Letting Intel Percolate

One of the things I’ve learned from The Fluent Self is to let intel percolate. The things I know about myself and the things I’m learning about myself might be big things, but they don’t have to be overwhelming if I can just let them happen in the back of my mind while I’m doing other things.

For instance, I just had the thought: Presence scares me.

OK, interesting. What about being present is frightening to me? Past Me would poke that thought until I scared it away and came no closer to figuring it out. Current Me noticed it, asked the question, and is now moving on to doing some annotation work while the quiet part of my brain wonders about presence.

As my tidying coach (not a proxy!) used to say: Let it be easy.

And You Shall Love

Yesterday I attended Kabbalat Shabbat at The New Shul for the first time in years. As some of you know, I have a complicated relationship with my Judaism. I’m an atheist, so although I love many of the rituals of the religion, I’m often uncomfortable in services that mention God too much. I certainly don’t feel that I can say the Sh’ma, the primary tenet of the faith, without perjuring myself.

Still, Kabbalat Shabbat, the Friday evening service, at The New Shul is always a special event, with gorgeous music (especially gorgeous now that they’ve started incorporating Sephardic and Middle-Eastern Jewish traditions) and lovely community. And, incredibly, last night rehabilitated for me one of the core prayers that I am uncomfortable with, the V’ahavta.

The change was in the custom guidebook for Friday Night and it was in the translation of the prayer. It was a very minor change, just one word, and actually the word wasn’t even changed, just bracketed. But that made all the difference. Here’s how the first lines read:

And you shall love (God) with all your heart,
and all your soul, and all your might.

That’s all. But once the word “God” is in parentheses, the entire prayer becomes not about the divine being I don’t believe in, but about love. Instructions for how to love. You shall love with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your might, and you shall take these words and speak them in your house and on the road and teach them to your children and bind them on your arm and between your eyes and write them on your gates. What shall you love in this way? Why, everything that you love. No holding back, if you love something, love it fully, and teach others to love just the same way.

Somehow, that really resonated with me last night. Maybe because I’ve been second-guessing myself around the topic of love and winding myself up in tangles trying to strategize the feeling away. But if this prayer is true, I don’t have to manage it, I just let myself feel the thing with every (as another translation has it) “inclination of my knowing heart” and let that be enough.

Wishes for the New Year

We are ten days into January 2016 and I think I am beginning to know what kind of a year it is. Taking a cue from Havi Brooks and her 52 wishes for the new year, I’ve decided to seed some of my own wishes with no explanation. Here they are:

  • remember my panther self
  • sleep, rest, trust in plenty (these are all connected)
  • courage! heart! I ask for what I want with ease and without apology.
  • my body moves in just the way it needs to
  • sleek and satisfied

May these or something better reveal themselves for joy in the coming year.

And I invite you to share your wishes, in whatever form you’d like to share them!

Blogging is Hard But Probably Worthwhile?

So that hiatus ended up lasting 2.5 months instead of just one, huh.

I really want to do creative things publicly more often. I’ve thought about starting a vlog more and more lately, since I tend to be pretty personable face-to-face. Maybe I could embed videos in here, so as not to have created this space in vain?

I’ve thought about posting poems here more often, but I’m a little nervous about what that might mean for things like journal submissions (which is probably a moot point, given that I haven’t completed any submissions since I applied for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship earlier this year (I didn’t make it into the finals, in case you’re wondering).

It’s also difficult because I’ve been making a concerted effort to do my paid work on a more regular schedule. I freelance, doing linguist annotation for various folks on contract, so if I don’t force myself to work, work doesn’t get done. And I get paid hourly, so I have to put in the hours to get the money. So that’s been a priority for me, which has led personal creative endeavours to fall by the wayside.

Still, I do think blogging regularly is worth doing. I’m going to try to stick to a more regular schedule, probably something like once a week, though we’ll see. Any poems I post are gonna be reposts from elsewhere on the Internet, which’ll be good because I’ve been meaning to consolidate all of my scribblings into a single location. Other than that, it’ll probably just be ramblings about my life, kinda like this.

If anyone has any ideas about formats, contents, and just general blogging advice for a total newbie, that would be much appreciated. Also I’ve been thinking a lot about zines… so perhaps something may come of that.

Going on Hiatus for July

Hey folks.

I’ve decided to take the month of July as a blogging hiatus so that I can build up somewhat of a buffer in posts. Scrambling to write a post every week last minute has brought me much stress and led to frequent weeks when I haven’t posted at all. So this will be good for both my mental health and my future consistency.

In the meantime, here’s a list of some of my favourite blogs on the Internet; I’m really bad at writing descriptions, so just go to the links to see whether it’s something you’ll like or not:

These are all excellent people doing excellent work, and I highly recommend supporting them in whatever way you can.

See you in August!

Friday Poem: Pivot Point

Pivot Point

I am not interested in being the child
of death and rage
I’m sorry for my outburst, but were you even listening?
There is more at stake here
than your petty ego.
It has never been about
what you want,
or care about.
It’s not about
the end of days, either,
though we do like our ecstasies of fear
in this town.
Let’s be real:
You are pivotal, just
like the rest of us.
But where do we turn on the pivot point?
That’s another question.

 

 

 

About This Poem
I’m… not entirely sure where this poem came from. It’s from my own personal NaPoWriMo. I wrote it on the downtown R train at a late hour of the night. It’s a lot angrier than I really understand myself to be, especially given that I’m not sure what exactly it’s about. I’d love comments or critique, as always.

Friday Poem: When I was a kid…

This is something I worked on in my Music Therapy Group. We looked at Andrea Gibson’s poem “Andrew” and wrote our own responses to it starting with the line “When I was a kid…”

Mine looked something like this:

When I was a kid
I took on many roles:
                Blue and Yellow Ranger
                Sailor Mercury and Tuxedo Mask
and saw no contradiction in it.
Fighting evil on the back porch
or swimming with Neptune at the beach,
legs turned into dolphin tail, making bottlenose noises in the banya.
I never cared to have a leading role,
was happy to cede Red Ranger or Princesshood
to my friends.
I’d happily serve so long as I could shapeshift too.

 

 

It’s taken on several iterations since then, but I haven’t quite become satisfied with it. It’s gotten both longer and shorter; I’ve taken the ’90s kid references out and put them back in… It’ll probably go through more iterations until it’s complete, and I’ll happily take comments and critique, even in this half-formed state.

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