isn’t noticing this
I don’t go to the woods to write poetry. I don’t know how to do that. I don’t know anything about poems. I’ve never actually written a poem and yet, here I am with all these poem-like posts, and a proportion of this blog’s followers seem to have become so for the “poetics” in my title, rather than for the Goddess (the “Thea” in theapoetics). I go to the woods for stillness. For quiet. To listen. While I end up speaking when I’m there, it is more like I’m receiving than anything. I think of it almost as a “channeled” poetry, or spontaneous poems that come to my mind and out of my mouth without conscious direction or effort. I record what I say on my iPhone and later I transcribe the recording and a “poem” is the result. I don’t do this with anything else or anywhere else, just there in the woods. Theapoetical experiences? Or, a quietness of being and mind that allows my own inner wisdom to surface or my subconscious mind to speak? Or is it hearing myself think? Hearing myself into speech? Usually, what comes to me in these experiences isn’t crabby or stressed, even if I just felt that way a minute before, because it is in that space that I find silence and peace and in that state of bodymind, I’m not stressed or crabby any longer. However, I do persist in this misconception that to be Zen is to be calm and if I’m not calm, I’ve blown my Zen for the day. Today I was reminded that the Zen is in the noticing. That’s all.
Today, I noticed my own spikiness…
At some level, I feel like I always have to be “nice” and never get angry. Since I’m human, I fail in this self-expectation multiple times every day. I feel hypocritical to be blogging about spiritual topics and musing about peace on earth, while also being snappy at my kids and family, feeling overcommitted and stretched thin and needing to say NO to expectations and shoulds. What right do I have to call myself a priestess, when I can barely juggle my life, family, energies, and others’ expectations? In the woods today I also said:
It feels hypocritical to call myself a priestess, to come commune in the cold winds of this hillside, but that is life too. It wouldn’t be real if I didn’t sometimes yell and what matters is that I’m willing to keep trying and trying and trying. I’m willing for tomorrow to be a better day. I’m willing to take risks and start things, even though I feel like a failure, I’m willing to offer the service I have to give, even though I’m not perfect.
Earlier in the year when I began my daily practice, I ended up down in the woods with one of my kids’ action figures that I’d brought home from my parents’ house in my coat pocket (I went down to the woods before going back in the house so he went along). It is a Signs of the Zodiac warrior, Cancer the Crab, and his plastic body has a lot of sharp spikes on it. I decided he would be my photo for the day, because that is real life too. It isn’t all Goddess sculptures in the sunshine, sometimes there are warrior crabs around. And, sometimes I, too, feel spiky and crabby, just like this dude:
When I took the pic I thought: he looks like I feel.
It takes a lot for me to keep posting when I people I know in real life are reading what I write, because there is a fear in me that they probably notice that which I also criticize in myself—“hey, what does she mean a peaceful home, I just heard her yell at her kids?!” There is a vulnerability and a courage, of sorts, in continuing to write anyway. And, it is strange really to feel more comfortable with strangers reading than people I actually know.
When I came inside today before leaving to teach, my friend and my mom were at my house and they said, “oh, were you out doing that woods thing?” and I kind of cringed to myself at that. But, in an interesting moment of synchronicity, my mom also said, “do you have wet hair?! It’s so cold out you will have frozen spikes.”
Yep, I’m spiky. And, guess what…
The woods are spiky too
Nature isn’t always nice
She has sharp teeth
The swirl of life’s energies
carries some decided unpleasantness
and very sharp edges
rocks are hard
ice is slippery
wind creates tornadoes
Mother Nature has an edge
a sharp, strong bite
is it really any wonder
that sometimes I bite too.
“The image of the Goddess inspires women to see ourselves as divine, our bodies as sacred, the changing phases of our lives as holy, our aggression as healthy, our anger as purifying, and our power to nurture and create, but also to limit and destroy when necessary, as the very force that sustains all life.”