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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual journey’

graphic by Carol Varsalona
who is hosting the gathering of Spiritual Journey posts today.

This morning I turned the calendar to July and wondered where my summer is going. Carol invited us to write about Nurturing our Summer Souls for Spiritual Journey first Thursday. I thought I would wake up early and write, but the thing about summer is expectations fall into the sun. I woke up tired. The only thing I can figure is the water aerobics class last night has affected me in more ways than I thought possible. I have welcomed these classes, the time with friends, the cool of the water, and the invigorating feeling of exercise. But this old body is finding muscles that have been dormant. It’s a good thing, right? Remind me.

My summer soul is being nurtured by the National Writing Project’s #WriteAcrossAmerica virtual writing marathon. I’ve participated in three different stops. Each Tuesday a different project site takes on the marathon. This week I went to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a place foreign to me. The story map is full of places to explore and writing prompts to contemplate. I stopped at the Indian Village Site and followed a link to Margaret Noodin’s Ted Talk.

I’ve been fascinated by Margaret Noodin’s work since listening to Poetry Unbound from On Being. Margaret not only shares my name, but she also sings. She sings her poems in Anishinaabemowin and English. Being Episcopalian, I love a good chant and that is what Margaret Noodin delivers.

As I listened I wrote. This poem follows her words and weaves in my own words as if we became a confluence of thoughts, two rivers meeting and flowing together for a time.

Minowakiing: The Good Land

Languages
teach us of place. In this Good Land,
we can keep ourselves alive,
hearts beating wild, transforming
the world
in a net, networking, working in
interconnection.

I see lessons in light
see a word East
move into melting
transitioning time to place
word to word.

Listen to sounds singing of fish
bobbing in the water.
Let’s listen to each other.
Remember we are in a good place.

Remember the bird knows,
the grass knows,
the old oak knows

We inherit the language of our ancestors,
reminded how to find the road, the map
to our own lives.
Here. Together.

Margaret Simon, with Margaret Noodin

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Ruth is gathering Spiritual Journey posts at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town. We are checking in on our One Little Word.

For 2021, I chose Inspire as my guiding One Little Word. How’s it going? Truth be told, I’m tired. This is our last day of school. This has been a weird year. Long in so many ways. Yet here we are again. Summer sun hangs high in the sky. Temperatures rise, and I crave the scent of chlorine and sunscreen.

Last week on a day when I was cleaning up and wondering how it is that I keep so much stuff from year to year, my colleague Erica came into my room. She teaches 4th grade next door to me, and I teach her daughter in gifted. She said, “I was channeling my best Margaret Simon. Look what we did! Black-out poetry!” She was so excited to show me the results.

As I think about inspire, I count the ways in which others inspire me; Artists, poets, musicians, all fill me with the desire to create. I hadn’t thought about how I inspire others. The 4th grade black-out poems made my heart swell. Erica knew it would.

Inspire is a communication of the heart,
a creative connection,
a gift to the world.

beautiful spring day
no idea
what was in store for me
too perfect
hug
love
share
each other
as one
Believe me.

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Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for creating an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write and share.
2021 Grab this image for your blog post.

Today is day 4 of the Slice of Life Story Challenge and Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday.

A group of bloggers commit to writing a post on the first Thursday of the month around a topic. I am rounding up the posts today. (Place your link in the InLinkz at the end of this page.) The topic I chose was March Spirit Wind. The lioness of March winds roared through here on Monday bringing a new cold front. March weather is fickle. One day may be sunny and 70’s and the next rainy and 40’s. In this topsy turvy weather, I long to find quiet time.

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself
and know that everything in this life has a purpose.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Lately I have been using magazine collage to explore creativity. I am finding that it leads to inspiration for writing. The process of design, finding images I love, cutting, placing, gluing bring my mind to a place of rest where creativity can flow.

Silence Collage in Notebook 3/3/21

Linda Mitchell sent me some poem seeds that I carry with me in a ziplock bag along with pens, scissors, glue. I tossed out some seeds and this poem fell out.

Craft of Life, seed poem, notebook page 3/3/21

Perhaps the most important thing we bring to another person is the silence in us, not the sort of silence that is filled with unspoken criticism or hard withdrawal. The sort of silence that is a place of refuge, of rest, of acceptance of someone as they are. We are all hungry for this other silence.

Rachel Naomi Remen, gratefulness.org

I hope you can take some time to be quiet and let the Spirit Wind wash over you. Sacred moments can be found when we take time to rest and be open.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!Click here to enter

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Spiritual Thursday posts are being gathered today by Carol at Beyond Literacy Link.

It is my practice each year to select a word to guide my year. This week my students and I have been talking about and selecting a One Little Word. Last year I selected Embrace. The word Inspire has been tugging at me for a few years. I finally stopped resisting it.

If you follow my blog, you know that I am posting a photo each week as a writing prompt. Last week I posted a photo from Ann Sutton, a Methodist minister. Fran Haley took this prompt and wrote an amazing spiritual poem on her blog. I drew Ann’s attention to Fran’s poem on Facebook Messenger. Ann shared the post and asked Fran’s permission to read the poem in her sermon. Wow! Inspiring writing that inspires a beautiful connection beyond my reach.

I’ve started an accountability group for The Artist’s Way. Perhaps you remember the book. Julia Cameron leads you on a journey back to your essence of creativity through writing exercises and artist dates. Morning pages is a component that I am trying. Trying is the operative word here. My hope is that by releasing the tied up knots of stuff through regurgitation on the blank page, I will inspire more creativity in myself. I do believe that creativity is a spiritual practice. It’s not reserved for a select few; however, like the Holy Spirit, creativity is available to all of us, even me.

This first week of 2021 has been filled with shocking events. Along with everyone else, I am mournful. But I am also hopeful. Our country witnessed rock bottom yesterday. Let’s make today the beginning of our collective climb up and out. We can inspire hope and love. Join me in a resolution to Inspire, breathe new life into the world.

Image created in Canva

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Ruth is gathering Spiritual Thursday posts at her blog.

“If the only prayer you say in your entire life is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough!” ~Meister Eckhart

What is it about November that brings out the gratitude in us? Is it the holiday of Thanksgiving? Is it the cool fall air? Is it getting close to Christmas? Or is it the number 11? Today Ruth is gathering Spiritual Journey posts about gratitude.

Thank you
releases air,
a breath.
In American sign language,
a hand to mouth and out again.
From inside of me
to the spirit of you,
I thank you.

TeachWrite is encouraging #gratiku poetry on social media. Read more about it at Leigh Anne’s blog.

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Today’s posts will be gathered at Karen’s Blog.

I’ve been raising monarchs. See this post. I am also planning for hybrid teaching, some in person, some virtual. Finding my direction through these tasks has challenged me in new ways.

Male monarch by Judy Rizzo

The word alchemy came across my radar. I found this definition: “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.” The process of metamorphosis is alchemy and in many ways, so is the way we have to teach this year. I decided to mine alchemist for words using Wordmaker. Following a poetic process created by April Halprin Wayland, I wrote a poem that probably doesn’t make sense to anybody but me. Let’s just say, finding my direction through this unique school year has taken some proactive effort. (The words from Wordmaker are in bold.)

Finding Direction

Connect line by line, etch
a trail through calm
worry, eyes that smile
despite each
new hurdle to scale.
Raise the latch
and release butterfly-mail
to the gods of ethics
Teach.

Margaret Simon, draft
Monarch in olive tree by Judy Rizzo

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Spiritual Journey host is Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link.

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness and the word ‘happiness’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” – C.G. Jung

Photo by Tina Nord from Pexels

Ruminating on balance today with my Spiritual Journey Thursday group.

Balance doesn’t happen all in one day.
Like love, balance is a process.
I strive to be stable,
but some days are riddled with self-doubt.
Even in these sheltered days,
I lose sleep, lose faith, slip off the stack of stones
onto the cold hard floor of reality.

“It’s always about balance,”
says my daughter in defense of screen time.
My brother-in-law’s philosophy is “Eat a donut,
then have a grapefruit.”

After a long walk in the sun,
your body craves water,
water, water…
There are some balance rules
you must obey. Your body
is one of them.

In the chiaroscuro of light and dark,
we see clearly and in blurred lines
where our balance lies. Tip-toe in,
but don’t worry if you have to hold
onto the rails sometimes.


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Welcome April! My favorite month of the year when skies are blue, flowers are blooming, and poetry abounds!

I am committing myself to writing a poem a day this month, but I am not committing to a prompt. I will get inspiration from where ever the muse takes me. Last night as I was settling down for the night, I found NaPoWriMo. The early bird prompt posted on March 31st was to write about your favorite bird.

Here is my first draft:

A Prayer

Everyone was supposed to pray with the pope tonight,
but I got struck silent while watching
a hummingbird at the feeder
hovering as on angel wings 
disappearing into the green like a spirit. 

Where does our spirit go when we die?
Does it hover like the hummer
watching and waiting
for the lift off?

I wonder if the pope even knows?
We pray what?
What should I say?
There is nothing to be done
but stare at the feeder
and wait for another sighting of wings.

Margaret Simon, 2020 draft
Hummingbird at the feeder in my backyard. Taken August 30, 2016. Photo by Margaret Simon

The first line of the Kidlit Progressive Poem is a multiple choice from Donna Smith. The progression of the poem is in the side bar of my blog. Scroll down.

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graphic created by Carol Varsalona
Round up of Spiritual Thursday posts are with Fran Haley at lit bits and pieces.

Fran Haley is hosting today, and she proposed the theme of Balance.

Balance is something I search for in my daily life. Being an introvert, I crave alone time. I think that’s why I enjoy writing so much. Writing is a quiet alone-time activity, like walking my dog or meditating or taking a long bath. ( My husband jokingly said I would love a quarantine.)

One of my students gave me this beautiful journal for Christmas. I had it in my car until on Ash Wednesday, I had an idea to carry it with me into the service. I wrote during the sermon. I wrote again this past Sunday and will try to keep this going during Lent. The writing helped me listen in a different way. Kind of like taking notes, but I also allowed my own thoughts to enter in.

I also achieve balance through yoga and meditation. There are so many ways life can get in the way of living. Taking time for myself and clearing my busy brain helps me be a better me.

For my yoga instructor and friend Susan

This weekend we were babysitting my 14-month-old grandson. By 5 in the afternoon, he was so tired that he could no longer keep his balance when walking. At first it was funny to him to walk quickly and fall, but it happened one time too many, and he ended up in tears. In a similar way, when I am exhausted, overstretched, and too busy, I get out of balance.

What ways do you use to keep your life in balance?

Helping Leo balance

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Graphic design by Carol Varsalona. She is also hosting today at Beyond Literacy Link.

Living on the bayou gives me a daily view of seasonal changes. We have a huge cypress tree that drops its needles all over the back deck when the days grow shorter. They burst out in bright neon green as the days grow long.

While cypress respond to daylight, other plants respond to temperature changes. On my morning walk, I’ve been watching a Japanese magnolia bursting into bloom. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it blooms earlier and earlier each year. The beauty is striking. I used the tree as a subject for my Poetry Friday offering for tomorrow.

One way I pay attention to seasonal changes is to write poems. I am writing every day with #100daysofnotebooking and with Laura Shovan’s February poetry challenge. When I commit to a social media group, I have accountability, so I get it done.

On Saturday, I wrote a quick notebook draft responding to the quote by Robert Louis Stevenson “There is no music like a river’s”

Listen to the cry
of mother wood duck,
clicks of red-headed woodpecker
on the old oak.
Hear the train whistle
in the distance, and the peaceful
ringing of wind chimes.

The bayou wakes up slowly
on this winter Saturday
playing its music
for the clouds
welcoming first sun,
first light,
new day.

Margaret Simon, draft 2020
Photo by Nandhu Kimar, from Pexels.com

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