Monday, August 25, 2008

Sidewalk Art

anonymous street artist

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sestina to Yes

There was a time when all
I knew were the habits of living,
motions looking for connection
beyond the mechanical, lost,
churning of the hour
hungering for the feeling of "yes!"

If I'd only known yes
was the secret, it all
would have unfolded in an hour
or so of fruitful living,
washing away the confusion of lost
and wasteful motion without connection -

grounding me into the radiant connection
of hands, heart and Spirit singing "yes!"
I am no longer lost
in the frenzy of it all.
With the job of living
I fill each and every hour

and try to remember that this hour,
this one moment of connection,
is a rare gift of living
present in the moment of yes,
not in the dream where all
is a game to be won or be lost.

There is no winning without those who have lost-
no eternity without the finite hour.
Still, the pulse, the rhythm - the heartbeat of all,
calls the soul longing for holy connection
with all that is made of heartfelt yes
and joy and loving and living...

I do not know the secret of living
or how to accept all that is lost,
but I know it begins with the Spirit of yes
and removing the shackles of the grinding hour.
And found in loving, spirited connection
that binds us one to All.

When my living be done and in it's final hour,
When the last has been lost - even the threadbare connection,
I hope to sing yes as I surrender, let go and relinquish it all.


*Sestinas go back to 13th century troubadours - 6 stanzas ending with the same 6 words repeated in a specific pattern that forms a spiral, driving the words and theme deeper and deeper. The 7th stanza of 3 lines uses all 6 words. They were performed as a contest between troubadours - kind of an obsessive-compulsive meets hip-hop poetry slam. And for my purposes an exercise in cognitive restoration post-chemo.

**No - also a powerful word medicine when used wisely.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Greater Mystery

It is in the realm of mystery where such things as love and healing reside. Anyone who has ever experienced either can tell you it is so, but yet words escape in attempting to describe the experience. Still we know they are real.

Incurable is a very odd word used to medically describe my circumstances. Such a final ring to it – incurable: a hot, stuffy room in summer with all the doors closed and windows latched with no air to breathe… a room I don’t care to spend much time in. It does serve me though by making me consider, reflect and take a deeper look at "healing" and what it means to me. When cure is not considered an option, then all the other possible options need to be explored. A window gets cracked open – and just that much is all I need to bring the tiniest bit of fresh air into the stifling, hot room.

Healing is something I wake up and affirm daily, regardless of how crappy or bleak things may look or seem. Healing, like hope, is an action verb. It needs constant tending. It’s my patch of earth that needs tilling, planting, watering and constant weeding. Healing says, "don't judge a book by it's cover." Healing says, "dig deeper… and now more." Healing says, "today is what matters, NOW… this moment." Healing says, “I need to love and also to be loved,” exposing us to our vulnerability. Healing says, "let's go fishing, listen to the birds, feel the wind, write poetry and dance…"

Healing, as an action verb, not a wish bestowed, is an exploration that includes not only the obvious like nutrition or exercise, but also an often challenging navigation of the subtleties -- being able to live smack dab in the middle of the tension between opposites, such as: courage and fear; hope and despair; love and hate; joy and sorrow… It is a very human experience…one a sane person would never volunteer for, but one that completes the human experience. Cure is the golden ring we all think we would like to capture. It’s the best…it’s the golden ring. But none of us is getting out of this place alive; there isn’t a cure to earthly, mortal life. With that in mind, finding our way and our humanity, in this world of opposites and contradictions; finding another’s humanity despite their contradictions, because they are human also: this is healing. At least a tiny corner of it that’s been revealed to me thus far.

When facing a life-threatening illness, it forces you to start digging deeper. What is offered? Is this a blind, dead-end alley or just a narrowing curve that I can’t see beyond? What goals are easily within my reach? And what ones that would appear far-fetched or beyond my reach are worth pursuing anyway? “Nothing ventured, nothing gained…” Remarkable recoveries do occur and not just occasionally. According to scientists, 95% of the universe is comprised of what they call dark matter, an unknown, a mystery… The visible universe makes up the other five per cent – that which we see and know. That leaves a lot of room for Mystery… and for healing…

Mystery… ninety-five percent. Think about it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

recurring dreams, mending heart & tizitl

It's high noon.  In the dream it's always high noon.  And I am inside of a school, a home - different settings with the sudden need to go outside.  I open the door to step out and instead of the light of "high noon" there is nothing but pitch black.  Inky, thick, darkness. What???  And I think to myself,  "this is not going to be an ordinary day..."

It's high noon folks.  And there's a lot of darkness out there.  You can feel it - it's palpable: the fear, the worry, the concern.  If you don't feel it, it must be because you're too busy shopping.  But then you're probably not here reading the ramblings of el poquito.  So for you quaking in our collective boots, I offer this silly little blog.

"Maybe I should take a break from it all and try to mend my heart."

Hmmm... mystery words that arrive in a dream worth considering.  Stepping back from terror always begins with that - stepping back...."maybe I should take a break from it all..." 
Interesting advice when one is stuck in darkness at noon like a fly to flypaper...

That is the story, again and again.  How do we step back against the onslaught of life's wounds and injuries, when it jostles us about, as it, lives us?   Yes, sometimes life lives us - despite our tantrums, our pleadings and supplications and our positive thinking.  It still lives us, over and over again.  And that part can be frightening.  The surrender necessary, is over most of our heads  We are a people of get and have, a culture of not enough, living under a banner of victors and winners.   But how do you break the darkness that reaches across the sky at high noon when you can't bend the universe to your will?  There are some forces that are just too big.  

I take to heart, concentration camp survivor Dr. Victor Frankl and his advice that the key that unlocks the prison door is in our response to the horror we find ourselves living in.  It's in the response.  One more time - the ticket is in the response.  My response will determine my next destination, and my chance out of this darkness.   Much can be lost or stolen, but the one thing that we can determine never to lose is that small, still place within us where our dignity and hope live with our ability to determine our next response.  This is the only worthwhile ticket. The others are only fantasy 5-day cruises. Tempting, but they only offer 5 days.  I'm holding out.

It's not in the willful attempt to create my reality where I will find relief or sustenance or joy. It's in my response to the life living me.

Step back - and try to mend the heart.

Which brings me here.  To this.  To you in this "Blogs 'r Us" world.  The past almost three years has been a rugged journey for me.  For many I have disappeared, especially in this past year when my physical limiting conditions caused me to "step back".  It's been a year of retreat, rediscovery and reconstruction.  A big restoration project - not as before, but with some of the old parts torn down with some new wings and additions added.  So you, dear reader, I invite you to this place with el poquito to "tizitl blogspot".  Tizitl is nahuatl, an indigenous language of Mexico and the southwest.  Tizitl means healer.  I want to carve out one more piece into the darkness surrounding, a place to touch upon healing - for myself and for all of us.  A healing garden, hence flower and song - an old tradition of Mexico: flor y canto.

I leave you with this:

the word holy
and whole
and heal
all have the same root - 
and if one is the same as the other 
or cousins at least
then the holy
is the wholly
from the sacred
to the profane.

Tiahui (forward in courage - your next nahuatl vocabulary word)  
tiahui, always forward, always forward....

Come join me at el poquito's table... we have much to share.