I just stumbled across a quote from
Mary Oliver and simply have to share it
here: “When it’s over, I want to say: all
my life I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world
into my arms.”
JulieJordanScott has written 12 entries about this goal
I just stumbled across a quote from
And rereading the posts over here today reminds me.
I am a writer – and a deep experiencer of life. Today I published this in my ezine and when I thought about it more I thought… hmmm…. this really fits in the “Live Passionately” category:
They look sort of like what I imagine an
underwater lavender bush might look like. Their
arms are wavy, as if pushed about by an underwater
current. Their color is a bold, vivid purple, perhaps
like something I saw in the art of my beloved
movie, “Finding Nemo”.
I couldn’t help myself when I reached over to one
of these mystery plants and ran my hand along its
blossoms to gather up the scent, like I do with my
friends, the lavender bushes I know and love.
I put my hand up to my nose and breathed in, waiting
for ecstasy to enfold me.
I wish I had a camera on my face to see what
“Mold. This smells like… the insides of an old person’s
home… filled with objects they have had for decades… it is
like the Hyde’s-house-smell.”
The home of my childhood next-door-neighbors was a
smell I loved and treasured, but certainly not wonderfully
earthy and bliss-launching as lavender or rosemary.
It is certainly not what I expected at all.
That circles us right around to the entire point of
All it takes is one, deep breath in – and I am launched
into the stratosphere.
It is the best creative unblocker I can ever imagine or
recommend. I am thinking about our most primitive,
visceral creative tool, the one which cracks open dense
sheets of frozen ice – the sense of smell.
And it is so simple – we all have it available, right at
I just walked down the hallway of my house. There is
something making a strange odor coming from what
we call “the garden room.” A nasty smell, indeed.
When I am done here, I will investigate further. I walked
back into my living room, where I am writing, and I smell
remnants of last night’s fire in the fireplace.
Last night Craig swept me away for a couple hours of
respite from my house. I commented, lightly, “We had a
fire in the fireplace, it was really awesome.” And he said,
“That’s it. I smell it on you,” like he had been quietly in his
driver’s seat, wondering how to identify that dancing
smell-shadow that had arrived, unannounced when I
joined him in the car.
He was driving the car and we had been together for
all of about three minutes at that point, but that one
moment of witness made me stop and appreciate him
much more than I had before, even with our combined
admiration for bassist Leland Sklar.
So what can I do to take this sensory experience into
To start, here are several topics I could choose from
that were inspired by the sense of smell from
1. Inspiration from Color (the plant – and art in Finding
Nemo- which might seem like it is from Visual, but it is
really from getting what I didn’t expect from the sense
of smell and recognizing beauty anyway.)
2. Memories from The Hyde’s House… so many from that
alone. Being treasured by older people who aren’t your
grandparents, creating memories for the beloved older
people in your life, opening your home to children,
the bridge between little ones and the elderly, deep
memories, deep joyful memories, creating tradition with
your “un-family family.”
3. Creating a Sensual Garden
4. When the Unexpected is what is just right
5. Wooing with the Senses
Helen Keller said, “Smell is a potent wizard that transports
us across thousands of miles and all the years we have lived.”
Right at the tips of our noses we have the magic of the deep
breath – the connection to the marvel of scent.
Your assignment is simple. Notice the scents which surround
you – and breathe in, deeply.
Notice what images arise as a result – and if you are feeling
especially creative – write them down. You might write a
sentence, a haiku, a paragraph, a vignette or “snapshot” moment
in time. It is up to you.
I am an accomplished griever.
Yes, I admit it, “accomplished griever” is a unique
title, especially in this society which relishes not
grieving. We live in a culture that says “someone is
doing well” after a loss when they are Stoic, when they
are holding their “stiff upper lip” in place above
their eyes-to-the-horizon chin.
I have learned that I would rather claim my position
at the wailing wall and allow the truthful emotions
that come with grief to flow than negate the beauty
within the sadness.
Today contained one of those classic, grieving moments.
I have experienced several significant losses in the past few
days. Denial stood between me and my emotions and I noted
to RJ on the way home from rehearsal last night, “My eyes hurt.
It is like there is a layer of salt on top, begging me to
cry it all away.”
“Let it out, JJ” my friend responded with all the passion of an
experienced albeit youthful thespian. “Emote! Emote!”
I laughed. Out loud. Long.
I held it there until an hour ago when I needed to move
my sadness before it morphed into fear and took me
headlong into despair.
Hank and I walked. “A short walk” I promised.
He was happy no matter what length walk we took.
The tears came. And came some more. And came some more.
I cried loudly and didn’t care. I put the Mona Lisa look on
briefly when a muted red pick-up drove up with a waving
One more house away, I cried again.
“Sit in the flow of the river,” whispered the wind. “Climb
into your boat self and feel the sunset against your
skin,” it coaxed.
My tears paused as I remembered. I felt supported by the
Earth with no blanket between her and my crossed legs. I watched
the beauty unfold as the sun took its daily leave. I smelled the dust
and the air and the traces of lead left by my pencil. I heard it scratching
and the music of the wind against the grasses kissed my spirit and
followed the tracks of my tears to my heart.
The divine massaged my heart and reminded me that all was well.
Brother David Steindl-Rast wrote, ““God’s inexhaustible poetry comes to me in five languages: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. All the rest is interpretation – literary criticism, as it were, because poetry resists translation. It can be fully
expressed only through its original language, all the
more true of the divine poetry of sensuousness.”
I breathed deeply in the here and now and was greeted by the richly satisfying scent of a waning, deep pink rose in the yard of one of my neighbors.
I smiled and thanked the Divine for the poetry, surrounding me,
ever ready to remind me and bring me present to the love, all
encompassing, which always surrounds me.
Wow, even with the sadness I am encountering… my muse leaving town, my dog getting hit by a car and dying Weds night, my foster daughter showing up at my door unexpectedly in crisis… which opened up all sorts of scarred over pain… and then the stress of working on four shows simultaneously… I have managed to write 5,034 words for NaNoWriMo… so I am not so far behind and things are still ok…... my heart is still beating, I am still breathing, my face is not on the pavement somewhere….....
I started my novel this morning. It is November, National Novel Writing Month. It is November, month of historic monumental life change.
November is the month I left my conventional job with local bureaucracy behind. November is the month I started performing on stage again after a 30+ year drought. November is the month it actually starts getting cold in Bakersfield and the wind makes my ears turn red when I walk my dogs. It’s the month I fill my crock pot and oven with appleand pumpkin foods and the scent fills my home and in turn fills me, connects me with the Earth and I find myself feeling exceptionally grounded and content.
November, month of passion, month of love, month of possibilities, month of wonder.
“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as
nothing can cure the senses but the soul.”
I leaned back into the darkness, my face like the yellowing crown on a fried egg, looking up at the sky in rapt attention. It looked like I could reach out and feel the texture of the sky with my hand or perhaps, instead, trace it with my tongue and see if the stars had a flavor all their own and unknown to the casual-night-sky-passer-by.
The fire crackled beside me. I could smell sausage cooking on the end of a stick, juices oozing off its crinkling skin. The chocolate cookie I had eaten was still leaving its echo in my mouth. The left side of my body felt exceptionally warm and the right side of my body was tickled by a cool breeze which teased me relentlessly.
Soul conversation whispered directly into the ear.
Songs sung, lyrics remembered, long ago poetry revisited.
Deep breath, gentle and insistent embrace.
Each sense was magnified by the intention and the connection. My soul and I glided effortlessly into the spell of wonder and gratitude.
My hand lifted up and out to connect with skin of another soul. Silently, I smiled.
This was a prompt I came up with for my sacred sixty writing group today and what flew out, I thought, was fitting for all of us who are living passionately or who have such a desire:
When rules and inspiration meet, I find freedom.
I take root.
I dance with angels while my feet feel mud underneath
them – I wiggle my toes to feel the darkened ooziness
well up from deep in the Earth. My nose inhales the freshly mown
grass alongside the mud and I smile with intense satisfaction.
Where rules and inspiration meet, I understand in
new and profound ways. The “shoulds” evaporate and
leave a kissable dew-mist on my cheeks.
My skin, moist, soft creative lines of love and thought
leave traces of all that has been and all that is yet
to become because of and through me.
Lines of rivers, rivers, following the flow, the norms,
their centuries old structure, move away for a while so
that I can nestle into their softness…. Inspiration… from
= + = + = +
Yes. Live with passion, everyone.
I registered for NaNoWriMo, a program in which participants are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. I have had friends do this, but I always hemmed and hawed and figured the time wasn’t right and besides, I wasn’t a novelist… blah blah blah I go on and on and on….
Yesterday I said WHAT THE HECK!?
Writing is my anchor art, a continual love in my life since before I could write. (I remember when I was five years old, before I knew the alphabet even… I wrote a cursive “e” and filled the page with it… e, e, e, e, e)
So I am going for it.
Not going to intellectualize it or create any blocks for myself, I am simply going to do it.
Once again, living – creating – passionately.
I am grateful!
We have a somewhat unconventional mini-rule
in our house.
I have taught my children not to utter the phrase, “I
am bored.” Or “That is boring.” Speaking it, thinking
it gives it power.
My mother shared wisdom with me long ago that has
stuck through to this day. “The only people who are
bored are those with small, uncreative ways of thinking.”
Nonetheless, the phrase rang through my childhood
house, sometimes as often as the rotary-dial phone
that graced our kitchen wall. I remembered, though,
and the seeds of belief lived way beyond our
residency at 56 Hawthorne Avenue.
My children and I have learned to find fascination
in the most mundane, we have learned to make each
interaction a sacred one. We have chosen to live each
moment noting the miracles that surround us.
I was in early adolescence when I discovered my life
was the product of birth control failure. My parents
were actively trying to prevent my conception. My
first thought upon hearing this news was, “Well, God
must have wanted me to be born, then. I must have
some pretty important work to do.”
That important work includes blessing the cars as
they drive by, it includes eye contact with the homeless
folks I encounter, it includes hugging others that don’t
usually receive hugs, it includes recording inspirational
messages on my voice mail, it includes asking people
how they are doing and waiting for their response and
following up with concern, gladness or a combination
of whatever feels right and good in that moment.
Yesterday I walked ten blocks with “a stranger” who
asked me what I do. That is a rather opening question ‘
for someone like me. I wear many hats, take on many
tasks, and have one real job.
My real job is to love. My real job is to use that love to
facilitate the opening of the souls I encounter. “I pretty
much squeeze the juice out of every moment.” I explained.
So if I am waiting in line at the grocery store and
there are other people grumbling, I am praying. If I
am stuck in traffic, I am singing. If I am in a meeting
that feels like it is going nowhere, I facilitate closure
and move along.
Thomas Szasz said, ““Boredom is the feeling that
everything is a waste of time; serenity,
that nothing is.”
Nothing is a waste of time. I am serene.