Evenfall

Your silence will not protect you. Audre Lorde quote.

It would be so easy, and has been, to turn off the news
And continue on with life
Digging into the projects which serve me
Settling down into peace

It would be so easy, and has been, to keep quiet
Staying out of this
Silencing my miseducation and fear
Slipping into ineffectiveness

It would be so easy, and has been, to say things like
This is not my problem
That is not my community
He is not my son

But it’s become impossible to employ empathy without words
And leaning in requires action
At evenfall, I am safe
Are you? Is it fair?

Write ALM August Writing Prompts

Aubade

Morning light greets my eyes and I think, “what am I brave enough for today?” It is my first thought, my prevailing thought, and the one that will see me through an anxiety-filled day. I have high cortisol and hormone imbalances in part due to chronic pain and endometriosis. Every day brings challenges as I try to function well with fight-or-flight level stress. I am doing my best in the body I’ve got. Every day, I can do my best.

tomatoes harvested from the gardenLast night Steve harvested another batch of tomatoes from the vine. This morning I wash and cut them, season and roast them. We’ll use them in chili or salads. I can grow food. I can care for a garden.

With the oven warm already for tomato-roasting, I figure I may as well bake something. I recently Pinned some recipes over on Pinterest. I choose one that uses bananas as a binder, rather than eggs, as our egg supply is dwindling. This might be a good time to mention that Costco has been carrying organic bananas for a very good price. We buy them in large bunches, let them ripen a few days, then cut and freeze them for smoothies. I left a few unfrozen this week because I knew I wanted to bake.

Banana Oat CookiesI decide to make banana-oat-chocolate cookies by modifying one of the above mentioned Pinterest recipes. I think they turned out well, though a bit oddly textured. I can bake well. I can try new things. I can throw gross results in the trash without crying. I can eat things that aren’t the best, but not the worst, either.

After baking, I’m off to the front yard to pull weeds. We don’t have any grass, just rocks and some xeriscape plants. I’m struggling to beautify this low-maintenance and eco-friendly space. It’s too hot to add any new plants right now, so I focus on keeping the rocks free of weeds, and work with the existing bricks and small boulders to frame in the shrubs and trees. I can work with what I’ve got, and lay down the fear of what neighbors think. Not always, mind you, but today I can!

Self-compassion mantras in the morning

So I start my days with a self-compassion mantra, “what am I brave enough for today?” And I speak to fear as I face challenges, thanking it for allowing me so many opportunities to be a rock star. It sometimes feels silly, to speak to fear, or to myself, but I honestly find it helpful. Research suggests that self-compassion can raise our oxytocin levels, and lower our cortisol. Oxytocin is a hormone that helps us bond and connect. I place my hand over my heart, and speak to myself the way I speak to those I love. Although I can’t measure my hormone levels on the spot, I sense the immediate effect of practicing self-compassion. I know the alternative, the practice of berating and belittling myself. I can see the difference between hurting myself and loving myself. I can make an effort to practice self-compassion. I can learn about my health and keep trying new things to improve it. I can care for me.

I can do brave things

What am I brave enough for today?
I ask myself as I yet lay
My heart on the line as the sun shines anew
The morning grass wet with last night’s dew

Where is the courage I need today?
I ponder the question to light the way
My mind is aware of the struggles ahead
As my legs leave the comfort of my safe bed

I can and I will walk surely today!
I’ll work and share and smile and play!
I’ve got this! I feel it down in my heart
And with that I’m off to a very good start!

Write ALM August Writing Prompts

My Writing Process – Blog Tour

Recently my friend Brandie asked if I’d be interested in participating in a Blog Tour about the process of writing. I agreed because I like reading, and writing, about writing!

randie from Journey Of 1000 Stitches blog

Brandie writes about her various creative projects, and her resilient life, over on A Journey Of 100 Stitches. I am grateful to know Brandie, and count her as an inspiration in my life.

Here’s how a Blog Tour works-  participants answer the same four questions, then name a few other bloggers to do the same, having received consent from said bloggers. The idea is to connect writers with other writers. I like making connections.  And now, here are my answers to the Blog Tour questions-

What am I working on now?

Currently I’m working with a copy editor friend on some of my previously written and shared poems. We’re cleaning them up, hoping to pull something together for a magazine submission. I am enjoying the process of looking at older writing, receiving feedback, and working my words like clay on a wheel.

I respond to Write Alm Prompts a few times a week, usually with poems or short narratives. Prompt writing is a great way to build my blog and try on different forms of writing.

On Sundays I post in my series- Snapshots of Gratitude. I find this to be a centering practice, where I look back on the previous week with the intent of finding the good.

How does my writing differ from others of its genre?

I write about some dark and difficult things on my blog. Some of my most visited topics are shame, chronic pain, and the struggle to practice self-compassion. It’s difficult to even say the word “shame” without cringing, so I often broach these subjects through poetry. Poetry is a way to apply gauze over a gory wound before going out in public. I want to connect with people over my words, not scare them away!

Why do I write what I do?

Writing about empathyI love the Ernest Hemingway quote, “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” I write because I hurt. I write because I’m compelled to work through my internal struggles. I write for therapy. I write to heal. The reason I share my writing is to access empathy. Hearing “me too” in response to my writing brings great meaning to my life.

 

How does my writing process work?

I’m a sit-down-and-write writer. While I reserve morning coffee dates with my personal handwritten journal, my blog is another matter. I don’t have a set time, place or topic. I fit blogging into the lulls of my day, or when the muse is banging so loudly in my chest that I can no longer ignore her.

I tote my laptop to the porch swing, my bed, or the couch. I have a desk, but never use it. When I’m ready to write, I pull upWriting on my laptop a daily prompt, or just start typing my internal narrative. Once I have an acceptable amount of cohesive words, I clean them up, add a photo, and share.

Sometimes I want to post on my blog and don’t have a damn thing to say, even when guided by a prompt. On those days, I sift through recent photographs on my phone, looking for a spark. When I find inspiration, I run with it!

That’s the end of my Blog Tour Q&A session. I hope you’ve enjoyed a glimpse of my writing process. Now I’d like to introduce you the bloggers I’ve chosen to answer the above questions about their own writing processes! Let’s keep the Blog Tour going!

Jen, stylist, at Fashion Cents DenverJen writes about fashion, style, and self-worth on her blog, Fashion Cents Denver, and blends the line between these worlds beautifully! I enjoy Jen’s posts about how to shop and dress, of course, but mainly I adore her words on taking care of ourselves, and courageously being ourselves. I hope as you visit Jen’s blog, you get a sense of your worth, and direction toward your personal style.

 

Cyn from Writing To Right Me blogCyn shares prompt responses on her blog, Writing More To Right Me.  Cyn writes about her life, travels, and her ongoing adoption process, and shares photos of her adventures as well. Cyn is a kind and resilient person. I appreciate that she shares insight of her adoption process, a path she walks with strength and hopeful optimism.

 

Amy Hood Arts Blog Profile PhotoAmy writes about her passion for art over on her colorful blog, Amy Hood Arts. There you can find everything from photos of Amy’s creative adventures, to her various user-friendly art tutorials. It’s a bright and happy blog. I learn so much from Amy, and hope you do, too. I especially love her (You Can) Carve A Stamp tutorial!

 

The above bloggers will respond to the Blog Tour questions next week. I’ll link to them here as they do! And don’t forget to visit Brandie, who I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Brandie’s response to the Blog Tour is here. Thank you for including me, friend! And thanks to you all for reading!

Pellucid

George Orwell's poetic words accompany my post on my writing goals

I spin words this way and that, when all I really want to do is split my ribs and plop my heart on the table. I want you to be stunned, scooting your chair back in a way that causes a screech on the floor. I want you to look at the still-pumping organ, then up to my unmoved face. I want you to say, “how do you do that?” And I want you to stick around for the answer.

It’s not that I want to sicken or disturb my readers. But often when I write, that’s how I feel. I just want to come across. I want to bridge the space between you and I, even if that space is perilous and high.

I want to be known and I want you to be known. I’m after the sacredness of shared humanity. I’m in it for the “me too”s.

I want to broach subjects like shame, abuse, and disease on this blog. I want to write posts that matter. I want to help myself and others. What holds me back is my fear of what people think. My fear of silence. My fear of judgement.

What if I lay my heart out and people run away? Or snarl and spit? Or, worse yet, what if they don’t blink? What if I bare it all and can’t cause a ripple?

All I can do, it seems, is write for myself. Live my life, recall my wounds, and transcribe them in the most pellucid way possible. I’m living. I’m trying. I’m writing.

LAUREL LOVE CLIPARTS

Unto Myself

There is a way I seem
Which is skirts and heels
And pink and pearls
And lips and curls
Looking in the mirror, I see pretty

There is a way I feel
Which is unknown and empty
Conforming and sheepish
Pleasing, yet unsafe
And utterly unattached to me

There is a settling which occurs
In a ribbed white tank top
Worn thin and stretched
About a body contorted
By societal norms

There is a power that comes
From the pulling back of hair
Revealing cheekbones hard
Skin creased around deep eyes
Here’s the essence of my resilient core

There is a way of thinking
And a way of working
I am gathering all of these pieces
And bringing them home,
Unto myself

Coming Home To Myself- on self-compassion, body image, and identity

Muse

Looking to nature, and within ourselves, to find our creative and writing muse

Who is your muse? The wind outside your window, or the sunbeam streaming through? A silken tendril fallen in your darling’s eyes? The sway of the branch or the trill of birdsong? Is she the voice deep inside which churns and burns, and whispers keep going?

Is she me?
Is she you?
Does she lie?
Is she true?

Just write, my friends.
Let’s all just look around ourselves, and inside, too.
Let’s write.

LAUREL LOVE CLIPARTS

Snapshots Of Gratitude

20140801_152728_HDRFrom here

20140801_152545_HDRTo there

20140801_150904_HDRSome journeys are so evident that the growth can be measured in recent footsteps. I am grateful for this evidence. I am grateful for a resilient nature. I am grateful for legs that move me, and a heart that does the same. I am grateful I am never alone in my story. I am grateful for the opportunity to keep going, keep trying, keep failing, keep alive-ing.