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Archive for July, 2012


The top shelf holds some of my angels and inspirational pieces and messages. Also my Soul Card Deck and Osho Tarot cards. I get a great “one word focus from my Soul Deck that is really very useful. And playing with the Tarot cards occasionally gives me both great artistic images, and usually something to think about.

My Muse Angel rings her bell whether I’m in the mood to hear it or not and lately she’s been keeping me in this room for longer periods than I wish to spend.  Right in front of her reads, “This is the day the Lord has made.”  And it is.

The branch twig that you can barely see in back with the three ribbons tied on it comes from a Skidmore summer conference of International Women’s Writer’ s Guild,  and is actually a prayer stick; the first I ever made and the ribbons signify a prayer for grandchildren to arrive. I had none at the time. In the 1990’s I put 3 ribbons on that stick, and in 2012, I have three grandchildren.

The first Sacred Intention Mandala I made with author Janet Conner, of Writing Down Your Soul, is on the far right. It was a beautiful telecourse based on the scripture of “See  the lilies of the field, how they neither toil nor spin.”  And it had a lot to do with trusting Divine Provision. We needed that in 2009-2010, newly back from North Carolina, with not much extra in our pockets.   I named my mandala for 2010-2011 “My Year(s) of Free-Falling into Spirit and one of my intentions represented in the small circles on the outer perimeter was “to have a home I loved.”

In December 2011, we moved into the home I love.

At the far right of the shelf is a “mock-up” cover of a book, not yet completed – but one that will be. “Being Faithful to the Quiet – Finding the Silence that Soothes your Soul”, by Susan Heffron Hajec.  I think the cover photo is quite breath-taking. I took the photo of the Zen Bell tower at Weber Retreat Center in Adrian Michigan when I was there for a retreat on Centering Prayer.  The pathway leads past the garden down to the Chartres Labyrinth, quite gorgeous and energetic in the surrounding hills and property.

The last thing I want to tell about my top shelf is the framed picture of the feminine profile. I use that frequently in my workshops. That is “every-age woman”. We are all those ages at the same time. The young woman has wisdom sparks of the elder. The elder has the playful moments of the child. The middle-age woman has both facets of the young and the elder to come, but they are active in her at mid-life. The wise feminine will draw on all of these diamond facets throughout her life.

The second shelf has the published Soul Pages Journal Janet created to go with her first book. I had already filled several spiral-bound notebooks with soulwriting before this came out. What is particularly lovely is the different quotes that show up on pages, that just magically support what you’re writing from your own space or give a message gratefully received.

The other thing is she asked for suggestions to name the owl on the cover (Janet LOVES owls) and then she takes them to St. Michael the Archangel’s grotto and has the angel guide her hand in selecting. Two pieces of paper stuck together and she decided to use them both, for the names were each a symbol of wisdom — I chose Sophia (which comes from Joyce Rupp’s spiritual books) and someone else chose Solomon — the Biblical source of the wisest king of the Hebrew scriptures.   The owl became Sophia-Sol. And Janet sent an autographed copy of this precious book to each of us. Mine is now completely filled and I’m back in spiral-bound notebooks.

The brightly colored mandala-circle was a creation started at the Centering Prayer retreat at Weber Center in the 1990. In the bookstore, I picked up a copy of “A Sacred Path”, a small black book written by Rev. Lauren Artress. It spoke of the age-old labyrinth laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France. It was considered a healing and meditation tool and was built on the principles of sacred geometry, which I had not hear of.

I never did too well in mathematical geometry in school, but I began drawing a circle and putting squares, circles and triangles within the circle.

I found I couldn’t stop until I had a rough sketch of what wanted to be completed on paper. I didn’t color it yet. Then I brought it home to my engineer-minded husband, and he created the whole idea geometrically correct and colored on the computer. It’s been in my creativity room ever since. I believe it strongly influences my prayer power and requests.

The rest of the books on that shelf are books I am using in my current work and hope to be able to locate when I need them.

And here are a few pictures of the remaining shelves left.

Lots of study time in those binders and oh, of course, the Writer’s Market

Spirituality, Physicality, and Yoga and
there lies “the empty page!”

A closeup of my special section of the top shelf

To everything there is a season verse on the cross
and feminine wisdom

Wondrous life guides

Granddaughter Amy and Baby share time
with me in my creative room.

She is in my prayer chair.  The Chartres Labyrinth
purchased from Grace Cathedral in San Francisco
is above her head and my current 2012 Intention Mandala
with the blazing fire  globe is at work below it.

To the left are my certifications in Reiki I, II & Master
and Cooper Institute  Certification in Nutrition & Kinesiology.

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My weekend-effortless blog is this wondrous Spirit-filled global-wide

HAPPY DANCE!

Now I know what they mean by doing the Happy Dance.

Blessings to the creators of this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=Pwe-pA6TaZk&feature=player_embedded

Oh my, this is my movement meditation.

I’m gonna learn some of these moves

along with my Qigong!

WE’re GONNA TRIP THE LIGHT!

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“A cosmic perspective gives us a new sense of oneness and belonging, and an experience of wonder at the vastness of the development path we are on.” Barbara Marx Hubbard – Birth 2012 and Beyond

One thing that has surely changed since I studied Barbara’s Course of Birth 2012 is my perspective of being and living on our Mother Earth.

I feel a little like my four  year old granddaughter. She was very excited to tell me about her teaching assistant bringing in a globe one day to their preschool class. She wanted to tell me that we lived on a round ball called Earth. “Grandma, it spins around the sun that is in the center of our galax-cy,” finding the new word hard to say.” And she added that there were other planets that went in a circle around the sun in this place called a galaxy.

We went to my globe together and she could name all of the continents, and she could pinpoint just about where Michigan was on the North American continent.

I, too, now feel a renewed little child’s excitement about living on Earth. It has been my home, my Mothership, for almost seventy years.

How do we ever become blase’ about this miracle of creation, the evolution of what was; how  out of  no-thing, came some-thing, – all that ever was, is and will be – and that waaaaaaaaaay down the time line 7.5 billion years later, I am part of that some-thing.

A combination of faith and science, and leader experts in all fields of endeavor give us scads of information and inspiration about the facts of life in our Universe, yet many times in the past I’ve given into thinking of ordinary days.

There are no ordinary days!  Not now. Not when I contemplate any small facet of the offered materials in the Birth 2012 course.

Now, when I put my feet on the bedroom floor and pull myself up for the day, I am no longer on a linear plane thinking of the linear day ahead. I see and experience myself as a part of all-creation, stepping into my day, here on Earth…….a rounded sphere hurling through space.

I am not an astronaut, but there were none, who did not try to explain the awesome feeling of looking back on this planet when they did see it from space.  I bring some sense of what they experienced in space to my day, now.

It changes things for me.

There is a an increasing love and acknowledgment of Mother Earth growing within me. In turn, it keeps increasing my love for our fellow “earthlings.” Regardless of our problems, and we certainly have them, there is a new longing withing me to help our Earth more before the time comes when I am no longer ON it.

I live in a pretty small hub of the world these days, mostly home and family centered. This is still enormously important to me, that I can continue to give gifts of service and love that matter in this small area.

And I am grateful for and love the fact that I have been given a renewed view of the world — the same one of wonder that my granddaughter has. To lose wonder is to lose hope.

And like Louie Armstrong croons in one of my favorite workshop resources, “….and I say to myself, ‘What a WONDER-FUL World.’ “

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Stacy Taluskie from Lexington, Kentucky who works in Frankfort Kentucky actually saw these rainbows.

We believe in rainbows and our hearts and prayers are with all the people in Aurora, Colorado.

Because………….there are no words.

from me to you.

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For Now

“Breathe/Smile
Relax/Enjoy/Laugh

Play/Create/Envision
Let go/Forgive/Accept

Work/Serve/Contribute”

by Lama Sura Das

This should cover it for the weekend! I am working seriously at writing shorter blogs. Next you are going to hear about my life in a bookcase.

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Well, I made another post disappear. (that’s two in two weeks) Only this one is short — but exciting to me.

I just received my ACE – Agent of Conscious Evolution certification.   This is from the course I have studied through SHIFT and the course is spearheaded by Barbara Marx Hubbard.

The course material was invigorating, studying both the sciences of biology, evolution and the leading experts in the fields of leadership, spirituality and futurists,Institute of  HeartMath and many more.

But it is more than study. It is getting a grasp or at least a glimpse of the possibility that lies within us to be a presence of joy, peace, happiness and harmony in the world.  It is a call to join “our genius” with others to begin to co-create together a world that works for all.

I have made a contact with a local leader to meet and share the New News of the vision of Shift and Birth 2012 and get underway co-creating in our community. An ACE mentor has also contacted me and requested a meeting in Detroit next weekend. I look forward to the open opportunity that brings.

Thousands of people around the world are trained and involved in bringing forth their gifts as an evolutionary pulse to move forward.

There is even a grand party planned — on December 22, 2012, the day after the Mayan calendar ends.  A birth DAY for the world will take place in large cities and small villages around the globe. Our heart-centered work up until that time will lead us all into higher evolutionary realms by CHOICE, not by chance.

Let’s get our party hats on!

(I won’t try to show the PDF copy of my certificate; somehow that’s what knocked my other message off.)

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Today, I am having a one day silent-at home-retreat, sharing it with many others around the globe in honor of Pema Chodron, an American Tibetan Buddhist Nun, who is celebrating her 76th birthday on a one year long silent solitary retreat in the hills of Colorado. She then returns, as resident teacher, to Gampo Abbey, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It is the first Tibetan monastery in North America established for Westerners.

Many years ago, I bought and read her book (highlighted and underlined) “When Things Fall Apart, Heart Advice for Difficult Times”.  My life is not falling apart today, but it has on several occasions. As I read bits from this book today, in the quiet, I am grateful to have had to opportunity to awake through some of her teachings.

My Retreat today is more in line with stepping toward more understanding of being and bringing my personal peace to the world and of the Oneness of All and how I live that in my world. I was looking on some of my internet bookmarks for a Yoga meditation to play, and I opened to this one I have marked but not really seen until now.

In the moment of ONENESS today, this is like a twin-sister’s writing and path to me and I share it on Napkinwriter.

It is written by Sharon McWilliams , author, life-coach;RETREAT COACH, (imagine that!)

Thanks for popping in today, Sharon.

http://iretreat.org/

WISE WOMAN ESSENCE

Sometimes…

Sometimes what we want, a great retreat out somewhere, just isn’t in the cards. Sometimes we have no choice but to retreat right where we are.  Sometimes just closing our eyes, breathing gently with our hands on our heart, will take us to a quiet place to remember ….how loved we really are, no matter what.

Know this, dear wise woman.  A retreat moment, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem, sets you right with the world, brings your power back, and starts your music flowing once more.

You can do this….

About Sharon

I surprise myself nowadays that I have come so far in my years and have experienced so many life changes…I guess I have made it to those wise woman years….I was there before I realized I was one.  I think I didn’t really want the role yet; but after my mom-in-law passed, and then the passing of my own mama so soon after almost to the day, I realized I was supposed to step up to the plate…big shoes to fill…was I ready…I had no choice…I have daughters and grandbabies.  It’s my turn.  So what makes me wise….maybe its the births, the deaths, the Alzheimer’s, the bad fall, the long term marriage to my husband, the many years of reflections, the hard lessons, the getting back up and getting back into the game, no matter what….the most important thing:  I learned to listen to the whispers of my soul—my wise woman essence.

Where are you now? Are you a late bloomer like me?  Maybe you are an old soul in a young woman’s body, or not…share with me your thoughts.  Have you discovered the beauty of your wise woman essence yet?

trusting the retreat timing

Recently I joined my husband on his business trip  at a lovely old historical hotel on the beach in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area of Florida in February.  While it was cold, gloomy and rainy here in Kentucky, this beach area shimmered and warmed me with 75 to 80 degrees.  I, myself, glowed!

As flexibility and participation were important for spouses, including me, we were very busily engaged in great planned activities by his business trip coordinators.  I did enjoy it since my own business is a sole one; however, I had a chapter deadline coming up for a book,  but the timing and creative moment were not materializing.  I felt a  little wave of panic slide over me until I took a retreat moment out of time, went for a quiet walk on the beach, allowing the waves to wash over my feet and ankles.  I listened to the sound of the surf, the gulls calling to me, and the soft whisper of a breeze letting me know that I could trust the timing.  As I gave myself permission to do this, all other chatter, conversation and  noise simply dissipated.  A lovely surreal moment…my spontaneous moment of retreat reinforced my innate retreat timing….a few hours later, the chapter poured out of me….don’t you just love that!?!!!!!!!!!!

Come… retreat with me.  You can do this. (www.thegiftlifecoach.net)

Journaling and the Way of the Wise Woman

Posted on June 18, 2012 by Sharon

I have been loving the power of journaling.  And I have discovered that journaling has creative connective powers to the deepest part of who we are as wise women…Sometimes, I just write and write and write…other times I just ask questions, writing those down to ponder, to allow the answers to create themselves.  Sometimes, I cut and paste and draw and paint and mark and highlight, allowing my wise woman muse to take over.  Journaling is a retreat moment in itself…it calms, centers, creates a space where my intuition and insights begin to jump right onto the page.  I started out with the journal style of The Artist’s Way, but begin creating more with photos and cutouts from magazines and books with words, phrases and pictures that carry the essence of what I am searching for or what I am feeling or what I know I need to receive….Journaling gives me that safe space on paper to really be just me, no judgment or criticisms, no negativity—playful compassionate creative intuitive mystical magical moments create themselves in my journals…..

You can do this, Wise Woman.  Don’t be afraid to let your muse take over.  You may just find an ally supporting all your dreams and desires, leading you to your passion and your purpose…..and it’s such a magnificent experience once you allow yourself to get over the hump of actually writing down, drawing, painting, collage who you be…do you remember the Wise WomanSoul in you…come out and play…give yourself permission.  You can do this!

Walking the Wise Woman Way

Posted on June 18, 2012 by Sharon

Sometimes, when I need a moment… when my life seems a whirlwind… when my thoughts are running together… when the smallest detour derails my focus…when a grand chaotic moment pulls the rug from beneath me, I find that,  if I just remember, if I stay conscious—I can walk the labyrinth, where the vibrational energy is so high and so calming… then answers flow…I begin to breathe and rediscover my sense of balance emotionally, mentally, physically and, of course, spiritually.  I come home to my wise womansoul…that feels so good.  I know Her deeply.  She is so patient with my wanderings and my ‘lost’ moments…

It’s so simple really—-walking in where the ‘stuff’ of life falls away….arriving at the center, the Rose, where I wait and listen to the whispers, allowing the beauty of the Divine Feminine to hold the space for me while I  remember who I am and why I am here…taking that gift back out to the world, strong and courageous wise womansoul….

Grace finds me…thank goodness

I AM GETTING A LABYRINTH (CHARTRES) BUILT INTO  MY BACKYARD NEXT YEAR.  (Napkinwriter)

About Sharon

A wise womansoul who is all about self-care for women, loves retreats, loves giving retreats, writing and journaling and living her life to the fullest. Check out her bio on http://www.thegiftlifecoach.net

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The picture of whole wheat bread caught my eye as I glanced through a February back issue of Prevention magazine I had retrieved from my health club reading rack. On my current healthy eating plan, with much hope of losing weight by being faithful to it, whole wheat bread or grains have been removed for now. It is the main thing I can honestly say I miss and have a craving for.

Angst – changing information in nutritional science. The last one was that diet soda still tricks the body into thinking you are giving it sugar, hence these endless super-sized diet drinks are not really “diet” and can still lead to unwanted weight gain. Well, darn….must explain why most of us plus-size people are slurping down the diet drinks, while average or “right-sized” patrons sip away on their fully-sugar-fuelled pop and mysteriously gain not an ounce. Strange.

Now, I wonder,  what are you going to tell me about my coveted whole-wheat toast with my breakfast and lettace- decorated sandwich for lunch?

It seems this renowned cardiologist talks about how eliminating wheat from our diets can prevent fat storage, shrink unsightly bulges, and reverse myriad health problems.

According to this Milwaukee, Wisconsin physician and author Dr. William Davis, every day, over 200 million Americans consume food products made of wheat. As a result, over 100 million of them experience some form of adverse health effect, ranging from minor rashes and high blood sugar to the unattractive stomach bulges.

William Davis MD, a  preventive cardiologist,  calls  these bulges, “wheat bellies.” In his book, Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health, he says that excess fat has nothing to do with gluttony, sloth, or too much butter. It is due to the whole grain wraps we eat for lunch.

In his 2011 book, he reached a disturbing conclusion after witnessing over 2,000 patients regain their health after giving up wheat.  He came to believe that wheat (including WHOLE-wheat)  is the single largest contributor to the nationwide obesity epidemic— and its elimination in the diet is” key to dramatic weight loss and optimal health”.

Davis exposes the harmful effects of what is actually a product of genetic tinkering and agribusiness being sold to the American public as “wheat”—and provides readers with a user-friendly, step-by-step plan to navigate a new, wheat-free lifestyle.

He warns that products made from today’s modern strains of wheat contain a type of starch that spurs insulin production and obesity.   Ouch. Whole wheat was my choice of bread. And I thought it was good for me. Not a waist-gainer.

If you ask  the USDA  or the Surgeon General’s Office why Americans are fat and they will tell you  it is because they drink too many soft drinks, eat too many potato chips, drink too much beer and do not exercise enough. And those things may indeed be true.  But that’s hardly the whole story.

When I trained in Curves Fitness and Weight Loss business, we were told to think about the USDA Food Pyramid — with the base being Whole Grains; the same pyramid used to fatten cattle!

Dr. Davis contends that many overweight people are, in fact, quite health conscious.   Ask anyone tipping the scales over 250 pounds: What do you think happened to allow such incredible weight gain?

You may be surprised at how many do NOT say “I drink Big Gulps, eat Pop Tarts and watch TV all day.”  Most will say something like, “I don’t get it.  I exercise five days a week. I’ve cut my fat and increased my healthy whole grains. Yet I can’t seem to stop gaining weight.”

Now that is exactly what my primary care physician and heart specialist have heard from me over the past ten years, at least.  My health seems excellent, yet weight loss attempts yield little success.

Now I know other doctors are hearing the same.  This is why I bristle at the media’s relentless broadcasting of obesity statistics with hidden cameras trained on the fat person’ belly or bum walking down the street.  I stopped “big-gulping” awhile ago, but it might be that the New York governor will have to remove the bread from the shelves along with the extra-large pop if he wants to win the war on obesity.

And no person without a weight maintenance issue, and especially  a government bureaucracy , knows what lengths most obese people have gone to in order  to win the war on obesity for themselves. Not to mention the whole self-esteem issue involved.

How did we get here? The national trend to reduce fat and cholesterol intake and increase carbohydrate calories has created a peculiar situation in which products made from wheat have not just increased their presence in our diets; they have come to DOMINATE our diets. For most Americans, every single meal and snack contains foods made with wheat flour. It might be the main course, it might be the side dish, it might be the dessert, and it’s probably ALL of them.

Wheat has become the national icon of health: “Eat more healthy whole grains,” we’re told, and the food industry happily jumps on board, creating “heart healthy” versions of all our favorite wheat products chock-full of whole grains.

The sad truth is that the proliferation of wheat products in the American diet parallels the expansion of our waists. The advice to cut fat and cholesterol intake and replace the calories with whole grains that was issued by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute through its National Cholesterol Education Program in 1985. It coincides precisely with the start of a sharp  upward climb in body weight for men and women.

Ironically, 1985 also marks the year when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began tracking body weight statistics, tidily documenting the explosion in obesity and diabetes that began that very year.

Of all grains, why pick on wheat? Because wheat is the dominant source of gluten protein in the human diet.  Wheat has unique attributes that other grains do not, that makes it especially destructive to our health.

He says Homo Sapiens, are not old enough as a species to have developed all safeguards needed in the digestive system to process wheat healthily and harmlessly. Witness the gluten-free recoveries for celiac disease sufferers, who found no relief from their life-threatening symptoms until wheat was discovered as the culprit.  And recovery means never going back to wheat for them.

Dr. Andrew Weil, MD, famed expert in wellness and health, and director for the Arizona Center for Integrative Health, is a favorite resource of mine in holistic health and mindful health practices.

He advises that whole wheat bread need not be avoided — just make sure you choose a chewy, dense bread in which you can see whole grains and pieces of grains – the kind you are most likely to find at a bakery rather than a supermarket.

RIGHT!, Like I, as an overweight person, am going to go into a BAKERY on a regular basis to pick up one healthy whole wheat loaf of bread! That would be right after I down my favorite raspberry filled white frosted bismarq, and have my chocolate éclair packaged to take home with me.

The number of times, over the period of a year, that  I go into an honest-to-goodness yummy smelling bakery, I can count on the fingers of one hand. The hand that’s not holding a doughnut.

 

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This is what I posted on the community board for MY STORY

Believe in a diet, don’t believe in a diet, believe in a diet, don’t believe in a diet (repeat this numerous times over 50 years; accept myself, criticize body, accept my body, criticize myself; study nutrition, learn healthy ways to eat food I like; watch others, study self; come to terms with what food is in my life; experience a long time with healthy eating without a weight loss; then experience a long time of healthy eating without a weight gain; then experience long times of trying to healthily lose weight, and have weight loss be resistant to my efforts; settle, not settle; settle, not settle many times over; find some comfort and love and appreciation for all the great things my body does for me besides house my soul; some of the great things have been to heal from serious disease, gave birth to two beautiful, healthy daughters; be grateful for my body; I Am grateful for my body; I now want to feed my body in a way that tastes and feels right for me and I am giving Atkins a try.

I also posted this stock photo on my facebook page today because this refrigerator looks a lot like mine — everything stacked and “balanced.”  And Tom wonders why there is MORE food in the refrigerator when I am ON a diet than when I am not on one.

It’s a mystery. Sometimes he wonders whether he should approach his dinner plate with a fork or a lawnmower, there is so much green stuff on it.

and on we go, tomorrow’s another day.

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Poetry teacher, Peter Markus has a magic pencil. He says he’s had this pencil since the third grade. All that’s left is a stubby stick of wood with hardly no lead on it, no eraser, worn thin like a chicken bone. But he carries it with him everywhere he goes.

And one of the places he goes is into the public schools of inner-city Detroit as a writer-in-residence with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project of Detroit for the past seventeen years.

In a commentary he wrote for the Sunday Detroit Free Press, he tells us, “I can see things inside this pencil that nobody else can see.” ” It’s magic,” he tells his students. And he says if he does not share his magic, it will dry up inside the pencil.

His eyesight is somewhat magical too as he sees the child in the lines of their own poems. He thinks of the “inner city”  as something that’s sacred and almost hidden  and very special as in an “inner circle.”

When he says he teaches poetry to those who inquire about what he does for a living, he says that what he really means when he tells them he teaches poetry is “I create with these students a space in the world where words on the page are considered sacred, a place where students come to believe there are words inside each of their pencils that are waiting to be written, heard, listened to.”

Whether their words are real or imagined, he hopes to teach them that their words — matter to the world. He says his students are like fish hungry to take this bait. The looks on their faces when they lift their own pencils to put words on their papers reveal this.

Yet these are the “fish”, that in the eyes of many, are students who according to the measures of standardized tests scores, fall short of being grade-level proficient and are equated with the fish who can’t swim.

The Man with the Magic Pencil says he is here to tell you no- he’s seen some of these fish walk across the river, some sprout wings and fly across the sky. He asks, “just like a song, how do you gauge the intelligence of a poem?”

“These are students who, when you ask them to write down a list of things they’ve seen and heard,” he warns, “will sometimes tell you things that you wish they did not have to know.”

                                 Something Lost
I have lost my father
to a bullet in the head
Alexis Marshall, Southwestern HS

He tells them their page is a mirror” and and this is what they see:

             Scars
My face is a book
of invisible scars.
Each scar has its own
story. Each story begins
back when I was small.
Alex Garcia, Southwestern HS

When some of his students read their poems at a recent event at the Detroit Film Theater, one person, privileged to be in the audience, remarked that they were “truly such old souls in young bodies”.

Markus fears that we, as a culture are failing to see, failing to teach to these children.

He asks how we “score” a piece of writing that reaches out to us straight from a child’s heart. What kind of  an evaluation is “proficient” for the boy who writes of the loss of his mother to a drunken driver:

                Inside My Heart
Inside my heart there is a house
where my mom lives with angels
singing in a voice that sounds like
the wind blowing through my
hair.
Deon Bateman, Fitzgerald El. School

I, as a teacher of creative writing for adults in middle age and now turning to the senior population, have had the delight of seeing people’s expression of awe and surprise about what their pencils reveal about them in a quiet and supportive writing  group environment. Their own self-discovery and their “magical” expression of it on paper lifts them up and the values of honor and respect and listening infiltrate the room and the person’s soul from this writing experience.

It is no accident that this creativity and revelation comes in an atmosphere of quiet. Do you realize that the letters are the same in these two words:

                                           silent     and    listen

And in the youth’s classroom and the adult populations reaching all the way through senior-hood, the whole challenge is about being a quality — listener to self and others! And to become that, I find I must fine-tune the silence and the quiet within me — to be able to be the Listener — which turns into hearing.

It’s a challenge to get to that quiet because very often conversations amount to both people talking at the same time or being busy with inner talk for what they are going  to say when the other stops speaking, or just jumping in with an interruption of their own. Not too much hearing going on here.

I know. I am aware of the “interference” and frustrated that even with attention and intention, I cannot always stop it at will. I keep practicing.

So I agree with Peter Markus who responds to the “Inside My Heart” poem and the other children’s writings by saying “Such singing needs not only to be listened to; it needs to be heard. It needs to be revered. “

He thinks of the fish again. He imagines that if these poems are not shared with the wider world, it is likely the poems will dry up, the fish will have no river to swim in, no ears to sing to. He is a man on a mission to not let that happen.

“The river is a good river” he insists. “If you walk out into it, this river, it will hold you up. Watch it, listen to it flow.”

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