Entry 44: Dear Rescuer (Golden Shovel)

AccidentalPerfectionistBlog

This is my first venture into using the Golden Shovel poetry form.  I borrow the final lines from Mary Oliver’s poem, The Journey, to end the lines of my poem, called Dear Rescuer.  I share them both with you here.

The Journey

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice–

though the whole house

began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do–

determined to save

the only life you could save.

– Mary Oliver

 

Dear Rescuer

You need to feel pure, determined

To be seen as good, to

Work diligently to save

The vast troubled world. The

Global catastrophe only

Revealed that you built your life

Evading uncomfortable truths.  If you

Choose to remove the rose-colored glass, it could

Show you the world is not yours to save.

– Monica Biswas

adult anger art black background

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Entry 43: Mindfulness vs. Sense-fullness

AccidentalPerfectionistBlog

When I told my mom that I was starting a podcast on Mindfulness, she, being the research librarian she is, started avidly researching the topic – online and at bookstores. She came back and told me that mindfulness is “a big trend right now”.  

I agreed with her, but I reflected that there are a lot of common notions of mindfulness that I disagreed with.  Here are my beliefs about mindfulness:

  • Everyone can access mindfulness– you don’t have to be the Dalai Lama, a Zen master, priest, shaman, yogi, etc.
  • There’s no way to “do it wrong”. 
  • There’s no such thing as “not doing it long enough”. Sometimes one moment of mindfulness is what we get, and that is ok.  

We don’t have to be in a beautiful/tropical/quiet location in order to experience mindfulness.  

We don’t have to attend a week-long silence retreat in order to experience mindfulness.  An important corollary to that, we don’t have to spend large amounts of money to experience it either.  

My mindfulness journey actually started not with my mind, which was usually running 100 miles a minute with thoughts, judgments, schedules, to do list items, self critiques, and also anxiety.  The first experiences of mindfulness I felt were when I followed my senses. 

    • Tasting and savoring a bite of food on my tongue
    • Listening to the sound of the ocean and letting the sound waves (pun intended!) roll over my ears
    • Walking and sensing the soles of my feet on the sand
    • Smelling the scent of a flower in my nostrils

These were things I experienced without planning or forethought.  What I started to realize is that those sensory moments stopped me from focusing on the many other things around me –  I was in the moment.  And then I started to actively pursue experiences where I would use my senses for slightly more extended periods of time.

    • Smelling the aromas of dinner, and feeling the salivation before taking a bite
    • Breathing, and sensing the rise and fall of my belly and feeling the breath go in and out of my nose
    • Focusing on one body part at a time, sensing any tingling or tension or comfort in each one
    • Sensing food and water travelling through my digestive tract

The reason that I have not included “sights” in my examples, is that the sense of sight is frequently multi-tasking, and seems to me to be intricately connected to the part of our minds that is reacting, planning, and therefore can be an obstacle to experiencing mindfulness.  I do believe that it is important to cultivate mindfulness sight, but it is a difficult one to start with on one’s mindfulness journey.

Sense-fullness

Through these practices, I coined a term called Sense-fullness, a state of being when one is receptive to external stimulus through the senses.  

Sense-based activities can be an effective way to enter on a mindfulness journey.  I am not sure why that is – maybe the senses aren’t as judgmental as the mind/brain, and so we’re able to stay connected to the moment.  Maybe our senses are eager to do their thing and have us notice!

So, if you have had the thought, “I’m not doing it right”, try starting with sense-fullness activities. And remember that being connected to the sense for even one moment, is one moment more than if you didn’t start the practice.  Do not critique yourself for the judgment that it’s not long enough.

Try a sense-fullness practice

Pick one of the senses: hearing, tasting, feeling, smelling.  Think of an experience that will allow you to use that sense prominently, and if possible, close your eyes while you do it as it may heighten the other sense.  Some examples:

    • Taste – Eat a salty/spicy/sweet/sour food. Drink a beverage, like cold water or seltzer.
    • Smell – Sniff aromatics like herbs, essential oils, perfume, bath soap.
    • Hearing – Listen to songs a little louder than you normally would.  Pay attention to natural sounds like city sounds, birds, ocean, or the ambient sounds in your environment.
    • Feel –  Place something textured on your skin.  Your fingertips, like sight, can be a difficult place to start because they get lots of daily experiences. Try the skin on another part of your body (knees, cheeks, soles of the feet, arms, top of your hands, hips, etc)

As you are experiencing, passively notice the sensations.  There is no way to experience it wrong, so remember there is no judgment your brain needs to pass.  This is just the way your sense experiences its stimulus. If you try this practice, I would love to hear what you experienced.  Or if there are other sense-full experiences that you have had, please share those too!

Try the Podcast: A Mindful Moment

And if you are interested in a mindfulness podcast, try A Mindful Moment.  I share short and accessible mindfulness practices for those of us who are busy and can’t travel daily to an ashram to meditate.  Some of the practices are as short as 3 minutes!  Search for A Mindful Moment wherever you listen to podcasts, or click on the links to connect to it on your podcast platform:

And if you’re read this far, thank you!!  I know it’s quite different than my typical post on this blog.  At some point I may spin it off to a new location, but for now, here it is, on Accidental Perfectionist!

Entry 42: Drama Balm

AccidentalPerfectionistBlog

Be not the victim, 

Own your power to 

Create your reality

Be not the persecutor, 

Aggressive or passively so

Your force is better served to 

Challenge the status quo

Be never the rescuer,

For we don’t bear the 

Burden of your need to be helpful

Want for us, 

That which you want 

For yourself, coach,

To float

To rise

To become the light

Come, now,

Float

Rise

Become the Light

With us all

Entry 40: The Dancing Cypress

AccidentalPerfectionistBlog

She sprouted from the rock centuries ago

Enduring earthquakes, fires and

Man’s greed for extravagant abodes

 

She stands alone

Her branches curve in a dancer’s pose,

her leaves angled with flares flamenco

 

There is more to her;

Nourishment and strength levitate

Through thread-like roots

 

Patient

Persistent

Piercing unyielding rock

 

Adapting

Pivoting

Forgoing expectations of her ultimate

Destination

 

She is and has been

Magnificent in each

Moment of her career

 

Generations of artists, I imagine,

Painted with a fan brush to mimic her

Stylized fashion

 

But today, she is held by

Cables and

Trademarks

 

Shackled to her partner

In this sole profitable pose

How will she continue her dance, tethered?

 

How will she continue to stretch towards the sky,

Encapsulated in a

Logo

 

Will this lone dancing cypress

Only break free

When death do they part?  

 

IMG_0255

The Lone Cypress, California, 2018

Entry 38: Vibration

AccidentalPerfectionistBlog

You sense the whirring

The hisses and purrs

You clutch your anchor to

Still the vibrations

 

You are frightened

I am not, lifted

 

Hovering an inch

Above the Earth

At ease with the buzz

Electrifying my every intention

 

I surrender

Falsehoods

Possessions

Shields, en-lightened

 

I see your magnificence

I see your struggle

I love you with my heart

Connected to All Hearts

 

You’ll lose sight of me

As I rise through the clouds

I  am still

Here,

Everywhere

 

Just as you are

Here,

Everywhere,

True

Entry 37: The Audacity of Canvas

AccidentalPerfectionistBlog

Who am I

To fill this canvas,

With colors of my whim

Following paths of my

Untethered desires?

Why spend

Time away from familial duties,

Hard earned money on

Brushes and paints?

 

The canvas is for

The creative,

The inspirational,  

The movement builders

With a vision for the masses.

 

I have only a quiet

Yearn in my heart for

Vibrant colors and curved lines,

A small ache in my soul for

Texture and beauty.

 

Who am I

To fill this canvas?

 

rainbow spirit

Entry 36: What if…? (yoga)

AccidentalPerfectionistBlog

When I was 25, and my yoga teacher said, “your heels may not reach the floor during Downward Dog, and that is ok”, I did not believe her.

When she said, “if you need to rest your hands on a block”, I heard her say, “if you’re not flexible enough, rest your hands on a block”.

When he said, “do only what you can while keeping your breath steady and smooth”, I thought, well, what he really means is, “real exercise makes you breathe hard, but this isn’t real exercise, it’s relaxation”.

When she said, “use the variation that feels right to your body”, I heard, “use the most strenuous of the variations that you can”.

When he said, “it can feel more comfortable to use a belt”, I heard him say, “since you have an unnaturally short torso, you’ll need to use a belt”.

When she said, “reach your arms as far as you can, without effort or ambition”, I thought she meant, “reach your arms as close to the floor as I can- if you keep practicing, you’ll get there”.

What if I had heard, the words that they said, instead of the ones that were in my head?