Who Sent It? Lisa (LisaLaughs) sent this one for a “literary wisdom” swap for the Cup and Chaucer group on swap-bot. I haven’t really participated in swaps since the beginning of the pandemic. I really enjoyed hosting literary postcard swaps, so I’m trying to find time to get back into it. The postcard comes from a set of 100 Jane Austen postcards, From the Desk of Jane Austen, which features quotes from her books and letters. These have been some of my favorite postcards to send, so I am always happy to receive one (back)!
In her devotional thought, which started this morning’s work session, my colleague, Dr. Sherine talked about the growth processes of a seed, reminding us about the possibilities in us and the beauty that comes through struggle. In ending that part of her discussion and driving the point of the metaphor [of a tiny, dry seed breaking to begin a transformed life], she cautioned–
Breaking happens in the right environment. Otherwise, it’s abuse.
Sit with that for a moment.
Last week when my bestie asked how I was doing. I told her, “I am out of words. I need to howl.” So, we howled. Via text message.
There has been so much talking lately. So many words. Too many wrong words. Words that divide. Words that hurt. Words that maim. About five years ago—when the global noise had escalated unbearably—I shared the words of a former student, “the world needs a little silence.”
I think we’re at that point again.
We need less words. Less commentary. Less opinions. Less arguing and defending. Less reacting. We need healing words. I realized this as I was reading Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” last night. The length, weight, and relevance of that piece made it intolerable for this moment. Though I indeed feel like “howling,” nayyirah waheed’s poem, “break,” more aptly captures what is needful.
you have probably never cried wild.
but, you know what doors
an intimacy with doors
that is killing you.
–break, nayirrah waheed, salt
The losses are mounting. The grief is heart-shattering, but our tears are restrained.
We must unleash them. We must break.
We must break to heal.
Forgive me for interrupting our week of black and white with the rich color of my lilies. It’s only Wednesday, and I feel like I have been working 100 days straight with no break. Can we say ex-haust-ed?
I wonder how I’m going to get through the next day and a half without collapsing or screaming at everyone who crosses my path. Internally, I am having a tantrum.
I need a walk.
I need beauty.
I need light.
I can’t squeeze in a walk today, but there’s always time for beauty, especially when it’s just outside my [home] office.
My guys purchased and planted a bunch of lilies for Mother’s Day last year. I observed as they transitioned from vibrancy to dormancy to…death. I watched in horror as the deep frost of winter decimated the “stick” that remained. They were gone forever.
Then, just as suddenly, I witnessed their resurrection.
Over the last few weeks, I watched not one, two, three or even four, but five beautiful plants grow with vigor and blossom with lilies! Five times more than the amount that was planted!
There is certainly a lesson in there about resilience and revival, about faith and bounty. But the greatest lesson for me is that even in our coldest, darkest moments, there is always just enough hope to usher even the most broken of us into the warmth and light of an abundant life.
I have had more than half a century of such happiness. A great deal of worry and sorrow, too, but never a worry or a sorrow that was not offset by a purple iris, a lark, a bluebird, or a dewy morning glory. –either Mary McLeod Bethune or The Adventures of The Woman Homesteader: The Life and Letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart
Kudos to those of you who manage to capture irises beautifully. They are a bit of a challenge for me. A few days ago, I shot some with my iPhone and my Canon. I love the rich colors of the Canon shots, the composition of the phone shots. Which do you prefer?
*For some reason everywhere I look on the “innerwebs,” the quote above is attributed to Mary McLeod-Bethune. However, no site pointed me to when or where she spoke or wrote these words. I did find the quote in The Adventures of The Woman Homesteader: The Life and Letters of Elinore Pruitt Stewart in a letter dated May 16, 1933 to Josephine Harrison. Hopefully, I’ll have time to investigate soon.
I’m back today with more purple!
Since purple is the color associated with women’s movements and social justice for women and since we are at the end of Women’s History Month, I am sharing the purple postcards and inspiration I received from pen friends this month in celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month.
From Lori Ann W:
Behind every great woman, I pray will be another great woman, whispering “you’ve got this” in her ear.
From Rae L:
From Christine B:
Fight for things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you. —Ruth Bader Ginsburg
From Suzette R:
To tell a woman everything she cannot do is to tell her what she can.—Spanish Proverb
Finally, from Gerda H, a new friend from the Netherlands:
When the power of love overcomes the lover of power, the world will know peace. —Jimi Hendrix
These beautiful souls filled my mailbox with purple love and flowers galore. Lori Ann and Rae even included seeds so I can sow my own purple flowers–columbines, morning glories, and wildflowers! Of course, they’ll find their way to the Pics and Posts when they bloom!
Until till next time…
Sometimes you take it all in. Sometimes you let it all go. Wings are made for flight, but birds have feet for a reason. Balance.
I am back today with Suzette R’s response to Love Notes 38.2. She captured the dreamy photo above in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, and for her response, she wove together various quotes and ended with her own invitation. Enjoy!
Love Notes 38, Prompt 2: Invite in the idea…
Invite in the idea…
That sometimes we take it all in
and sometimes we
need to let it all go.
That “each of us is a part
of all that surrounds us…
…and every joy we feel
is a celebration of life.” [Flavia]
That “Surely a star danced
in Heaven on the day you
were born.” [Flavia]
That “When big things feel
out of control…focus on
what you love right under
your nose.” [Charlie Mackesy]
That “Being kind to yourself
is one of the greatest kindnesses.” [Charlie Mackesy]
That you inspire so many people
with your kindness
and your example.
I am forever grateful to bell hooks for saving my sanity when I was in graduate school and for teaching me how to show up, speak truth, take up space, and know my worth in the Academy.
Take your rest, Sister…
Image: Modification of image from Bell Hooks Institute
I am back with another “Write Together” snippet. This piece was written in response to the prompt “In this very moment…”
In this very moment I am excited by the possibilities of who I am becoming. I am shedding the old casing, tossing aside ideas and versions of myself that no longer serve who I am in this moment or who I am becoming. Up to now, what has made giving up the former self so difficult is that she was good. She was organized, oh-so-together, and well-equipped for the journey—that bygone journey for a me that is skipping into the past of known worlds. This present me spends a lot of time in overwhelming chaos because transformation is not neat and tidy. It’s messy, confusing, and sometimes traumatic. But I’m learning not to fight it. I’m learning to partner with it in a new dance, a new becoming. I see glimpses of this new person. I can’t wait to meet her. –Chandra Lynn, Write Together, 01.25.21
About the Image: Today’s gorgeous sunflowers were crafted by my Love Notes friend, Suzette R of Desert Blue Sky. She sent the oversized postcard because of my love for sunflowers and my enthusiastic response when she posted them on Facebook. Like many of us, Suzette is also processing grief. Part of her healing this year has been in planting and growing in her garden. Check out two more sunflowers from her garden: Here and here.
When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life. –Jean Shinoda Bolen
Sheila D’s 30-Day Creative Gathering ends tomorrow. Although time is not always on my side when it comes to creative endeavors, I committed to participating as a gift to myself.
I created at least one thing every day this month. It was nice to ignore the everyday demands and tune in and engage in a way that wasn’t required or expected.
Besides the moment to focus keenly on the act of creation, this was a gift to myself in other ways. I needed time out from the unspoken questions, the fears dancing just beneath the surface of awareness, the conflicting ideals that are always hovering and holding thoughts captive.
I gave myself over for a few minutes to walk, see, feel, doodle, meditate, and from those moments create something beautiful and inspiring.
It was liberating, if nothing else.
And this was a gift…