What brought you here?

The life journey that brought me here is the
collection of stories of who I thought I was
supposed to be
The ways I disappointed myself
The ways I perceived disappointing my parents
leading me to failures, increasing in size,
building a library of lessons,
decades of being bound and shelved until
I checked them out,
until I was ready to see
through the fiction, my ego
to the truth that hid
in the margins the
notes my soul had written in white crayon.
My dark night, a layer of black marker
revealing the value of the
main character,
my soul on its human journey.

From a 5 minute writing practice, what journey brought you here today?

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When Women Lead

I recently had a friend give me thanks for my influence on her journey. I was not receiving the gratitude, deflecting at every turn. Finally, she said, “Let me put it this way, ‘You are my Matt (Russell).’”

That worked. That I could understand. That I could receive. When I reflected back to her that it doesn’t get better than that, she said, “Yes it does. You are also my Yan (Digilov).”
Then my mind went to how amazing it would be for me to also be her Bill Kerley, her Randall Sylvester, her Paul Lodholz, and her Alan Patton. The idea that I could be all of the greatest mentors and teachers I’ve had and then (s#)it REALLY hit me, why am I not recognizing publicly and privately all of the women mentors, teachers, and leaders who not only taught me, but saved me, listened me into being, encouraged me to find and connect with my soul, my heart, my who and my why, and then for heaven’s sake, find the breadcrumbs to the how.

So here IT is.

My heart pours out the beginning of the thank you letter I will spend the rest of my life writing, in my intentions, in my ‘me’ness, through my doing AND my being. I see you. I thank you.

I hope to be someone’s;

Diana Heritage
Holly Ebel
Gail Williford
Micki Fine
Bren Hardt
Anita Long
Judy Wilbratte
Judy Leatherwood Smith
Cathy Riddick
Caroline Graham
Sister Lois Dideon
Sister Ann Goggin
Casey Fleming
Cameron Dezen Hammon
Christa Forster
Lindsay Espejel
Mitra Mostofi
Lisa Gale
Dardan Oxley
Nellie Grose
Tracey Southwick
Heather Goodwin
Sonya Foteh Garcia
Tamika Evans
Elizabeth Slator
Andrea Soto-Innes
Lydia Hance
Michele Bonilla

(Probably others who I am not conscious of in this moment, because for some reason, I am still learning from and whose lessons I am still coming to terms with, including but not limited to all of my female relatives. I see you and I honor your loving influence. My soul knows.)

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My Kentucky Home

Sick with home, my memories lace together and float
to the tip of my nose when, in a rush, I snip a leaf to add to my tea.

Small creeks and rivers winding in graceful arcs
Black split rail fences like scalloping ribbons

Horse hooves muddle wild mint on lazy rides in the woods
Twitches of tails in a tango with horse flies

Rockers on porches who’s joints creak slightly louder than
overworked ones slowing in a rest to steady a strong heart.

Sipping tea with residual fine grains, proof the sugar landslide
was added too robustly to dissolve in the steaming pot.

I am reminded to slow this pace.
Rub the mint on my finger tips.
Stop gulping and take sips.
Sit down, let the smell take me back.
See the sights. Hear the sounds.
Sit in Kentucky. Be home.

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Healing | Writing About Human Needs

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Healing sounds like
wailing, pleading against stone
begging for the hard reality to not be so.

Healing smells like
the earth, turned by fingernails
whose notes of decaying leaves and
fresh grass remind the kneeler of the
never ending cycle of death and birth.

Healing looks like
an effortless smile, the kind that comes from
open and honest curiosity, one that is
released from the muscles that
hold tight to certainty and expectation.

Healing feels like
being able to feel again, not just emotions
but feeling textures, mindfully interacting with
meeting the matter
the surface of the
pen in my hand, the tooth of the paper, the
aggregate in the concrete stoop supporting my feet.

Healing tastes like
moving past comfort food to the hope filled desire to
nourish the vessel, to strengthen the container who is
wise enough to resist the urge to swallow her pain to instead be
transformed by it, enough to want to
taste the earth, her
sweet, savory, and sour superfoods,
unprocessed, because she’s
processed her pain. She’s ready to
live long enough to do it over and over and over and over again.

#294, first in a series, Writing About Human Needs
A new practice I am trying, using poetry and The Needs Wheel from Jim and Jori Manske’s library of resources at http://radicalcompassion.com/ (go to handouts, recordings, notes, etc, and download the Needs Wheel.pdf)

Here is the very simple prompt
Pick a Need from the wheel that you are most interested in at the moment then finish these lines.
________________ (need/value) sounds like
________________ (need/value) smells like
________________ (need/value) looks like
________________ (need/value) feels like
________________ (need/value) tastes like

Rearrange the order and play with the formatting, letting those come from what you learn from the process of writing.
While meditating on a need/value, you may realize that your strategies for getting that need met no longer work. Imagine what it would feel like to have that need met. Allow yourself the curiosity of how you might discover new ways to meet that need.
Reread your piece for revisions, editing, and the possibility of deeper understanding. I just got one of those. Here it is.
My dad and I are not as different as I once thought. He invented and distributed processing equipment. So do I.

Send me your poems and reflections. Let me know if you want me to share them here in this forthcoming series.