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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A few thoughts from the Chrysalis

Sleep, I must sleep, the caterpillar yawns,
Spinning into his warm cocoon,
Spinning into a dreamless comforting slumber,
Spinning into the death of form,
Awakening from the chrysalis reborn.
Caterpillar writhes
In chrysalis transforming,
Butterfly set free.

Sadness fills my soul.
Little deaths foretell new life,
Dark brings light to dawn.

Lost in shadow land
Light and darkness madly dance,
Stumbling I follow.

Dense dark clouds disperse,
Chased by winds across the sky,
Daylight following.

Words flourish softly,
Flowing rich from the deep source,
Flowering blood red now.

Hunger grows within
Silence growling to be heard
Hibernation ends.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

My Special Place
- from a writing exercise formulated by Julie Jordan Scott who asked me to write a haiku three years ago and unleashed the repressed writer in me.

My special place is my garden. In it I find inspiration, solace, joy. It is a reflection of my soul, my connection to nature, my constant loving companion.

I wipe this canvas clean and here there is now pure white space, ready to be transformed, but I will hold myself in this pregnant emptiness for a fleeting moment or is it eternity. Here in the nothingness of creation, time is an illusion.

I raise my magician’s staff and wave it across the canvas. Green and grassy slopes appear, falling gently towards a living boundary of water, cascading over shining pebbles, then slowly meandering in deeper calmer channels, sometimes so slowly it appears to be completely immobile.

Another wave of my staff and a little wood appears on the hillside which has materialised on the other side of the stream. It is spring time here in this garden of my soul and leaves are unfurling in all the beauty of the newly born. They dance in a soft breeze that whispers through the branches, singing stories of life and love and adventure. The brook babbles in response telling the hill tales of far away shores, mighty oceans and brave explorers who reached beyond the limitations of fear and borders.

It is spring time here in this garden of my soul, and with a single motion of my hand, the sun shines, warm and mellow. The light has that unmistakable quality of the spring about it, shimmering, sharp, clear, a light to paint worlds by.

Pale, delicate apple blossom drifts down from the trees creating a sea of the gentlest pink, lapping against the grey-brown bark of the slender tree trunks, ships in an ocean of dreams. Bluebells form undulating drifts of dark sky through the long waving grass.

Bird song blends with the buzzing of bees and all is sublimely peaceful here.

An ancient pear tree split in two by a lighting bolt, defies age and destruction to blossom profusely, a cascade of white froth blessing this beloved place.

In the blink of an eye a wraith like figure of a woman materialises from within the tree. She is the creative spirit of this garden. She hides within the pear tree, hides from the world, showing herself only in the transcendent glory of her work. She glances around cautiously. She has no desire to be seen, but she draws soul sustenance from the pleasure those who visit show in her creations. They must know her by this and this alone.

Her elfin face sparkles with joy when she walks to the water’s edge. She listens to the little waterfall speak of the bridge he forms between two worlds; the water of life flowing from on high to the hungry thirsty lands below. He loves his role as a conduit of life. She hears it in the blessing of the rushing, splashing, jumping waters. The breeze quickens and her long red hair fans out sparking fire in the sunlight. Each spark falls to the ground and where each drops, a crimson poppy will bloom in the summer months.

Suddenly she laughs and in her laughter, a light and loving vibration touches the fabric of creation. A mother fox and her cubs are drawn from the undergrowth to roll and play fearlessly on the lawn. She rolls and plays with them and wherever her skirts touch, daisies and buttercups grow.

This is a blessed place, this garden of the soul.

You may never meet the spirit of this place for she is a creature of another world who holds to the secret ways of an ancient magic.

Yet you will know all there is to know of her in her creations.

This garden is the essence of this spirit.

It tells everything.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A forgotten anniversary -
The Return
This post was inspired by one of my Ryze friends who sometimes graces my favourite Creative Writer's Network with his presence. I have his permission to quote in full from it.

Whatever side of the political divide you sit on, take a few moments to think about these men and women, who served faithfully. Their service was never acknowledged in the way it should have been because of the politics of the Vietnam War. Give them that acknowledgement now.

"Another year has slipped by and not a single note appeared in the media about their anniversary. 32 years have gone by and they seem to have melted into thin air and we don't even remember.

They were fathers, brothers, sons, friends, men who lived next door. We missed them and then forgot. And now they are still there, next door, across the street or around the corner and we do not see them.

Their number is declining as the ravages of time eats away at their shining armor. Quiet but purposeful, they work in the community, serve in elected office, or prepare to retire. Not ones to blow their horn but ready to stand once again for the same ideals that took them away the first time.

Some were gone for as much as 9 years or more. Beaten, tortured, deprived of basic necessities of life and they never complained, then or now.

May I remind you of the 600 plus men who served our country and were repatriated as Prisoners of War on February 12, 1973. God bless them for their sacrifices."

Emil Di Motta

I replied to Emil. I told him that I have never forgotten these brave souls, those who died and those, like him, who live with their memories of that time.

I opposed the war but I could never understand the hostility directed at the men and women who served their country and their world to the very best of their ability and at huge personal cost. They did what they were sent to do and no one could or should ask more of any human being.

I was just a teenager growing to a young woman during Vietnam and for me it was the trigger for one of the most intense shifts in my thinking, one of the most painful yet profound experiences. I know that I was not alone in that spiritual and political baptism.

Regardless, of where we stood back then, the sacrifice of the few for the many should never be forgotten and never ever dishonoured.

Today I will light a candle in remembrance and pray for all those whose lives were touched by Vietnam.

It was Valentine's Day when Emil's post made me stop and think about those times. It suddenly seemed so appropriate to remember on a day which is all about love.

Isn't it about time that we remembered to share some of that love with those whose lives were so shadowed in our service, without reservation, without judgement.

When we can do that, they will truly have come home.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Pages of Creation

I write upon the pages of creation,my words seeding the infinite void with embryonic lives of infinite potential, spilling into the world, black on white.

In each moment of life we are gifted with the inviting brilliance of a new page.

It is ours to write anything we chose upon.

In its whiteness lies the power of redemption, the force of renewal and re-creation.

Upon the shining blankness of the page, we see the raw material of the universe, the energy of creation.

Upon this page, we may chose to reconcile the past, heal the present and unleash the infinite creativity of the future.

Upon this page, we may chose to hurl the world into darkness,prostituting our words in the service of a twisted ego, a sadistic, perverted mind,revealing one of the many corrupt faces of evil in this world.

In our words we hold the mirror to our souls.

In each clear and shining moment, we have a choice.

We may scratch the surface meanly with our spiritually miserly pen and ink, leaving only an ugly jagged trail, spoiling the beauty and purity of the page.

We may scarcely leave a perceptible mark, writing with the invisible ink of life blood diluted by fear, timidity, deference and hesitation.

We may throw ourselves joyfully, unashamedly in abundant abandon upon the page.

We may leave playful, exuberant, effervescent, emphatic paw prints upon the pristine paper.

We may pirouette in the spotlight of our words, craving the eyes of the world upon us, betraying the redemptive potency of our words, for forty pieces of sparkling silver applause.

We can chose to sell our words to a world ready to devour more darkness,cheap at the price but heavy in cost to our souls.

We can chose to be the creators of the universe and in the image and likeness of our words, our world becomes a place of abundant joy, overflowing love and deep connection to the purity of spirit.

Words have power. Chose them wisely.

What will you chose to write upon the face of creation?

What world will you weave with the tapesty of your words?

Monday, February 06, 2006

What are you to me?

What are you to me,
In endless reaches
Of time and space?

Atomic orbits intersecting
Divine spark connecting
Our energetic merging.

Eddies of time ripple
Parting as we pass,
Light speeds to light.

Central core pulsating
Two beats synchronise
Now, becoming, one.

Transcending death’s
Illusionary ending,
Love defies all laws.

No longer corporeal
Twin stars imploding
In cosmic orgasm.

Far beyond the body
Mind dissolved
Pure spirit blends.

In endless reaches
Of time and space
You and I - infinity.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Playing with sonnet form - Awaken.

Leafless tendrils twining round my window,
Watcher, listening to your quiet whispers.
"In this icy night of endless winter,
My life blood sap, lies frozen in my roots.
Existing in a pregnant pause in time
Suspended, inanimate, awaiting
The warming touch of sun, life giving light,
That summons me to break earth’s bonds and grow.
No, I am not dead, I merely slumber,
What gifts lie sleeping in your winter's soul?
Tell me Watcher, when will they awaken,
And blossom in the spring time of your soul?
No, you are not dead; you merely slumber;
When will you wake and live the gift of life?"

Thursday, February 02, 2006

I remember

I remember the night my grandmother died. She was 79 years old and she was the only grandparent I had ever known. All of the others were dead years before I was born. She was my connection to the past, the family history that I was and am still so fascinated by.

She was a quiet and dignified woman, reserved, yet possessing a sense of humour that would see her apple cheeks and little round belly vibrate with laughter. I would spend every weekend I could with her, escaping from my large, unruly family to the sanctity and silence of her home, a few miles from my own. She would let me sit curled up by the fire reading or writing or simply dreamily watching the flames, spinning stories around them. She gave me the peace and stillness that I needed to be fully me.

She had the softest, smoothest skin, with no visible lines and her long silver hair was worn up in a tidy bun. She would brush it out around her shoulders before she went to bed and it fascinated a little girl who was never allowed to grow her lush thick jungle of hair longer than a little below the ears. She was a tiny woman, less than five feet tall and she lived long enough for me to tower over her by exactly two inches. I loved her and there was never a moment in my life when I doubted that she loved me.

I was fifteen when I realised that my grandmother was dying. No one told me. I think I knew even before she did. They say that animals can smell death and I believe that that unfettered part of my animal brain, caught the scent of death from her long before her inoperable bladder cancer was diagnosed. I visited her more often. I brought her little gifts, sometimes some pretty ornament or scarf, sometimes her favourite strawberry tart. In those last few months, she could eat very little and eventually even those favourites were inedible. She was my first experience of the way people you love begin to fade in front of you, like cartoon figures being gradually erased, layer after layer obliterated, until there is only a shadow caught half way between this world and the next. She was my first experience of death.

On the night of her death there was a gathering of almost all of her adult children in her home as she lay in her bed barely conscious. We took it in turns to sit with her. My aunts and my mother were weeping in the kitchen as they kept the kettle boiling for the endless cups of tea that seem indispensable in times of trial in any Scottish or Irish household. I had volunteered to sit with granny and as a fifteen year old, sensible way beyond my years, I was trusted to be her guardian while the others grieved downstairs.

As I sat beside her bed, she was moaning softly, in excruciating pain. I wiped the beads of sweat from her already deathly pale face and moistened her lips with small drops of water which seemed to help. She was barely aware of my presence. This courageous little woman who had single handedly raised eleven children after the death of her husband, deserved better than this. A devout Catholic, she walked to Mass, every morning at 6.30a.m. regardless of hail, wind or snow. She was the most faithful of faithful servants and I was so angry that this is how she had been rewarded by the God in whom she placed such trust. I sat and I prayed as I had never prayed before. I told God about my anger. I told God that she deserved better treatment than this. I stormed heaven with the intensity of my pleas that she be released from her pain, that she be allowed right now to enter the heaven that she so fervently believed in.

As I prayed, something quite extraordinary happened, something I had no conception of, something beyond my experience. It started with a feeling of the deepest most serene peace engulfing me. Then the whole room seemed to take on this gentle golden glow, as if I had been transported to another dimension. I knew with absolute certainty that my prayer had been answered and that my grandmother would make her transition that night. I was filled with such quiet joy. I knew at the deepest level of my being that there is no death. I knew that the body she was leaving behind was not my grandmother. I knew that the essence of who she is, her soul, was eternal and that I could never lose her. I simply knew and in that knowing, was the most amazing sensation of love. I was complete, whole, at one with the divine and there was no separation. There never could be.

For the rest of the evening, until we went home, I comforted my family and the serenity of the experience remained with me, cloaking me in this transcendent joy that I will never forget. At two in the morning, as I lay sleeping, I woke to find my grandmother sitting at the bottom of my bed. I knew she had passed and she had come to let me know. I smiled at her and as she disappeared, I thanked the Light for her freedom and slept without a tear. The following morning, my mother told me that granny had slipped away at 2a.m.. I cried once after her funeral and I cried no more. She was at peace and I knew beyond doubt that life truly is eternal. I did not grieve for her passing. I rejoiced in her liberation from a body that no longer served her bright, shining spirit.

I remember my grandmother. I remember our love. I remember a door opening to another world.

Maria Stepek Doherty
For a transformational change in mind

I watch your tendrils twine leafless around my window. I listen to your quiet whispering.
"In this icy night of endless winter, my life blood, my sap, lies frozen to the roots.
I exist in a deeply pregnant pause, a suspension of time.
I await the summoning of bird song, heralding the Sun's return to give me life and growth.
I am not dead. I merely slumber.
What gifts lie slumbering in your winter's soul, watcher?
When will they awaken?
They are not dead; they merely slumber until the light touches them.
When will you allow the springtime of your blossoming?
You are not dead; you merely slumber.
When will you awaken?"