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Spiritual Journey First Thursday is being gathered today by Carol Varsalona at Beyond Literacy Link.

Carol is gathering Spiritual Journey posts today around the topic Blossoms of Joy. When I first typed it, I wrote “Blossoming Joy,” which slightly changes the blossoms into action. I have come to believe that we are all in the process of blossoming. We never arrive because life is hard and good and disappointing and joyful all wrapped up on any given day.

I’ve been listening to Untamed by Glennon Doyle. It’s a book full of quotable quotes. This is one that spoke to me.

“I am here to keep becoming truer, more beautiful versions of myself again and again forever. To be alive is to be in a perpetual state of revolution. Whether I like it or not, pain is the fuel of revolution. Everything I need to become the woman I’m meant to be next is inside my feelings of now. Life is alchemy, and emotions are the fire that turns me to gold. I will continue to become only if I resist extinguishing myself a million times a day. If I can sit in the fire of my own feelings, I will keep becoming.”

Glennon Doyle, Untamed

My spiritual journey is the alchemy that keeps me blossoming. I’m in a constant revolution with my inner and outer selves. Outside I want to show I’ve got everything under control. No rocky roads here. Smooth sailing. I know what I am doing, and I am doing it.

Practically every day, someone in the halls will comment about my appearance. Whether it’s the cute Dr. Seuss “Teacher, I am!” mask or the shoes I’m wearing, someone will say something. I know. I know. This is how women interact. I find myself doing it every day.

In fact, one day a little kindergarten girl was rushing in the hallway. She said, “I have to go to the bathroom,” and rushed by me. Then I heard from her little sweet voice, “But I love your hair!”

Perhaps she genuinely had noticed and liked my hair. But it struck me that even our young girls are trained to greet another girl with a compliment about her looks.

I’m not saying this practice is one I would change so much as notice. Our society trains girls at a very young age that how you look matters. Is this healthy?

Lucille Clifton is one of my favorite poets. Years ago I had the privilege of hearing her read at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Her poem “roots” was the poem of the month for A Network of Grateful Living. I loved the voice and cadence so much that I wrote beside her. Literally placed the poem on a document and wrote my own beside her. Glennon’s words and my own inner thoughts led me to this poem.

wings

call it fire even,

call it anything.

it’s the desire in us

to fly.

we hold our hands

above our heads

and call them

branches,

and grow on them.

we flutter them and make melodies.

call them stories, wild stories.

we are lost in the cumulonimbus

field of clouds.

call it lightning,

our flames.

call it wings.

it’s the wild in us.

it’s the wild of us.

it is the wild, call it

whatever you want to.

call it blossoming.

Margaret Simon, after Lucille Clifton
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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30 Days of Thanks: Day 4: I am thankful for friends who support my writing, even when they are not writers themselves.

My friend Cathy is not a writer. Cathy is not even much of a reader. But she loves me and supports my writing life in sweet ways. When I had my first book signing, she showed up with gifts from the Piggly Wiggly in St. Martinville, a t-shirt, spicy salt, and white bread. Recently, she gave me a bag of books. She said, “I found some books on writing you might like.”

I kept the bag in the trunk of my car for about a week. When I did take the books out, I had a negative reaction. They were old discarded books from the library. I brought one of the books inside with thoughts of turning it into an altered book. See this post.

I subscribe to a weekly e-newsletter from Poets and Writers, The Time is Now writing prompts. Last week, the poetry writing exercise was about erasure poetry, taking a piece of text and selecting words while blacking out the rest. This sounded like a good thing to try with my new old book about writing.

The first chapter, “Simplicity” garnered this poem:

Who can understand
your vicious language
everyday–
Strip
every
sentence-
Simplify, simplify.

I love to be alone,
a man thinking
clearly, clearly,
not lost
no fuzz
logic

naturally takes self- discipline, self-
knowledge.
Writing
is
hard work.

So this book was speaking to me. Helping me think about writing. Maybe it was not such an outdated book. I tried this exercise again with Chapter 2: “Clutter.” This was becoming a fun obsession.

I decided to remove the paper cover. As I was hanging by the trashcan to throw it away, I read the bio of the author. Typically nerdy picture, old-fashioned dark-rimmed glasses. He stared at me from a time long ago saying he knew what he is doing. “Probably dead,” I thought. What did I do? Googled him. Then I got stuck, drawn in to this world of knowledge and an endless list of articles from The American Scholar.

I had discovered William Zinsser. He’s not dead, either. He’s 90 years old and apparently still writing. And who is he writing for? Why, me, of course!

Here is William Zinsser’s Wisdom for Women Writers: “Women Writers! You must give yourself permission, by a daily act of will, to believe in your remembered truth. Do not remain nameless to yourself. Only you can turn the switch; nobody is going to do it for you.”

Thanks, Wise William, and Thanks, Cathy. I am grateful for your support.

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