Be brave

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Inside, your voice speaks: You know you can do it. You know you have something to say. You’ve dedicated years of time, talent, and treasure to this, and seen the ripple effects as others receive the gifts. Yes, there is that fine line that you walk between true humility and feeling…joyful and proud to share your poetry…that it is even yours to give. You know the excitement you feel when you get out there, that freaky, wonderful, guerrilla prickling under your skin feeling as you imagine someone finding something you left behind. You know it’s a good thing.  Be brave. 

So I do it. I am brave. I install my “Pop-up” poems in a lavish sprinkling all over the woods. I watch from a distance. I wonder is it good enough, will it touch someone, will someone find it and like it, will someone say something, or will it all remain a mystery to me of what happens next?

Last day at the retreat, one of my new circle of creative sisters says to the gathered group: “so what I want to remember most of all is this…how magical it felt to find this little poem bit in the woods, and so I’m writing it here on my expressive art piece, so I never forget that feeling, and my prayer captured in those beautiful words.”

“Fill me with God scent, Spirit favour, something good.”

Yes, God, yes, yes.

Be of good courage. Be brave.

LAE

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Your words

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DSC_0328Thank you for your words. You are a mirror, a reflection, a ripple of what I do. To write is one thing, to touch a life is much more. Thank you for gracing me with love through your encouraging words.

Here are just some you shared recently. Beautiful.

It was getting dark and colder when I hurried my way into the Orchard Mall last week. Mentally, I was already inside thinking about my to do list, when these beautiful dancing flames in lanterns made me stop in my tracks. I stood there, reading the Properties of Light, moved beyond words and thankful for the gentle nudge to return to the present. Later, that night when my hand found the tea light in my coat pocket, I remembered the words on the side without even seeing them. Shine On …and it made me giddy.
I am sending your poem, along with a winter candle, to my sister in Ottawa. I miss her the most at this time of year, and I know your poem will light up her day like it did mine.
Thank you for sharing your joy, Leslie. I loved it more than you know, and I am grateful for you! Carolyn

“Thank you so much for clipping your poems at the Unitarian Fellowship of Kelowna, on Sunday !! Several of us read your poems, including a passer-by, and we love them & you ! This is a fabulous practice!!!” Bonnie

A morning walk, a dog on leash,
quick unthinking steps, mind far away.
Stop. What is this?
A note clipped to a bramble of blackberries.
Enticing, inviting, encouraging
Be here now.
Observe, enjoy, smile.
And 2 million neurons surge endorphins
A walk home with open eyes and lightened heart.
Thank you. Nancy

I’ve been writing for about eight years (not that long really). I still find myself holding tender in trembling hands this gift of words I received, and unwrapped, and now extend to you. To write is a gift. And each time you write back to me is a gift and an affirmation that what I’m doing matters. So I thank YOU from the bottom of my heart.

Here in the Winter’s early dark I am humbled with the knowledge that, “every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” EVERY thing. EVERY gift. In EVERY season. And how much more in this season when we consider God’s love gift to us in the form of a baby ~ born in a stable, raised in a village, rebel preacher to a nation, sacrificial Savior to the world. Jesus is still light and love.

I trust you hear in my writing an echo of a loving Father, always light giver and illuminator of lives like yours and mine. I trust you know you are loved.

Comfort and joy,

Lesley-Anne

Illumination…

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Winter is here. Early dark. Cold. Insular and introspective. More difficult to go out and do things. Still, I know I must. I know my health (mental and physical) depends upon it.

I’ve aligned myself over the past 20 years with my faith community, Trinity. Sometimes I participate in event planning, or in prepping for celebrations, or I design and build things, or dig in with study groups, or I share words, or sing, or simply attend a service and listen, soak, learn.

This week I’m aligning myself (and Pop-Up-Poetry) with a Trinity initiative called City Light Kelowna. And I’ve been thinking a lot about illumination, physical and metaphorical, and how each of us can be a part of what another person needs. Tonight I will install my first series of luminaires in my neighbourhood. Each lamp contains a poem and some tea lights noted with, “be the light” and “shine on.” Here is the poem and some pictures prior to installation.

The Properties of Light

by Lesley-Anne Evans

We know forest fires,
how sparks airborne and high
light up neighbourhoods,
candle ponderosa on the ridge.
We know about heat,
how August sun in a bleach blue sky
sends us to beach and lake
and shade of backyard trees.
We know the warmth of a wood fire,
crackle lighting up a room
on a crunch cold January night,
the snow squeak under boots,
then tingle of fingers and toes
as blood rushes them back
from near frozen.
We’ve struck matches to a hundred candles
eyes shut, blown out a hundred wishes
for the spark of new adventure,
for illumination to our questions,
for light in the dark.
And we’ve felt a flicker
of something we witness in passing,
a small child twirling in a pink tutu,
an old couple holding hands.
Double rainbow, ghost trees, dragonfly,
cry of osprey over orchard,
the shadow banishing light of
human kindness, bright heat
of words or gesture, how in these
we are a small flame fanned to life.
How, with open eyes
and open hands, each of us
can be a light, each of us
can blaze.

DSC_0021 DSC_0022 DSC_0023 DSC_0024 DSC_0025 DSC_0029 DSC_0030 DSC_0031Shining,

Lesley-Anne, SDG

Detail or panorama…it’s all great

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DSC_0005Last night I had the privilege of joining a group of next gen. 20 somethings at Trinity Mosaic as they gathered to focus on things with spiritual meaning. I’ve been with them before… seems it just gets better.

In their creatively expressive liturgy (think old school church with candles and rows of chairs and hand washing and crosses and response prayers, instead of their usual contemporary way of doing things)… into that atmosphere of praying and singing (the old hymns I haven’t sung since I was little, like How Great Thou Art), I gave up some poetry. I went to poetize alongside the band, and I came home with something more.

Anyway, as is usually the case, I go into most things with my intent and purpose all clearly outlined, my lines polished and practiced and then something happens. Something bigger moves: a dart of truth finds its prickly way inside me. I nod my head, search for a pen to write down what I think my (soul) just heard. What was it? I come away with words, a phrase, a little gift thought.

Not every time. But most times. Mostly when I hesitate in saying yes to the ask is precisely when something waits for me at the end of my whatever it was I was withholding in the beginning. Hmmm… interesting that. Doesn’t seem to matter if you are looking at the horizon or down at your feet… his great can capture when you least expect.

Awakening to a small gift of great,

Lesley-Anne

p.s. rumour has it that you will soon be able to experience last night’s collaborative spiritual expression in a number of ways, so please stand by…

You just gotta have fun!

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From time to time, someone asks why I do Pop-Up-Poetry. They often look slightly puzzled.

I pause, then explain I want to write, and I want to share my words. Then there’s the giddy, excited feeling when I install poems, almost feeling like I’m breaking a law of some kind, and I’m going to get caught. And that appeals to the rebel in me, and to the childlike mystery of taking action and anticipating ripples, like a comment on my blog, or meeting someone who says, hey, aren’t you the one who does Pop-Up-Poetry? And then there’s the taking steps of faith part of it, like doing it not knowing exactly why, but knowing it somehow feels right.

And it’s just FUN! Shouldn’t we all have fun in our lives?

Here are of the more whimsical installs I’ve done this year:

Poetry is everywhereDSC_0143DSC_0185 DSC_0181 DSC_0369 DSC_0373 DSC_0044 DSC_0201

Yes, I know that’s poor grammar in the title!

What’s next…

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What a wonderfully big and complex and exciting world we live in. I know this to be true, but I need reminding on a regular basis. Sometimes I need helicoptered out of my normal life to have my heart jump started.

This weekend did that. A road trip to Vancouver… springtime… sun on cherry blossoms… art installations… White Caps season opener… the pecha kucha… time with my son shopping for grad.… time with my husband on a professional and personal movie going level… time for reading and sharing poetry and coffee and urbanity… time to meet new people… time to recalibrate. All that and the big sigh as we drove over the top of the last rise over Peachland and saw Lake Okanagan spread out below us… HOME. I’m absolutely energized and ready for what’s next.

My deep thanks to the organizers of the BCSLA Conference for their invitation to present in the Pecha Kucha… just wonderful. What an inspiring bunch. 

Akebono cherries 3, in Vancouver BC

Akebono cherries 3, in Vancouver BC (Photo credit: wlcutler)

Poet busking is next. I am going to audition with Kelowna Streets Alive Program this week, and then I will take it to the streets. Not that random spontaneity isn’t fun, but this way appeals in its legitimizing of what I do. I’ll have the choice of 15 sites in the downtown area, any time during 12 hours a day, for as long as the duration of my license. And there is still a random pop up aspect. I’m soooo excited! The only rule… no bagpipes!

And, this weekend on May 5th, another unique poetry opportunity afforded me by the gracious Dorte Meyer at Tribehouse Collective. The Grace Experience at Bo.ttega (one of my favourite venues in Kelowna). It’s a free, family friendly event, a convergence of artists/musicians/creatives/ poets on the topic of grace. What does it mean to each of us… how can we share this overwhelmingly beautiful and somewhat difficult to understand concept in a tangible way, a communal way, an artistic way? I can’t wait to find out. I will be the poet for this event, and have been invited to read several collections of my work. I will also be absorbing all else, and will no doubt come home drained and thankful. GET YOUR FREE TICKETS ASAP!

What a trip life is…

Lesley-Anne, SDG

So, maybe this is less about me popping up…

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…and more about possibility, opportunity, about keeping eyes and ears and heart open for the potential in each day to offer a word, speak a grace, write with the indelible ink of kindness on another’s soul? More about giving room for God, and inviting him into the conversation. Because I can certainly walk around and randomly read poetry in my daily life when I carve out time to do so. But it’s more likely that I’ll have time along the way or while I’m about other business to speak, to share, to read, to respond. And if I let God lead, then every interaction carries potential. Reminds me of what I just mentioned the other day about ‘purpose’ or ‘intent’…

This morning’s ‘verse of the day’ arrived in my inbox and I smiled… even in King James Version it makes sense to me. And, ironically, a short time later I did the exact opposite, spoke a word out of season, created a commotion where a good word would have been so much better… yes I have much to learn. This often happens to me, just when I give credence to some concept, some way of living, my life is tested in this very thing. It’s suddenly very real then.

VERSE OF THE DAY – King James Version

Proverbs 15:23

“A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season,
how good is it!”

Yesterday I was invited to Bo.ttega to participate in “ESCAPE”. an experiment in paying attention, opening up, creating an opportunity in my life and my schedule for God to do what only he can do.

It started with wonder, awe, reminders of who God is, his power, his glory, his love… continued with worship in music and dance and video and communion, with humble admittance of how much I’m in need of God’s love and forgiveness and acceptance of me and all my lumps and bumps and blunders… and then the creative opportunity… to allow the love and grace of God to flow through me into my mind, my heart, my pen, my paintbrush, my tongue. If this all sounds a little uncomfortable and outside of the box of Christendom… well, it was. And it was raw and real and powerful and tears flowed and hearts melted and wrong things were made right and after 3 hours I was drained and invigorated and so very grateful for having been there. I was not alone in that. We will gather again next month to escape again, to let God lead.

Here are some pictures of our humble experiment in Spirit led creative expression…

Thank you to all the organizers. Thank you to God for his work in us.

Soli Deo Gloria (for the glory of God alone)

Lesley-Anne

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