The flow of red is bittersweet

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sparrowPhoto by Linh Pham

 

A slight taste of sorrow mixed with the
sweetness of red juice running down
the inner blush of my skin
where bone and blood meet.

Through the soles of my feet
the red sap flows
into the earth where she
swallows it with glee.

The earth knows no words of possession.
Everything is shared and offered.
Pumped through stem and trunk
and blood stream alike.

We make so much of trying to
understand what it all means,
yet the cherry is red, I am the color of this flesh,
and there is no meaning.

My heart is breaking. Not in the big
dramatic way but the barely perceptible,
just under the surface of my skin
where the sweetness of red swells.

The sap swells my heart.They are
not such distant cousins, hearts and cherries.
Cherries to one day be found and
eaten by a plump red bird.

Like cherries hanging low on
the branch, glistening in the moon’s
reflection and so close to outweighing
the branch’s hold on them,

I glisten in the moonlight as
her light draws the tides of my heart
in and out with the ever faint swoosh
of the beat and the blood.

To let go into her love
is to dissolve into juice
that feeds a thousand sparrows.

She calls me to her and I go
willingly, my stem breaking
under the weight of longing.

(c) Julie M Daley, 2016

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Pure Prowl

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image by Roksolana Zasiadko

 

 

Wildness, thick and dark.
Blood red.
Saturated Indigo.
Golden suppleness.

Jewel tones are captivating my pen.
Deep, rich, saturated succulence.
Vibrant, thick power.
It’s like I cannot get enough,
like my hands want to get into the colors,
and knead them like bread,
like a panther, midnight black,
big thick paws, claws extended,
making bread on mother earth.

There is no word for what I am feeling.
There’s only feeling and a low deep rumble,
like a growl with purr wrapped around the edges.
Definitely friendly, yet fierce nonetheless.

Thick, rich hindquarters moving in elegant cadence,
supremely sensuous,
all body, no thinking.
Pure prowl.

Brown eyes, wide,
slow like doe eyes,
yet piercing the night air with desire.

Yes, desire.
Desire and God.
Desire and freedom.
Pure prowl.
Jewel tones captivating my pen,
so thick I can’t get enough.

***

I wrote this during one session of Writing Raw during the fifth week where we cross the threshold of taboo to write about things that we have forbidden ourselves to write.

A taboo for me is the complete freedom to express all parts of myself, including this instinctive, powerful, sensuous desire that prowls just under my skin.

When we cross the threshold of taboo, we do not need to understand why it was made taboo. We simply get to explore what is considered off limits by writing about it, then reading without judgment, critic, or praise.

What is taboo for you to put into words, then read aloud?

The next session of Writing Raw begins May 24th, Tuesday at 9:00 am PDT. There is always a second session each week on Thursday at 5:00 pm PDT.

I would love to have you join us!

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Dignity and The Fire of Your Holy Knowing

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photo (28)

her fire burns hot.
flames lick through me.
but, there’s no stake holding me here.
no, here she burns for me,
the goddess of fire,
to remind me that
deep in my belly a fire should be raging,
burning,
consuming.

~~~

the women of my line,
did they fear this fire?
was fire too close to the history of this line of women immemorial?
i see them, their faces dark,
no firelight in their souls,
no burning in their core,
no fuel to fire longing and desire, to give volume to voice.

after 1,000 years of loving watch,
Brigid’s flame was extinguished by those determined to deny the Goddess’s light.

how powerful was this message?
put out your light, woman.
by fearing our own fire,
we douse our own flame.

this fear of fire,
how deep does it run?
I see them,
a line bleeding back into the dark bowels of centuries past where no flame burns.
dark faces, tightly drawn skin reminding me of my own jawbone.

I was taught to leave my own interior,
but dignity knew something different.
dignity said, “No, I will not forget.”
dignity did what was necessary to keep this pearl of consciousness whole,
like the crown jewels of the monarchy sanctioned away in that dark old tower.

~~~

a red sun at the center of the earth’s heart.
deep in the hollow of the oak,
flames lick through.
fire in my breast, fire in my heart,
i travel down to her core, to the red heart that fuels life.

she beckons me to her.
she lays me down across the altar that rings around her heart.
i’m not the only one here.
sisters all around me drink in what they’ve come for.
she pours me a vial of liquid heat,
so hot it is pure blue.
she lifts it to my lips.
and with her own eyes aflame,
she pours this offering into my soul.
you, my love, are me in human form.
you, my love, need fire in your heart, your belly, your womb.
drink.
you cannot live without my fire burning at the center of your being.
can you imagine me,
your mother,
the source of your nourishment,
without fire in my core?
can you see how quickly life would die here in my garden
if there were no fire in my belly,
no flame in my heart?

~~~

We cannot live what we are here to do without fire.
Instinct tells us something is off, something is wrong.
Instinct, bright and vivid, must be deeply felt, acknowledged, and lived.
Fire is an element of life, as natural as the sun.
We are fiery creatures as much as we are of water, air, earth, and spirit.

Something has to wake us up to the fact we are dying while there is still time to live.

Something has to ignite our spirit again before the next inhale becomes our last.

This something is our holy knowing.

We are all in this together.

~~~ bafonbadge300px

I’d love to guide you to relight that fire within – that holy knowing that lies at the heart of your instincts as a woman.
Becoming a Force of Nature is my course designed to do this!

When I asked graduates the most important thing they received from Becoming a Force of Nature, they responded with:

  1. Tapping into our fierce feminine power from the inside out with a renewed central focus being…the body’s intelligence.
  2. Trusting your Self and your feminine nature.
  3. A path to discovering or rediscovering one’s true self and how to embrace and nurture who you are…embracing both the feminine (and masculine) within. The course teaches that you don’t have to apologize to anyone for who you are.


This will be the last time I offer Becoming a Force of Nature in its current format. We begin on June 9th.

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A mystery that both must be and can never be known.

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photo (22)

rose

full, fertile,
softest petals on a
strong, fierce stem.
each petal brushes against the
chambers of my heart.
each breath rides along the
petal veins.
lines blur.
petals become flesh,
veins carry life.
heart flutters,
tickled by such soft
layers of existence.
fragrance fills the chambers,
petals fall away,
leaving only scent to fill this fecund abyss.

everything courses along these veins.
fragrance infuses cells.
each inhale a becoming,
each exhale a death.

this line is fine,
so short-lived,
so numinous.
and the heart keeps beating,
the bones stand strong and sturdy,
the blood circulates,
doing the heavy, fleshy lifting
for a mystery that both
must be
and
can never be
known.

(c) julie m daley

written during a #WritingRaw circle.

:::

I’ve shared a very special four-part series on embodying soul, Of Soil and Soul: A Call to Remember,
over at Pema Rocker’s SoulGrowthRadio.com
Each part will be made available each Sunday in April. The first part is now up and ready.
I hope you enjoy it. The work is part of a larger body of work to be published later.

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In Your Own Language

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Poetpic

 

 

“Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.”

 Jack Kerouac

For some time, I couldn’t call myself a writer. Then I did.

Same is true for poet. Now I do.

I’ve come to see something about writing. And poetry. When I first began to write after graduating from Stanford, my writing was – as you might guess – academic. But, I was 45 when I graduated, and had a lot of life in the rear view mirror. I wasn’t new to life. Academic writing served me there, but as I began to write about my life, my words felt clenched, tight. I slowly began to unwind my voice, to free it, to soften it. I began the journey of writing, and it has been a journey.

The journey of writing is so many things. For me, it’s been part of this long journey to discover who I really am, to discover what is inside as well as outside, and ultimately to discover there is no distinction.

The journey has taken me to many places, places that I’d hang out at for a while. Hanging out gave me the chance to settle into a new writing style, really a new writing freedom – plateaus on the long way down and in.

Lately, I’ve seen how I, and many, many women, learned to translate our native, mother tongue into a language that is more acceptable in this masculine-centric culture. My writing journey has been to come home to this mother tongue, my mother tongue – the language my own soul speaks.

Perhaps it is poetry. Perhaps. I say that because I don’t even really know what poetry is. I don’t know the rules. And, I don’t need to know either. I know it by feel. There is spaciousness in poetry, and there is room for you to read my words and have your own experience – whatever that might be.

So, yes, I am a poet. A poet of my own language. As you are a poet of your own language. Isn’t that truly the only way we can really tell and write the truth? In our own language?

::

writingrawpin01How do you come to know this language when you’ve been taught to speak ‘the’ language your whole life? You listen. You listen within. You go within, open your inner ears, open your inner eyes, touch with your inner fingertips, taste with those taste buds that line your heart’s walls and tumble down the sides of your round and supple belly.

You wade into the deep waters inside your inner temple, waters that hold the elements
of creation, waters that are creation.

You write, raw, the language of your own Soul. Every Soul is a poet. Every Soul. It is up
to you to know what poetry means for you.

If you’d like to take this journey with me, join me for the next round of Writing Raw.

We begin the week of January 12th and our circle lasts for six weeks. The early-bird price of $295 ends Dec 31st.

It is not simply for writers. It is for any woman who wants to know the deep feminine within, who wants to explore her own body and the body erotic, who wants to hear her own voice spoken aloud in a circle of women, without judgment, without critique.

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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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Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 6.34.41 AM

 

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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