Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Day

The sun comes up and we arise. Dreams from the night forgotten, the day not yet fully formed. This once-a-day opportunity to breathe in the wonderment of how we might enter our life once again—an opportunity I often zoom right past.

Since we’re hardwired to “go negative,” it’s way too easy to jump out of bed and start scanning for what might trip us up—will we be late, what if we don’t get the tasks done, do we really have time to exercise, and so on. This negativity bias is necessary; it helps us stay alive and maneuver the world. But with each new day there is also the chance to pause and soften a bit.

There is no way that is more correct than another to do this—we might linger over a cup of coffee, go for a short walk, take a few full breaths. It certainly doesn’t have to be anything spectacular. I’ve been reading a poem lately to start my day. While the poem is about the end of day, reading it before the zoominess takes hold will sometimes open me, even if just for a bit. 

don't want to miss the fresh space of morning. May we all find ways to wake up to each new day. 
Early morning walk: Carlsbad Boulevard
Questions Before Dark, by Jeanne Lohmann

Day ends, and before sleep
when the sky dies down, consider
your altered state: has this day
changed you? Are the corners
sharper or rounded off? Did you
live with death? Make decisions
that quieted? Find one clear word
that fit? At the sun's midpoint
did you notice a pitch of absence,
bewilderment that invites
the possible? What did you learn 
from things you dropped and picked up
and dropped again? Did you set a straw
parallel to the river, let the flow
carry you downstream?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Words and the excitingness of pure being

Gertrude Stein says that the “excitingness of pure being” has withdrawn from words when they’re worn out. Maybe a poet's work is to use language in ways that revitalize it so that we can learn to see and hear again.
Fresh seeing: views from Cliffhanger

Last night I picked up takeout for dinner. The owner’s 4-year-old waited with me and spoke in the simple, direct language of children: My sister hurt her chin. Do you have a daddy? What’s your daddy's name? My dog sounds like this...ruff ruff. I didn’t know where her language would take us, but I wanted to go there. It was fresh to be with her in this way. I needed to lean in to follow the flow of words that were so clearly an expression of what was arising between us on-the-spot. There was nothing extra. Everything mattered. 

Thank you, child-poet whose name I do not know, for speaking the language of pure being.

Fragment at the Beginning of Something, by David Watts

My son brings me a stone and asks
which star it fell from. He is serious
and so I must be careful,
even though I know he will place it
among those things
that will leave him someday
and he will go on, gathering.
For this is one of those moments
that turns suddenly
toward you, opening as it turns,
as if for an instant we paused
on the edge of a heartbeat
and then pressed forward, conscious
of the fear that runs beside us
and how lovely it is to be with each other
in the long, resilient mornings.