Bliss is found on mornings like these…
Today has been spent eating Poetry for Breakfast and Journaling in my heart space ~ my Zenkraft traveller’s notebook. I bought these two stunning poetry editions while in the UK last year. Poetry and music were my healing spaces in 2016 and continue to be this year. I also decided to start a new personal travel tradition. Instead of keychains or other travel keepsake ephemera I have decided to buy myself books of poetry every time I travel somewhere. These are my first two poetry mementoes and what stunning eye candy for the senses and soul food for the heart and mind they are.
with your weary scissors,
and all the names of the day
are washed out by the waters of the night.”
excerpted from Too Many Names | Pablo Neruda
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
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Lost in the mists of time
The dragon lies sleeping,
His hot breath forms clouds
Holding the fierceness that is his beauty.
Dawn dances over his scales
As his muscles ripple in harmony,
Her soft light touches each horn
And his heavy tail slides into sight.
The walls of air fade into sky
While dawn blushes in joy,
Her lips curve into a smile
Anticipating his wakefulness.
As dawn’s sweet singing
Fills the dragon’s lair,
His eye opens to gaze on her
With a passion aflame with fire.
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I feel dreams cascading down the waterfall of my memory.
I feel the power of life terrible in its fragility.
I look inside myself and feel the whisper of sadness raining beneath tears
I close my eyes and I am covered in sound.
I remember the strength of Africa –
An aged land that holds the key to the mysteries of life and death,
Love and hate, joy and fear, quiet and chaos.
I shut my eyes and see the brilliant white light caught in the forked
As the air crashes around me with the thunder of her power.
I hear the echoes of silence caught between the whispers of God’s heartbeats
Then Africa rains, freely and unashamedly she mourns the death of another day.
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I do not have a name for this feeling,
This deep wide open space within me.
My eyes search for blood saturated sunsets,
My mouth yearns for the raw taste of dust.
My ears listen for the screech of crickets,
They hear the rustle of grasses.
My skin aches to feel the gentle heat of its sun,
I see endless plains behind the veil of closed eyes.
I dream of the acridly fresh smell of a summer storm,
My spine shivers as the sky turns dark green.
I watch forks of electricity shock the noon sky,
And the ancient dragon cocoons into a blue chameleon.
An eggplant curtain is torn open as showers of hard stones bruise the earth,
Steam rises as the hard ground melts before baking.
I fall asleep to an orchestra of sound and chaos,
Crickets screeching, frogs bellowing, snakes hissing.
I hold my hand in front of my face and all I see is a vacuum of shadow,
The eye cannot measure the boundaries of this night shadow.
Only the fireballs of space draw its shadow in pieces of light,
These ancient guards of the night know the depths of Africa’s soul:
As I know the untameable wildness within my African heart…bani gama lako? *
© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning.
The Drakensberg (‘the Dragon Mountains’) is the highest mountain range in Southern Africa, rising to 3, 482 meters (11, 424 ft) in height and is site to the World’s second highest waterfall, the Tugela Falls.
Drakensberg translates to Dragon Mountains or as the Zulu nation calls it Ukhahlamba “Barrier of Up-Pointed Spears”. Both of these names are appropriate. To me, these mountains always resembled a sleeping dragon.
I grew up in the lush verdant green lands of KwaZulu-Natal, embraced by the warm, maternal currents of the Indian Ocean on the east and fiercely guarded by the mighty Dragon, the Drakensberg Mountain Range, on the west. To this day, I believe that this mighty mountain range is the most hauntingly beautiful place in the world. When I think of “home”, these peaks and valleys of “The Dragon Mountains” will always be the home of my heart no matter where I am in the world. They are my “True North”. This “Dragon” / “Barrier of Up-Pointed Speare” is my place of peace.
* “bani gama lako?” (Zulu) translates “Who are you / What is your name?” *
“Stretching majestically for 245km, the Drakensberg mountain range forms a natural barrier between the western reaches of KwaZulu-Natal (South African Province) and the Kingdom of Lesotho. This is a mountain range of spectacular natural beauty where golden sandstone and soaring basalt buttresses rise above pristine steep-sided river valleys, rocky gorges and high rolling grasslands. With an elevation of over 3 000m, these magnificent mountains offer exceptional conditions for walking and hiking. In the summertime, clear morning skies puff up with towering cumuli-nimbus clouds in preparation for the daily afternoon thundershower. In winter the days are warm and dry. But a balmy 20°C afternoon will plummet with nightfall to below zero, and snow regularly illuminates the peaks.
The Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park offers a natural haven of incredible variety. High up in the Berg the weary walker is rewarded by the hardy and fragile mountain flora common to high altitude climes. On the slopes of the Little Berg the vegetation is called Montane. A variety of different types of grass proliferate, whilst in the secluded valleys, unique plants and trees flourish, especially proteas, cycads, tree ferns, cabbage trees and the giant yellowwood. Common flowers include lilies, lion’s tail, agapanthus, watsonia, helicrysum, erica and the distinctive scarlet spears of the red hot poker.
In its remoteness and height, the Berg offers a magical window open to the fascination of the skies. The sun blazes as an oasis of light, warmth and life. The eager star-gazer is rewarded by a Milky Way that arcs across the night skies in a marvelous mass of stars. The various planets shine forth brightly, unimpaired by buildings or the interference of city lights. The well-known celestial constellations, Orion and Scorpio, are clearly visible and the Southern Cross marks the way with its two pointers. A rising moon in the East, large and glowing, and the setting sun over the Drakensberg peaks, is a wondrous daily experience.” … Excerpted courtesy of DrakensburgMountains
Daily rituals and habits have always fascinated me. You barely notice your own rituals and habits until you either don’t/can’t do them for some reason or if someone points them out to you.
What are your daily creative rituals? What kickstarts your day?
I am not a morning person. Partly because as an insomniac I often only manage to finally get to sleep in the early hours around dawn. Partly because waking to me is a form of cruelty because I always feel like I am being cheated from getting a proper rest.
“We all have morning rituals that give us the comfort of familiarity even if our days are unknowns.”
― Maria Alexandra Vettese, A Year of Mornings: 3191 Miles Apart
Mornings are one of the times of day when most of us enact certain rituals to kick start our day. We have a certain ritualistic schedule of mundane tasks that ready us for whatever the day may bring.
From waking up and having a mug of coffee – although sometimes I feel like an intravenous injection is needed – to having a shower, to choosing your outfit for the day and making yourself presentable and finally to eating breakfast.
The order you do these things in may be different and you may not be a morning breakfast type of person.
““When you wake up in the morning, Pooh”, said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?” “What’s for Breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?” “I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet. Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing” he said.”
– Winnie The Pooh
But you do eat breakfast. It doesn’t matter whether you do it in the morning after waking up or later on in the day. That first meal, that first refueling of your body, is your wake up moment.
A few years ago I read “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. It resonated with me in so many ways. But one of the most important tools I learnt through that was the Morning Pages.
Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning.
*There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*– they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow. ~ Julia Cameron
Until recently I was only doing the morning pages when I was stuck creatively and feeling uninspired. This wasn’t happening every day. I found I was journaling more at the end of my day rather than the start.
But recently this has started changing. My “morning pages” have changed. They have turned into “Morning Motivation” – little pep talks I write to myself to begin – but even more recently I have added another “morning” ritual to my day.
Just as my body needs a breakfast to break the fast of the night, I felt like my mind needed a creative breakfast to awaken my brain cells. For me, the initial morning pages and then followed by the motivation pages just weren’t cutting it. For some reason it wasn’t unlocking my creativity in my sluggish morning-insomniac-induced-hungover brain.
But things have been changing and all because I am now getting the right creative break-fast for my brain.
A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep. ~ Salman Rushdie
I have started eating poetry for breakfast.
I am making it a habit to start the day with poetry. First, I write down a poem or two. (I always “write” my poetry. I need that cathartic, physical process of putting pen to paper.) Then I put aside those raw pieces of poetry and spend some time reading others’ poetry. Often this state of reading will have me putting pen to paper in some more poetry of my own. Before long, my brain’s creative side zings into wakefulness and suddenly I am not feeling so sluggish.
The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads into madness. ― Christopher Morley
For me poetry is the purest form of art. Poetry is the one that truly moves me to feel those down-deep emotions we all feel: the emotions that don’t have a name. Poetry is also the most creative form of art for me. I love playing with images, words, moods, sounds, the surreal and emotions; poetry is the one space I get to do all this.
Poetry is like a bird, it ignores all frontiers. – Yevgeny Yevtushenko
So starting my day with a daily ritual of “eating” poetry for break-fast allows me to enter that creative space immediately. It is a key to that fearless place in me. I need to get into that fearless space each day because then I can face my prose without doubt and filled up with the fearlessness that is poetry for me.
What is your break-fast ritual to kick start your creativity?
Have you tried morning pages or your own version?
Do you refuel with any other art – mine is poetry, yours might be; music, dance, sketching, painting, pottery, sculpture – every morning?
What’s your “poetry” to break-the-creativity-fast?
DoWn TwIsTiNg RaBbIt HoLeS
eVeRyThInG i CoUld NeVeR tELl YoU
iS lOsT dOwN tWiStInG rAbBiT hOLeS
YoU sMiLeD wItH LiPs Of BrUiSeD wAtErMeLoN
YoUr WhIsPeReD wOrDs PiErCeD ThRoUgH tHe CaGe Of My HeArT
sHaTtErEd PiEcEs HeLd ToGeThEr
bY a SpIdErWeB oF fRaGiLe GoSsAmEr
tHe PiErCeD sKiN BLeEdS
sTiTcHeS CoMiNg LoOsE
i StAnD oN tHe EdGe
My LiPs SoFtLy taSte ThE sOuNd Of yOuR wOrDs
L O S T
© All Rights Reserved Kim Koning