On the life of a temp worker...

I've only taken 2 data entry jobs out of desperation ever. And I have discovered I go a little crazy doing them, and so will not accept anymore assignments like this again.

One was for the Real Estate Board, and they treated the team of us wonderfully with fresh coffee and a large tray of breakfast goodies every day, and an insistence on regular breaks, and they chatted with us at lunch, etc. It was a humanizing experience.

The company I left yesterday was the exact opposite.

While the women who I was helping were great, our 'supervisor' left much to be desired. She ordered us not to talk to each other when another temp was telling me that the bus she had been on the previous evening caught fire. She later took us into a private room and said we were not allowed to come in or leave even 5 minutes late or early, that we were being watched. When I finished a huge proof-reading/data entry job, the one I was 'hired' to do, and I did my portion in about a third of the ti…

Earth Treasures

A Found Poem from Page 17 of Luminous Emptiness

Earth Treasures:texts
sacred images
ritual instruments
medicinal substances

Treasures to be found in temples, monuments, statues, mountains, rocks, trees, lakes, even the sky.

Of the texts, occasionally they were full length, but usually fragmentary --- a word or two encoded in symbolic script which may change mysteriously once it has been transcribed.

The treasures hidden in the world are triggers to reach subtle levels of mind. When a treaure is found and reveals its essence, it unlocks understanding, or the natural energies of enlightenmnet that compose the mind, where the teachings have always been concealed.


Aren't artists revealers of the treasures?

Francesca Fremantle, Luminous Emptiness (Shambhala, 2001). This story is about Padmasambhava who sought to preserve esoteric Tibetan Buddhist teachings for a safer time and so concealed them in the landscape, but perhaps we don't need an intercessory, sure…

A wish...

The job, any job, holds itself as a tension in my life around which everything else has to revolve, perhaps that's why I do temp work, inbetween there is no job to worry about, and I can, if I am able to withstand the stress of financial worry, something that I am becoming better at, though it's taken years, focus on my own work again...

On another note, I've been in too many offices to mention, let alone recall, and have some ideas about how to architecturally design the workplace so that it facilitates the needs of the people who work there, how to humanize the workplace...

So I need an architect to work with, a business plan...

Will I get this wish?

A Spring Riot...

(An MP3 recording of this post may be found at: A Spring Riot...March 7, 2005.)

It's my birthday - & I'm wishing you the best day and year ever! I know it's not Spring where many of you live, so I'm sending you all the great, exuberant, fertile, creative energy of Spring! Hugs!!

A Spring Riot, or a walk with my dog past the flowers down to the lake today...

The blossoming crocuses, vivid purples and white to draw the admiration of bees who come humming, colour so pure it dances in my eyes, and marigold-colored stamens reaching up inside the cups of petals; the wisteria, a spray of yellow falling over the hedge, a dowry veil sewn with sun collected stitches---and perhaps the point of this photograph is the rock face with the hole that the tiny garden snail climbs out of, from the dark into the light, its yellow twirls and black dotted shell exposed on the white fieldstone, or maybe it's down at the lake where the Mallard duck, iridescent green of the male's pl…

On the job woes...

I thought I had found the perfect job: reception at a small construction and design firm, 24 hrs a week, and I could choose the hours, through an agency, so a temp employee for 3 months, and then on permanent staff with an accompanying raise in hourly rate. It all looked good. Nice people. Quiet location. Typical office work, sorting years worth of papers into files, updating addresses, Xeroxing, dealing with couriers, that sort of thing. Mostly mindless jo-job work that didn’t require thought only thoroughness and care. Leaving me free to explore the ideas ranging through my mind, free to consider what to write next, to think about my art, my kids, my life...

So I picked afternoons. I would go in from noon to 5 every day, except Friday, when it would be for 4 hours. Everyone seemed amenable.

But it was in an industrial area that is not serviced by buses except at rush hour. I hadn’t figured on the difficulty of getting there mid day into my plan. That hour and ten minute trip became mo…

On the evening of...

I'm travelling down a road that is travelling down a mountain. I think I'm flying because I'm not aware of a car around me. Yet I fly with the same slow care as if I were driving. It is night-time. The moon is embedded in the sky beyond the trees, a brilliant white light surrounded by misty clouds. I should be scared, but I'm not. There is an unearthly stillness everywhere, silent, empty, the trees appear almost painted in dark purple and blue colours with black bark. I fly quickly through the forest near the base of the mountain, and into a private roadway. It is too still; there are no animals. And a house, like any suburban house, wide and flat and large. I go right through the walls. Into a vacant sunken living room with beige couches and chairs that look soft and comfortable before a large brick fireplace that is unlit. Quickly down the hallway. And I fall into bed with you, you in your pajamas, striped white and blue soft cotton, dreaming of my visit, wrapping yo…

The Art of the Writerly Nap...

Many thanks to those who left pure poetry behind in my last post on creative process at Xanga and here. I have read, and re-read your comments, each one like a jewel that opens out the entire universe of each of you.

My own comment in response to Toni Morrison's process has also grown, and I wonder if your articulations of your creative processes hasn't also wanted to become more detailed too...?

I am a napper. My idea of heaven on earth is an afternoon nap. Nothing could be finer. I cultivate nap time: have honed and honoured it. Oh, how I love that afternoon rest! Now that I work afternoons, well, there's after work, and there are still weekends! A napper not to be undone, I have turned the nap into an art.

It was a year or two back when I discovered the trick of writing while 'napping.'

What is a 'nap'? I rarely sleep. Usually I meditate first, this produces a much deeper and more satisfying nap. I sit against a small meditation chair that I place right on m…

How Do You Write Best...

Toni Morrison says: "I always get up and make a cup of coffee while it is still dark-it must be dark—and then I drink the coffee and watch the light come... Writers all devise ways to approach that place where they expect to make the contact, where they become the conduit, or where they engage in this mysterious process. For me, light is the signal in the transition. It's not being in the light, it's being there before it arrives. It enables me, in some sense." From The Writer's Almanac, February 18, 2005.

My best writing occurs when I am just coming out of a meditative nap. A place where I let go of everything---discovered this being lulled in a hammock strung across my tiny studio. I like to be lying down, with a notebook and a pencil on my lap, or my tiny pocket pc, something private, that only I can see, and drifting dreamily in and out of stillness. It is in this deeply relaxed state that images begin adding their vitality to what I am writing about... It is …
My first attempt at hosting audio - following the link in my last post to SoundClick in Creative Commons. This is a poem, about 10 minutes long, and my computer doesn't play it too well - it buffers a lot. It was just an MP3 that I had on my computer...normally I would do much shorter ones of the poems that I post. If you have the patience, listen to a bit or all of it, and leave some feedback. Promise I won't post anything this long again!

It's a poem that interweaves a love story with a tantra on Yeshe Tsogyal, an 8th c. Queen of Tibet and founder of Tibetan Buddhist...

The Great Bliss Queen's Mansion of Flaming Bliss Copyright ©2003 by Brenda Clews

Oh, I put it under New Age since there isn't a category for poetry in their music styles.

This is the book that first introduced me to Yeshe Tsogyal some years ago. I still dip into it when I need to be reminded of the ineffable mysteries of life...

Audio and Video Publishing Sites...

Trying to reconstruct notes from the Blogging Conference without the notes which froze on on my Pocket PC and disappeared when I did a soft reset...

My interests are in audio and video blogging, more to add the speaking and dancing of my poetry to the text than to portray my daily life in a running narrative.

As the only speaker I heard all day that referred to artists, his name? famous, I'm sure, though gone in my absent notes, whether he cares about artists or not was obfuscated in his talk, but he spoke about a very wealthy American man who does: Brewster Kahle, the founder of the presitgious Internet Archive, and the force behind the scanning of millions of books to become available to the public (Google is involved in this project too, I believe, but don't quote me!). Brewster Kahle has decided that artists don't have much money. Understatement!

So he is funding a site where filmakers, artists, videographers, musicians, poets, etc., will be able to post their work, and w…

On Xanga and Blogger as writing sites...

What is the blogosphere? It's 31 million bloggers world-wide. That's alot of writing. That's a movement. That's a social force. That's an upholder of literacy. And we thought the written word was going to die with the ushering in of the audio-video age. Were we wrong!

Audio and video blogging are coming, though. And then we could expect a total explosion in the medium.

We live in an era of self-expression. And we create our own reality shows out of our own lives with no producers or television studios to oversee us. How money can be made out of us is another question.

There was one man at the blogging conference who makes a living from his blog. His name is Chris Pirillo. Today I finally gave in and went to his site. His writing is good, but simple - nothing too complex there. And there are GoogleAds, which is where he makes the major portion of his income. The more hits he gets, the larger his monthly paycheck. What I noticed most prominently, however, is t…

Northern Voice Blogging Conference

How does it happen? I lost all of my notes and links from the Northernvoice blogging conference. My Pocket PC file went strange, and then dissipated into something unreadable.

Suffice to say, it was an interesting day. Here is a link that collects some of the links at the conference:

My main interests were in audio and video blogging, and in understanding why Xanga is the way it is. I have lost the audiopod links, but they should be easy enough to find again. And there is a Yahoo group dedicated to video blogging, which, we learnt, is about 8 months old. In its infancy, but the potential is huge...what we will be able to record for our children and grandchildren. I know it's a bit overwhelming...I felt like lying down too (heh)...but she'll probably be videoblogging before she starts school...

On my Xanga issues, they're irresolvable. In the panel on promoting your website, I did ask a question about the "politics" between blog sites, …




Delicate as a snowdrop
on a grave the season after.

Thin as a Spring White's wings
like bright, wet silk
the shed cocoon.

A prayer on the horizon at dawn


What does the snow feel as it falls and
melts into the rivulet
at my feet?


And the day came when the risk to remain tight
in the bud was more painful than the risk
it took to blossom.
Anais Nin


I turn,
and you who were gone
are there.

©2005 by Brenda Clews

On the Way to Work, Valentine's Morning

Rushing down the road, slippery, sparkly ice pellets flattened underfoot, the sun that the camera records is not the sun that I see. The sun before me is rising, shining in the crisp morning air. This is the sun that wholly knows the world it illumines. This is the sun ushering the day into being. A sun bringing activity with it. The bustling world awakens before this sun. It is refreshing to see, but it signals the beginning of a long work day ahead. When I return in the evening, I shall whisper goodbye to that same sun on the other side of the sky, a sun which I never saw all day at my desk in the office where I currently work. Risking being late, I stop to take a picture.

I take a picture because I know the camera will see a glow of light, a brilliance that is white at the centre and radiates translucent rainbow hues until the landscape that we only see because of that light re-emerges around its edges. I know that the camera sees more innocently than I, who compose the scen…

On The Sweetness Of Being

You are unaware of the bliss pooling in your eyes. It but a flicker, yet I see it clearly.

The sweetness of being.

Perhaps it is the sweet fresh juice of the apple trickling as you are biting. Or the perfect lace of snow on the branch. Or the sudden surprise of soft vivid irises reaching upwards. Or the scent of hyacinths in a summer breeze. Or the herald of choral clouds across the skyscape at sunset...

The sweetness of being, found in bliss.

The sweetness of being, the impetus to do, to be more than.

It is sensual, primal, almost visionary, the way bliss passes across us like a caress of warm sunlight.

And we, evolved, reservoirs of memory, mind, feeling, and sensation, who crawled out of the ocean eons ago and flew in light-footedness across the landscape and made alphabets out of everything.

Clay, metals, stones, quills, ink, parchment...

And our cornucopias of alphabets: like seeds in the fields growing our food; bricks forming the structures of our houses, cities, civilizations; minera…

The Tsunami...

The Tsunami...

In memory of all those who died in, and all those who lived through, the tsunami that struck the countries of the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004.


In the deepness, a heaving of the earth. I am tensing, straining, the pressure too great. I am tearing, ripping, fragmenting. The gash is 600 miles long. There is thunder under the ocean as I heave and split. Frightened fish flee, their communities scattered. The water rushes over my plunging wound.

I am thrown off kilter in my revolution about the stars, a momentary faltering...


A sudden precipitous displacement of the ocean floor and I am falling, swirling, a lethal underwater waterfall.

The earth gives up her energy to the gashing waves. I am swelling, overflowing; there is nowhere to go but outwards. I am a deadly wave fleeing the rupture, my speed and breadth terrifying. I am churning with the energy of the earth's cry.


I am the shoreline and the people lining the beaches, holidaying, working, liv…

An Alter...

How do you spiritually nourish yourself? One way, for me, is at my alter. For 25 years I have had alters of one kind or another. My alters have evolved over the years with me.

Initially, I was inspired by Catholic 'poustinias,' or prayer huts, and placed a small bamboo table in a tiny storage closet that I painted white with a gold ceiling and put mystical Jungian mandalas and some mystical Christian images on the walls and I used to go into my prayer room and pray or meditate or sometimes just cry. That was when I lived in Grad Residence. Later I lived in a condo and then a house. My alters shifted to objects as conduits of healing energies and my predilection to the Divine Feminine. Various crystals and incense holders and statuettes and semi-precious stones found their way onto my makeshift alters. When I had a cottage I used make alters by heaping sand into three foot high mounds and flattening the tops and putting shells and stones and feathers and sometimes incens…

Check out my site at Xanga...

Dear beautiful friend,

Check out my site at Xanga!

See you there, here, wherever~

warm bright blessings, Brenda

The Body's Song

His hands, his fingers, powerful, yet gentle, knowing the terrain of muscle and bone, following the contours of my body, the energy currents of cells that form and re-form ankle, knee, thigh, shoulder, chin. Slowly, kneading deeply, oil sliding between the flesh of palm over the flesh of body, he massages my back, the spine carrying messages from a profuse nervous system, where I feel the world feeling me, to the brain, an interwoven system intricate beyond comprehension. In the dance of the flow of the body, knots, whorls, angles and lines of pain appear sometimes as his fingers find dramas recorded in my body where I hold fear, grief, rage, and the pressure that he applies, and my wincing until I remember to breath deeply, to surrender, and then his fingers feeling the release of tension, and moving on as the dance between his hands and my body continues its, by moments, soothing, jarring, and deepening rhythms. My body and his hands are like a duet, the sensual flow of a shared …

Clarifying the spirit...

When I exercise I cleanse my jumble of frustration, difficulty, sadness, worry, exhaustion. Exercise clarifies my spirit so that I am able to perceive the bright and sparkling energy of the world that we each share in.

Can I universalize? The process of exercising purifies, cleanses, releases what is holding heavy on us. It helps us to attain our goals, hopes, dreams, because we know we have the strength and the will, the discipline, and learn this from our sustained effort in our exercise. It isn’t easy to hold camel pose for 3 minutes, jog for 5 km., do a flowing dawn greeting of Tai Chi, dance hard for an hour. We can relate this willful sustaining to other parts of our lives and do what we most want to do — we generate energy for transformation while exercising. Exercising releases energy for whatever we wish it for ...

By circumstance rather than by design, I now frequent a gym. I like working at my own pace, systematically, on areas of my body, and being part of a large…

Trout Lake, Vancouver

Sometimes the lake is white.
When the sky is thick with white cloud and the sun is high, so that shadowless light pours over us, the lake flows white to its edges.
Today it was glass-clear under the gentle rain, not reflecting anything.
Most often it is a mirror of varying shades of blue, from the clear sky, and green, from the trees and bushes about its borders.
I like to watch the direction of the waves from the window where I workout, sweating, a reminder, like a spiritual release, of the tension of the body.
Mostly the waves flow westward; it is special when they flow eastwards.
It is a small lake with a duck population, a few kingfishers, and a dog beach with numerous swimming and barking and frolicsome dogs.
At the other end, hidden, is a beach for people with logs to rest against and thick white sand.
From my view, my eye follows a deep maroon-leaved cherry tree, a birch tree with its bark like parchment, a perfectly shaped festive pine tree, and graceful willows like ancient r…

from my current work...

Landing, implanting, and burrowing: are these motions of our embryonic selves not the processes of our lives?

Everything, a whole future life, hinges on this moment of contact.

It is a lunar surface only because it is dark and dreamlike. Our first home, and we enter it with a 'universal password' that suppresses our genetic markers so that our mother's immune system will accept us, who her body awaits, has always awaited.

Her body has been primed for our signal, long before she was even born, the receptors for our entrance were instilled within her warm and moist and soft and nourishing interior.

She knows we are here. We are in deep communion.

On our voyage into life, we have been a fertilized egg, a zygote, a morula, a blastocyst, and now, an embryo, and, in two months, a foetus, and, when we are born, a baby.

The end of this journey only the beginning.

Sacred lines...

'This precious human body is a stem of gold.' -Lady of the Lotus Born (Shambala, 1999)

What can I say? I cannot add to or subtract from the thought and its expression. It comes from a translation of an ancient Tibetan Buddhist poem that is rich with tantric imagery.

'This precious human body is a stem of gold.'

I feel like the most exquisite and precious finely-wrought jewelry. I feel like a stem on a thousand petalled lotus, an image of enlightenment. I feel fragile and precious and like a swaying stem of gold in the wind. I feel like the stem on a goblet of gold pouring wine into your sweet lips. You are fragile and precious and pricelessly beautiful. A great artist crafted you.

Your precious human body is a stem of gold…

Can I lay down now and weep over the beauty of this simple line?

'This precious human body is a stem of gold.'

I read it again, silent in reverie. What is it about this line that moves me so? It takes me on vistas …

Celebrating Peace: Venus Transit, 2004

A huge burning sphere, like a god, and like a god, holding a planetary system close, with life on ours, and a planet of gases passes between the combustion of nuclear fission and us. It is what we have named the planet of love, and she is like a tiny dot. Does she sing her way across the face of the sun, or does she run from tangent to tangent under the watchful eye of the world watching her make her transit? She is charged with transforming each life with harmonic surges and is to usher in world peace and create prosperous influences for everyone. There are parties all over the world celebrating her gift to us, the gift she gives by orbiting across the immense face of the sun as a tiny shadowed saviour. When will we turn our sights from divine intervention bringing peace to our world to our actual world? And be peacefully active/actively peaceful/peace activists? How can we hope to stop the wars and the deaths and the pain and the suffering by watching vainly out of our tiny, …

Riotous Weaving

A weaving of glossy vines, fat leaves shaped like hearts, and the flowers of the morning glory, delicate yellow and orange bursts, cascade over the entranceway, snake around tree trunks, grow thick over the fences. Dandelions sprout everywhere, crowds of buttercups cup open to the light. Pink wild roses draw bees in to their ecstasy. It is a thriving mess. Reminders of a memory grown thick with overgrowth and in need of pruning. What is this way of clarifying the mind? Of sweeping the garden clean? I would rather the tangled underbrush and profusion of weeds and plants than a manicured mind no matter how appealing it seems. Perhaps it's the African jungle of my childhood, and memories of the cadences of growth, riotous all around, and free to be invasive, holy, repulsive, beautiful, rooted in rich soil, symphonic under the sun. Let it run rampant, my memory, my heirloom.

Reading Is Writing

Reading is a form of writing. As I creatively interpret what I am reading, I have a special gold-tipped technical pencil that has accompanied me through many books over many years, underlining what I love or what strikes me, writing notes in the margins, and on re-reading, writing more notes. Writing along with what I’m reading is an outering of the inner process of re-creating and re-interpreting an author's writing. Reading is as creative an act as writing is. At their best, both are happy hard work. And I don't just mean critically reading, I mean deeply reading, with the mind and the heart. If I have a book on my shelf without a mark in it, it’s like it wasn’t inspiring or thought-provoking, didn’t require the writing that the best reading is.

Reading on the NET takes away the ability to write what you're reading because you can't write on the screen; it is not like a page. Hence it's more like endlessly scanning articles, news reports, discussion group…

The Earth Is Teeming With Becoming

The spinning globe where we live, move, have our being is a highly creative planet. Consider the diversity of plant life, of animal life, the complex balances of our atmosphere. Let images of it drift through your mind: green leaves, flowers, trees, roots, soil, earth, rocks, sand, water, creatures small and large on desert, mountain, plain, valley, in the ocean, on land, in the air, and people, filling, covering the globe, of every race and type, in all environments, a flowing, interweaving complexity of forms, of intelligences, of evolution.

The earth is teeming with becoming.

Earth isn't striving to become invisible, to become spirit. Earth is a great artist, forever creating new forms out of old. How about thinking like this: spirit is life-force, purely, simply, which exists in abundance and is not a product of a separate divine substance; rather we are an 'emergent consciousness,' growing out of the unending dancing and singing of the fundamental units of matter …

The Threshold That Travels With You

On the threshold, between, juxtaposed, straddled, the one and the other, the place of seeing, from whence to where, a doorway stood at, always open, the border, the crossing never crossed, waiting, moving with the threshold as it hovers over horizon after horizon, new vistas, old habits, new experiences, memories, all framing the doorway I forever travel through.

Today, with soft laughter, the doorway has grown thick with vines and jewels, birds nest in the leaves, feathers float over the step, spread like a carpet welcoming you.

I place jewels in your hair, ruby, diamond, sapphire, amethyst, and power feathers, and dance the dance of the threshold with you, the one and the other, stamping our feet, waving our arms, enjoying the moment between, our merry madness echoing across the streets, the fields, the mountains, and over the ocean.

We fly with our thresholds, carrying the next moment with us, when it will all tumble into place, at last, understanding, fully realized, the salt air …

Our relationship with ourself, softly, softly...

Today, it's go ... softly, without resistance, softly, without worry, softly, without thought for anything but the sensitivity around me, the delicate balances, the nuance, everywhere, everyone I see, the dozens and dozens of people I brush past, softly ... I see how hard you are trying, I see how much effort you put into living, loving, stiving, looking after yourself, your family, your work, your friends, your life ... softly, I witness you, perhaps I am in the line behind you at the grocer's, watching your back, your graceful movement as you lift items from the cart to the counter, your energy of survival delicate but strong, and we smile at each other, before moving on ... all day, the soft smiles with my children, aquaintances, strangers ... a treat of almost pure chocolate on the way home in the train, and even the mountains a haze of indigo velvety in the distance jagged against a gently darkening sky ... in the softest way, I say this to you.

This Is What My Blog Is About

Krishnamurti says, "You cannot depend on anybody. There is no guide, no teacher, no authority. There is only you -- your relationship with others and the world -- there is nothing else." (Not even Krishnamurti.)

This is what my blog is about. Only our relationship with ourselves, each other, the world. There is nothing else. If it doesn't happen here, in these relationships, it happens nowhere.

Only the power of the connection, I must remember to remember to tell you that. And that you are your own teacher. The first and final affirmation: "I am that I am."

I can't travel into what is disappearing any further than this.