformed world.

This is inspired by a reading from on Hebrew scripture, Isaiah 25:6-10. Reaching back and including another community!

Celebrated wines poured
into cut-crystal goblets.
Prisoner’s freedom.

What comes next?

Shalom,
Terri Stewart

terrisignoffblog

Posted in Essay, Poems/Poetry, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

Sacred Space in All That Is

I am not quite done with the reading I wanted to do to create the final posting in the series of Sacred Space in the body, so I am going to share this recent post I wrote over at BeguineAgain.com.

…I was, I AM, I will always be…

Really, that’s the definition of the Holy Name that G*d passes on to Moses. This infinitive form of the verb “to be,” makes me think of even more! Reaching my fingers back through time and forward to the future.

Couple that with the declaration in the book of Genesis,

Let us make humans in our own image! Male AND female G*d created them

Lawrence T. Richardson expanded a bit on this. Instead of our traditional understanding that would be more of male OR female, G*d created them, it is male AND female. He is a transgender, queer-identified pastor, someone who has been created both male and female and claims both. Pastor Richardson talks of transgender people being the epitome of G*d since they are both male AND female rather than either/or. Now, I don’t really agree that there is a hierarchy of being most made in the image of G*d, but I do agree that the great I AM is embodied in all people.

One of the things I love about physics is the discussion of matter in regular plain-old Newtonian physics. Matter is neither created nor destroyed. Therefore, the dust that we experience has always been, is, and will always be. The things we breathe and touch that make us sneeze fits, have always been, are, and will always be. We are all connected through earthly and cosmic stardust (to dip into Carl Sagan’s language a bit). We, through our connection to the divine and through our connection to physical matter have always been, are, and will always be.

How can I not feel holiness, sacredness, the divine if we are not all connected?

stardust shimmers

ten thousand light years ago

birthing new life

It is at moments when I reflect on all that was, is, and shall be, that I feel fully connected and grounded in the Sacred Space in All That Is.

from the Hubble Telescope Infrared Horsehead Nebulae
from the Hubble Telescope
Infrared Horsehead Nebulae

Shalom and Amen,

Terri

Originally published at http://www.BeguineAgain.com

Photograph from the Hubble Telescope, Creative Commons License

terri

REV. TERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual. (The 2014 issue just released!)

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com, www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to terri@cloakedmonk.com

Posted in Essay, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

Sacred Space in a Phrase

I think it is fair to say that most of us here are word people. I appreciate hearing fun words, seeing a well-turned phrase, being sucked into a surplus of meaning…and wonder. Today, I heard a phrase that has captured my imagination and has launched a poetic exploration along with finding an image that I thought expressed the spirit of the phrase. What is it?

The soul is such a shy creature.

That is utterly delicious to me. I hope you enjoy the following haiku and perhaps, you will offer a poetic exploration of your own in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts.

the soul

peeking ’round corners

stretching frail tendrils upward

such a shy creature

flower
by Terri Stewart (CC BY-NC-ND)

Post, poem, and photo, Terri Stewart (c) 2014

terriTerri Stewart ~ a member of our Core Team,  comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction with honors and is a rare United Methodist student in the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual.

Her online presence is “CloakedMonk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts (photography, mandala, poetry) and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com,www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com.
Posted in Culture/History, General Interest, grief, Liz Rice-Sosne, memoir, poem, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Poets/Writers

November 22, 1963, Lives in Memory

Haibun

I had been to lunch in Third House.  It was a warm spring day, just the sort of day to leave lunch early and walk in the sunshine.  I ambled over to Second House and plopped down in front of the TV.  I had spent my sophomore year here and I had always loved it – it felt like home more than any other dorm.  However, that day I was a senior, an upperclassman of 17 years of age.  While at Dobbs’ I had lived in each of these Queen Anne houses.  Today I lived in First House.  They were rickety and old, painted a dull boarding school gray.  None the less I was quite comfortable for they represented home for me for three of my four years at school.  I comfortably seated myself on a couch in front of the television.  It might no longer be my dorm, but it still felt cozy and I felt confident, that day so long ago.  That confidence must have come from some of that upperclassman swagger that one acquires as they move though their grades (although, to be honest, I didn’t have much swagger).  It felt strange as I did not have many confident days in my youth.

wild grey geese above

flew in perfect formation

chaos left behind

 

Haibun

I flipped on the black and white TV, there was no color in those days. “Oh My God. What was happening?” I was in an instant state of shock. President Kennedy had been shot right in from of my eyes – in his limo in Dallas, Texas. “Was this true?” There was growing chaos everywhere on the television, then this horrific  event seemed to ebb out of the television and blanket me. It was thick and dark. I knew that I must get away. I had to get up, go back to the lunchroom and tell of the shooting. I thought of our beautiful first lady and what her sadness must be like. It was so hard to move. I made myself leave.

woodpecker knocking

high above in the maple

a chick all grown up

 

Haibun

I ran back to the lunchroom and shouted out the news. I do not remember another thing that afternoon. I do remember crying myself to sleep that night filled with such emptiness, dread and a sense of loneliness. Of late, I have been reading a good deal about the Kennedys. I will never believe that this assassination evolved out of the crazy thoughts of one lone Soviet sympathizer. I also suspect that the full truth of those moments in Dallas that November 22nd of 1963 will not be known by the public within my lifetime.

shells upon a beach

dry cool windy autumn day

creation of sand

unnamed-2LIZ RICE-SOSNE a.k.a. Raven Spirit (noh where), perhaps the oldest friend to Bardo, is the newest member of The Bardo Group Core Team. She is also our new Voices for Peace project outreach coordinator and our go-to person for all things related to haiku.  She says she “writes for no reason at all. It is simply a pleasure.” Blogging, mostly poetry, has produced numerous friends for whom she has a great appreciation. Liz is an experienced blogger, photographer and a trained shaman. We think her middle name should be “adventure.”

Posted in General Interest, Liz Rice-Sosne

Waku-Doki

In January (01/20/14), the New York Time’s published an article titled “If Your Car Could Talk, Would it Speak Sensual Clarity?” I was particularly struck by the term Waku-Doki within the article.  I liked the way these words rolled off my tongue.  I enjoy how it feels when I say them, so much so that I thought them worth mentioning.  Following is an excerpt from the Times.  The article can be found here.  

“Akio Toyoda issued a directive asking designers to invigorate Toyota products with “energy, passion, and a sense of Waku-Doki, which was translated as “a palpable heart-pounding sense of excitement.”  The Calti studio responded with the FT-1.”

The FT-1 is the 6th car shown in the photo series of this article.  And it is indeed very sexy.  If anything contains Waku-Doki  the FT-1 surely does, especially if you are a wealthy 29 year old guy or in my case a 67 year old middle class woman.  Sure the car turns me on, but I think that the idea of Waku-Doki turns me on even more.  Let’s do a switch-up here.  Let us look again at haiku.  I have never heard the term Waku-Doki used when referring to haiku.  However, for me, getting haiku right produces a sense of Waku-Doki, as I understand it.  Please understand that I might remember only 3 Japanese verbal expressions from my time of living in Okinawa at the age of 21.  Very few words indeed!  Which is to say that should I connect the term Waku-Doki to haiku, those amongst us who do know Japanese might come down upon me with a very hard hammer!  But I like it!  I like the innate simplicity in it, and the innate complexity it holds.  This is what I love most about haiku.  It holds for the writer and reader both simplicity and complexity.  It would appear to have Waku-Doki.

Currently, I am looking out my window at newly fallen snow, just a couple of inches at the most.  The sight inspires me as nature always does. I wish to acknowledge the scene before me with a haiku.  I also wish to incorporate Waku-Doki as I understand it.  So let’s see where this leads to.  Today dear reader, write a haiku that has Waku-Doki … even if it is not appropriate for haiku.  Today pretend!  Be daring … have some Waku-Doki.  You might even want it with some Wasabi!  I have written several haiku below.  The last, written in the traditional 5-7-5 form is the only one that appears to possess Waku-Doki (for me).  Write a haiku or two with “a palpable heart-pounding sense of excitement” using the 5-7-5 tradition or not. Then leave your haiku to share with others in the comments section.  Have fun.

Photo Credit: Photo Bucket

1) squirrel inches deep in snow – flies off the branch for a nut

2) new fallen snow – warm water in the sunlight

3) snow falling – each flake different until they meld into water

4) a billion snow flakes

    meld as one when they become

    a wave of water

 – Liz Rice-Sosne

© 2013, essay and photographs, Liz Rice-Stone, All rights reserved

unnamed-2LIZ RICE-SOSNE a.k.a. Raven Spirit (noh where), perhaps the oldest friend to Bardo, is the newest member of The Bardo Group Core Team. She is also our new Voices for Peace project outreach coordinator and our go-to person for all things related to haiku.  She says she “writes for no reason at all. It is simply a pleasure.” Blogging, mostly poetry, has produced numerous friends for whom she has a great appreciation. Liz is an experienced blogger, photographer and a trained shaman. We think her middle name should be “adventure.”

Posted in Essay, General Interest, Liz Rice-Sosne, Poems/Poetry, poetry, Spiritual Practice, Writing

Haiku – A Spiritual Experience

600px-Poecile-atricapilla-001I am sitting here trying to remember what prompted me to write one haiku per day during the first 6 months of 2012.  I was ill, that was the first reason for doing so.  I wished to remain connected to my writing community, keep alive my connection with the friends that I had met online.  I knew that I could not manage an article daily so I needed to write something short.  I decided that haiku was the answer.  Was there any shorter form of poetry?  The learning and the writing that year became for me a spiritual experience.  It taught me to see the world through a new and different lens.  I am so grateful for this experience

I have always been drawn to haiku even when young.  What can be said in 17 syllables, those three short lines of 5, 7, 5 syllables?  It would be easy – just compose three short lines of poetry a day.  Those thoughts will tell you just how little I knew of haiku when I began.  Experience has shown me that many Americans have little knowledge of haiku seeing it simply as three lines of poetry with the 5-7-5-syllable count.  If seen this way the reader and writer of haiku will never be fully satisfied.

The first thing that one should know is that the syllable count fits Japanese words or syllables.  Japanese words or syllables are nothing like English language syllables.  When attempting to write a haiku there are many things to consider before considering the word count.  The second thing that I learned is that it is often written in one line.  Just one.  In Japan that line is often written from top to bottom.  It is vertical.  I do not write vertically.

Poignancy in haiku is important.  The most important thing about haiku for me is very hard to put into language.  For I see haiku as a language all its own.   A haiku ties things together.  Haiku conveys the depths of nature’s beauty and its power.  Haiku shows ones relationship with nature.  One haiku can express in a few words what it might take a psychologist an entire magazine article to profess.  Haiku can evoke within the reader new understanding.  I equate haiku to light.  It can dazzle in brightness.  It can illuminate a path.  It can act as a halo separating yet conjoining reader and writer through the poem.  You are placed within the poem.  Haiku connects the ancient with the modern, the light with the dark, and nature with man/womankind.

The book to which I turn most often for reference is “The Haiku Handbook, How To Share Write and Teach Haiku,” by William J. Higginson.  I would go so far as to say that he has he has “lived” haiku, making his teachings easy to understand and to apply.  When writing haiku my goal is to be living in the moment, to be “living haiku.”  It is a spiritual moment.  I wish to express that moment to you so that you feel what I feel.  I believe Higginson tells us that haiku is about the eloquence of sharing those feelings.  It is easy to say to your friend: “the sky is beautiful.”  But in doing so, you do not really convey what you feel.   Nor are you conveying any degree of real beauty.  According to Higginson, when we share the depths of what we feel through haiku we are building community.   What more important act is there?

The first thing that I do when writing a haiku is search for a kigo.  A kigo is a season word and mandatory in haiku.  Your haiku should be driven by what you feel for your subject and your choice of kigo.   I view the kigo as an anchor.  There are numerous kigo databases online.  New words are always being added.

We have just experienced a foot of snow here in the midwest.  The last time we had so much snow was 1982.  This is an immense weather event here.  Along with subzero temperatures accompanied by wind many of us are pretty much homebound.  I would like to share this large weather experience with you by writing a haiku.  I edit and re-edit before I am happy with them.  Each of these are a part of my process for creating one haiku.

wall of snow – broken branches dangling from trees (this sounds awkward to me)

or

deep white snow – hidden branches (this coveys little feeling)

or

drifting snow – a chickadee’s cap (this possesses the essence of what I am looking for)

Final haiku:

blowing drifting snow – chickadee’s black cap

– Liz Rice-Sosne

© 2013, essay, Liz Rice-Stone, All rights reserved
Photo credit ~ Black-capped Chickadee via Wikipedia and under CC A-SA 3.0 unported license

unnamed-2LIZ RICE-SOSNE a.k.a. Raven Spirit (noh where), perhaps the oldest friend to Bardo, is the newest member of The Bardo Group Core Team. She is also our new Voices for Peace project outreach coordinator and our go-to person for all things related to haiku.  She says she “writes for no reason at all. It is simply a pleasure.” Blogging, mostly poetry, has produced numerous friends for whom she has a great appreciation. Liz is an experienced blogger, photographer and a trained shaman. We think her middle name should be “adventure.”

Posted in Christianity, Poems/Poetry, Victoria C Slotto

Stars and Midnight Blue

Photo Credit: scienceblogs.com
Photo Credit: scienceblogs.com

i.
white rose in winter
miracles we don’t expect
our God comes to earth

ii.
silent star-filled night
newborn hope envelopes earth
flurries of pure joy.

iii

christmas eve arrives
children with eyes wide-open
stars and midnight blue

– Victoria C. Slotto

The title of this poem comes from a stunning Christmas album by Enya.
© 2013, poem, Victoria C. Slotto, All rights reserved

Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer's Expo March 2012
Victoria at the Palm Springs Writer’s Expo March 2012

2940013445222_p0_v1_s260x420VICTORIA C. SLOTTO (Victoria C. Slotto, Author: Fiction, Poetry and Writing Prompts) ~ is an accomplished writer and poet. Winter is Past, published by Lucky Bat Books in 2012, is Victoria’s first novel. A second novel is in process. On Amazon and hot-off-the-press nonfiction is Beating the Odds: Support for Persons with Early Stage Dementia. Victoria’s ebooks (poetry and nonfiction) are free to Amazon Prime Members. Link HERE for Victoria’s Amazon page.

Editor’s note: Congratulations, Victoria, on that the long awaited publication of print copies of Jacaranda Rain, Collected Poems, 2012, Beautifully done.

Posted in Essay, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

Sacred Space – Invitation to Practice

Today, I’m giving you a two-fer. A post based in my spiritual practice of photography that led creating something new (an animation) and a tanka! And then an invitation.

Invitation to Contemplation

Where is your light today? What is inspiring you? Transforming you? What is allowing you to be love to the world?

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”
― Gautama Buddha

rolling downhill

exuberant joy bubbling

authenticity

laid in unity with joy

foundation – loving kindness

downhill_animation

Invitation to Participation

During Advent, the time for Christians where they are preparing for Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Jesus, we will be running a creative invitation based on scripture that are in the common daily reading plan for many Christian traditions.

I would like to invite people to pick a day and sponsor it.

What that means is, if you are a photographer, maybe you would like to choose a day such as December 10 where the focus in on the poor and needy being refreshed with water. That leaves a lot of room open for various images. On December 10, then we would post your photo here with the scripture and have an invitation to those around the world to offer their response via posting a link to their own blog! You would be leading the community on that particular day!

Is it necessary to be of the Christian faith?

No. It is sacred scripture for Christians, so please respect it. But you can approach it from your tradition (or from no tradition). The emphasis is on creative response and crystallizing meaning as it pertains to your path. Advent is also the beginning of the Christian calendar year, so a theme of beginning again is also in play.

Is it possible to peak at the scripture?

Yes! The scripture choices are posted here.

What is a creative response?

Photography, artwork, mandala, essay, poems (and the many types there are), music, drama. Something that re-imagines what the words are saying and crystallizes meaning. The meaning may be a traditional point-of-view or it may be something that turns us upside down!

RSVP and Technicalities

Please contact me at cloakedmonk@outlook.com to negotiate the day or days you would like to sponsor. Deadline for submissions: November 10, 2013. I will ask you for your choice of scripture(s), a brief bio (2-3 sentences), any links you want to make to blogs or other things, and, of course, your submission(s).

sunset

Shalom and Amen,

Terri

© 2013, post and photos, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

terriREV. TERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual. (The 2014 issue just released!)

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com, www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk, and www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com

Posted in John Anstie, Music, Poems/Poetry

Devotion

William Blake
William Blake

The first and only time, in my life so far, that a piece of music has inspired me to write a poem directly about it, was when I heard a piece of music, composed by Sir John Tavener in 1982 and performed by Harry Christophers’ The Sixteen, whose eighteen members produce the most sublime choral sound I’ve ever heard. It was only by listening to the music, not particularly paying much attention to the words, that I was inspired to write this piece, which is a Haiku Triplet. It wasn’t until a little time after completing the poem, which was originally intended as a devotion to my wife, that I discovered an interesting connection between the music and a famous poet, who inspired Tavener to compose it in the first place. Only when I listened to the words, did I discover that Tavener had based his composition on William Blake‘s poem The Lamb, part of Blake’s Songs of Innocence and Experience, published in 1789. A full circle had thus turned, from poem to music and back again. I find it quite stirring that William Blake’s poem inspired John Tavener to write music to it and, in turn, Tavener’s music alone, my own poem, whose theme turns back to Blake’s original, perhaps because I think the wording of my poem can also be interpreted as devotional in a religious sense. My original title was in fact The Lamb, because that is the title of Tavener’s composition.

John Tavener
John Tavener

The most significant feature of this composition, which had the greatest impact on my poetic inspiration, is the way that the music cycles alternately between a seemingly discordant, if not quite atonal, series of musical passages and delicious, heart melting harmonies. It had the most striking effect on me. I should confess that I didn’t particularly like the piece at first, but now, every time I listen to it, I am transfixed and cannot help myself tearing up and choking at its beauty. It seems simply to mirror the cycles of life’s experience – from its hardest and most difficult periods to its happiest and most joyous moments and, with it, our responsibility to stay strong, particularly for those we love, through good times and bad, from the discordant times to the harmonious ones.

I cannot find a YouTube recording of The Sixteen singing this piece, but because of its brevity and simplicity, it is important to hear it with the purity and perfection of the best voices, in order to capture its depth and spirit, and the Tenebrae Choir, founded by Nigel Short of the famous King’s Singers, here provide the nearest thing I can find to this quality:

I think I’ve captured the essence of the Japanese poetic form of haiku, which is the seventeen-syllable 5-7-5 three-line verse structure with a requirement to contain “season words,” or Kigo. The choice of this poetic form was very deliberate, not least because it is, by its very nature, capable of distilling the essence of its subject and because Tavener’s composition is also brief, at only three and a half minutes.

Notwithstanding the background, the fascinating influences, coincidences and connections, this poem was and is dedicated to my wife, with whom I have shared a few highs and lows during our nearly forty years together.

This may seem an odd thing to suggest you do, but, in spite of the fact that the choir is singing Blake’s words, I do like to read my poem (contemplatively), whilst listening to the music at the same time …

I leave it to you.

Devotion

(aka “The Lamb”)

From the coldest snow
To the warmest sun you go
And I go with you

From blossom of spring
To golden leaves of autumn
I bathe in your light

From the beginning
To ending of the seasons
I am ever yours.

– John Anstie

© 2011, essay and, poem (edited 2013), John Anstie, All rights reserved

[The poem was also published on the Marriott Love Poems Competition website in March 2011; it didn’t win any prizes, but gave me a bit of a buzz for a short while].

Photo credits ~ Blake sketch by by John Flaxman circa 1804 and in the U.S. public domain; Tavener by Clestur via Wikipedia and under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license
You Tube video uploaded by shawshank4u

John_in_Pose_Half_Face3JOHN ANSTIE (My Poetry Library and 42) ~ is a British poet and writer, a contributing editor here at Bardo, and multi-talented gentleman self-described as a “Family man, Grandfather, Oc casional Musician, Amateur photographer and Film-maker, Apple-MAC user, Implementation Manager, and Engineer.  John participates in d’Verse Poet’s Pub and is a player in New World Creative Union. He’s been blogging since the beginning of 2011. John is also an active member of The Poetry Society (UK).

product_thumbnail.php51w-rH34dTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_

John has been involved in the recent publication of two anthologies that are the result of online collaborations among two international groups of amateur and professional poets. One of these is The Grass Roots Poetry Group, for which he produced and edited their anthology, “Petrichor* Rising. The other group is d’Verse Poet Pub, in which John’s poetry also appears The d’Verse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry, produced and edited by Frank Watson.

* Petrichor – from the Greek pɛtrɨkər, the scent of rain on the dry earth.

Posted in Spiritual Practice, story, Terri Stewart

Connecting to Our Story

New Life, New Story
New Life, New Story

Often times, we look back at our lives and we can see the story. But is that story really the heart of the matter? How do we connect to the heart of our story in the present moment? Taking meaning from what is now to illuminate what was then.

At the core of every moment lies the heart of the cosmos, and my heart, and yours.

~Margaret D. McGee, Haiku–the Sacred Art

Today, I’d like to try a technique that Margaret McGee teaches in her book referenced above. She uses it to teach haiku. If you feel comfortable with that, I would definitely encourage you! If you feel there is another creative form calling forth from you, then use that–music, dance, poetry.

You will need up to 20 minutes for this exercise. Review all the steps before you start, unless you’re like me, in which case you just jump in!

Make a chart something like this (you probably will need extra room under sight!):

table

Now, if it is possible, find a nice place outside to sit comfortably and to take in your surroundings.

Relax, breathe deeply, look around.

  • Now–What do you smell? It’s spring–are there flowers blooming? Can you smell them? Not all smells are serene! It could be something else altogether!
  • Then–Close your eyes. Let go and stroll through your memories. Is there a particular scent from your past (last week? childhood?) that is arising for you?
  • Now–Write down the first thing you see! And keep on filling it in. Our eyes can take in so many things! We can see, arguably, over 100,000 different colors! What words can you create that describes the individuality in what you see?
  • Then–Close your eyes. Let go and stroll through your memories. Is there a particular color or scene from your past that is arising for you?

Continue on in this pattern for each category.

Now, get a fresh sheet of paper or use the back of your grid. Choose a few images from your lists that are resonating with you and with each other. These images may all be from the present moment or they may be from past moments. In particular, if you want to use the present to cast meaning on your past story, search for threads that connect across time.

Go and do! Create your artwork (or soulwork) in haiku, other poetry forms, photography, collage, painting, mandala, essay, etc. Whatever way calls to you. Take time now to make meaning and to add to the depth and meaning of your own story.

table2

For me, what is resonating is the bitterness of coffee, addiction, wind that is too strong. Yikes–what can I do with that?

stormy winds of spring

whistle through my breaking heart–

promises unkept

Aaah, well, this exercise today seems to have brought up some memories. What is clear to me is that our stories are never finished. We can continue to add meaning and to find new meaning and to have alternate meanings! A surplus of meaning.

The full story behind this new story has been started before if you would like to read it.

Shalom,

Chaplain Terri

© 2013, essay, haiku, and photograph, Terri Stewart, all rights reserved

Terri StewartTERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday Chaplain, Senior Content Editor, and Site Co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a recent graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction with honors and is a rare United Methodist student in the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual.

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts (photography, mandala, poetry) and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com, www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk,  and  www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com.
Posted in Spiritual Practice, story, Terri Stewart

What are you witness to?

tracy-arm-fjord-copy

What are you witness to? What story have you seen? Where has grace moved in your life?

I’ve just returned from vacation. There were so many stories told if I just slowed down and listened or watched. There was the mother holding a young child’s hands as he ran along the pool’s edge; the young man from Indonesia who works day after day with no days off; the staff who rush to the port side of the boat so they can see where we are going or have been, their only contact with a new world from a distance or from behind a camera.

Grace moved in my heart at every encounter with the people and with the striking depth of beauty that we encountered in the natural beauty of Alaska and the surrounding area. Grace moved in my heart when I was able to experience living through the eyes of compassion in this rarefied environment. Love, beauty, and grace coalescing in my rib cage.

I wrote a series of haiku witnessing to the stark beauty in the Tracy Arm Fjord that I offer here along with a photo from that day.  These haiku were primarily inspired by the waters while we were entering into the Tracy Arm Fjord, which were quite different from the waters once we were sitting still.  The arrival waters were deeper, grayer, more choppy and more mysterious.

The photo is from a moment of stillness in waters littered with small icebergs. Click on the photo to see an expanded view. To browse through the unedited photos, you can go to my flickr site.

glacier fed wind

whips across cresting waters

reflecting sun’s glory

frenzied wind

stirring waters to white peaks

be still my soul

shrouded grey waters

revealing iceberg tips

depths hidden

– Terri Stewart

© 2013, essay, haiku, and photograph, Terri Stewart, all rights reserved

Terri StewartTERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday Chaplain, Senior Content Editor, and Site Co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a recent graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction with honors and is a rare United Methodist student in the Jesuit Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Nu. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual.

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts (photography, mandala, poetry) and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at www.cloakedmonk.com, www.twitter.com/cloakedmonk,  and  www.facebook.com/cloakedmonk.  To reach her for conversation, send a note to cloakedmonk@outlook.com.