Monday, September 21, 2015

Underneath - a poem for International Peace Day

I've been pondering peace all day... well, since I learned that today is International Peace Day.

Peace is important to me. I've participated in the Blog 4 Peace project the past two years, and I always come back to the same thought. Peace begins with me. Peace begins with you. Peace begins in each of our hearts.

I listened to the anthem for this year's International Peace Day, One, and I felt... well, sad...



There is so much disconnection in our world. There is so much us versus them. There are so many labels. There is such a strong push to control one another. There is such a strong push toward greed and materialism.

It leaves me wondering why, if so many people can see us that we are "one", that we are more alike than unalike, that we are better off united than divided, we end up right back at this place where hate, division, and vitriol rule the day.

Then I look at social media. The world works by keeping us divided, by telling us what to think, by demonizing us to each other...

And, we allow it to happen.

But, I have to believe there is hope... I have to...

And, so I was inspired to write the following poem...

Underneath

Underneath the lies
Underneath the division
Underneath the beliefs
Underneath the manipulation
Underneath the blind loyalty
Underneath the greed
Underneath the judgment
Underneath it all
What do you find underneath?
When you look in your heart?
When you look in your soul?
Do you ever look
Underneath
To see the humanity in another?
Do you ever look
Underneath
To see the pain in another’s eyes?
Do you ever look
Underneath
To find the humility to change
The system that hurts so many
Do you ever look
Underneath
To see the love that unites?
Do you ever look
Underneath
To find the connection
To another?
Do you ever look
Underneath
To find the peace
Born from compassion?
Because I have to believe
That if we look
Underneath
We can find the connection
We can find the compassion
We can find the love
We can find the way to cultivate
Peace
But we have to start by looking
Underneath
The manipulation that keeps us in chaos
Tell me
If peace begins in each of our hearts
How do we nurture it so it will thrive?
Peace is about so much more than ending war
Peace begins and ends with us
Living love and compassion for our fellow Earthlings…




Friday, September 18, 2015

Vulnerability in Silhouette Finds Strength

As a writer, I often feel a sense of isolation that is only relieved through sharing my work. As a human being, I sometimes feel a sense of vulnerability that is only relieved when I risk connecting with others. Being a writer gives me an excuse to avoid risking vulnerability.
When I was compiling the poems for my book, Strength in Silhouette: Poems , I couldn't help but notice how often strength and vulnerability played on the same playground, and they played together well. I reflected over several years when I spent concerted efforts to risk vulnerability in order to grow closer to those I loved and to be more authentic. Each foray I made into vulnerability made me feel stronger. It wasn't that I couldn't be hurt. It wasn't that I didn't hurt. I was hurt. I felt pain deeply, but I felt a strength coming through the vulnerability that reminded me I could do better than survive, I could thrive.
So, as I sorted through the poems to focus on strength I watched my reject pile of poems exploring vulnerability grow higher and higher. I soon realized I had enough books for at least one book of poetry focused on vulnerability. At first I was excited, my next book had written itself...
But... then... something happened. The poems were there. They were ready. I wasn't. I stalled. And then I procrastinated... And, then I realized I felt vulnerable. Finally, I narrowed the poems down and compiled Vulnerability in Silhouette. As I compiled it, I once again felt vulnerability and strength playing off one another and somehow giving one another a stronger foundation.
To me, Vulnerability in Silhouette feels like a companion book to Strength in Silhouette, but I think both books also stand on their own.
I share my poetry in the hopes it will connect with others in a way they find useful or entertaining or inspiring...
I offer you my Vulnerability in Silhouette...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Guest Blogging about Oregon

Today I'm guest blogging on Fifty Authors from Fifty States. I wrote a bit about hiking in Oregon. This summer we spent several Saturdays hiking places within a couple hours drive from our house. I touched on a few of them as well as on how the hikes reminded me how much I used to enjoy being in the woods...

Check it out at Fifty Authors from Fifty States.