Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Poem by May Sarton

 I like having volumes of poems around the house to read in those quiet moments during the day. This one by May Sarton rings true at this particular phase of my life. Sometimes poetry is the only way to express how I am feeling, whether I am the poet or the reader.

Now I Become Myself
by May Sarton

Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places;
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
'Hurry, you will be dead before-'
(What? Before you reach the morning?
Or the end of the poem is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
The black shadow on the paper
Is my hand; the shadow of a word
As thought shapes the shaper
Falls heavy on the page, is heard.
All fuses now, falls into place
From wish to action, word to silence,
My work, my love, my time, my face
Gathered into one intense
Gesture of growing like a plant.
As slowly as the ripening fruit
Fertile, detached, and always spent,
Falls but does not exhaust the root,
So all the poem is, can give,
Grows in me to become the song,
Made so and rooted by love.
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move.
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun! 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Along the Way, Personal Journey to Enlightenment

“To bring about a paradigm shift in the culture that will change assumptions and attitudes, a critical number of us have to tell the stories of our personal revelations and transformations.”
Crossing to Avalon by Jean Shinoda Bolen

page 272

The Latin term,” Lectura Divina” means the daily search through reading for spiritual growth. My spiritual evolution and the journey I take with words are intertwined. Over the years I have been guided along my path by reading and when I write from my own experience I gain insight and perspective. Like many seekers during the late '60s and early '70s, I was curious about beliefs and religions other than what I had been taught as a child.  I read books by Alan Watts, Ram Dass, and The Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.   
Many young girls of my generation believed in Prince Charming of Disney fame and I was no exception. While my family didn't have a white picket fence life was the quintessential small-town experience. I grew up believing that if I was a good girl nothing bad could happen. I would be swept off on a white horse by a prince and ride off into Happily Ever After. I married my first serious boyfriend who was The Boy Next Door and my seven-year marriage was a disaster, complicated by the physical abuse I suffered at the hands of my husband who also, with the help of the courts, separated me from two of my children.  In 1974, now divorced and newly pregnant with my third child I sought sanctuary in a commune that was based on the New Testament of the Bible. During the first several years the Bible was the only book we were allowed to read. 
 The community was structured and focused on serving the whole. Within the group, we had prayer meetings and meditation, but I was not fulfilled. There was no emphasis on individual development and my individuality was what I needed most. As the years passed I became more and more dissatisfied with the structure of the patriarchal mini culture.  I kept intensely self- revelatory journals and realized that it was time for me to claim my place in my life. Thirsting for personal growth I turned to what I knew best and enrolled in a correspondence course in English composition through a university. I didn’t have a computer or electricity in my home so I acquired a battery-run word processor and set myself up in a little corner of the world, determined to carve out something that was my own.   
For me, writing is a meditation. In time, I was able to go within, quiet my mind, and open my heart to reflection, healing and discovery of my purpose.  “To thine own self be true” became my mantra.  This self-education was a huge step towards independent thought and the eventual separation from the group.
    I was also influenced by reading a book about battered women, which was the first step in my healing and empowerment. It was a revelation to learn that there are thousands of women that are battered all over the world. Battering has no boundaries. It is an insidious crime that doesn't care about social or financial status. I realized my life could have easily ended like that of Nicole Simpson.
    Those years of darkness were part of my destiny and through that experience was deepened by empathy and I feel deeply for those whose lives have been lost or torn apart by domestic violence. It is for these mothers and children I write and with these women, I share solace, courage, and hope. There is no Prince Charming. I am the answer to my own life, the writer of my own story.

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