Capsized | Writing through the Fog, Emerging from under the Wave

The Uses of Sorrow | Mary Oliver

(In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

Someone I loved once gave me

a box full of darkness.

It took me years to understand

that this, too, was a gift.


…And today I felt like I was drowning in this ocean wave of grief and pain and lostness. I felt overwhelmed and raw with too many emotions trying to come out all at once…Then I knew I needed to quiet the ocean of noise in my brain. The only way I know how to do this is to Write! So here I have been writing in this journal on and off all afternoon/night. I don’t think the noise in my brain has died down yet. But it feels cathartic to see my thoughts and feelings in black permanent ink on a white page…-I need my poems to truly expel all this grey emotion. I’ve been purposely staying away from working on my poetry because I don’t want to actually face all these emotions. But I know I’m drowning beneath all my emotions/thoughts…the only way I know to come up and out from under all of this is through my poetry. It is my own life-raft. I need to get back in my life-raft… | excerpted from my journal ~ Greece, September 2016

“From the Sea” [Image by Bojan Jevtić]**

capsize

kapˈsʌɪz/

verb

1.(of a boat) be overturned in the water.

“the craft capsized in heavy seas”

“gale force winds capsized their small craft”

antonyms: right

cause (a boat) to overturn.

“gale-force gusts capsized the dinghies”

Origin
late 18th century: perhaps based on Spanish capuzar ‘sink (a ship) by the head’, from cabo ‘head’ + chapuzar ‘to dive or duck’.


A new country called Grief

I am a traveller in a new country called Grief. For much of last year I was lost in a place-less Fugue. I went through the motions automatically relying on muscle memory rather than being present in the moment. There was no need to be present in the moment, this Fugue state carried me through this isolated country of Grief. I couldn’t concentrate or focus on much else than normal daily surviving requirements. Fiction, my own and others, was no longer an escape or a refuge. For the first month and a half after losing A, I just barely existed. But slowly as I got acclimated to this Grief, I started looking for ways to communicate; to express myself more clearly and to process this emotion that remained nameless in its immensity. Music and Poetry were the two life-rafts that rescued me from this storm-ravaged place.

A New Project

Newton’s law of motion states that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”. Grief capsized me completely but through the twin life-rafts of Music and Poetry I was slowly Emerging: Emerging into a new direction, an altered me. When you sink, the equal and opposite reaction is to finally rise and emerge. I have found a way to breathe again. I have a way to stop drowning in this Grief. 

The only way I was going to emerge from this Fugue state was to truly give in to the terrible emotion. To let it embrace me without fighting it. The only way a drowning swimmer can be rescued is if they don’t fight or struggle but simply relax and let themselves be rescued. In much the same way, I needed to just let this Grief encompass me in her watery depths before I could be rescued. Slowly I started rising up from these depths and as I began to rise, words started rising with me. At first I could not grasp the words so I just let them rise around me. But slowly the words became clearer to me as I immersed myself in others Poetry; poetry by Dylan Thomas, Pablo Neruda, Leonard Cohen and Rupi Kaur, and let Music be the soundtrack to drown out the cacophony that was the silence of this Grief. Slowly I could grasp enough words to form a line then enough words to form a verse then enough words to form a stanza. As I journaled I realised that these were my emotions becoming words becoming poems. Poems that expressed what I could not, did not want to verbalise in conversation. 

What was emerging from my immersion into Poetry, Music, Art and through my journaling was a collection of emotions in words: a collection of poems. Suddenly I could focus again creatively. I had stopped struggling and in my surrender to this emotional drowning I had found a way to rise up and to begin emerging again. So this is what I have been working on for the last few months and will continue to work on for the next few months. A new project. An anthology of poems that could finally name all these unnameable emotions that Grief drowns one in. An anthology that I am calling…

CAPSIZE

Every year for the last five years I have chosen One Word to theme and propel my New Year. Last year my word was ironically RISE. But although most of last year felt like the opposite of Rising, felt closer to drowning, it was the gift of words in the form of Poetry that did have me eventually Rising. 

2016 has forever changed me. I’m carrying a box of loss that is forming a new version of who I am. So for 2017 I have chosen a new theme, a theme of hope. A new word for a different me. A me that is navigating an altered topography of where I am going, who I am now and who I want to be. I am ready for a new dawn.
So this year my Word of The Year is: 

EMERGE

ɪˈməːdʒ/

verb

verb: emerge; 3rd person present: emerges; past tense: emerged; past participle: emerged; gerund or present participle: emerging

1. move out of or away from something and become visible.

“black ravens emerged from the fog”

synonyms: come out, appear, come into view, become visible, make an appearance; turn up, spring up, come up, surface, crop up, pop up; materialize, manifest oneself, arise, proceed, issue, come forth, emanate

2. become apparent or prominent.

synonyms: become known, become apparent, become evident, be revealed, come to light, come out, transpire, come to the fore, enter the picture, unfold, turn out, prove to be the case; 

3. recover from or survive a difficult situation.

Origin

late 16th century (in the sense ‘become known, come to light’): from Latin emergere, from e- (variant of ex- ) ‘out, forth’ + mergere ‘to dip’.  




[**PostScript: The image of “From the Sea” by the Serbian visual artist, Bojan Jevtić, helped inspire my theme for my new W.I.P poetry anthology: Capsize. I found that this particular image was able to vividly portray how this loss, this Grief makes me feel. It was the picture that has inspired my new words.]


Devastation | The Daily Post

#HappyNewYear 2016 RISE up to Your Dreams | It’s f%#!ing worth it! #OneWord365 #ResolutionRevolution

  

What’s your  #2016 #OneWord365 #WordOfTheYear ?

Every year for the past 4 years I have chosen my One #WordOfTheYear. 

I don’t do resolutions because quite simply there are too many things I want to resolve to do, too many places I want to resolve to see, too many people I want to resolve to meet or spend more time with and too many goals I want to resolve to achieve. 

The resolution list would be Long.

So…

This.

This is my 5th year running that I have opted to go with a #PowerWord. [5 means lucky for me.]

This is the #OneWord366 [This year is a leap year! It means 1 whole 24 hours extra to #GetSh!tDone !] I choose to FOCUS on to power my intentions and motivate me. It is the #ResolutionsRevolution. It kicks ass and takes no excuses. No more lists of not done by the end of your first month. 

This year my word is a word I have waited to choose. 

It leads on beautifully from my #2015 Word: Push.

This.

  

#PowerWord means #PowerSong because life sounds better with a soundtrack.

This.

My #KickAssTakeNoExcuses Mantra.

  

Want your own #PowerWord #Mantra of the year? 

OneWord365

Powerful Lessons from your Word Of the Year: Discover your’s

Now tell me what’s your #KickAssTakeNoExcuses #PowerWord #Mantra #2016…

Here’s to a Powerful and Motivational 2016 for us all.

{* Extraordinary Tiger, Photographed by Ivan Lee *}

(P)ersist (U)ntil (S)omething (H)appens #OneWord365 2015

2014 has ended…It was the year of hard lessons for me.

Every year I pick a word for the year. My personal life word this year is: metanoia.

But my working writing word for the year is: PUSH

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push
pʊʃ/
verb
verb: push; 3rd person present: pushes; past tense: pushed; past participle: pushed; gerund or present participle: pushing

Origin

Middle English (as a verb):
from Old French pousser,
from Latin pulsare ‘to push, beat, pulse’ (see pulse1).
The early sense was ‘exert force on’, giving rise later to ‘make a strenuous effort, endeavour’.

1.
exert force on (someone or something) in order to move them away from oneself.
“she pushed her glass towards him”
synonyms: shove, thrust, propel, impel; More
antonyms: pull
hold and exert force on (something) so as to cause it to move in front of one.
“a woman was pushing a pram”
move one’s body or a part of it into a specified position with effort.
“she pushed her hands into her pockets”
press (a part of a machine or other device).
“the lift boy pushed the button for the twentieth floor”
synonyms: press (down), push down, depress, exert pressure on, bear down on, hold down, squeeze; More
cause to reach a particular level or state.
“competition in the retail sector will push down prices”
2.
move forward by using force to pass people or cause them to move aside.
“she pushed her way through the crowded streets”
synonyms: force (one’s way), shove, thrust, squeeze, jostle, elbow, shoulder; More
(of an army) advance over territory.
“the guerrillas have pushed south to within 100 miles of the capital”
exert oneself to attain something or surpass others.
“I was pushing hard until about 10 laps from the finish”
informal
be nearly (a particular age or amount).
“she must be pushing forty, but she’s still a good looker”
3.
compel or urge (someone) to do something, especially to work hard.
“she believed he was pushing their daughter too hard”
synonyms: urge, press, pressure, put pressure on, pressurize, force, drive, impel, coerce, nag; More
demand persistently.
“the council continued to push for the better management of water resources”
synonyms: demand, insist on, clamour for, ask/call for, request, press for, campaign for, work for, lobby for, speak for, drum up support for, sponsor, urge, promote, advocate, recommend, champion, espouse
“the trade unions will be likely to push for wage increases”
informal
have very little of something, especially time.
“I’m a bit pushed for time at the moment”
informal
find it difficult to achieve something.
“he will be pushed to retain the title as his form this season has been below par”

Last year was a year that upended my efforts and really put a giant PAUSE sign in my way. From about midway thorough the year I was struggling in an unbeatable fight with sapping energy levels, lack of concentration, and chronic, mind-sapping insomnia. Initially I put this down to my migraines which had also ratcheted up to unacceptable levels. But eventually something told me this was something more than just effect of my migraines.
I felt burnt out and almost extinguished. I thought maybe I needed a holiday. I had not had a holiday for 3 years. It pushed me to take a 5 day writing retreat, at a secluded little beach cottage, for a week in November with one of my close writing friends.

Lesson #1 Don’t feel guilty about taking a break, having a time-out. Go away somewhere if you can. De-stress, actively relax and unplug.

I still felt listless when I got back from my retreat. But wait, there’s more

2012 ~ I CHOOSE to DANCE for JOY…What do you choose for 2012?

For the last 2 years I have made a resolution not to make new year’s resolutions that I would end up breaking…

But…

Instead I find a New Word of the Year that I set about to define my year…

Elizabeth is living her lifelong dream –adventuring in Italy, India and Bali.  As the scene opens, she is engaged in a conversation with her Italian friend, Giulio:  “Giulio asked me what I thought of Rome.  I told him I really loved the place, of course, but somehow knew it was not my city, not where I’d end up living for the rest of my life.  There was something about Rome that didn’t belong to me, and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was…”  “Giulio said, ‘Maybe you and Rome just have different words.’  “What do you mean?”  Then he went on to explain, that every city has a single word that defines it, that identifies most people who live there…”  “Giulio asked, ‘What’s the word in New York City?’  I thought about this for a moment, then decided.  “It’s a verb, of course.  I think it’s ACHIEVE.  (Which is subtly but significantly different from the word in LA which is also a verb:  SUCCEED.  ….”  Giulio asked, ‘What’s your word?’ “ – Eat,Pray,Love > Elizabeth Gilbert

So here I am…third year into the Word Resolution and welcoming 2012…

So if you battle to keep New Year’s Resolutions…

Try to focus in on one word that you want to define your year in 2012…

What’s your Word?

These were my words for the last 2 years…

My word of 2011

My word of 2010 was Renew

So…What’s the next word?

Click on Joy to find out why Joy is a Choice…

In 2012 I CHOOSE to DANCE for JOY

Dancing for Joy ~ Dance when you’re broken open… Dance when you’re perfectly free. Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding. -Rumi, trans. by Coleman Barks

What’s your Word?

Eat, Pray, Love

Image via Wikipedia

I have three books that have inspired me and that I keep coming back to for rejuvenation. My favourite of these is the one that resonates with me and with who I am: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Elizabeth shares a myriad of ideas, epiphanies and inspirations that she stumbles across in a year-long journey of self-discovery and healing. 

Yesterday I revisited one of these ideas/epiphanies:

Elizabeth is living her lifelong dream –adventuring in Italy, India and Bali.  As the scene opens, she is engaged in a conversation with her Italian friend, Giulio:  “Giulio asked me what I thought of Rome.  I told him I really loved the place, of course, but somehow knew it was not my city, not where I’d end up living for the rest of my life.  There was something about Rome that didn’t belong to me, and I couldn’t quite figure out what it was…”  “Giulio said, ‘Maybe you and Rome just have different words.’  “What do you mean?”  Then he went on to explain, that every city has a single word that defines it, that identifies most people who live there…”  “Giulio asked, ‘What’s the word in New York City?’  I thought about this for a moment, then decided.  “It’s a verb, of course.  I think it’s ACHIEVE.  (Which is subtly but significantly different from the word in LA which is also a verb:  SUCCEED.  ….”  Giulio asked, ‘What’s your word?’ ” 

This may sound simple to define but it can be a revealing eye-opener and what you may answer with may just take you by surprise. So how do you find “Your One Word”? How do you sum up yourself in just one word? Does that word change?

Sometimes the answer may come to you immediately. But sometimes you have to let the idea germinate and grow in your heart before you can see the Word. 

I think that Giulio, Elizabeth’s friend, is right. I think everyone does have one word that defines who they are. I also think that you can have growing words as you change and grow in life: these changing words are defined by your experiences and your emotions. 

In the movie version of this book, Elizabeth’s initial answer is: Daughter, Wife, Mother and finally Writer. However her friend argues that this is not “her”, this is who she is to others and it is what she does. 

When I first read this book, I could not find my Word. But this weekend has been a weekend of epiphanies. Now, I have finally found my word.

My word is: Seek.

Your Word may be a noun or a verb. It is not an adjective because that describes you not defines you. But when you find Your Word it can open up a doorway of possibility. So often in life, we want to find out all the answers and understand all the questions but do we pay as much attention to ourselves as we do to the external and the material. Do you really know yourself?

Another way you could view this idea is to ask the people closest to you what one word they would use to define you: not an adjective to describe you but a noun or verb to define you. I can guarantee that the word that they will come up with will differ from Your Own Word. Why? We all wear different faces in our lives and two different people in our lives will have two different versions of ourselves that we allow them to see.

So….What’s Your Word? 

Sit with this idea for a while and see what you come up with. It may come to you immediately or it may take time but eventually you will find Your Word. If you know your word, write it down. So, tell me what’s Your Word? 

2011 Goal~Project365/2011 The creative me is taking priority over practical me

This week has been a week of reflection. It is the first week of the New year of the New decade. This is a time when most people look behind them at the past and resolve to make things better and newer in the New Year. I am one of those millions of people who have been going through New Year reflections. I have had a few A-Ha moments that I would like to share with you in this post.

A few months ago I wrote a post called: Joy is a Choice. It was an A-Ha moment that I had during one of my early morning Soul Photographs (Morning Pages). Joy is not a state of being and it is not a given. But Joy is a Choice. There is not much in life that we can choose to avoid or choose to manifest, most of life happens by happenstance or circumstance and how we react to those times.

But Joy is more than an emotion.

Happiness is an emotion.

Joy is an attitude.

The French have the best phrase for this:

Joie de Vivre

The Italian phrase that corresponds to this is:

La Bella Vita

This year my 2011 Word of the year is Possibility. I have also decided to focus more on the creative me and less time on the practical me. I have decided that life should not be a case of “Live to work” but rather a case of “Work to live”. I am going to make this a year of  Joie de Vivre and Life is going to be La Bella Vita.

How?

I am going to be branching out more creatively speaking and better my current creative crafts (whether that be in writing, photography) and opening myself out to the Possibility of other creative pathways. I am signing up for classes at a local Arts Centre from February. The classes that I have my eye on now are Painting (with a specialization of Surrealism) and Glass-Blowing.

I am also going to take part in something called Project 365. This is a project run by an extraordinary group of women who call themselves The Shutter Sisters. This is a project where you take a picture a day and then post it to the Website’s Flickr page called Shutter Sisters 365. The idea behind the project is exactly the same idea to what I had when I wrote Joy is a Choice. It is to capture a moment that inspires Joy in you through the lens of a camera. The ladies on Shutter Sisters put it in a sentence that really resonates with me this year:

“This was all about moment, right? Staying in the moment has a way of dissipating negativities even though we catch them in freeze frame with our cameras. When you sit with sadness or anger you are in control of ushering it out. When you sit with joy and love you are empowered and radiate it back to others. Photography has this magic to it as well. No one else has your eyes. No one sees the world exactly as you do. That is a beautiful thing!”

– Meredith Winn (04/01/11)

So I have signed up to be a part of this Vision. I have always loved photography even before I studied it both in School and afterwards. I remember my first two photographs that really made me fall in love with viewing the world through the eye of a camera lens. I was about 11 years old and I was on holiday at the beach staying with my great-aunt. One day we went down to the pier. It was a stormy grey day and because of the impending storm, the beach and pier was empty. I took a couple of photographs on a simple 35mm point and shoot (this was in the days before digital) of the ocean being sheltered by a stormy sky. When I got home from my holiday I was excited to have my 35mm roll of film developed. The photos that I had taken that day on the beach were exquisite. They showed the impending power of the storm and gave a real emotion to the shots. I realised then that photography is a powerful tool in life. From that moment I was in love with shooting the world. Nature scenes are my favourite in particular beach shots and sky / storm shots are still my favourite. So this year I am going to post a picture a day that inspires me. I will post it on the Flickr site but will also be posting it via my new Tumblr account.

This year is going to be a year where I saturate my soul in creative pursuits. I am truly Joyful when I am doing something creative. That is my joy: Creativity,Passion, Travel and Change. It is going to be a year of POSSIBILITY and a year where I make the Choice to be Joyful and to have JOY.

What are you going to do that inspires you this year?

What new creative pathways will you pursue this year?

Share your creative aspirations here in the comments so that we can support and encourage each other.

Make this your year when the Creative You takes priority over the Practical You. Do what you love to do and what gives you joy.

I leave you with this quote which is on my 2011 vision board:

today is your day

to dance lightly with life,

sing wild songs of adventure,

soar your spirit,

unfurl your joy.

-Jonathan Lockwood Huie –



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