“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
― Mary Oliver
This week I was reminded that not all is good, and not all is good for me. I want to un-see what I saw, erase forever the images that popped up on my computer screen immediately after an opera video I was watching on Youtube. No warning, and there it was, cruel, shocking, and cutting through my soul like a knife. I didn’t know what to do. I gasped. I turned it off. But my mind played the images over and over again. I was hooked into darkness for a time.
And then, serendipitously and providentially, I was invited into a soul healing activity that is beginning to help me forget what I saw, not that I saw it, but take the edge of pain of it away.
A friend invited me to join a social media love challenge, posting only good messages. I’ve always tried to be that kind of person, but this week I’m being more intentional.
And then yesterday, as I sat alone on my porch on Canada Day and began to feel a little sad about that, I read this,
…become more conscious of the ways everyday acts and objects are inherently sacred when performed and regarded with intention. When we focus on whatever we are doing, we discover that God is in the midst of our work.
The Artist’s Rule, by Christine Valters Paintner
And then, maybe because of my soul pain and somewhat forced solitude, my heart turned to the thought of hanging up some poems, like little flags, like little prayers, and joining others in their space of being, for a time. Silently walking in their midst and offering my small blessings to them all. So I went, and I pinned PUP around the busy and quiet spaces, and I felt new life welling up in me. I didn’t feel so alone. I didn’t feel so dark and cut off. I performed a sacred act, just as the person who finds a poem will perform the sacred act of reading.
And I thank you God for showing me another way of you in the midst, of everything.
It was a blue bird day, and the poems were alert in their lively cling to the wire, their flutter of twos and threes. The wind cleared their heads of winter, and they soon realized the grape vines clinging beside them were similarly inspired, weathered arms held up to the sun, green ideas budding out in the warmth and light. And then the moment came when a woman reached out and touched one of the poems. How it felt to be chosen and held like that, the woman’s eyes intent on each lettered scar, the nakedness of lines. How the women read, gently, to last letter of last word.
“I was answered in spiritual understanding, and it was said: What, do you wish to know your Lord’s meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning. Who reveals it to you? Love. What did he reveal you? Love. Why does he reveal it to you? For Love…. So I was taught that love is our Lord’s meaning.”
~ St. Julian of Norwich
Sun’s out, bulbs are up, ducks have visited our swamp of a pool and left for someplace more appropriate to raise their family. April has committed herself to us, and with April comes Spring and National Poetry Month.
Poetry, hmmmm… sounds vaguely familiar.
I’ve been giving myself to writing, work days attached to my laptop more than anything else, other than necessary breaks for laundry and sleep. Yes, there was an amazing spiritual retreat over Easter where I broke from work and soaked in mystery. But, except for a brief trip and PUP in San Francisco, my poems haven’t been dusted off or hung up anywhere in months.
It’s time. Today.
So why? For love. For love of writing and sharing poetry. For love of those who may find a helpful word. For love of process. For love of myself. For love of God who has given me this day and this gift and this opportunity. For love.
Today. Kelowna. Downtown. Soon.
May love ambush you in the thick of things.
p.s. as I prepare to go out, I go in the warmth of knowing a friend is organizing a group of love letter writers to play hide and seek with their words/art a week from today. Kelowna, consider yourself hugged!
Just a few early morning poetry pins around the beautiful streets before the ride to the airport and the take off and airborne goodbyes to the skyline and bay and landmarks now trodden by my tired feet: Alcatraz’s unexpected art and music installations, the poet’s chair at City Lights, Aria‘s surprises on upper Grant, Cafe Au Lait at Cafe Greco in North Beach, and climbing Lombardy Street and the 45 degree slopes up to Coit Tower and maybe parrots squawking, and riding the Big Bus tour and the trolleys and the streetcars, and eating in so many great restaurants, and finding poetry painted on hotel walls and stamped in the pavement and attached to the railings and now hanging there, my little Pop-Up-Poems hanging there like flags fluttering in accepting air. YES!
Oh San Francisco, be still my heart. Find the hearts that need you, Pop-Up-Poetry!
Most of all, thank you to the two dear hearts that joined mine on our lovely San Francisco adventure ❤ I love you both so much!