Prayer #2

Mother earth, Father sky, Creator, Love,
draw me out of grief’s clasp,
loose my fingers’ grasp ‘round the ways I failed,
the things I can’t unsay or unfeel,
the hapless, arrogant beliefs I held
about love, about people, about hope,
about value, about life itself,
the fool, the naked fool I so often was, and can be even now.

Strengthen my arms after decades-long holding
to love unrequited and unforgotten and eventually unknown.
Lift my eyes beyond the carnage, the years lost believing he/she/they
cared as I cared, felt as I felt, valued as I valued.
Help me to see the worth of the time as it clarified
who I am, who I am not and what I live for.

And what I do not.

Help me to embrace the inspiration those days were and may still be.
Help me to reclaim them in forgiveness and acceptance.
Deepen my capacity to love regardless,
to love fearlessly and to love wisely.

Open my arms wider to encircle my growing path,
to embiggen the reach of my grasp
and to dance for new joy with keener vision, and measured hope.

Without End

Did I climb these mountains, laboring for the other side, only to find the valleys full of silence, of empty cities where my heart stumbles down alleys full of space and trampled cast-offs?

How often does a heart withstand indifference, apathy, slumber and the non-resonance of so many assimilated before falling quiet, before finally asking if maybe the one deep resonating response is merely just heart’s call echoing against walls of hope, or bouncing back and off the hardness of others’ glib deflection, fearful trivializations? (How many self-proclaimed Useless Pucks does it take to refuse and distort love?)

And it looked so much like promise as I cast my own visions in the distance and across a sky, a night blooming dawn from the depths of my own awakening…

to what? To the amness without end, the love only rarely known (and so often feared) and the endless fall of light, to the feast of being – in spite of obstruction, to the farce of freedom, to the unexpected release and relief in letting go, to the center and deeply down to the nexus of love.


Blossoms Unrelenting

we drink of depths in
resonating moonlight’s call,
unknowingly bound
to a love whose song
blossoms unrelenting in
the rise and fall of
our worst stumblings making us
more nimble, bruised but
tender, used for all the best
of thunder’s drumming.
some ancient humming
we refuses all the loss…
and rhythm, rhyme and meter disintegrate
in the flow of all this living undoing structure and hope
making something sturdier, something resonating to the past
to the future
into the now and
grabbing at my heartstrings, yours, plucking away,
strumming and fretting us along our days
with promise bigger than maybes or pinings away
for days yet to be,
just the being here now and
no matter how much I push you away,
refuse the heartache of what might never be,
nothing ever shatters, severs or shames
the feltness of your unfolding against my skin
these blossoms unrelenting pull me in, wrecking
all my walls meant for safety
flooding fields in sunlight, conjuring blooms
hid long from sight, stirred by
our moon’s wondering ministrations.

j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved
j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved
j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved
j. ruth kelly, 2015, all rights reserved

Hammock’s Sway

Healing hammock ride the sky, in my lingering repose.
Silence washing, flooding,

Crash this deafening noise, all the clamoring
impossibilities’ haunt of rhythm’s worst explosion, enigma’s crueler clarity
suggesting daunting end of days sooner as I

long for, work for, breathe for later, much later.

Wipe away my necessary practice,
the trauma of doling out tomorrows’ chances
via feverish weighing today of…
how much too much, just enough
or not enough now will facilitate more of a future, not less…
why must all these labors somehow suggest
no now and no when or where in which to be or go to or later for which to aim
when their aim is to seize assurance?

So, in my fevered necessities,
somehow slip me past the grasp that deadens days
and back into flow…

Take me to obliteration lovely, blanking out the doling minutes, seconds…
Bind me to places where eternity emerges, maybe there shimmering
on the edge of twilight…or here unveiling the timeless rule of leaves,
and trees holding hammock’s sway.


Occupy Wall Street

Right Here All Over (Occupy Wall St.) from Alex Mallis on Vimeo.

I’m pretty proud of this turn of events in the U.S. It’s been interesting going onto blogs and online news “sources” and countering the propaganda. North Carolina has quite a number of events to choose from, people are finally finding their voices of frustration and strength. Who knows where it will lead, but it is progress, a spiritual honesty supreme. This 6 minute video is worth the time…

Split The Sky

Split the sky, flesh out
flickering tongue of union.
Earth and sky conspire…

revel reach

 …fullness for the heart.
But first storming shaking awe
tearing out the loss.

Life is striking and splitting the sky of my roiling world here. I’m hoping to still have a home by the end of the year. But am not sure if that hope is simply the knee-jerk survival instinct ignoring the exultation of liberating lightning flashing across the mire of endurance my world has been at times. In short, it feels somewhat, to my chagrin, glorious to feel the winds ripping away the moorings of my refuge.

We’ll see what life unfolds…

A Disjointed Flow

For some reason today the inner silence deafens me, a soulful stillness disrupts my idea of myself as effective and threatens to disable an overloaded agenda. In spite of that fact I really must go ahead and do, and do much, feeling disjointed amongst the goings on. And on. I don’t really know exactly why every part of me feels halted as I move. Awaiting a renewed vision or just a new breath of fresh energy? And yet my world requires I keep moving. It could sound pathetic, depending on your perspective, but I think it’s just the next phase of disintegration that goes on every winter in my soul. I could hide. Sometimes I want to hide. Cover my head and ignore the world. Post old poetry since the creativity has disintegrated along with the inspiration. But it’s not what my deepest heart really wants. I want to reach out and remind myself that there is world and thriving beyond this stark inner silence, the crashed movement. It is the oddest arrangement of temporary wreck mixed with outbursts of children lavishing (and homework!). They reach into my stillness, bolster, carry and require. What a combination, this life.

my world rich


sons shine
silly great


So, all I can do today is say this is where I am. And… 

Thank you to the beautiful wave of kind commenting and generous presence. The wealth in my world endowed by those who are beautifully real shines brightly in my moving stillness here and encourages me in ways I can’t convey.

Part 3 – The Past AND Peace?

Today I promised myself I’d get on with this dissertation on personal peace and facing the past.

So, here I am with part 3 in your face. [Refer to this particular blog entry for an example of lousy writing. I can feel it. This one will suck. But it’s coming out of me today or I’m officially a free-falling loser. (Maybe I’m more like Kiwi…)] 

I don’t know what my problem is but this one has roiled in frustration and stagnation for days. But I said I’d do this and I need to do this because it has been disgustingly appropriate that I’m landing on Part 3 and the PAST now. This is the week of finalizing the divorce details while my financial world slowly unravels and my college plans look to be held back ‘til January. So, divorce proceedings/paperwork etc. filed finally. I thought, since this has gone on and on, that I’d be dancing a jig at this point. Ignorantly, I thought I would be dancing by now. I really thought I’d be dancing this week. (yeah, you get the point) Wow. Wow. Wow. 

But no. I’ve been so down it’s like being slammed out of nowhere with the emotional ‘flu. Nothing and I mean NOTHING makes it go away. I was galloping along my path, confident and planning and SLAM. This “virus” is running its course, ignoring all my attempts to jumpstart my motivation, inspiration, endurance. Yadda yadda yadda. 

But I’m here and I’m kicking with the “’flu.” What about the past? Is it over? That’s the first thing I have had to deal with: whether or not the past is really in the past. How many crippling issues are still grabbing me by the ankles and jerking me down to the ground to deal with all kinds of garbage? It’s not like I doubt the choice. But what led me to this point? And how do I change whatever I can of myself that contributed to this outcome? Believe me, I’ve been working on it. But there is nothing like finality to bring back the dead. 

It’s not even as if peace has evaded me during this “down” time. I’ve felt it flowing right alongside the … grief inside me. Peace and grief with occasional outbursts of laughter and. But the past is in the past, right? 

Actually, on so many levels it is and especially in my heart and mind. But on other levels pretty damn significant, issues are still finding their closure. If I were ignoring all of this, saying my umpteenth ohm in the face of it all, would I be better off? No, not me. I’d end up exploding somewhere down the path in total frustration over all that I’d been studiously trying to ignore. There would have been no peace. It would’ve been a nervous nonstop motion of evading concerns and grouchy eruptions. Okay, yes. I had a couple grouchy eruptions. And then I felt very peaceful afterwards. Non-stop peace is not human and I might even end this post with a total ousting of the whole point of my multi-part posit. Puh.

But back to the point. What makes acknowledging the injuries of the past and their continued influence on today a truly worthwhile endeavor? 1) That acknowledgement makes us aware of what we may be projecting as opposed to what is really going on. 2) Awareness may helps us see how we can change our responses to recurring themes. We become trained by what happened back then and when and well. And we don’t even know it. Then life tosses us some interesting scenarios and we find ourselves lost in reactions against the person who just stepped on our toes and suddenly standing there in the present is dad, mom and so and so way back then who always did this. Or? Or we know our past and we know our internal culture of reaction/response. And we recognize the emergence of our identification with all that happened long ago. And because of that awareness we pull back and ask vital questions before we start taking potshots at big sister posing there in the seemingly innocent newfound friend. 

The question vital in such a process? “How is this scenario a potential repeat of history and, if so, how can I be the changed response as opposed to the same ole victim or bully identifying with the past?” It’s uncanny how often many of us attract more complicated versions of our original early injury environments. Anybody and everybody I know who will share a bit of their lives with me consistently reveal that we all have this “curse” on some level. Psychology gives it a clever tag – repetition compulsion. We either attract scenarios that reintroduce the same profound struggles of our past or we create them somehow by our perspectives.

I can point to times of totally innocent “minding my own damn business” where I was catapulted to the same choice, the same opportunity to either allow the same old crap to happen to me all over again or…not. Many times. At some point you begin to wonder what it is that draws this stuff to you. And it’s a good thing to be wondering. But one of the things truly valuable about these repetitive challenges is that we get the chance to redeem our history. We can make the stand we never made. We can make it good. Make it funny. Make it a great big flying flip in the face of some daunting historical trends. Or walk away this time when we made too many stands in the past. Whatever the “karmic debt,” we can sow new seeds.

But to be unaware and to say “ah that’s in the past!” and move on without knowing intimately what shaped our reactions, what shaped our paths is to be ill-equipped to face today’s challenges. At least, at the very least, that has been the case for me and for everyone I’ve encountered who is even just slightly interested in making their lives have deep personal meaning. 

None of this is to say that we are not tremendously benefitted by recognizing that today is a new day, that the past does not have to be repeated. It’s the both/and philosophy of awareness and empowerment that keeps people developing on levels that make them more present, dynamic and compassionate. Both aware of the past’s influences on the everyday world and empowered by the truth that we can create and shape our lives in spite of the past. And maybe even, with redemption, because of the past.

And there, in that both/and place, is peace. No matter what nasty case of the ‘flu flies in the face of the truth or loud outburst of total frustration, elation or hyper fixation visits our colorful and beautiful lives. (and all three of those ‘ations find me daily in my world of parenting!)

Oh…and you can go for a long drive when your kids are with their dad and pull off the side of the road and laugh at the llamas…

Llama Dance
Llama Dance









On with it…

Of Lightning Bugs, Yellow and The Moonlit Path . . .

My moonlit drive began before the sun retreated, with windows down, lake reflections calling me away from a quiet house, a day of recuperation. I felt cooped. Climbing Jockey’s Ridge and Cape Hatteras Lighthouse with my son and his class, going to a play, a festival, then to another lighthouse and finding seashells on the beach, all in the span of 36 hours, it turned today’s silence into a deafening crush, a shocked hush. One extreme, then the other spit me out somewhere in-between, weaving strands of rest and restlessness, shock and relief. And it all simply highlighted the fact that my life is changing. I’m supposed to be the master of my fate and I was raised on songs with lines like “I would rather be a doorkeeper in your courts than to take my fate upon myself…you are my sun and my shield…and the highway to your city runs through my heart.” It was like being asked to chop off my hands, hands that like to make, to mend. It was like being given the key to a riddle impossible. What hands turn the magic in the lock on the door to the days that are always best lived now? It was the ultimate contradiction to be raised in a world requiring a sacrifice of my raw power in order to find what is both sun and shield. My hands still weep. But I can write. And I can drive. And dig in the dirt. And. And.

And I drove my car on curving roads past fields green darkening in dusk, drove down the middle line, double then dashed then over on my side. There was no risk, no cars near, no reason to restrict the flow of speed into a careful cubicle side of the road. And I wondered of the highway, of what city runs through my heart, through the hearts in homes glowing yellow from glass pouring out the shine to falling night. I passed the Amish family’s farm quiet, resting and wondered what the long skirts were doing for those girls, for their sense of personal power. Would they ever know?

Lightning bugs were everywhere yellow oblivious of cars or time. And the lines slicing up the road into order and safety. I thought of yellow dresses, yellow light, yellow boats, yellow flight and the sun in the sky now asleep to my night. I thought of yellow’s myriad meanings, of love unrequited and restless, writhing, of love healing and of love confusing. Appropriate for the moment, the song that decided to grace my ears when I went for the music on the radio – Bittersweet Symphony. I turned it up loud, loud, the wind was amazing and it felt wonderful. All of it bitter and sweet.

Moon Over Lake Mack
Moon Over Lake Mack

Lightning bugs, fireflies – whatever your preferred tag – they floated all around, reminding me of big sisters and youngest sons capturing glowing yellow “faeries” in a jar and the mesmerizing work of life’s tides flowing in and out, across the mind, the heart, coloring a life in bright meaning, dark hues, songs to remember, to weave a thread of hope into the new melody blasting a path slowly beyond the past.

Somewhere between the two songs is the truth.

Somewhere between the extremes is eternal now and up the middle is the path, is the part of a person that never changes because she never gave away the best of herself; she never let the worst deceptions win her heart, her mind or her hands best ministrations.

Soup’s On . . .

“The degree of our freedom and self-determination varies with the level which we realize to be our self — the source from which we act. As our sense of self is narrow, the more we feel our existence as restraint. ‘And therefore,’ said Ruysbroeck, ‘we must all found our lives upon a fathomless abyss’ –so to discover that what we are is not what we are bound to be, but what we are free to be. For when we stand with our nature, seeing that there is nowhere to stand against it, we are at last able to move unmoved.” Alan Watts, of course. Nature, Man and Woman

This excerpt encourages a growing sense of the limitless possibilities for one life in spite of economic drudgery nationally, globally and, most especially, personally. And in spite of some pretty frustrating obstacles overall.

My world is roiling right now. In a good way, like a pot boils up and simmers great soup. It’s the rumbling roll of ingredients as they rush up to the surface of the best brew, that moment right before the master chef steps up and stirs, smiles and adjusts the heat.  To keep in mind that I’m not restricted like a pot on a stove, that I can embrace the tasks of the master chef – the smiling conspirator of delicious concoctions – is to know the power of my freedom. And that knowledge can propel me forward while known structures and familiar comforts fall away. And even when those dreams are inevitably but fatefully delayed. New structures, new comforts, new ways of living are always ’round the bend.

Life is good.