I pray. Not at an alter, but at my bedside, in my car, in the restaurant restroom, in the employee bathroom. All good places for prayer. The one place I can think of that I don’t pray is underwater in the pool. Prayer is breath for me. To run out of breath as I pray doesn’t appeal to me. I confess, though, as a kid underwater, I use to pray to become a mermaid. I would have full breath underwater.
Prayer to me is like an open envelope. I can fill it with glitter and then seal it. When I need the creative spark of glitter, I can open the envelope, throw it into the air, and marvel at the sight. Of course, I am then responsible for vacuuming the carpet.
Prayer is an action word. Simple prayer, “God please help me.” Then I get up from my knees, and do what God would have me do. How do I know if I’m aligned with God? By how I feel. By the ease with which I participate in the day. I am a crayon coloring between the lines. I am a blank piece of paper allowing colors to splash me awake. I am a little beetle surfing the neighborhood on a green leaf.
The possibilities for prayer are endless. It is best when I pray for someone else; someone who’s ailing, someone who I am upset with, wishing for her to receive all the good things that come from a life well lived. And my favorite prayer is “God please rid me of self.” When offered this, I have vision. I can see the cacti from my bedroom window and know they cannot hurt me as long as I don’t touch them. I can listen to a person in pain and have compassion, with no need to tell her it will get better because both of us know it won’t; different yes, better no. I can smell life; it is buttered toast and a cup of coffee. I can taste life; it is shampoo I use in my hair. Prayers quiet my mind. It is good to put on my glasses.
Excerpt from my work in progress. I have not come up with a title yet.
I believe I experience meditation when I write or make art. These two things take me out of myself, which is a good place to be to meditate. I refer to it as active meditation, as getting into the zone. When writing, all that exists are letters weaved to gather to create something that wasn’t there five minutes ago. Words become the wings of God, paragraphs, the feet, the page the mind, and the chapter the heart. I have given God a human persona. I believe God can take any form. God can be a mass of electrons at rest. God can exist in a handshake.
The soul of God shows up if I write authentically. I feel like a vessel of something I don’t understand, but care to know.
“I pray for knowledge of His will for me and the power to carry it out.” I know when I’m on track because there is a certain peace that washes through me. A calm that I can’t manifest on my own.
A Wave in the Wind
She is not any bigger than a minute and is as flamboyant as a nun. Two ton Ricky waved her down from the bridge. It’s a long fall off the Golden Gate to the bay. He was afraid she would stop breathing on the way down. There were no branches to catch her skirt. The day was peach colored and keen. Breakfast at Lulu’s was a good idea. They crack the eggs right in front of you. She pressed her ear to Ricky’s ear and heard the same sounds as him. Who was to know he listened to grandma say “don’t you rot in the road.” A sidewalk is a powerful thing. It bends destiny enough that you don’t have to fall into the pothole but can stand with your elephant on a leash, opting to detour at the grocery store where all the nuts hang out in salt. Rally for the beautiful day that exists.
I have four cookbooks from the library that I keep renewing with the hope that I will indeed prepare something. Cooking with Avocados, Sensational Salads, The Naked Veggie Burger, and The Skinny Slow Cooker.
I read them like I do poems, a few at a time. Poems impassion me. Cookbooks cause me to salivate. I think to write the ingredients down so I can shop. It’s like thinking to bring a dollar bill with me to work so I have something to put into the candy machine. How can I justify spending fifteen dollars on a particular spice that I will only use for this one recipe? That’s fifteen candy bars. It seems a much better pay off than actually making something to bring to work. If the recipe calls for thirty dollars worth of ingredients, isn’t Subway the better option?
Mostly, I think I don’t want to spend the time cooking. I’d rather linger over the keyboard, type the word “the” and wonder what the “the” proceeds. The goat coughed up the golf ball on the green, allowing it to roll for a hole in one. That is more interesting than tossing a salad for five minutes, later commenting “I ate the mushrooms, pushing the croutons to the side.
The library books are checked out for three weeks and can be renewed six times. They become something I have to dust when dusting the house. The intention is to cook. The intention is to not waste time. Maybe I’ll start with eggs in the morning. No recipe required and it takes one minute to fry. But then I need to consider the dishes I’ll have to wash. Time. Probably, I will stick with my bagel smeared with butter and orange marmalade. The only thing to wash would be a butter knife.
I have been working on my second book. Still no title for it. I am 260 pages in. It feels good to be writing agin. After my break with Guy, I found myself unable to concentrate. What does it mean to find oneself, able or not able? Is it like finding oneself in the dark, trying to count change? My height at six feet allows me to see over a crowd. I find it freeing to have my head raised and visibility good. I am finding myself with sight and my ass in the chair, ready to write.
Loosing Guy was devastating. 14 years is a long time to be with someone, at least a long time for me. A quote from Marianne Williamson speaks to how I involve myself with Guy today; “Dear God, I place my past in Your hands. Please purify my thoughts about it. May I only remember the love I gave and the love that I received. May all else burn away in the alchemy of forgiveness.”
I have forgiven Guy because it was necessary for my spiritual development and relationship to God. I have also forgiven Guy because, much to the chagrin of many of my friends, I continue to want Guy in my life. We are friends. I believe our connection is something other worldly. Truly.
Having Guy in my life brings me peace. It’s like having an extra towel when stepping out of the bath. The smell of fresh soap clings to my skin in a good way. An unobtrusive way. I will see Mark later today. I know my love for Mark is possible because I learned to love Guy with absolutely all of me. Cliche to say. But cliches are good for some things, aren’t they? I remain blessed by love. I am like my kitten on the windowsill looking out at the world, knowing there is a place for everything. And as Grams does, I feel alive in my own skin, ready to walk a new path I imagine. The imaginings are good, are strong, are freeing.
Just having some fun…..
The Evolution of a Closed Mind
She is a female figure driven by a moral generator. A goat makes known its presence by chewing on everything while the lawn mower thinks it is doing the right thing by cutting the grass, nicking the flower beds, leaving the hats of pansies to wrinkle in the cool morning air.
She thinks her fierce opinions ennoble her to others not realizing she is a strong wind blowing itself against an umbrella, turning it inside out, rendering the umbrella useless against the rain. Generally speaking, people do not make friends with blizzards. Her loneliness is tearing a hole through the knee in her pants.
She keeps her presence in her feet even when her ideas are tackled by someone of another religion, who maintains the crease in his pants and parts his hair with a straight line. The knot of his tie always in place.
The nature of a moral generator is harsh. It doesn’t allow for human error. It takes a long time for the teeth of a chain saw to wear down.
Footprints are important. Their forward motion moves us into experience. What is a soul without experience?
She decides to bend a bit. Her generator is still intact but requires gasoline of a different sort. The higher grade of gas costs more. She is willing to allow for possibilities other than her won. Sometimes truth shows itself in a new blouse given to her by another.
This poem was inspired by my aunt who is battling cancer right now and doing a good job of it.
One Last Croissant
My partner is missing from her desk that is joined to mine in a flourish of redwood. She is having chemo. The slow poison to catch cancer leaves her tired like a sprinter done with a mile, or a mother with twin babies. Her eyes are hard like peppermint candy, determined to toss this illness like she would a silk blanket.
Stacks of movie magazines tousle the floor. I am left to plank the distance between us as one does when walking the edge of a boat, wanting to catch the next raft with a whistle.
Beer is a buck a glass at the local brewery and for a minute I forget I don’t drink any longer.
I held her hair in my hands. Two pig tails and I teared. She threw a cap on and called it a day. Later I would catch her in the mirror, sullen, still, the breath of her paisley.
The coffee came to a grind. I finished the last croissant with plum jelly. My shoes slouched when I tried to walk away. All I see today is dismissed light. Let tomorrow bring a flock of birds asking bread.