Untamed But Not Unnamed

Dancing on the beach, photo by Liz Lamoreux

Dancing on the beach, photo by Liz Lamoreux

I am the sun to two little girls. 

I am a quiet moon on the rise to light your night. 

I am whispers and wonder, I travel through mysteries and say "Let's go together." 

I am a witness, I am calling. I am here to testify

To love--love that holds us and mends us. 

I am untamed but not unnamed  

I am the turning of the tide. 

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I wrote these lines in one of Liz Lamoreux's workshops at our Story Excavation Retreat on the Oregon Coast. If you're ready to excavate YOUR STORY, join Mindy Tsonas and me next month for a one-day retreat in MA and we will discover the alchemy of everyday stories together.

Mantra

Temporary tattoo by Chickadee Road, chickadeeroad.com

Temporary tattoo by Chickadee Road, chickadeeroad.com

You tell yourself one hundred times a day

and you tell yourself still:

It's okay.

It's okay to try a new idea, even if it makes you squirm

like a too-tight sweater with too-short sleeves

trapping your shoulders.

It's okay to try another one.

The pillows supporting your back tell you it's okay

to spend two days a month on the sofa.

Its soft red curves remind you the world has this way

of moving itself along without your toil.

Your children can fend for themselves at dinnertime.

Their animated voices, enlivened by freedom,

remind you it's okay to let them find their own way

sometimes.

It's okay to let the sink fill with pots

and the kitchen trash stand guard one more day.

This is not impending disaster and doom,

there is no cartoon snowball growing ominous

and gaining velocity down some imaginary mountain.

This is rest. This is ease. Maybe even grace.

To let go, to close your eyelids, to wait until

your strength returns to make the trek out to Canarsie.

The calendar whispers that there are other days,

other times that will be happy homes for the tasks

on your list. And some of them are better left undone,

just so you remember you are not holding this great world

together, spinning it with your tenacity and will.

It's okay to let yourself be held, be carried a little more often

by divine winds and invisible help.

To be the recipient in equal measure as the source.

A New Pathway Into Transformation

Photo by Pathmaker Liz Lamoreux

Photo by Pathmaker Liz Lamoreux

If I had to boil down my most central area of inquiry to a single word, I would say, transformation. I am endlessly looking at how and when and why we leave one way of being behind for another, examining the necessary conditions or ingredients, so to speak.

I look across learning styles and personality traits--the way some of us do our deepest work in solitude and others in community--as well as other factors, like how much we can integrate at what pace or what settings certain topics lend themselves to more than others.

My friends and I are always looking to see how many pathways into a conversation we can create: Is there a way to just dip your toes in the water or to carry a simple reminder with you during your day? (a tshirt) Is there a way to plunge into the deep end? (a retreat) How about a way to ease in at one's own pace, moving from the shallow to the deep end as one adjusts to the water? (a home study course)

What about people on a budget, or people who don't know where to begin when too many pieces arrive all at once? 

That last question led us to the creation of monthly subscription options, first for The Iconic Self with Phyllis Mathis, MA, LPC, and now with author and artist Liz Lamoreux's transformational work, The Gift of This Moment.

This option means more sweet packages in your mailbox, with resources and supports that arrive at a steady, easy-to-follow-and-digest pace. It means another doorway into conversations and practices that can mean the difference between losing yourself or holding on and finding your essential essence in life's more trying moments. It means that instead of waiting until Some Day, you could begin Right Now.

Transient
 

Filling My Mind and Fueling My Body

Someone wanted to pose as a wheelbarrow...

There are a hundred other things I should be doing, but instead here I am, saying hello. We're getting ready to introduce a new project tomorrow by the joyful Jolie Guillebeau. It's really one of the loveliest projects we've ever done. I have trips to the printer about the catalog in my future, along with ironing out the details with iTunes on the new Retrospective podcast. Then there are events I'm dreaming up and planning up and I'm sure another dozen things swirling about.

But here is what is filling my mind and fueling my body these days: this very quiet awe about what we can make against a backdrop of friendship--how rich and inviting and welcoming it all is. The people whom I clutch close to my heart, whether they know it or not, and the gratitude that comes with living inside a story of love. It's a story that I hope will never end, and that we will some day find a way to tell properly.

There is much to do, much undone, and all terribly imperfect, but in this moment I am all joy.

(Make sure you listen to and download Strong by Maya Stein. It is an absolute balm.)

Retrospective: A New Podcast...and Maya Stein!

If all the people I know and love lived here in my neighborhood, I would host a party every Friday night so you could meet one another and hang out. You would be so inspired and happy to know each other, as I am every single day.

But we live near and far, and we will likely never be all together on a Friday night. So I'm creating this new podcast series as an attempt toward the next best thing.

It's called Retrospective, and it features in-depth conversations with artists, authors and visionaries about the places in which we find ourselves and the stories that brought us here. It's an inquiry into our experience of journey. But at the heart of it, it's an introduction between some of my favorite people in all the world.

It's coming soon to iTunes and all that jazz, but I can't wait for everything to be 'just so' because my first interview is with poet Maya Stein and it is a very time-sensitive conversation about her latest project, Type Rider. Here's the video trailer:

Yesterday I went in to meet Maya on the Highline Canal in Manhattan. She was here in town, and she's been setting up writing stations here and there, even though the official Type Rider trip doesn't launch for another few weeks. I wasn't sure how it would go over here in New York--would people be curious, or too cautious to investigate?

Just those few minutes I witnessed there, with passerby being drawn to her blue typewriter like bees to blossom and Maya conversing with them in a space of pure welcome, held so much beauty and humanity that I was all tears under my sunglasses. I wanted a video camera or some other way to capture the quality of playfulness and adventure that was as tangible as the warm sun on our cheeks. Some way to bottle it up and give it to you like the best present ever.

I do have this to offer you, though: a heart to heart chat, friend to friend, with Maya herself.

There are only a few more days to fund the Type Rider project--please help us spread the word.

 

Maya Stein is a poet, feral writing instructor and adventurer. She is the author of Spinning the Bottle and The Overture of an Apple. On her blog you can sign up to receive one of her original 10-line poems in your inbox every Tuesday.

 

 

Click the link below to play the episode in your browser (it may need a couple minutes to load), or right-click (or control-click) to download it into your library. I have individual files of each of the poems she reads to share with you, but it looks like I need to post those separately. Look for them to be added in the coming days (along with ways to subscribe to this new series.)

Solace

The darker the days

the deeper my roots reach

for this whisper we call solace.

I press into boiling kettles

and vintage quilts

I wash by hand in the bathroom sink.

 

I clear out the objects of seasons past,

pictures I've stopped seeing

when I pass by them on the wall.

I call about the insurance policy

and rip out the shower caulk

that makes me feel like a failure.

 

I wish I could say there is some

fancy hocus pocus that

sprinkles through my days,

but each one begins and

ends with me

just me

laying in my bed,

seeking assurance in my breath

and clinging to this mantra:

Just be a body.

And I let myself be covered.

I let myself be held.