Showing posts from March, 2006

The meme of 39 things

Joining Tamar and Jean: this was fun!

1) Who is the last person you high-fived?
My dog; she shakes my paw whenever I ask and she’s good about high-fives too.

2) If you were drafted into a war, would you survive?
I’d never allow myself to be drafted into a war. If I joined the medical corps, I'd suffer hugely from PTSD, but that's the only area I'd go if absolutely forced. I don't think I'd do jail.

3) Do you sleep with the TV on?
I’ve never had a TV in my room. I need quietness and darkness to sleep, use earplugs actually.

4) Have you ever drunk milk straight out of the carton?
I may have once tried from a small carton; the milk on the edge of the waxed cardboard wasn’t very appetizing.

5) Have you ever won a spelling bee?
Never been in one; I’m not a great speller.

6) Have you ever been stung by a bee?

7) How fast can you type?
Probably around 60 wpm – not fast (self-taught typist, lots of mistakes).

8) Are you afraid of the dark?
Never been afraid of the dark, that I can rec…

Five words to describe ourselves

My friend Prudy had a most interesting dialogue at her site. She had her readers pick five words to describe themselves. And in the next post she responded to everyone's description, see here. Relationships in the blogging world can be as rich and complex as day-to-day connections!

My five words were hard. I wanted to describe my life at present, my state of mind. But qualities are more fixed, stones in the sweeping current, places where you can safely put your feet as you cross. The five words feel vague and, oh, here they are: responsible, careful, creative, compassionate, sensual.

Prudy's response: "I know this woman pretty well, as I've read her closely for about as long as I've been on here and I've talked with her several times. I was surprised by her description and she's the first one to do so. There isn't anything this woman can't write. I prefer her in first person but she is stubborn. And I know I'm supposed to pick five words and …

Prayer Ribbons

MP3 recording of this poem: Hi-fi; Lo-fi.

Where your prayers are, hidden on the inside, invisible. Between you and your God, or the life force itself. Prayer is because of what continues. Prayer is not disruptive thought, fragmented living, but the song of it all. In the quietness of the intimacy of the holy.

a peace tree
where the wind moves
pieces of woven material
lanterns of love

And then I lifted myself, and it was bright.

And I saw them flutter
collected against a plum wall
a rainbow of ribbons, banners
prayer flags, lungta.

Weavings of spirit and meaning, desire and effort, care and consideration, and tears. Knot us, our dreams and hopes and those we love, together; please don't separate us...

Here is my prayer ribbon, gentle reminder to the great spiritual forces that I am here, needing too.

On trees all over the world, prayers for peace. I tie white prayer flags onto the trees out back. For all the wars, conflagrations, battles, arguments, violences.

I pray…

A Neckline of Beads

click on image for a larger, readable size

Carework and Caregiving: Theory and Practice

Two abstracts were accepted for the upcoming Carework and Caregiving: Theory and Practice Conference at York.

This one's at 9am on May 6th, a Saturday morning:

Caregiving and Evolutionary Ethics: The guardians who undergird culture.

"For a moment, during their conversation, feeling the desperations they spoke of, the difficulties, she felt connected to millions of women over the globe who struggle with poverty, grief, racism, violence, but who keep going. Women who are the emotional centres for their families, who are anchors, who place food on the table miraculously out of almost nothing, who somehow dress their children, their spouses, themselves, who clean and maintain their homes, who work for menial wages, where they are essentially labourers, who never allow themselves to succumb to madness, or drugs, or a furious destruction of the world around them, who keep loving their families in profound ways. They grieve, yes, there is sadness, but they have hearts of compassion. It…


Last night I made some really hot curry and just had some for lunch, and whew, blow...

Today I'm considering engagement. It's important. Sometimes you do things without really doing them. Meditation this last week has been difficult because I've done the meditation without really doing it. If you know what I mean. It's about engagement. In meditation and in my work. By focusing some good intent on my book, and even having it beside me while I sleep, seems to have re-charged my relationship to it. I finally have an ending, and not the one I expected, but it is congruent with the text. As I re-read, editing, how painful the narrative is. Yet with so many unfinished manuscripts and thesis's (two and two), bringing something to completion is of particular importance. That's a meditation in itself: the hexagram of completion.

Engagement isn't completion, they're two different processes with two different purposes. Engagement is being in the present, fully part…

Why Do You Write?

MP3 recording: hi-fi, or lo-fi.

How can I take the reader's perspective into account when I write? I write from excess, from overflow, from abundance, a plethora, a cyclone of words. Aren't we all on journeys, discovering our way as we go? Mine isn't a journey of logic, nor do I know the path or the map that'll finally result from it all. I don't have a specific set of interests to write about. Though I do favour prose poetry and exploring emotional landscapes. My lifewriting is often hidden in metaphors, obscured with fictions, offered as a tie-dyed garment of brightly coloured silk, fragile and soft as the morning sun, or as dense dark broadcloth heavy with grime and flung before you. For I don't know who you are. I can only guess. With your writing at your sites, in comments, I create a sense of you that is surely only a part of who you are. We dance together, oh, yes, we do this, in our writing, our interconnections, and it's fun, most enjoyable, but I w…

Abandoned Bouquet

Push-pull confuses me. Especially the push-away. We hurt each other with rejection. The force with which we can expel each other. Turning the other into an object of non-importance, an unwanted essence. The ability to savour, to honour, to love: the self, others, the world, damaged. But love doesn't happen in isolation. Maybe some have their lists of good and bad. But it's not that easy. It's not that this person, or people, state of mind, area of interest is safe, acceptable and all else needs to be distanced. Isn't that possession? And possessions can be lost. If they're people, they can leave; if they're belief systems or areas, we can become profoundly disenchanted. Then where are we? In angry rebuttal to the world that we clearly divided between acceptable and not. Between people who counted and those who didn't. Between an arbitrary definition of the good and the not-good. So what do we do? Do we cling more tightly to our safe constructed categories …

Rose Mandala, or the Whorls of Angels

An MP3 recording of this piece:
Rose Mandala, or the Whorls of Angels: Lo
Rose Mandala, or the Whorls of Angels: Hi

I am with you like an angel. Can you feel kisses, a caress of breeze perhaps, or a sudden warmth that lightens your spirit? I hold you enfolded in my wings when you weep, inconsolable, disappointed. Can you sense a blessing of radiance about you? My wings, woven of sun and moonlight on veins like leaves. Surely you see their shimmer breaking through what separates us. You are my prayer, my vigil.

But I am an earthy woman who laughs, storms, cries, rants, pesters, and loves.

And I am unable to settle, come into being in one place, crystallize. Can I play in the garden palaces of the heart? And retire in solitude when the day is done, to rest?

Even as I sweep across the sky of your consciousness, a roseate sunset, mandala whorl of sun, the choral clouds, like a hymn, a sacred song, something ebullient and therefore holy, I am racing away into the night and disappearing.

I offer y…


One set of beliefs though which you define yourself. Is this fundamentalism? That set of beliefs is also a formulae. A code in a sacred text; the ordinances of the ordinated; a belief in the reward of rightness. Happiness to be on the one path to salvation, whatever it may be. In every movement, surge of social beliefs, group with a purpose, religion, are fundamentalists. Those who place whatever doesn't agree with their creed into a category of evil to be opposed with all force, vehemently. Fundamentalism is the opposite of acceptance. Fundamentalism takes the complexity out of living. It replaces a sensitive tuner, an ethic of compassion, a cognizance of difference, shades of infinite grey, with certainty. Instead of the vast and perplexing mystery of living, one set of beliefs through which a person defines themselves and others. One path to walk. One goal to achieve. One perspective on those who follow the "illumined path" and those who don't. Fundamentalism is a…


We always knew it was a mix of what you were born with and the life you lived: genetics and environment. In a world of perpetual change, of nature's endless recycling of everything, how could there be any absolutes? It turns out that even our DNA is not absolute. Our genes have switches that respond to our living in the world and in turn affect our lives, their unfolding. If we didn't have philosophical underpinnings, a knowing that we're born with certain predispositions but that our environment shapes much of what emerges, would our epigenetic scientists have known what to look for? This is exciting research; I was riveted: even when an environment has not been conducive, a smoker's lungs, toxic metals in the water system, and there is disease, it might still be possible to heal the person by fixing the genetic response to the maladaptation. To go in and 'fix the operating system.' Turning back on the gene switch that stops tumor growth, thereby preventing me…

How did we meet...?

A meme, at Body Electric, which I couldn't resist:

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, (even if we don't speak often or don't really know each other) please post a comment and tell the story of a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL memory connecting you and me . It can be anything you want - good or bad ("good" is better for me, however) - BUT IT HAS TO BE FICTION. When you're finished, post this little paragraph on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you!

I'd love to meet you all! Imagine stories for us...

Reflections on "Water," the film by Deepa Mehta

The palette in each frame, stark Modernist canvases, pillars, ground, simple, clean. The colour of the moon. Light as a wash over the world, the way water catches the light, the figures of hidden women, what moves across the landscapes of muted colour, women who dwell in colours of the Madonna's veils. Trapped in a caste system as rigid as the iron bars through which scenes are shot.

The women always framed in boxes, closed in, shuttered away.

The gigantic-limbed tree where the lovers meet like a blossoming, flow of the heart. She carries the light for him, visitation of a vision, where freedom may be, the candle she holds at her breast, the light of everything. She is a Religious painting of divinity, beautiful; Durga, Mary.

Ghandi who would free the enslaved of a rigid ideology. Riots and refusals in India for filming, for showing. Thirty one million widows today.

The widow is the virgin; beggar, or prostitute. Where acceptance, love is not possible. Who would not drown themselves? …

It went well...

Finally speaking after 22 years about why my birthday is so difficult and the grief it holds enabled me to acknowledge, accept and perhaps release it. It's been a significant birthday for me. On the inside, where I shape my perceptions. I'm sure it had something to do with you all. After posting with an unusual openess, a warmth began radiating and it spread and spread even to illumining the evening with its kindness and gentle happiness.

Two dear friends took me for dinner at a superb Vietnamese restaurant, Ginger, on Yonge Street. They are both 'chanting buddies' from yoga. Jean and I did teacher training in 1995, and Moira was one of the first people to attend my classes and when I taught in my home she came for years. She belongs to a choir and has a wonderful voice and carried our chants. These two women came regularly to my house for about 5 years once a week for a two and a half hour "Long Chant," the one that has a seed syllable, or bij mantra, for eac…

It's my birthday...

Today is my birthday. It's hard for me to celebrate my birthday, and it's something I have tried to do since my marriage ended, not altogether successfully. There's something raw about this day for me. My ex said I was just plain weird around my birthday. I think it's because I miss my father, and my birthday, with gifts, a gathering of family, dinner out, was the day he celebrated his daughter. I felt honoured in ways that he could never know growing up because other things were going on at home while he was on all those business trips. There have been many years when my mother didn't give me a present at all, but hey, I've done that back too. She didn't want a child, neither did he, their marriage in crisis and about to end, but then me. She wished me out of existence many, many times, he fell in love with his little daughter, and treated me like an exquisite human being, and always did, the whole time he was alive. My brothers and I have never really rec…

Lies and Hiding

A piece published at qarrtsiluni.

Walking the dog on a Winter's night...

Hills of ice outside the indoor rink. I climb them, looking for your photograph. In the barkskin patterns of ice, soiled layers of sand, the rock-frozen display, I place my felt-thick feet, heavy-booted. The light from the ice centre's lamps thows a tungsten glow on the frozen rivulets and packed densities.

My dog runs over the mounds, compacted ice crystals, our breath steaming. I dig my head deeper into my upturned collar, the wind sub-zero, seeing you on the underside of the dark sky.

I am wearing deerskin gloves and merino wool tights and snowpants and a tight jacket pulled up high. Two layers of fleece insulate me underneath.

The frigid air catches my nostrils as I walk, white plume of breath, my thoughts composing the rigid ice hills where your image lies, fragile, fractals of millions of snowflakes, in crystalline rock.


We find ourselves in alleys,
the underpasses of our lives,
the places we cross through.

Where the cities don't reach.
Where the highrises and cultural centres
and shopping concourses aren't.
The backsides of houses,
in the litter that collects in the tunnels.
Scraps of memories, fragments of thoughts.

I thought I found you on Cherry Beach
in sand like a dune twisted with flecks,
the edge of the water littered with overflow,
scraps, what's thrown overboard,
what washes up on the shore from
other shores winnowed by the waves.

Did I romanticize you?

I don't think so.
I saw your depths,
the broken double helixes,
the places where you re-thread
your thoughts again and again.

Where we replay
what was, what never was.
I want to blank out the obsessional
complusive areas of my brain. To be

We are incomprehensible to ourselves.

Beneath the flow of this constructed city,
soil, silt, rock, caverns of water,
the earth turning on its axis of magma,
the flow of a volatile consciousness.

Beneath the clutter,…


"What is sexual pleasure for?"
"To preserve the world's gloss."

When we make love, we "help
the world refresh its gloss."

But the "world is like the impression
left by the telling of a story."
...................Yogavasistha, 2.3.11

Perhaps it is a story of love.
.........Or war.
...............Or survival.
Or of us, who came into the world through
.........................its gloss.

The first 4 lines found in Ka, pp.71-2.


Today, only this:

'To love.' The infinitive of an active transitive verb with an open-ended objet de l'amour...

Towards Spring...

I drag myself, weary and sun-deprived, towards Spring...

I wrote this at MB's site a moment ago, and wonder if it'll be one of those images that opens a whole cast of images; I miss the ease of writing prose poetry pieces, and am waiting for words that shape themselves to the metaphoric consciousness to return....

Those of you with feeds know that I'm an incessant editor; you shalln't then mind if I update this until a prose poetry piece has formed out of the initial image? (which is a bit melodramatic, I'll agree :)

Some good news...

My very good news is that my daughter made the honour role. It's official- the report card came. This may not seem a big deal, but it is. The last grade she actually completed was Grade 7. In Vancouver she dropped out of 3 schools, a traditional one, a tiny alternative school, and distance ed. It was a most difficult time, and I ended up homeschooling (I made her read books in my library and do internet research on them: we didn't get far, but she did start exploring the rise of the novel through women novelists, Shelley, Austen, Bronte, and read Sophie's World on the history of philosophy, and a fair bit of art history, etc.). Here in Toronto I managed to get her back into her grade level, Grade 10, and, while it was touch and go more than a few times, and I was very worried, her diligence with homework, completing all assignments and essays, and getting to school has paid off. Congratulations, honey! Now onto the 2nd semester...

What specifically is love?

I wrote: I must ask you to be more detailed about love, more specific. What is love? Exactly? Well, that's impossible, but the sense of love, feeling love has so many different forms and tones, I wonder if we can find metaphors to express what this quality of love is that we value so highly?

MB and Ken have begun to respond, though I hope to hear more!

As the day goes on, I will add more to this post. For now, I would say love is:

That sacred place of the heart where you care for another's happiness and well being with a sense of permanence. Love is the deep caring, no matter what the outcome, because there is a serious intent beneath the surfaces that is trustworthy, reliable, strong, withstanding. Love is letting someone love you. It is easy with our children, this deep committment to love through all the joys and all the trials. I would put the strength of the mother-child bond at the heart of what I understand about love, because it is resilient, never-ending, deep, caring, s…