Deep-Bellied Places of Woman

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Deep-Bellied Places of Woman

 

i listen with awe to

the sound of women’s souls

painting their lives in

words across the page,

each voice different

as she spills her heart into

the moon’s sure embrace.

 

i drink in the brew and see

the rock-solid foundation that is

woman taking shape again

across this land,

meeting mother earth’s

undulating curves

ragged peaks

soft, still waters

with her own.

 

mother earth has missed

our honest voices,

out truth-telling,

spoken in spite of unspoken

yet so-very present

threats of harm

if

we dare tell the truth of our lives.

 

she is hungry for this

bedrock of soul

to lie up against

the outline of her body,

her soul.

 

she has missed us knowing her this way.

she has missed us knowing ourselves in this way.

 

we are remembering, together.

always, together.

 

(c) Julie M Daley, 2014

 

written during Writing Raw, Fall 2014

 

:::

 

Writing Raw, Winter 2015 is now open for registration, with an early bird price until Dec. 31, 2014

I would love for you to join us. The circle is already forming.

image is ‘gori, the fair one’ by anurag agnihotri on flickr under cc 2.0 license.
no changes were made to this beautiful image.

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Re-Knitted | Poetry

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Re-Knitted

Earth-wined me.

This image of being earth-wined
causes the words to stop flowing,
the image so powerful
my soul must stop to drink it in,
this purple sun syrup
flowing down my throat.

I smell earth in this syrup and taste earth in its pearls.

My skin reeks of earth.
Stained.
Re-knitted. Yes.
To my Body. And Her Body.

The Crow outside caws as I sit with pen in hand and earth in mouth.

She, too, is re-knitted back to me.
Crow. My Sister.
Black and wise and crosser of thresholds,
She takes me down into the Belly
where I’m stained by this heady earth wine.

She caws loudly,
reminding me of the pleasure of the dark,
this place where my true baptism takes place.

Another voice rises up out of the crow’s mouth,
a black womb with wings and beak.

Just a whisper, at first,
I crane my neck to hear.
Words, if you can call them that,
rumble around in this black womb.

Coming into being,
they vibrate and reverberate against
the  ageless black-stained walls of this holy womb.

I draw closer to the Crow’s mouth,
wanting to miss nothing.
With one shrill caw She sucks me in and
I fall into this heady soup.

I swim in her dark-stained belly.
I become crow’s lunch.
I decay into a million pieces of black,
holes that hold the light of a trillion stars.

(C) Julie M Daley

::

Image is ‘As the Crow Flies’ by Jimmy Brown under Creative Commons 2.0

Many new poems were born out of the first circle of Writing Raw, both for myself and for the women in the circle.
This one I’m sharing with you today was born during Writing Raw.

The poem that ignited this piece is A Berry Entire by Pattiann Rogers.
Catalyst phrases from the poem
are ‘purple sun syrup’ and ‘earth-wined’.

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Unabashed & Revolutionary – Women, Poetry & Desire

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Today is a day of celebration!

 

A day of celebrating women’s voices being heard, trusted, scribed, and released. We’re celebrating Amy Palko, and her new book of poetry, From Revolutionary Lips.

AmyPalkoFRL02

Today, I hosted a Live Google Hangout with Amy so we could talk about her newly released book of poetry (the recorded video is below), and about the revolution itself, a revolution of descent, desire, and – following Lilith’s example – leaving the confines of a systemic structure that is too small to hold the power of the feminine as she truly is.

During our chat, we talked about many things, including poetry that comes from this deep place within, what I call writing raw; how to compassionately get your work into the world in the way that is kind to you and that calls upon your sisters to help bring your voice into the world; and how we as women are mirrors for each other, and as we uncover aspects of ourselves that have been veiled and exiled, and shine them into the world, we offer a clearer image of who we all are as Woman.

You can purchase From Revolutionary Lips at Red Thread Voices as an ebook or MP3s.

 

   

 

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Amy Palko is the creatrix of Red Thread Voices – a publishing house that aims to offer a home to the voice of exiled feminine.

She is also a goddess guide, poet, photographer and lecturer whose work has been featured internationally.

Amy lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with her husband and three teenage children, in their home that overlooks the deep harbour, and the wide mouth of the River Forth as it opens up to swallow the cold waters of the North Sea.

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Dark Water Elegance

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Dark Water Elegance

This moment of return
to wakefulness.

This moment when the
first edges of this world form
out of the watery nature of night.

My feet hover just above the water,
toes touching this ocean of dark.

I dress myself in garments of dark water elegance,
gathered from ocean floor,
bejeweled with iridescence.

I emerge onto this edge,
a shoreline running between
night and day,
sleep and wake.

I wear this into day,
this dark water elegance
a lifeline back to remind me of
what is true when I meet the hard edges
of this other world where
softness and the unseen
are where we wipe off our hard metal boots.

This dark water elegance is
more resilient than I imagined
now that I no longer leave it in a heap
on the floor by my nightstand.

(c) Julie M Daley, 2014

~

I an writing poetry again, stimulated by my Writing Raw course, currently in session. It’s a powerful writing circle, and I’d love to have you be a part of the next circle beginning early January, 2015.

If you’d like to know more, you can read about it here, and then sign-up for my newsletter to be notified when registration opens in December. Writing Raw registration makes for a great holiday gift, too!

~

image: Punta del Diablo on Flickr by Vince Alongi under Creative Commons 2.0

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Math, creativity, & fertile soil in the sacred temple underground

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TouchHealthySoil

 

Fertile soil rich with everything it takes for life to spring forth.  The soil must be tilled, fed, prepared, planted, watered, and acknowledged for the mystery it holds.

Life is a creative impulse moving all the way through its arc of expression. You are life. You are a creative impulse in an arc of expression. You, too contain rich, fertile soil that holds the mystery of your existence and expression.

Sometimes, in order for your creativity to pour forth, the most powerful thing you can do is lay your creation at the foot of this sacred garden within you and allow it to grow of its own accord.

Math, Beauty, and the Unexpected

My path to a degree was a long, sixteen year process. I started at a small satellite center of Consumnes River College in Placerville, California, a small circle of portable buildings right behind Raley’s grocery store, affectionately nicknamed ‘UBR’ or University Behind Raley’s. For many of those sixteen years, I took only one class a semester as I was working full-time and raising my two girls. I took my first college Path class (after years away from school) in one of those portables.

For the next ten years, I took one class a semester. And then … my husband died. It was after his death, that I began in earnest to pursue that diploma. A few years later, just before I transferred to Stanford, I took my second semester of Calculus.

I had always felt math was beautiful, but in this class of Calculus I discovered that math had an unexpected beauty. My professor was a much-older man. He had a shy and kind demeanor and was soft spoken. I really enjoyed his teaching because he taught math with gentleness, and with a clear love of the subject. And, he taught math with poetry. At the end of each class, he would pull a chair into the center of the room, grab a book of poetry, and sit down, with great intentionality, to read one poem. These moments became very precious to me over the weeks we met together.

During one class toward the end of the semester, we were studying ‘series’. I won’t explain what they are, other than to say that if you follow them all the way through, you arrive at sine and cosine. I had learned of these two formulas many years before, but to witness how they were actually derived, organically and beautifully, brought tears to my eyes. The beauty was so clear, perhaps brought even more forward by the beauty of this man’s love of math and gentle heart. I sat in my chair and the tears welled up, thick and deep in my eyes, and then they began to fall. He saw them fall. He stood and looked at me for what seemed to be a long, long time, (although in reality what was probably only a few seconds), and then tears fell from his eyes, too.

We were sharing a love of math, but also a love of something so much greater – a love of that which is the source of math, beauty, poetry, life.

I remember feeling the joy of seeing something unfold, of watching the magic that is at the heart of creation. I had no idea that series would lead to sine and cosine. No idea. None. And, voila, there they were. Unveiled.

What I really want to share here…

… and I am using math and poetry and beauty as a way to do it, is the deep, deep creativity of the universe. It’s the same creativity that is at the heart of YOUR nature.

Sometimes, the unveiling is really deep. This depth requires time for creation to reveal itself. Sometimes, the depth requires darkness. This is the process of incubation. Sometimes, as the creative process unfolds, things are in the dark for quite a while before they appear.

Just this past week, 

Maryam Mirzakhani of Stanford University was honored with the top award in Mathematics, the Field’s Medal, which is often described as the Nobel Prize of mathematics. This Venture Beat article mentions Mirzakhani’s process of incubation in reference to math and the ‘depth’ of her process.

“Mirzakhani likes to describe herself as slow. Unlike some mathematicians who solve problems with quicksilver brilliance, she gravitates toward deep problems that she can chew on for years. “Months or years later, you see very different aspects” of a problem, she said. There are problems she has been thinking about for more than a decade. “And still there’s not much I can do about them,” she said.”

Incubation happens in the dark, beneath the soil, in a sacred place.

After entering into a question, or holding a problem somewhere in our mind, more often than not, we must give that question or problem some time in the dark to allow it to germinate, to sprout, and to grow. Newborns who are too small to live on their own are placed in an incubator until their vital body parts are functioning well enough on their own to exist outside of the incubator. And, the same is true for seedlings too young and tender for the harsh sun. They must be strong enough before they break through the soil into the light of day.

 

The etymology for incubation is this:

Latin incubare, the source of incubate, literally meant ‘lie down on’; and incubation once had the sense of sleeping in a sacred place or temple for oracular purposes.

Incubation is a vital part of the creative process; so much so, that when I begin a project, while my tendency can be to wait until I’m under a deadline, if I simply begin the project, I also begin the incubation process. This beginning doesn’t have to be developed, meaning I don’t have to do a whole bunch to get it started. I just have to begin. Beginning begins the whole process if I have a clear question or problem to solve, or vision to bring about. It’s the clarity and the holding that begins the incubation process. The question is clear. The vision is clear. The intention is set. The seed can do what it needs to do in the dark, because I have done what I need to do in the light.

Great significance for YOUR creativity

Consider your creation (vision or dream). It must be clear enough to begin. It can be as simple as a question. It can be a more complex vision. But it has to have specificity. Consider a seed. You have a seed that will grow into something. It’s not a vague seed – it is specific. It will be a specific type of plant based on the seed. The seed holds the creation. Your creation has a seed, too.

Consider planting a seed. You have to till the soil. Perhaps add nutrients. Make a hole. Place the seed in the soil. Cover it so it is in the dark. The darkness is what it needs to do what it needs to do.

It is the same with your creations. They must have time in the dark. They must have time to lie down in the sacred temple below the soil so that the divine mystery can do what it does – unfold spirit into the flesh of matter.

The creative process is a Whole process.

Reason and intuition, mathematics and poetry, sunshine and dark soil underground: creativity is the continual marriage of yin and yang. Both are necessary for health and wholeness of any beautiful aspect of life.

Just as we need to honor women in the realms of math and science, we must also honor the yin, or feminine, in these realms, too. For the most part, we are taught that simply working hard on a project will bring forth innovation and creativity. But this is only half the picture. When we acknowledge the power of incubation, that which happens underneath the surface of things, in addition to working hard on a problem, and we then consciously cultivate this sacred power, we bring our awareness to wholeness and the cyclical nature of creativity.

If we truly want to be creative as a people, a species, we have the opportunity to come back into right relationship with something we have tried to control for hundreds of years – the mysterious nature of life. What would a right relationship look like with this sacred place beneath the soil, this place of incubation? What happens there beneath the soil, while set in motion by our hard work and attention, is wondrous. We attempt to explain and prove what it is, but can we also meet it with wonder? The wondrous is right in front of us, all around us, within us. While we acknowledge our hard work and smarts, can we also acknowledge the sacred, too?

To truly be in relationship with the sacred means we bring back wonder and humility to the equation. It means we lay our need to control down, and instead, listen and receive.

An understanding of a creativity that acknowledges and incorporates the sacredness of life might actually bring forth the sacred intelligence of life that could save us from ourselves.

 

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Extensions of the Heart, Instruments of the Soul

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His hands are well muscled, his fingers nimble and exquisitely sensitive to the clay in motion.

As I watch, I can feel my own fingers following the nuances of his touch, as if they, too, can sense the impulse that feeds that touch. The music settles into me, its rhythm opening me deeper into the experience of watching this man do what he does with such precision, and seemingly such love.

I wonder how many turns of the wheel his hands have guided. I see how they ripple with the clay. I feel his muscle memory in mine, and I remember moments when my hands touched with such love.

It wasn’t clay, it was flesh – a close kissing cousin to clay.

My hands touched and guided flesh in this same way. Flesh that loved to be touched, and flesh that I loved touching.

Maybe that’s why he is so digitally articulate. Maybe his fingers dance along the ridge between clay and air, because he’s touched flesh, too, just as my fingers have danced along the edge between invitation and invasion.

He knows this clay, intimately. You can see this. I wonder how well he knows flesh. I wonder if a potter’s hands become so intuitive in their touch that they know flesh and bone and blood as elements to be turned and guided and nudged, just as lovingly, just as exquisitely.

Touch is prayer in motion, and as I watch the graceful mark his muse makes upon this world, causing the rim and curve and edge to emerge, I know grace moves through hands in extraordinary ways. Images of past clients flash in front of my inner eyes, those who knew beyond any doubt that life wanted to create through their hands. They knew this as well as they knew their own names. Their hands spoke to them, much as I sense his hands speak to the clay, telling them it was time for them to make their mark in this world.

My hands are speaking in much the same way. They want more than to just tap. They want to touch the flesh of life. They want to make things – real, physical, beautiful things.

Hands want to make. They want to mold and shape and knead. They want to know how it feels as the muse anoints them as vessels, carries them over to bliss, making love to them in service to creation.

I’ve sometimes been struck by the sight of my own hands, held out in front before my own eyes, suddenly and seemingly to be hands that could belong to anyone but me. Those moments when I was nobody, and no body, in particular, but simply life peering out of my eyes, I watched my own hands touch, fingers dancing along the ridges of whatever it was they were conversing with. In those moments, I’ve witnessed the inherent wisdom in the cells of hands and palms and fingertips. I’ve seen and felt and known how hands offer the direct expression of Soul into this material world. And, heart lines move out to and through hands and fingertips, offering love in a way the heart cannot.

Each piece meticulously loved. Each expression uniquely molded. Each creation mindfully shaped by something we can’t see nor hear nor touch, but something we feel echo through our cells.

After watching hands create, is there any doubt at all in the way love persistently and powerfully demands to be expressed?

::

The muse moved through these hands to tap, tap, tap, after watching the extraordinary video (below) of exquisite artistry. I couldn’t stop the flow of words and images that came in response to being moved so deeply by the beauty in this video.

In writing this piece, I am playing with a new kind of writing experience and process, one I will share with you soon as a creative writing course offering. I will be sharing it in my newsletter…

Please enjoy this incredibly beautiful video… And, please share with me in the comments how it moves you.

 

image above is by the videographers…
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Forsaken Voices

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Audio version is below.
 

Forsaken Voices

 

Like a river
deep underground
pushed down into the depths
where they can’t be known
in the light of day
these forsaken voices
like clear-pooled water
collect together
woven in rivulets
meander through time
waiting for something
waiting for someone
waiting…

 

How rich is this water
generations of heartache
lineage of wisdom
matrilines of power.
I am the river,
now,
in this time
there is no other outlet
no other mouth
no other gateway
for these forsaken voices.

 

Generations of damming
centuries of cast-down eyes
ears grown cold
mouths sewn shut
and repeated lies told
the pressure pushes back against
walls too tired to hold.

 

When I am still, quiet, and alone
these forsaken voices
stir the marrow of my bones.

 

Deeper than the water
runs the grief untold
no one soul can tolerate
the pain of women who’ve come before
silenced
shamed
muzzled
maimed
and told to suffer it alone.
My mother, her mother, her mother, and her’s before
still woven like a river
gather underground
pool together in wisdom circles
where seeds of light collect
knowing spring
one day will come.

 

I lie in bed
signs of pleurisy all around
water pooling, collecting
in my lungs only to be known
when the grief takes hold
seeds deeply rooted in lungs
that reach back to
generations untold.

 

These forsaken voices
buried deep underground
can only breathe through
flesh and blood daughters
who now live in their lungs
breathing light into cells
waking oxygen
where none has been known.

 

I am the river
my sisters and I pool together
our collective voices now ready
to irrigate our parched world
with deep blue love from
aquifers too-long guarded
underground.

 

It is time to speak of
moisture
cool waters of knowing
deep rivulets of wisdom
flesh plump with blood.

 

There can never be wholeness when voices are silenced.
There can never be peace without dignity for all.

 
 


 

::
Image is ‘Donau-Seitenarm’  by Konstantinos DafaliasCreative Commons 2.0
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Inevitable Alchemy

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She bangs the bars.
She screams out to be set free.
She’s found her voice after years of submission.

I feel her, past stirring, now demanding.
I see her hands, withered, but coming back to life.
I know her – she’s the banished one.

She’s demanding to be heard.
She’s demanding to know who keeps her jailed.
She’s no longer willing to submit.

Barely out of the shadows, the jailer just stands, keys jangling.
Tantalizing her with the taste of freedom.
Taunting her with her own power, stolen long ago.

I feel the jailer’s tyrannical nature.
I see the jailer’s smirk.
I know the jailer fears what it does not know or trust.

The jailer is a heady mix of misogynistic power and the false sense of security that comes from being able to control something, anything.
Just like her, the jailer is welcome.
Just like her, the jailer is me.

They stare at each other, sizing each other up, taking each other in.
She knows her desire is too potent to be contained.
The jailer sees the inevitability of alchemy.

Image: Twelve Drummers Drumming by Winter’s Magic on DeviantArt.com

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A Well So Deep

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A well so deep.

I’m finally beginning to see that this emptiness,
can never be filled.

Not long term,
that is.

Oh, for a moment, yes.

A moment when the sun comes through the petals and illuminates them as though
they were filled with silent kisses from the stars.

Or, a moment when a warm, sweet breeze ever so gently blows across my face and I am lifted up
just a mere breath above the ground, captivated by the softness of divine breath against flesh.

Or, a moment when I’m dancing with another and our hands come to meet,
together,
just so,
skin to skin,
in a way that could never be planned or calculated or anticipated.

This longing hungers for the emptiness and the emptiness feeds the longing,
and somewhere
between the two I dance.

::

inspired by this beauty by Irwin Keller of Itzik’s Well

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Capable of Greatness Even in Our Darkest Moments

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This morning I read about the Steubenville rape case. I read that Jane Doe, the woman who was raped, was receiving death threats. My heart broke.

I then went to Wild Writing where we write using certain phrases from poems that Laurie shares as prompts. The first poem read was “Prayer in My Boot“, by Naomi Shihab Nye. The following is what poured out of me. And as I read it aloud, I could feel waves of grief roll through me.

The phrase from the poem is in teal. The lines that begin with ‘For’ are the elements of my Prayer. May it be so.

::

Pray it is universally applicable, because it is. How could Delhi be any different from Stuebenville, India from the United States?

Rape is rape. It tears us all apart.

We are no different here in the US, except we seem to think we are, seem to be really good at turning away, pretending it has nothing to do with us, pretending we aren’t like them. We’re more civilized, more under control, more egalitarian. Everything swept under the rug. Pretending Jane Doe deserved it because she drank too much and tweeted questionable things. Pretending the two boys lives are ruined because they’ve been convicted of a crime that somehow wasn’t of ‘their’ doing.

I pray we see that it is universally applicable because it is and the more we don’t see, the more we refuse to look toward, the more this darkness festers in each and every one of us – Indian and American, woman and man.

For this is our doorway into healing.

For those moments last year in Steubenville when choices were made that led to this.

For that night in Delhi when she boarded the bus with her boyfriend, never suspecting what was about to take place.

For the man in Delhi who suggested she was a whore because she was out at night and suggested her sweetheart was at fault because he didn’t protect her.

For the boys in Steubenville, raised in a culture where we avoid talking about these things, avoid looking right at this rape culture we seem to continue to cling to.

For the girl in Steubenville who woke up the next morning not knowing what had happened to her.

For all the mothers and fathers of these children and young people who in some way tried their best and succeeded, and in other ways failed.

For every young boy and girl, including my four grandchildren, who are learning every day what they must do to belong in a culture that expects certain behavior from all of us so that we fit in and don’t bring attention to our society’s darkest secrets.

For these young girls and boys who still catch glimpses of their souls who know the truth about life, that it has the capacity to be filled with compassion and love, tenderness and integrity.

For all of us who know deep in our hearts that this is not who we are as a species, that we are capable of greatness even in our darkest moments.

I pray that we come to know that this it is universally applicable, because when we know this as a species we will know peace.

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