Staring At The Water

July 29, 2012

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”
Rabindranath Tagore

Many of us have that “distant shore” we long to walk upon. It may be a new relationship or a new job. Perhaps it is healing after illness or loss. Maybe that shore represents courage or strength. Whatever it represents, we can all relate to the struggle of how to get there from where we are now.

The symbolic body of water that ebbs and flows between us and the shore we long to set foot on, can be small or seemingly boundless. Sometimes our fear, anxiety or  lack of confidence make it seem  simply too big to navigate and cross.

And yet, if we do just stand there staring at the lapping waves, wondering how we will cross the water, we will not get anywhere. There has to be a first step.  Otherwise you will simply stay where you are.

You can wish for things, or expect things. Like a boat, or someone to come tell you there is another way, or for the water to dry up, but most likely nothing like that will come along.……you’ve got to make some kind of decision and get moving.

Start where you are. Because, that IS where you are. Take that first step and place it right on top of fear and uncertainty and then keep on going, one step at a time.

Belief in the possibility of getting to the other side of the water and the willingness to try can mean the difference between feeling like you can or feeling stuck. Even if you don’t get where you’re headed, believing you can, and working toward your goal is more powerful than you realize.

We all stand on our own personal shore, gazing at the shimmering water and wonder how the heck do we get to the other side. None of us are alone in this.  But staring, longing, dreaming, wishing, fearing, doubting, does not help us at all.

Stare at the stars. Stare at fireworks. Stare at a work of art. But please, don’t stare longingly at the shore on the other side of the water. Go there. You can do it.

“Contentment is the greatest treasure.”― Lao Tzu


Ease of mind. Comfort of mind. The opposite of dis-ease: without ease.


When we experience dis-ease, it is difficult to live up to our potential. We become burdened with wants and desires that diminish the parts of our lives that are of the highest value.

Contentment is sometimes used interchangeably with happiness. They are two subtly different things.

When you’re happy, it’s really a state of being, influenced by a number of factors, including contentedness.
Contentedness, on the other hand, is a matter of being satisfied with what you have. It focuses on what you have and don’t have instead of just being a state of being. It influences happiness. However, you can choose to be content, just as you can choose to be happy, and if you choose to be content, you will be happy.

I don’t ever mean to sound like there is a magic button called “choose” that you just push and make everything better. I know it is harder than that. However, I do believe that by making one different choice in one circumstance you can begin to develop the strength and power to choose differently.

I believe contentment is an example of this. You can choose to be satisfied with what you have instead of filling up the pintrest  board with things you want and feeling sad that you can’t have them all at once. Of course it is great to work towards something, but will the attainment of that  “thing” make you happier”? Every time you want or need something it is a pinch from the world of disappointment: saying, hey remember, ” I can not be happy and content if I don’t have a new red car.” Why not take the first step in altering your perception and as you climb into your worn, but functional car, and say to yourself, “I am grateful to have a car.” Find contentment in what you have.

As with everything in life we need to find a healthy balance. In this case the balance between contentment and desire and longing. We all struggle with this.

When we get so caught up with “working at” being happy/content are we forfeiting the opportunity to be happy and/or content? Do we become lost and unable to see  the potential for happiness and contentment that is all around us.

Looking for “ease-of-mind”? Contentment? Begin where you are and be grateful. Know why you are saving for something, why you “have to have” something….keep desire for “having more” or something “else”, at an arms length, and see where those things fit into your choice of working towards being content/happy. Keep it real.


Become Living Poetry

July 15, 2012

“Be silent now.
Say fewer and fewer praise poems.
Let yourself become living poetry.”

~ Rumi

What if we became silent poems ……?  What if we each became “living poetry”?  Perhaps it is time to “Be silent now. Say fewer praise poems.” And, to let ourselves “become living poetry”. Are we already? Our every moment of being is  an expression of living poetry.

There are over 5o “styles” of poems. As of today, July 14, 2012, 7:24 a.m., there are 7,026,170,881 people in the world. That’s A LOT of living poetry! What will you experience today? What will you “say” today?

What is your “living poetry” style? These are the “top” 12…well, someone’s top 12. How do you “speak” to others through your daily living? I don’t really know very much about poetry, but thought it would be fun to look into it, and see if I could figure out what form my “living poetry” most closely matched!

SONNET: Sonnets are particularly associated with love poetry, and often use a poetic diction heavily based on vivid imagery.

JINTISHI: . Jintishi often has a rich poetic diction, full of allusion, and can have a wide range of subject, including history and politics.

SESTINA: The sestina has six stanzas, each comprising six unrhymed lines, in which the words at the end of the first stanza’s lines reappear in a rolling pattern in the other stanzas.

VILLANELLE  is a nineteen-line poem made up of five triplets with a closing quatrain. The poem is characterized by having two refrains, initially used in the first and third lines of the first stanza, and then alternately used at the close of each subsequent stanza until the final quatrain.

PANTOUM  is a rare form of poetry similar to a villanelle. It is composed of a series of quatrains; the second and fourth lines of each stanza are repeated as the first and third lines of the next.

RONDEAU originally a French form, written on two rhymes with fifteen lines, using the first part of the first line as a refrain.

TANKA is a form of unrhymed Japanese poetry, with five sections totalling thirty-one onji (phonemic sounds) , structured in a 5-7-5 7-7 pattern. There is generally a shift in tone and subject matter between the upper 5-7-5 phrase and the lower 7-7 phrase. It was used more heavily to explore personal rather than public themes.

HAIKU is a popular form of unrhymed Japanese poetry. Written in a single vertical line, the haiku contains three sections totalling seventeen onji, structured in a 5-7-5 pattern. Traditionally, haiku contain a kireji, or cutting word, usually placed at the end of one of the poem’s three sections; and a kigo, or season-word.  Haiku often reflects something to do with Nature.

RUBA’I is a four-line verse practiced by Arabian and Persian poets.

SIJO is a short musical lyric practiced by Korean poets. It is usually written as three lines, each averaging 14-16 syllables, for a total of 44-46 syllables. There is a pause in the middle of each line.

ODE:   The ode generally has three parts: a strophe, an antistrophe, and an epode. The antistrophes of the ode possess similar metrical structures and, depending on the tradition, similar rhyme structures. In contrast, the epode is written with a different scheme and structure. Odes have a formal poetic diction, and generally deal with a serious subject. The strophe and antistrophe look at the subject from different, often conflicting, perspectives, with the epode moving to a higher level to either view or resolve the underlying issues.

The GHAZAL is a form of poetry common in Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Bengali poetry. In classic form, the ghazal has from five to fifteen rhyming couplets that share a refrain at the end of the second line. Each line has an identical meter, and there is a set pattern of rhymes in the first couplet and among the refrains. Each couplet forms a complete thought and stands alone, and the overall ghazal often reflects on a theme of unattainable love or divinity.

Some  rhyme, others do not. Some have a complete thought while others only hint at something. There are poems that use refrains, a line or group of lines that is repeated throughout a poem, usually after every stanza. Poems can be romantic, political, spiritual, or mystical. Some are soft, and some are strong or even harsh. Some are metaphorical, while others are figurative. Some are short and some are long.

Personally, I feel my living poetry is not strong on rhyme, but does employ structure. I do seem to be heavy on repetition, perhaps as security. I tend not to express to much that is political and focus more on the spiritual, nature and emotion. I think I am a shorter, sharper type of poetry rather long and complex type. Sometimes people “get” me, other times, not so much!!!

I could be Tanka with a little Haiku or Sijo, and a dash of Villanelle.

I hope you have some fun with this! There are so many sources available on the internet. Explore and see  if you learn a little something about yourself.

Turning the Wheel

July 8, 2012

“Turn the wheel of your life. Make complete revolutions.

Celebrate every turning.

And persevere with joy.”

~ Deng Ming-Dao

I have been on vacation. To Oregon, it’s coast, and the California Redwoods. I have been watching and listening. To Nature, to people, to body language, to the voice inside of my head.

We (okay, I) miss out on so much by worrying about things that really should not be worried about.

What would it be like if we consciously turned the wheel of our life, making a complete revolution each time? Celebrating everything. Persevering with JOY!!!!!! Admittedly, “persevering” may be a key word in some situations.


Could you do it? Can you do it? Can I do it? I have my doubts that I can do it . But I can give it a whirl. Because I like the thought of joy instead of fear, worry, anxiety. And I have the power to choose…or to begin to learn how to choose differently. I imagine if I keep trying I will get better at choosing joy.

Will you join me, and give it a try?