Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Self-Realization Koi, Extract(s) and Poetry Play

…I have the sensation of eternally falling toward myself. I am looking for myself through the labyrinth of words… From the Meditation, “And if the Hanged One Spoke,” in "The Way of The Tarot:The Spiritual Teacher in the Cards" by Alejandro Jodorowsky and Marianne Costa

I’m eternally falling lately (up, down, you name it), but overjoyed to escape, despite the three children, Husky, two cats, and husband, on small kidless field trips with a friend. This week we made it as far as Encinitas to the Self-Realization Fellowship Retreat and Hermitage Meditation Garden perched on the ocean bluffs, site of the former Golden Lotus Temple designed by Paramahansa Yogananda (author of one of my favorite books, Autobiography of a Yogi). While the temple no longer exists, the garden and koi do.

We tried out a new practice: not talking about the kids in order to give ourselves a BK-like reprieve (Before Kids). So easy to just “be” the moment we stepped into the meditation garden, the one-hundred year old koi—the koi! over two feet long, corn gold, pumpkin orange, sleepy smoke-white and grey, swilling through slim stone-lined ponds, “the silence itself…incense” to quote from "Julian of Norwich, A Contemplative Biography" (by Amy Frykholm).

Much needed, after the ongoing ruckus of misspelling koi in an earlier version of this blog post, house keys skipping into dense shrubbery (Hackey-Sacked “accidentally” by one of the soccer sons), and cats upending full-length mirrors (three foot shards I had to secret into the trash during the school day—can you blame my daughter for thinking like an artist, stashing jagged panels for future mosaics).

Or how about that mix-up on “Crazy Hair Day”—my eighth-grade daughter sprucing my youngest son’s hair into a stiff Mohawk to match hers, spraying it a bright Smurf blue. I’m sipping my coffee, thrilled we got out of the house on time, glancing smugly in rear view mirror, enjoying the way they are enjoying one another.

Until we pull up at school and notice that while my daughter’s friends sport Pippi Longstocking braids and zombie knots, not a single third-grader has a hair out of place. Tears, a quick sink-rinse, and a fierce blow-dry later, we deposit my son at the curb barely in time to catch his fieldtrip bus, rims of his ears still a smoky blue.

On the upside, we took a beautiful trip to Grand Canyon to retrieve a family heirloom—a roll top desk I’m honored the family trusted to my care. A snow flurry at the South Rim cleared just long enough for the sun to break through and for us to descend the three quarter mile or so down to “Ooh Ah Point,” just far enough down for us to gain a healthy respect for the altitude. Back home, the desk’s glass cabinet upper half arrived somehow unscathed despite the tarp tattering itself to threads on the drive through the desert. I’ve pulled out the desk shelf and started to write my morning words on the maroon leather insert, recording the trip’s haiku.

At South Kaibab trail
Condors soar doubling our 
Canyon vertigo.

Anchor of shale trail
We fall--mind's eye--a night's sleep
And hike out changed, good.

Poetry News

On the writing front, I would say by far the only front over which I maintain any degree of potential dignity or control (ok, so maybe the same is true of the teaching front), three of November Butterfly’s poems went up earlier this month thanks to the editors at Extract(s), Daily dose of Lit: Veil, Veil II, and Transport.

Tarot for Two

Mary and I wrote about our respective cards this month at Tarot for Two: Four of Cups and Eight of Cups

Mary writes:

My card this month was the four of cups.  The four of cups in the Thoth deck depicts four cups with water pouring out of a lotus fixture at the top, and is, according to Angeles Arrien, supposed to represent emotional luxury and fulfillment -- both internal and external fulfillment. 

At first I couldn’t figure out what in my month had anything to say about me having both internal and external emotional fulfillment.  Maybe the card was just wrong this time? 

Tania Writes:

I initially disliked this month’s card, the Thoth Eight of Cups, balking at the one word caption, Indolence, with its hues of purposeful laziness, petulance and excessive wealth, fearing it meant I was doomed to squander my month stewing in unhealthy emotion.

In the Thoth image we see even rows of storm clouds bordered by moody mossy Neptunian hems of green that gradually subside to a lighter blue, with one brief lemon ray to indicate sky before the plunge into a green you could mistake for the sea or a desert out of which sprout peach cups.

Read the rest of our joint post here: Four of Cups and Eight of Cups.

Photo by Robyn Beattie
Poetry Play: A Tour of the Forms

Last spring I taught a two hour workshop touring a handful of poetry forms; I enjoyed it so much I am teaching a full six week course for San Diego Writers, Ink in person this summer. We will try our hand at haiku, haibun, aubades, sestinas, villanelles, and sonnets. For a full course description and to register with San Diego Writers, Ink, visit Poetry Play: A Tour of the Forms. Starts June 25, 2015.

Barbara Rockman and Jayne Benjulian Guest Post at Mother Writer Mentor

We’ve been busy celebrating Mother’s Day all month over at Mother Writer Mentor; if you have post Mother’s Day reflections you’d like to share with us, send us your reverie too. In the meantime, enjoy Mother Thoughts by poet Barbara Rockman and a lovely adoption poem, Winter by poet Jayne Benjulian.

Related Links:

Review of The Way of Tarot by Sherryl E. Smith, Tarot Hermitage 

Photos are mine with the exception of the one above, by Robyn Beattie.