Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mojo Monday ~ Poetry for Mother Earth

Image Digitally Created by Michelle Fairchild in 2008
It seemed fitting to bring together poetry and thoughts about our Mother Earth seeing as how April is National Poetry Month and the 41st Anniversary of Earth Day was celebrated on April 22nd.  

Our planet absolutely astounds me.  There are so many descriptive words that come to mind while contemplating our shared globe: wondrous, remarkable, amazing, incredible…and yet none of them can really do it justice.  How do you describe something so sacred and miraculous?  

What I know is that we do the best we can using our sacred earthly tools such as words, both prose and poetry, paintings, songs, dances, culinary arts, rituals and activism.  

In honor of our big blue planet here is a compilation of prose, poetry and song to honor her.

My Dearest Mother Earth, 

Your beauty is astounding
so much so that it brings tears

to the eyes of those who really see you

the greens and blues, the red, browns and yellows

the rainbows that you sometimes wear like magical jewels

and underneath your stunning appearance

you are humble

You are a provider
a giver of life

if it were not for you

and the water that covers

two thirds of your surface

there would be no life

and yet you are humble

There are those
in certain circles

who are concerned

about worshipping you

as a deity

and yet it seems

that since our very

lives and survival

depends on you

that there needs to be

greater Reverence in how we view you

There needs to be more
love and respect

in our actions and thoughts

towards you

and while we can celebrate

that forty-one years ago

inspired individuals celebrated

the first Earth Day on

April 22, 1970

we must also honor that

every day is Earth Day.

~ By Michelle Fairchild

In the Midst of Pain

By Gregg Krech 

Once, not long ago, it was a hearty tree
providing shade, food, and oxygen—

a world of its own.

For a hundred years,
perhaps more,

it flourished with breath and life.

Then it was cut, sawed, ground, and pressed
until it found itself resting softly

between two friends.

Peacefully and patiently
it waited for the moment

it would burst forth into the world

and exercise the meaning of its life.

And now that moment has come.
It gracefully caresses my cheek,

wiping the tears from my eyes

and taking on my pain as its own

All those years
as seed, tree, wood

and tissue

in preparation for the fleeting moment

it would console my sadness.

As it gives its life to comfort me
I almost failed to see the kindness in its deed.

Wrapped up in self-centered pain, tear-blinded,
I nearly missed its selfless service.

Who will give witness to such compassion if not me?

 Shriveled and soaked, it died while serving a fool
who discarded thousands of its brothers and sisters

without a thanks –not one tear shed in gratitude.

Teach me to see through the teardrop, that in the midst of pain
I may understand the true source

of the softness against my face.

Teach me to cry with my eyes wide open.

"With My Own Two Hands"

I can change the world
With my own two hands
Make it a better place
With my own two hands
Make it a kinder place
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands
I can make peace on earth
With my own two hands
I can clean up the earth
With my own two hands
I can reach out to you
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands
I'm going to make it a brighter place
With my own two hands
I'm going to make it a safer place
With my own two hands
I'm going to help the human race
With my own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands
I can hold you
With my own two hands
I can comfort you
With my own two hands
But you've got to use
Use your own two hands
Use your own
Use your own two hands
With our own
With our own two hands
With my own
With my own two hands

~ by Jack Johnson featuring Ben Harper

Share your thoughts about Mother Earth.  

If you feel inspired write her a letter, a poem, a song and share it with us here.

Earth Song by Michael Jackson

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mojo Monday ~ Express Yourself

Jack Kornfield, Buddhist author and teacher once wrote “I’ve been told the story of a six-year-old girl who asked her mother where she was going one afternoon.  The mother replies that she was headed for the university to teach her students how to draw and paint. ‘You mean they’ve forgotten?’ her daughter asked, amazed.  Many of us have forgotten how to give voice to our creativity.  And yet it is sad that play —- our ability to let go, dance, sing, create — is one of the most wondrous expressions of our aliveness.”

Excerpts from the book by Nina Wise called A Big New Free Happy Unusual Life: Self Expression and Spiritual Practice for Those Who Have Time for Neither.

“Everyone is creative.  Creativity is our very nature.  But for many of us, the creative impulse has gone into hiding, ‘I can’t draw, I can’t sing, I can’t dance,’ we confess to each other, and we plant ourselves in front of the television for the evening.  But the creative impulse that is at the core of all being remains robust within us.”

“Creativity is about having the courage to invent our lives – to concoct lovemaking games, cook up a new recipe, paint a kitchen cabinet, build sculptures on the beach and sing in the shower. Creativity is about our capacity to experience the core of our being and the full range of our humanness.  The question of how to become more creative is not about learning anything or even doing anything, but about allowing whatever arises to gain expression.  To do this, we must bypass the voice inside of us that says stop.  The censoring mind is clever and has an entire litany of reasons we must refrain from expressing ourselves: you are a bad dancer so sit back and watch while the skillful ones dance.  And you certainly can’t paint so don’t even try because you will embarrass yourself. You sing off-key and you can’t hold a rhythm – you will disturb everyone within earshot if you open your mouth.  And if you happen to disregard this sage advice, you will make a total fool of yourself and no one will ever love you or give you a job.  We obey this voice as if being guided by inner wisdom, but when we tune in, we hear a quieter voice calling out to us to express ourselves freely.  This is the voice that can liberate us.  If we listen and respond, our lives become rich with the pleasure creative freedom provides.”

“It is our nature to be free and it is our nature to express that freedom, spontaneously and without hesitation, through song, and dance, and painting, and poetry and prayer.  In the same way that the universe gives birth to uncountable shapes, forms, colors and beings in a grand panoply of flowing, changing manifestation, we too, are of the nature to give birth to myriad forms of expression.”

What are your thoughts regarding the excerpts from Nina Wise's book?

Has someone you know ever stated "I am not creative."?  Did you respond?

This week if you hear that voice that says "stop" when you think about painting, dancing, writing or inventing a new recipe put your fingers in your ears and go "la la la la la" until you can't hear it anymore and then proceed with wild abandon to create without judgement, to create just for the sake of creating. Liberate yourself! Set aside time to just play and let go.  See what happens when you give yourself permission to just create without a specific purpose in mind.  What do you gravitate to first  - paints, crayons, scissors and glue?

As Greg Anderson so brilliantly put it

"Focus on the journey, not the destination. 

Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it."

Nina Wise is known for her provocative and original performance works. Her pieces have garnered seven Bay Area Critics' Circle Awards, and she has received, among other prestigious honors, three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Her written pieces have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies. Nina lives in San Rafael, California.

Jack Kornfield is one of the leading Buddhist teachers in America. A practitioner for over 40 years, he is one of the key teachers to introduce mindfulness and vipassana meditation to the West. His approach emphasizes compassion, lovingkindness and the profound path of mindful presence, all offered in simple, accessible ways in his books, CD’s, classes and retreats.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Believe She's Amazing

Kim MacGregor launched I Believe She’s Amazing to unite and inspire 1,000,000 women around the world to recognize the amazing women in their lives, in memory of her inspirational friend Erika Heller, who lost her four-year battle with colon cancer on May 28, 2009, at 31 years old, just two weeks shy of her one-year wedding anniversary to her Prince Charming, Ryan Cornell.

She organized a flash mob of 200 dancers to launch the "feel good" movement and the amazing choreographers and dancers pulled it together in just one-6 hr rehearsal the day before the shoot.

(The song is I Believe by Yolanda Adams, from the soundtrack to the movie Honey starring Jessica Alba.)

Kim had this to share about her dear friend, “I wish Erika to be remembered by how she lived her life: full of smiles, laughter, silly voices, love, encouragement, and gratitude for her many friends. Never missing a chance to show her appreciation for the gift of friendship—something that meant so much to her—Erika always ended our conversations with the words, “I think you’re amazing because…”

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mojo Monday ~ Poetry

po·et·ry  [poh-i-tree] 
1.  the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts.
2.  literary work in metrical form; verse.
3.  prose with poetic qualities.
4.  poetice qualities however manifested: the poetry of simple acts and things.
5.  poetic spirit or feeling: The pianist played the prelude with poetry.
6.  something suggestive of or likened to poetry: the pure poetry of a beautiful view on a clear day.

The Academy of American Poets, which was founded in 1934,  led the initiative to designate April as National Poetry Month. Their goal was to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. The first National Poetry Month was held in April of 1996.  The Acadeny of American Poets has enlisted a variety of government agencies and officials, educational leaders, publishers, sponsors, poets, and arts organizations to help.


Magnetic Fridge Poetry

The goals of National Poetry Month are to:
  • Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
  • Introduce more Americans to the pleasures of reading poetry
  • Bring poets and poetry to the public in immediate and innovative ways
  • Make poetry a more important part of the school curriculum
  • Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
  • Encourage increased publication, distribution, and sales of poetry books
  • Increase public and private philanthropic support for poets and poetry

They also created a list called 30 Ways to Celebrate.

Here are some of examples from the list:

Poetry as an art form

Additional Resources:

National Poetry Month

What are your thoughts about poetry?

Were you exposed to poetry as a child?  

Do you have a favorite poem?  

Do you write poetry?  Would you share one with us?

Poet Katie Makkai performing Pretty