Two Streams of Purity

6947186480_580cc67f62_mLast week I did a guided home retreat. I started with an “examination of consciousness.” This is a short contemplation and writing meditation wherein I set goals for my retreat and consider my life contexts and what I’d like to dial back or emphasize with my practice efforts. One of my goals was to increase self-esteem, to engage more with the dignity and humility of a “Divine” essence. The next morning, I kept my normal routine, because it fit well with retreat. One of those things was Yin Yoga with Sansea Sparling at Otter Creek Yoga in Middlebury. She is a splendid teacher. If you ever get a chance to take a yoga class with her, jump on it! That day, as part of her guidance for practice, she had us consider the shapes of our bones, its yang energy, its support, its cathedral-like inner shapes, so often like ornate Moroccan doorways and windows. She wanted us ourselves beautiful, to think of even our bones as holy and to breathe into that beauty. I got home feeling light and sweet. I picked up the threads of my retreat instructions and came to a place in the instructions when I was to focus on “the purity of God,” and I was to imagine that the light of God “washes my bones clean.”

Synchronicity is a beautiful thing. I felt as if the Universe was sending two beautiful streams of purity to touch me—  one coming through Sansea and the other through Jeanne Haskell, my retreat guide.

Sometimes, the Universe responds quickly and takes more than one avenue, so the message really sinks in. I had such a beautiful experience with my retreat and my yoga class, that I have continued to meditate on these concepts post retreat. It’s a good thing.

Ode to a Circle

I’ve read Pablo Neruda’s Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon. What a lovely group metaltriskelionof poems! I couldn’t stop smiling. Last night a poem of my own woke me at 4 am. It’s only a collection of imagery I like just now. It isn’t finished yet, but the pictures it makes in my mind make me smile. So here you go, have a smile too…

Ode to a Circle

A hula hoop swirling on the arm of a saucy,
elfin, dreadlocks lady,
tie-dyed T and capris,
smiling to herself, strolls a sidewalk.
A hoop, eagle-feathered,
a jewel set into its web for a safe night’s sleep,
blessed by Spider Woman,
a wheel of medicine bisected with brilliant colors,
just where, dependent on which First Nation.
Tires spinning chrome to everywhere,
a ghostly white fan-face blowing me a good summer sleep,
the blue moon, her shimmering shawl made a lunar compass,
after the pontoon on Lake Carmi,
a pie of sweet razzleberry, pumpkin too,
the squared pleasure of a Shepherd’s pie,
Colornote app in the dark,
playing zero and one, as I one-finger type,
his mimic of my “ooh!” of pleasure,
eyes crinkled in humorous desire,
a ball of blue and white spinning in black,
rising over the moon’s dusty-miller gray,
our home seen for the first time
live through Armstrong’s helmet cam,
the spinning colors in a kaleidoscope
held to the sunlit window on my birthday,
candlelight spun shadows flicker on evening wall,
play hide-and-seek, rough divots in bark
from a woodpecker’s meal dot an old maple tree,
pussy willow puffs pushed flat on long stems,
black-brown eyes of susans wave in wind,
clock faces dripping Salvador Dali,
pom-pom’d head as I form and hurl snowballs,
laughing with my brother,
stars on my Grandma’s quilt,
glass and wooden knobs,
pretzel rings and cupcake tops,
spoons tapped on my Grandpa’s hip,
a fleshy breast held to an infant’s open mouth,
a nipple suspended on a man’s muscled chest,
a scarred seat, scuffed metal legs of a backless stool
nested under a workbench at day’s end,
three-bead black body of an ant, crawling peony,
juice squeezed from oranges,
a little boy finds his bellybutton,
tiny fingers push peas in his nose,
mostly gummy grins,
cranberries flaccid from stove heat, ooze tart juice,
ball candles lit beside a bronze Buddha,
zafu and zabuton scattered, waiting,
hand bells swung to carols and sleighs at the local farm,
hay scattered by little feet,
duck butts spike a lake, rings float away,
tipped back up, bills smack dripping greenery,
metallic light bulb-tops scrape the rod as I draw the shower curtain closed.
Even in death there’s no need to join,
we’re already in it, many hands held,
merry, this life-circle never ends,
just pick a start to appreciate.

A Few Tips on Organizing Creative Writing Research

from Rosmary
from Rosmary

I am studying sciences. Did I mention? I’m not going to college to do that. Rather, I’m collecting essays, blog posts from educational and science websites, and books to learn about astronomy, the composition and life cycles of suns, the earth and galaxies, and about gravity. It is not easy for me to learn this stuff sometimes. For instance, I was reading Isaac Asimov’s essay “What is Mass?” from his book Isaac Asimov’s Guide To Earth and Space. I just didn’t understand this essay. I must have read it twenty times (granted often late at night when I’m tired). I finally asked a friend who teaches math and science just what mass is. I learned from him the simplest of definitions: “the space an object takes up.” When I went back to the essay, Asimov’s instruction made sense finally and it expanded my understanding of gravity, so now I can move on with other essays in Asimov’s book and not feel lost. The point is, if you are writing fiction and need to understand something new and technical, you should have plenty of reading material, yes, but also get yourself a really smart buddy whom you can ask a question of now and again, when you don’t understand something.

I found it important to get Pocket or another bookmarking application for saving posts of interest. This application saves space on my hard drive, because the bookmark is saved on Pocket’s server. This keeps my browser free of excess stored information in the form of bookmarks, which makes my browser speedier to load. If you decide to use my example, I recommend that you spring for Pocket’s small monthly fee (about $5) or storing your research posts. For this fee, Pocket stores the original page, (as opposed to a link as with browser bookmarking) even if the page no longer exists live on the web. You can get apps across devices too. If you don’t like how pocket functions or it doesn’t play nice with your chosen applications, there are plenty of other services like it to choose from.

I am not fond of research at the library (gasp!), so I do most of it online. As such, I subscribe to a huge variety of interesting websites. I do that in several ways. I follow pages on Twitter and Facebook. For example, I subscribe to Nova, IFLoveScience, and many other science blogs. When I like a post, I can save to Pocket easily.

I also have Feedly, an rss feed reader for blog sites and other website pages with rss feeds. (You can use any feed reader. I just found Feedly easy to use since I have google email and use Chrome all the time. These applications play nicely together with Pocket too) When I find a post that I think supports my learning or project really well, I put it in Pocket right from Feedly, so I can refer back to it when I am studying or writing. If I’m in a real hurry, I can also save a post within Feedly for later reading, though if the post disappears, Feedly does not save the entire post for you, only a summary.

I use tags for my saved research. If you use websites frequently, you likely know about tags, categories, and hash tags. If you don’t, I recommend you research what these mean and how they are used on Google and start using them. If already know about these and are lazy about using them, you might want to consider that this is the difference between a towering pile of paper surrounding your desk, threatening to fall over, and a drawer full of easy to find files. Just say’in.

Good news by the way… I just got notes back from my advisor and second reader for my senior project. Their notes suggest some very minor polishing edits, but they like it. They both like it a lot! Looks like I’ll graduate September 20. Only a few things left to do: create a senior presentation, schedule my presentation, put one final polish on my senior study and resubmit, and then practice my presentation. Oh, and pay my graduation bill. Pretty soon I’ll have a college degree!