Where does inspiration lie? Everywhere!

This is my attempt to pounce on and then shape the words I breathe.

Please join me with your comments and make this a dialogue . . . and visit Susan's Poetry!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Stirring, not Churning

Stirring together ingredients from the last few days, I feel a new light dawning--one I've been avoiding--about the never-ending beauty of life
     My creative insides churn with the immensity of many world and personal events, and though this input separates into curds and whey, it does not become butter or cheese.  No longer an active teacher in a ministry with teenagers, I write, but my output stops short of nourishing myself or others.  I have been writing and reading "as if [my] life depended on it"—and it does.  My life also depends on engagement in weekly and daily worship with both a Quaker meeting and a Buds of Jesus group.
     Reading, writing and worshipping have been keeping me alive and on the edge of possibility in a way that seemed a luxury before retirement: tempting me to let go of control and follow new Light.    What I thought of as dessert is becoming the main meal; what I bought ready-made is changing to raw materials for my own cooking, what was one endless churning may become butter, better yet, olive oil, and best, unnecessary.
Raw material #1:  From this morning’s Daily Good, the words of 25-year-old Nipun Mehta in "The Spirit of Service" resonate with me.  I am not involved in service right now but selfishly attending to my own needs.   Mehta wrote exuberantly about experiences that caused his own enlightenment and led to his life in service.  The entire reading is composed of parable after parable.  These words are in the center of the lengthy essay:

          You're always hunting, hunting, hunting, and it just never ends. And then there's money. People always criticize others chasing money. But you can start chasing inspiration. You can have this spiritual currency. Oh, well, I want to be in this state. I want to feel this way. I want to feel this. I want to have this and that. And it's all the same thing. Right? You're just hunting.
          How many people ever say, "I have arrived. This is a moment I've been waiting for all my life," or "This is a moment that's a culmination of all my life, all my experiences and this is it. I am here."

Raw Material #2:  Looking for a poem to use in my upcoming Midweek Motif on prescience at Poets United, I read and reread several Mary Oliver poems.  Her poems help me rest.  They fill me with joy.  I have always felt these poems were teaching me to see trees in the forests, individuals among the species that brighten each day.  But yesterday I began to see them differently.  Every poem became a way to enter the beauty of life.  Oliver does not deny the disturbance of world and personal events—she takes us, for an instant, on a walk with her into what also exists, what is constantly accessible.  I read greedily, with great thirst to go where she is leading over and over again. Here are only two:

At Blackwater Pond by Mary Oliver

At Blackwater Pond the tossed waters have settled 
after a night of rain. 
I dip my cupped hands. I drink 
a long time. It tastes 
like stone, leaves, fire. It falls cold 
into my body, waking the bones. I hear them 
deep inside me, whispering 
oh what is that beautiful thing 
that just happened?

Egrets by Mary Oliver

Where the path closed
down and over,
through the scumbled leaves,
fallen branches,
through the knotted catbrier,
I kept going. Finally
I could not
save my arms
from thorns; soon
the mosquitoes
smelled me, hot
and wounded, and came
wheeling and whining.
And that’s how I came
to the edge of the pond:
black and empty
except for a spindle
of bleached reeds
at the far shore
which, as I looked,
wrinkled suddenly
into three egrets – - -
a shower
of white fire!
Even half-asleep they had
such faith in the world
that had made them – - -
tilting through the water,
unruffled, sure,
by the laws
of their faith not logic,
they opened their wings
softly and stepped
over every dark thing.

You can find Mary Oliver's books at Beacon Press, and in many locations on the web and in print journals. 

 Raw Material #3: On Tuesday evenings I sit down in Worship with 5-6 others who hunger for God.  We are buddies of Jesus though not all Quakers.  Not all Quakers experience Jesus as central.  I myself am a Jewish-Pagan-Christian Quaker—an odd combination in historical order that I will address another time.  I call us Buds of Jesus because we are all friends of Jesus in one way or another and because we are like flowers not fully opened.   Lately we have been considering “Longing” as a desirable state of being, one to embrace rather than to solve.  Like the Samaritan Woman at the Well in the Bible (John 4), we consider how we quench our thirst.  This Tuesday one of the group brought in a selection from the spiritual poetry of Hafiz:

The Danger by Hafiz

Love seems easy in a circle of friends,
But it's difficult, difficult.

Morning air through the window, the taste of it,
with every moment camel bells leaving the caravanserai.

This is how we wake, with winespills
On the prayer rug, and even the tavernmaster
is loading up. My life has gone
From willfullness to disrepute,
And I won't conceal, either, the joy
That led me out toward laughter.

Mountainous ocean, a moon hidden behind clouds,
The terror of being drawn under.

How can someone with a light shoulder-pack
Walking the beach know how a night sea-journey is?

Hafiz! Stay in the dangerous life that's yours.
THERE you'll meet the face
That dissolves fear.

This essay will be continued ….  ingredient  #3 cont., #4 Kinship, #5 writing poetic origins and manifestos for a dVerse Poets Pub Prompt, and #6 arranging a collection of my work to publish.