j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

A Strange Feast

Spent petals fall to the ground…
closing in…
no more will you hear so much from heart.
Maybe then we can survive
this tide of blithe, unkind,
belittling,
begrudging find.
Maybe too much spills and roars
from depths long lost on those ears,
so…
here’s to days of still and silence.
Pass me the pin, the tag,
the warning sign that says
without saying:
“I’m in silence.”
Let it sound out a rhythm
and grin in the hush of my flow.
Maybe something new grows in the wake
of all the granted taken tokens
rarely really known and sown
far too profusely to be seen here.
So,
raze the fields’ constant yields
with daily ingratitude
and my burgeoning awareness…
and let’s sit in all we don’t say
as all the harvested silence holds sway
in the court of my alleged guilt.
Maybe then new words can bloom
when scales from eyes melt,
revealing a strange feast.

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

Set Fire to Heaven…

“I carry a torch in one hand
And a bucket of water in the other:
With these things I am going to set fire to Heaven
And put out the flames of Hell
So that no one worships God
for fear of hell or greed of heaven.”
Rabia, Eighth-century Sufi mystic poet

Photo Courtesy of Dave Grant, 2011, 2015

Photo Courtesy of Dave Grant, 2011, 2015

Honesty and Loss

At the risk of being “too serious,” I’m posting this somewhat intense documentary. I had an interesting conversation with my youngest son yesterday about seriousness. It reminds me how much we run from seriousness but also how much we need it in order to be able to be given more fully in our mirth, oddly enough. “Seriousness” is a big, vague word but it refers to taking life seriously, taking feelings seriously, taking experiences of loss seriously, and gain, seriously. Seriousness as a perspective of life or attitude towards one’s own existence juxtaposed against the alternative – humor, light-heartedness. What I find is this: Whatever we run from also holds a piece of our authentic self hostage. The imprisoned bits of self cannot genuinely participate in laughter and sometimes reach desperately out for any and every comedy to salve the haunting fear within, a sort of addictive process requiring perpetual doses of positive or funny or anything but the things we run from within ourselves…so…I’ve found that as I’m bankrupted by some of life’s crueler tides, I’m also opened up to deeper experiences of joy, an unreserved, unguarded unfolding of meaningful and light-hearted appreciation for all that life can be. I have precious little patience with positive mantras divorced from process, divorced from the organic work of finding a truly uplifting perspective via the deeper work of… honesty. I love Mark Pellington’s work as well as David Whyte’s wonderful exposition of so many layers of life’s more serious realities. So, this follows:

Mark Pellington has this to say of the documentary:

“This film was made by me as an exercise in process, to explore my own progress and personal feelings towards loss, grief, and healing. Via this text. My instinct was to be very simple and direct and to understand these words, via catharsis. The conduit was human, the face. The unlying veneer, the carrier of instinct. The face. It evokes the range of emotional expression and human truth of strangers. They all listened to it one time and brought their own inner stories to you the viewer. “

Found here.

photo by ryan mcguire - bells design

Shorelines

ego tells me to draw conclusions…shore up my indignation or my melodrama, the one where I’m left out, ignored or otherwise tricked into a situation not best for me…the one where I’m enticed onto the dance floor, courage of a wallflower conjuring possibility…the one where I get there and it’s empty…the one where the latest story plays out ancient history…here, another loss…there, another loss…

see, there now. I can legitimize the pout, the hardening heart; the saga continues.

heart tells me to stay in the game…shore up my courage, stand naked, hold out for better days…perpetuate the script of constancy and hope…keeping afloat fantasies made from valid yearnings…distorting reality…one more swig from the bottle, just one…

see, there it is. I can accept and continue heralding heartfulness in the face of hard, harsh brick wall non-response; the saga continues.

mind tells me to get real…how much more obvious does it have to be before you see, it’s the same dumb sham…you’ve been played…you played yourself too…wake the hell up, chick…run fast and far…fuck ’em…be done and gone…besides, no proof of your perspective as valid, no proof of possibilities good, bad or otherwise, no proof, no nothing but silence… and silence speaks. see how much it meant? nada…nowhere…next?

and now, finally. I can dignify my stupidity by showing I see it, by throwing myself into a race in the opposite direction. there, the saga stops (nah, it continues).

but the shores shape and carve out the landmass… the mist makes feasts and evaporates… myriad possibilities, likelihoods, comfortings and abandonments form character, painting stories on soul’s terrain…somewhere between the melodramatic maybes, foolhardy courage and pessimistic realism is the song of a universe whisking us all onto dance floors we’ve not begun to fathom … and while I can’t stop the tides or discourage another etching on my backside, frontside or otherwise, can’t force justice, or awareness or love or … happy endings… I can let go and let it be as I move on, away from conclusions…embracing the way of nature … ‘though it seems fairly obvious sometimes…

all I know is this: I don’t know. I see all the possibilities in situations left languishing, cut short violently or otherwise aborted by unfortunate events. but. I don’t know.

move me, life, beyond judging what is not mine to judge… move me, great waters, into the floating real of what I can do for me right here, right now in this warm and gentle sea…

photo by ryan mcguire - bells design

photo by ryan mcguire – bells design

The Opposite of Depression…

…is vitality, says Andrew Solomon. Spot-on eloquence and tear-evoking insight, worth the 30 minutes to feel/hear this medicine of clarity. It is another example of what I recognize in my own life as radical grace.

 

“…shutting out the depression strengthens it; while you hide from it, it grows…our needs are our greatest assets…valuing one’s depression does not prevent a relapse, but it may make the prospect of relapse and even relapse itself easier to tolerate…I had learned in my own depression, how big an emotion can be, how it can be more real than facts and I have found that that experience has allowed me to experience positive emotion in a more intense and more focused way…the opposite of depression is not happiness but vitality and these days my life is vital, even on the days when I’m sad…I have discovered something inside myself that I would have to call a soul…I found a way to love my depression. I love it because it has forced me to find and cling to joy. I love it because each day I decide, sometimes gamely and sometimes against the moment’s reason, to cleave to the reasons for living and that, I think, is a highly privileged rapture.” Andrew Solomon