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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving Poetry Friday!



I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!






It's been two months since my last post. I've missed all my Poetry Friday friends, but I've accomplished  a whirlwind of stuff. I moved my yoga studio to a new location with more room and more exposure.












I started a 200-hr yoga teacher training program. The training runs for ten weekends between September to May. We just finished weekend three and I am remembering just how much I love teaching.










I took a six-week online pain neuroscience class through my son's physical therapy clinic and absolutely loved absorbing as much information as I could squeeze into my brain. I'm looking forward to translating some of that info into yoga workshops, especially for people struggling with chronic pain.







Unfortunately, writing has been on the back burner. It will come back, I know it will, but for now, it's still okay to do what's in front of me. Although I have managed a poem or two a month. Here's my poem from this month's Today's Little Ditty Challenge. I think I need to reassure myself that I really did write something this month!

A Gnarled Oak 

extends tumorous limbs across the road,
the mass of leaves a marvel of deep shade 
despite disease—like our Walmart greeter
ticking off receipt items with a grin.
He’s forgotten the lumps under his skin, 
ignores the way eyes skitter from him 
to the latest sale or the cashier making change
or the house shoe-clad girl in the next aisle. 
The discomfort not his. He smiles and greets,
his roots sunk deep in some whispered truth
only his ears are tuned to hear
and bestows his grace-filled shadow
without reproof.

© 2017 Doraine Bennett


I want to recommend a beautifully written and illustrated book for those of you who love celebrating advent with your family.
Image result for all creation waits by Gayle Boss
Paraclete Press, 2016
In her introduction, Gayle Boss says, "The practice of Advent has always been about helping us to grasp the mystery of a new beginning out of what looks like death. Other-than-human creatures--sprung like us from the Source of Life--manifest this mystery without question or doubt...They can be to us 'a book about God...a word of God,' the God who comes, even in the darkest season, to bring us a new beginning."

So begins twenty-four short, lyrical descriptions of animals and their adaptations in winter,  enhanced by original woodcuts created by David G. Klein
Here is a sampling of the animals and a few excerpts to whet your appetite for this lovely book. 
Painted Turtle One day in the fall, as water and air cooled, at some precise temperature an ancient bell sounded in the turtle brain. A signal: Take a deep breath. Each creature slipped off her log and swam for the warmer much bottom. Stroking her way through the woven walls of plant stems, she found her bottom place. She closed her eyes and dug into the mud. She buried herself. 
Black Bear Crouched in the snow-muffled quiet I imagine hearing her slow breathing. I imagine smelling slow-burning bear--the fat she made from all those nuts, berries, bugs, and plants melting and fueling her sleep. She is shrinking--except in the den deep inside her body. There she is multiplying, balls of cells swelling into new forms of her.
Wood Frog There will come a warm day in spring when the ice goes out--of the ponds, of his blood--and doesn't return. The with dozens of other wood frogs he'll hop to the pond and send up a thrilling chorus: Death, we've robbed you of your ruin, we've takin you in. 
Eastern Fox Squirrel He would dig a decoy hole--or two, or more--before depositing a nut. Or after. He came back later and reburied nuts in new places...What he depends on to survive the barren season is the power of memory. I imagine him curled in his nest, a wind-tight ark of leaves and twigs high in the three, each night consulting the map of his memory. 
You may read more here.
Watch the book trailer here. You may have to scroll down a bit to find it.


LightUponLight cover_72dpi
And if you're looking for something on the more adult level, this is one of my favorites from Sarah Arthur. You can read an excerpt at this post from a few years ago.



Carol hosts the Poetry Friday roundup this week at  Carol's Corner.



Maybe I won't wait two months before I post again! 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Spiritual Journey Thursday: Nourish

Photo by John Salzarulo
Welcome to Spiritual Journey Thursday and a special group of friends blogging each month about our spiritual journeys. Today we are sharing over at Ramona's Pleasures from the Page about her 2017 One Little Word, "Nourish."

As I typically do when thinking about a specific word, I went to my dictionary and found this:
1.   provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.
2.   keep (a feeling or belief) in one's mind, typically for a long time.
I've connected with these thoughts on several levels recently. First, I've been considering a new, somewhat mind-boggling (at least for someone who had low fat eating drilled into me for so many years) new perspective on nourishing my body. I've been listening to the Keto for Women Show podcasts by Shawn Mynar on my phone for the last month. (Just open your podcast app and type in Keto for Women). They're well-worth considering. I love her tagline: Empowering women to take charge of their health and happiness. So much wonderful information on the many issues we face in light of what the world wants to nourish us with--images of skinny models, advertisements for medicines with so many side-effects it's ridiculous, and a constant push to over-exercise and under eat in order to be accepted. I like this idea of thinking about what goes into my body as nourishing it, but even more as healing it. 

A few weeks ago, I participated in a yoga training that required my body function well for six days from 6am to 9pm with very little down time and lots of interaction with others. I needed my quiet. I needed more rest. My body managed to keep up reasonably well, but I came away with a deeper knowing that I must maintain balance. So I continue to learn. Continue to move forward. 

So, I come to definition #2: To keep (a feeling or belief) in one's mind, typically for a long time. 
We can nourish all kinds of feelings, good ones and not so good. It's a good question to ponder. What feelings/belief am I nurturing? 

I've been reading a book called Too Deep for Words: Rediscovering Lectio Divina by Thelma Hall. This quote stood out to me today. The author is quoting Thomas Merton's reply to a Sufi friend who had asked him how he prayed.
Now you ask about my method of meditation. Strictly speaking I have a very simple way of prayer. It is centered entirely on attention to the presence of God and to his will and his love. That is to say that it is centered on faith by which alone we can know the presence of God. One might say this gives my (prayer) the character described by the prophet as "being before God as if you saw him." Yet it does not mean imagining anything or conceiving a precise image of God, for to my mind this would be a kind of idolatry. n the contrary, it is a matter of adoring him as all...There is in my heart this great thirst to recognize totally the nothingness of all that is not God. My prayer is a kind of praise rising up out of the center of Nothingness and Silence...It is not "thinking about" anything, but a direct seeking of the face of the invisible, which cannot be found unless we become lost in him who is invisible.
What a beautiful way to nourish the spirit and the soul and the body.
             
Eat something wonderful to nourish your body.
                         
                         Read great words to nourish your mind.
                                         
                                           Center your attention on the presence of God to nourish your spirit.










Thursday, August 24, 2017

Pondering: Contemplation

Photo by Jon Sullivan

from Too Deep for Words: Rediscovering Lectio Divina
by Thelma Hall

Contemplation is a strange new land, where everything natural to us seems to be turned upside down--where we learn a new language (silence), a new way of being (not to do but simply to be), where our thoughts and concepts, our imagination, senses and feelings are abandoned for faith in what is unseen and unfelt, where God's seeming absence (to our senses) is his presence, and his silence (to our ordinary perception) is his speech. It is entering the unknown, letting go of everything familiar we would cling to for security, and discovering that in being "wretchedly and pitiably poor, and blind and naked too" (Revelations 3:17) (which grace reveals to us and which we fear to acknowledge--much less accept--in ourselves) lies the potential for all our hope and joy, because to know our true selves is to know we are loved by God beyond all measure.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Pondering: Good Intentions

Photo by Tom Woodward


from Disciplinary Treatises: (4) The Communion of the Body by Scott Cairns included in At the Still Point by Sarah Arthur

...Like us all, the saved
need saving mostly from themselves, and so
they make progress, if at all, by dying

to what they can, acquiescing to this
new pressure, new wind, new breath that would fill
them with something better than their own

good intentions...

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Spiritual Journey Thursday: New Beginnings

Once a month I blog with a group of friends about our spiritual journey. Today's topic is New Beginnings, hosted by Julianne at To Read To Write To Be.




I've been inundated by grandchildren this week! Spending time with each one, watching old movies with the older two, keeping them busy with lots of activities, and watching them grow and engage with the world in new ways. They are such fun. There is always something new to enjoy. You never know what they are going to convince you to do--like walking over the dinosaur bones. And I jumped off the high dive for the first time in my life. Grands!


August brings a new beginning for me with my yoga business. I will be moving to a new location and stepping into a new business model. So many things to think about. So many things to do. I'll share more as I move forward, but I do appreciate you keeping me in your thoughts and prayers as I make this transition. It feels right and exciting.

In my spiritual journey, I am always asking, "Lord, what are you saying to me?" I'm always trying to learn to listen better, be more aware of God's presence with me, find that still, small voice speaking more clearly. In the busy-ness of the day, I often realize I've forgotten to pay attention. I love that he doesn't mind me starting over again and again.

Jeremiah was an Old Testament prophet who understood the dilemma, but he also understood his God. Here's what he said: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

May you know new beginnings each morning and the great faithfulness of the Lord.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Poetry Friday: Gone with the Grands


Happy Poetry Friday! Linda hosts the Roundup at A Word Edgewise.

from "Little Gidding," The Four Quartets
by T. S. Eliot

W shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heart, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Pondering: Prayer

Photo by Guillaume Paumier, CC_BY.

from Divina Commedia (I) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

     Far off the noises of the world retreat;
     The loud vociferations of the street
     Become an undistinguishable roar.
So, as I enter here from day to day,
     And leave my burden at this minister gate,
     Kneeling in prayer, and not ashamed to pray,
The tumult of the time disconsolate
     To inarticulate murmurs dies away,
     While the eternal ages was and wait.