Monthly Archives: June 2013

Days

I want to emphasize a point in maintaining optimism and not falling into despair. Part of this is about learning to harness the power of the future, and of possible future joy. As I mentioned, joy may be extremely rare, coming up – once in a blue moon… but this is all in perspective. Joy can be as simple as a conversation with a friend or a feeling of peace in art or beauty. It is often necessary to endure situations until we get to the next contented moment, and find that next joy. In some cases mindfulness may be best set on the future, with reminders from the past of what is good, and what we can expect. I pray that we all have something, however simple and temporary that we can look forward to: a drink to quench our thirst, a vision to behold, or the conversation of a friend or family to look forward to. Even our own creativity and thought can help keep us find content. It is important to persevere till we get to that moment. Enjoy the present, but if that is not possible, there is still something ahead that makes endurance worth waiting for.

The following poem was written in the mid to late nineties. My recent conversation brings me back to it.

Days

Got to choose your next move,
Got to do what you think
Is really going to make a difference,
In your little world,

Plush carpets and amber lights,
A ride that’s free in many ways,
Cushions on a couch save me,
Living hell for many days,
Long days,
How did I pass my time today,

Hard cold floors and bright lights,
My mind is cool most always.
Patterns on the walls they change,
In never-ending hallways,
Fall days,
How can I pass my time this way?
Anyways,

I’m climbing through. I’m climbing out,
It’s only me, just with everything else,
My soul within everything else,

Got to groove as you proceed,
Got to do what you think
Is really going to take you all the way,
To the next contented moment,

Tight with my fretful friend,
Fingers dance on steel to play,
Notes will tell the mood of life,
Come back for another day,
Any day,
How can we pass our time today?

Sitting on groves of green grass,
Trying to cure the grey day,
My blood thirst for red wine,
Just to pass the night away,
Far away,
How did I pass my time today?

Climbing free, climbing out,
It’s just me, with everyone else,
We’re so close to climbing out,
It is only work, forget everything else,
The soul without everything else,

Change of pace and growing old,
Forget about the distant days,
Still need to understand the soul,
And have something good to say,
Every day,
How did you pass your time today?

Finally free, finally out,
The soul is one and everything else,

Finally free, finally out,
The soul is one just with everything else!

***

The conclusion is a bit finite, but I really feel that it is whole. You need to have something good to say about every day: My couch was comfortable, patterns on the wall were interesting, and in my case, I played guitar. I recommend hobbies and mindfulness in simple pleasure that one can draw on in times when it is difficult to easily endure. It is important to be aware of potential joy as we are experiencing it. It is also necessary in times of stress, as a means of coping: to remember that there are always other moments to look forward to, sometimes just by looking inside.

Finding a Perspective that Includes Stable Optimism

up to Xmas2011 600

This poem again reflects my themes of Challenge, Love, Awareness and Perseverance.  Even though this is a very simplified initiative, I think that these elements when reinforced can help a person get through life, and could be used in counselling.

From day to day, it can be difficult to find a mood with stable optimism.  Optimism can be like a breath of fresh air that arrives with good news or also with the determination to be confident.  This mood can become a habit that one can revert to even during or after stressful events.  It helps to be able to fall back on resources such as a social network, and definitely to have adequate shelter, food, clothing and hopefully some other comforts too. Sometimes we cannot rely on this.  When these resources are low –  physical and mental health can be most vulnerable.  I believe that it is important in life to be able to rely on oneself to find optimism and strength from within.  While it is possible to live at times with basic needs filled; hard work is necessary – sometimes working with pain.  This becomes very difficult without a social-network that can understand our way of thinking or drive to balance certain complex personal problems. Often by maintaining spirituality and having a greater awareness of the world – people can find that inner-strength.

Sometimes I may awake, and enter into a more clear state of consciousness.  A few days ago I wrote this poem, just having awoken from a vivid dream.  I had been dreaming of putting up artwork and restoring the walls of the home where I grew up.  When I woke up – I had these words in my mind from a Shakespearean soliloquy: ‘Whether tis nobler…’ (Hamlet Act III).  The unusual thing is that I had no real memory of the entire soliloquy, although my father had memorized it and at times would recite it in a humorous sort of way.  I quickly found out that this is perhaps the most famous passage in Shakespeare, regarding, ‘To be or not to be’.  It is important in many ways, and discusses how one may carry on in life.

The poem that I wrote addresses my dream, and also the quote.  I try to take it a step further to identify important parts of life, including the joy and the ability to bring joy.  Maybe ‘joy’ only happens once in a blue moon, but this is to me: incentive to carry on through all the other stresses.  In my poem, I discuss my home like a cathedral, but really the entire world – and all those I love: everyone.  Everyone has humanity, and beauty, no matter how deep.  After we conquer and divide, or have fear and are lonesome: the strength to share love, or have hope may require great effort.  This can be found through a greater awareness, or a perspective change that allows one to construe observations positively and find optimism.  One may stretch too far to achieve this optimism, but perhaps with experience, even training: it may be possible to find realistic optimism through the shift to perception of the macrocosm, a broader vision of our world, or an effective perspective change in a specific case. For example, it may be possible to take on a more distanced view of a conflict, and be able to find ways to cope with the problem or even lessen the suffering caused by the problem, by having found solutions from the different perspective. Even just facing the world with a different attitude, can loosen the stress that may otherwise be constricting, painful or monotonous. In this way, I find challenging our awareness, finding love and persevering to yield over-all stability and resilience after faltering.

This night I awoke with artistic vision, memories to restore,

Really renovate the house of my childhood, where I had once before,

Written symbols, and designs of fair religion,

and cherished goals for dearest family,

Now family passed,

wondering of mortality and my present loves:

Driving my every need,

This was our favourite room for so long,

a retreat, a centre for warmth, friends and frivolity,

Beyond that really, a great many places,

The sprawling cathedral of the world

Everything within to be cherished,

Have we conquered and divided?

Do we fear and are we lonesome?

These are not the words I ask,

I summon my strength, ask for more to share the glory with all those I love…

Everyone beautiful,

All are fair,

And it is the words on my lips as I awake:  ‘whether tis nobler ‘….

To endure and dream, fight, yell scream,

or submit to the weary boredom of suffering,

And die never having known true love of life and the expression,

Or the joy we find in bringing joy to be

Saying the Right Thing

Social media is a very complex animal, but then any social interaction could also be subject to serious study (and of course – many have been).  One thing that I have encountered in dealing with social media is that I often have a lot to say and that it is very difficult to always express my ideas effectively.  For example in emails, it is easy to say too much.  A lot of people just don’t have time for paragraph upon paragraph.  Then I may find that I have opened a can of worms, and need more words just to fill out a concept, or do justice to my personality in any sort of edgy or difficult conversation.  From making mistakes by being verbose, it can cause one to clam up and then not say enough!!  It may take practice, a clear mind and patience to communicate effectively with the social animal – social media!

This poem is about an essay, and the fact that people can convey so much with words, but also that one word can make all the difference.  Everyday it is necessary to leave our social expression to interpretation:  walking down the street, at a coffee shop, on the internet or at any social gathering.  It can be very difficult to share our personalities – our stories, virtues, strengths or weaknesses, without leaving an interpretation that may be at least slightly inaccurate.  Creating a good impression can be difficult.  One word can be the difference.

Okay, we all have heard the most useful and excellent saying: “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.”  This is accurate most often in so many ways.  Correct me if I am wrong, but sometimes – just sometimes: it is still possible to get some idea about a personality by clothing, hairstyle etcetera, often because a person is trying to make that statement!  Still: A personality is very difficult to judge in any case.  Communication (what is in the book) is often our best tool in this research.  A conversation, a poem, a song, an essay or a book can be a very important and powerful source of expression for one individual. Blogs may be a great tool for someone that needs to express.  I hope I said the right thing.

Essay- from one word

(Not so clear at the presentation)

Smooth . . .

Shuffle, shuffle,

Relax…. Sift quickly over the pertinent sheets.

Aha!!

Here it is.  The answers are here.

Flowing through crevices and cracks of the vocabulary and intricately woven grammar,

One word answer:

Shuffle, shuffle,

Sift,

Flow:  Energy.

Crumple, Crumple,

Great throw,

Clunk.

Can be too negative.

Flow:  Virtue – there it is.

Resting, perching

Waiting, pinned to the wall.  Read it. Must think about it . . .

Thump. . .Vast resources.  Big book.

Apply it.

Can it be utilized?

Or will it drag the reader through the dust?

Push the button,

Hum, whir, click,

Simmer,

Whir,

Flash – a screen of reality, illuminating all the dimensions of virtual vision,

Thoughts transferred directly, if distantly into a bright, tangible display,

Not helpful,

Still looking for one word,

Tap, tap, tap, click, tap, tap, tap, click, Tap, TAP, TAP, Enter,

Whir, beep, blip,

Flow:  Energy can be neither created or destroyed . . .

Virtuous buzz.

 

Seasons of the Day. We need health, metaphor and humour?

(Potato Flowers, added 2020)

2013 (with a few updates).

As I enter into my third blog, I want to make a statement.

What is that statement?  Well in a capsule: “Finding good physical and mental health is both an art and a science.”  It requires a good diet, exercise, proper sleep habits and stress-management.  There are so many other factors affecting health, like:  life events, social network, genetics and medication – to name a few.  And where is mental health without a little humour? Goals? To combine all these factors in so many different ways and proportions to yield physical and mental health for so many people and the majority of the time – This to me is art.

My idea of taking a poetry collection from the last twenty-five years and trying to squeeze health tips out if it is a bit bold – especially when many of the lyrics were written when I was emotional 🙂 Still, I think it is useful – to draw ideas from the writing and try to make them work, in my own understanding – to promote health.  Moving forward with my ideas that frame the themes of Challenge, Love, Awareness and Perseverance might be a bit cliché, but where I can, I will apply these thoughts. This poem was written last year and really discusses my quest to promote health in modern life.  The ideas of plants, fruit from trees, vines and vegetables as human life are key metaphors here.

Seasons of the Day

Awoken by rays and rain breathes life in me,

Underground sleep just until the light is seen,

The planted crops grow and feed all of our life,

Resembling the rows where we live and subside,

*

Incandescent glow is on and I greet myself,

This existence that covets material wealth,

The rows of the houses, people just waiting,

For a chance to advance towards escaping,

*

I don’t want to be dying on the vine,

Dropping off the tree,

Rotting in the ground,

Never to be freed –

*

Just to share in the vintage – impassioned potential sparkles at the brim,

To give years of health in places where it is seldom seen,

We all must wait, for generations to succeed,

*

The sharing of moments is not allowed here,

To our fever and fret the end is always near,

The cold leaves in the autumn shake and then fall,

Through the wet ground below, seeded rivulets crawl,

*

In the ice in the end with our hopes frozen cold,

The thoughts glisten and may drip pointedly bold,

No excuse for children not to go out and play,

Even the vast silence is buried today,

*

Soon the subtle sun reaches up to the branch,

Pulling down expression dormant in the plants,

Grasping at the sprouts, felt clear down to the roots,

A new growth begins – the transition is never smooth,

*

I just want to be growing on the vine,

A strong part of the tree,

Rising from the ground,

Providing what I need