Practice 4/15, a lighted torch

Blackout poem pg 149, The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Blackout poem pg 149, The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Being here


Spinning off
miniature spiral

a lighted torch

From the group practice Encourage, Awakening the Creative Spirit at St. Paul's, Sunday, April 15. For instructions on blackout poetry see the previous blogpost here, for expert level examples and such, follow Austin Kleon here.

Practice 4/10/18


Blackout Poem Lectio Divina, from page 146-147 of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

her people in the wood
be there

no promise

part of the journey

broad and shallow



long sigh

in the darkness
so have



If you subscribe to my musings, I appreciate you and will leave the gleaning up to you. 

Practice instructions;
Create your own blackout poem from a photocopy of text. It can be from your favorite book or an obscure piece you don't think you care about. Without judging, analyzing, or trying to be "brilliant", circle words that grab your attention more than others. Once you reach the end, go back and use a black marker to obscure all of the the other text. You may choose to reformat the words. If so, openly allow the words and their grouping to remind you of something within yourself.  Resist the urge to "Make something meaningful." With curiosity and open-heartedness, group them in a variety of ways and notice which format teaches you a different meaning or understanding.

Even if there is no big 'aha moment', obscuring all the clutter can be a physical practice of not getting attached to every word, thought, and anxiety. For me, this practice helps me to forgive myself and remember I have a choice. I might be swept away by a variety of preoccupations at any given moment.
I also have the choice about what gets obscured and what gets put in the light. So do you.


Missing Papa Steve

Because writing is one of my healing practices, I keep trying to articulate how it is possible that we have lost my stepdad Steve Strickler.

Here is some of how Papa Steve lived (through my lens)

He drove

He drove to Dairy Queen for blizzards for teenage grandsons, creating a late night ritual.
He drove all the  plans for adventures, hiking, concerts, festivals, and historic excursions. 
He drove across country to basic training graduations and to deliver four wheeled gifts to grandchildren
He drove in-laws to doctors, pharmacies, Sunday brunches, dinners, and everywhere they needed to go in between.
He drove to the airport

He parked

Upon our arrivals, he parked the car because curbside wasn't good enough. He walked the extra distance to be there as close as he could to receive, to grab our load, to escort us to baggage claim, to carry grandchildren while lifting their moods and the energy of their exhausted parents.
When we got home, he parked himself on the floor with the littlest kids, wrestling, giggling, teasing, the lower he got, the higher the giggles and squeals.
For our departures, he delivered us safely to the curb, unloading each bag, hugging each of us and double checking that we knew where we were headed.

He ran

He liked running in the heat. He ran long distances. He worked out on stationary equipment at the gym so that he could run longer, farther.
He was closing in on running the 20th Flying Pig marathon, he had never missed completing one.
When he ran, he drove himself farther and harder than we felt comfortable. Maybe it was the way he balanced all the ways he walked the extra miles for us, or all the ways he parked and played. 

He loved
exuberantly, playfully, tenderly, in sprints and long distances.
I don't know how to say where we all are now without him. He was a verb that is now past tense. He worked so hard and packed in so many memories but none of them are good enough right now. 

All we want is one more step with him. 

Maybe the verb he used the most is the only one that can be sustained after this loss. 
Maybe his love remains in every step we take right at a time.








For the love

Vision, 24x24 acrylic on canvas, currently displayed at City Hall in Houston, TX.

Vision, 24x24 acrylic on canvas, currently displayed at City Hall in Houston, TX.

For the Love

For the love of all things Holy, LITERALLY, can we please stop making fun of, complaining about, beating up and beating down, comparing, and competing against, or just being against each other, the earth and all living things, and ourselves for that matter?

If we all look for light in, and love each other ( even when we can’t see the light),

We would have
Nothing to fear
Nothing to fight
Nothing to protect ourselves from

Ready, go.........

This is the practice. All I can do is practice this. I can only dig within and find enough love and peace to see the world through this lens.
I learned about the Jewish concept of tikkun olam from Elliot Gershenson, former president and CEO of Interfaith Ministries here in Houston. He came and spoke to Dr. Bill Kerley's Ordinary Life class. He said if we all loved and honored each other for 10 minutes, we would repair and restore our world, if we all did this for the same 10 minutes. That is too long, too much to ask for? Ok, how about 5 minutes? No? Ok then for 1 minute. For just one minute. It would still be miraculous and maybe enough to change us all. Our work, our practice, is to put in as many minutes as we can everyday.

I love you

Grace in, peace out,