The longer I lean into my moments and days, I am appreciating words and my journey with them. The chance to playfully move my mind through the ins and outs of perception, time, and space and the exculpatory and decorative language that sails with me through it is more and more life giving to me. I used to think of words as a field to be mastered, but now I know that words are under my dominion. They breath life to the existence of all that is within and even more what will be. Words are birth.
As I walk along my city's affluence pasted streets, I frequently have to stop and catch my breath. For I know as much resource and affluence that flows across my neighborhood streets, it is only present because of the barriers propped to restrain the massive struggle, suffering, and poverty that surge towards it's intricately locked city gates. These are words and pictures that I know and see, trying to make sense and meaning of place and space as I have recently come to reside in Silicon Valley. This paragraph is one example of how I play with words.
And yet, as I continue to think and play with words, I am keenly aware that my story and words have so much sharpening to experience. With words, I have a "the more, the merrier" approach. The the more I can pack into a frame of thought and a sentence, the more satisfaction I gain. And yet.... I realize that this gluttony of thought and words is not where I am to remain. For as much as the infant loves to cuddle and crawl, so too will she love to walk and then run. For long, I have been comfortable with allowing the thoughts and the words to run as faucet, struggling to know how and when to refine the flow. However, a gal can only "gulp" so much flow before she begins to falter from being too full. My words, and the thoughts they reflect, need to grow up. It's not that my emotional reactions or even my thoughts are juvenile. But it is in the full view picture that I often remain in the theater of my thoughts as opposed to living life fueled by them.
I'm sure if you know me, or even if you have read a couple of my posts, you might have figured that I am a wordy, often nerdy, gal. To the extent that this is me, I will always fully embrace myself. However, there is something that forty-four brings, an unwillingness to put up with the old bull-shit you served yourself, that tells me that I can and deserve to be in a place where my words, and more importantly my thinking, is trained and matured enough to launch me into the steps, and goals and dreams that I call mine. As many a famous writer and writing teachers have lauded, writers "have to be willing to kill their darlings." This means the willingness not to hold on to taking myself, my creativity and organization of thought, and my painted details so close to heart. In letting go of the "darlings" of my creativity, I am freed to hold on to my full capacity to nimbly think and have voice. When the capability for construction and the clarity of the thoughts in my head are what I sharpen, train, and value most - this is the place that I begin to transition from crawling to walking.
As I seek to further listen to and sharpen my voice, I have been combing numerous resources to dig in further. One of my absolute favorite resources for multiple things is the On Being podcast with Krista Tippett. In my morning walks, her curious and calming voice is often my companion, as she interviews a range of peoples. On a recent morning this past week, I came across a podcast post from OnBeing Gathering, where John Paul Lederach was offering a poem as the in person On Being Gathering was being held. He began to speak of the power and place of the Haiku. The more he spoke, the more I was enraptured. Here is the link to the specific recording
As I listened, my mind started turning towards what was being offered. John goes on to recount, " I wondered what he meant....that he understood haiku as a practice....that was to notice the ways that you might capture the wonder of the human experience in the simplest terms. It combines the beginners mind, what we might call joy, with ancient wisdom, that we might call patience. How do you hold joy and patience. Particularly when things fall apart and harm burrows in?...."
I was quite smitten with the idea that one can practice words, in so much as we can order their steps around us, but even more so that as we practice words, they practice us. That as we seek to understand how to be create with words, that the process of creating with words actually gives back to us. As Lederach told of the tails of Basho, his observations and this practice, it began to dawn on me that this practice of observation, this quieting of my mind to see more fully, was completely free and available to me. That it was not something that I could grab from any kind of modern day convenience store, but if I was willing to step into the opportunity, the practice of the haiku was available to me too. I had never really considered the haiku a gift or especially a tool. Honestly, speaking I saw it as an irritating elementary school teacher practice. So it is from this place of expanded knowing that I offer a first practice haiku.
Haiku is not hard
Teaching is it's sole demand
But one has to hear
Melinda is a recovering "normal" seeker, who is often distracted by unexpected moments of nature's beauty or questioning children