Thursday, July 31, 2014

Last Day: Whew! (July 31st)


Photo credit: Roberto Kaplan, Roberts Creek (Sunshine Coast), BC

WOWWWWWWWWWWWWW! Finally! It's the last day of the Ultimate Blog/ging Challenge (UBC) and I am home free - thank goodness! - at last, in more ways than one! ;) (Imagine me wiping the sweat from my brow due to not only hot weather, but also finishing the UBC of blogging every day this month, for 31 days: WOW! I can't believe I did it!)

You see, even though I enjoy, actually love creative writing and reading and researching affiliated with it, I think it highly impractical, at least for me, to blog on a daily basis.

For one, it's challenging on my body. My body is meant to move, not sit or stand while typing, reading/researching online for hours on end at times. It's also not a great idea for the eyes: my eyes seem to dry out even though I attempt to blink consciously, never seemingly enough. And my body. I have been avoiding eating decent meals or eating late sometimes due to this...am I crazy or what? Don't answer that: that's a rhetorical question!

And secondly, it's summer! What am I doing spending time indoors (except keeping cool on hot days)?

Am I or was I rather crazy then to participate in this? Yes for the reasons above and no.

No 'cause I challenged my mind, my writing, and in the process, met and gained some wonderful international bloggers and friendships, not to mention read a lot of great blog posts. There are a lot of good bloggers out there! :)

Now, question is: what will I (or you if you are a UBC blogger) do with all that free time? You know, the time you used to spend reading/researching/typing/looking for and downloading pictures? I know what I will be doing based in part on my blogging and that of my fellow UBC bloggers:

*enjoy summer what's left of it(!) including in no particular order:
*attend my favourite Harmony Arts Festival by the ocean
*finish reading a fascinating (spiritually-based) book, Michael Jackson: Man Behind the Mirror by a man I know named Raamayan Ananda
*"catch up" (st least some) on reading blogs including UBC bloggers with honourable mentions to some of my newfound friends in India: Vinodini Iyer who deserves an award for her compelling and brilliant story writing/telling - love it! - and sweet Asma Ferdoes (aka Asiya)with her sensitivity shining through brilliantly in her delicate stories and poems (that I can so relate to it seems)
*listen to free live bands outside in the sun
*dance outdoors including salsa lessons

*go for walks and hug trees in the process
*attend free community events and festivals
*watch beautiful sunsets
*hoola hoop with my sturdy portable (and foldable) hoop
*sing and sun doing a vision therapy exercise
*look at the supermoon (maybe practicing trataka (something I learned while blogging)
*learn Zentangle (thanks to bloggers Minette Riordan and Laura Regan)
*clean my pile of dishes and cooking/preparing meals which I neglected most of this month (oops!)
*tidy/clean what has become my messy home (also neglected after so many days)
*hang out with my friends over iced tea or iced espresso drinks
*visit farmers markets and listen to the free outdoor entertainment
*AND hang out more on my patio whether eating, reading, zero gravity chairing! (now, that's poetic license!) ;)
*read and write my blog posts at my leisure (usually about every two weeks with my busy schedule, thank you very much)

Thank you to the organizers including Kathy Hadley as well as all of you UBC members and readers. Know that I appreciate you whether I have (had the time to) read your blog or not. I hope to read more of your posts next month in between everything else! ;)

I look forward to keeping in touch with some of you through your blogs and/or social media. I already have some ideas brewing for future posts such as performance poetry, and a tribute to a woman who healed herself of cancer. ;)

How will you dear reader spend/enjoy your summer or free time (depending when you read this!)>

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Poetic License


Cast of Full House, television (TV) sitcom (1987-1995)

Poetic license refers to "the freedom to depart from the facts of a matter or from the conventional rules of language when speaking or writing in order to create an effect." (definition by Google)

This is what I was referring to in yesterday's post in terms of my thinking of a one-liner being called a 'poem.' Furthermore, I implied this in my responses to people who commented on that particular posting. Thank you, by the way, to those of you who did so and those of you who do! (I truly appreciate that as sometimes it feels like a lonely iceberg I'm sitting on!)

Now to continue on today's topic, referring to the above towards the end of this post -

In follow-up to yesterday's theme, there are also other forms of poetry which I am not as familiar with, having never written them:

Sonnets originated in Italy, though were popular in England with William Shakespeare having penned quite a number of them. Shakespearean sonnets are characterized by 14 lines in iambic pentameter, with the pattern of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG: Watch this short video (from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0aAWuUX5jU) to understand what this means before you read the sonnet below. It is rather intriguing and hope you find it the same:



Here is an example of a popular Shakespeare's sonnet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonnet
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.- Shakespeare
Check this out for a better understanding according to one source: http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/18detail.html.

The ballad which is actually a story accompanied by music (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ballad). I find it amusing that initially I couldn't think of any, and then all of a sudden I hear a tad of music in my head. I vaguely remembered the word "Fitzgerald" which led to this video featuring a well-known ballad, at least in my part of the world:



And saving the best for last, at least in my opinion. Drum roll please...

The next type of poem is one I was considering taking a workshop on earlier this year and wished I had. The night I pondered this thought, slam poetry streamed through my consciousness, though only in my brain. No written words, no spoken words, not even a microphone to record: DARN!

Slam poetry came on the scene in the 1980's and became popular in the late 1990's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetry_slam). This next video is a pleasant surprise as I didn't know that this person performed slam poetry. Here is a delightful and funny rendition by Tom Hanks, an American actor, on the TV sitcom series, Full House:



And next, I just found this, Shane Koyczan, featured during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games - We Are More - in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia:



According to Wikipedia, there are certain genres of poetry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetry); however, another side has identified even more genres (especially if you click on the links): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Genres_of_poetry.. Take a peek if you dare: you may be surprised to find quite a number of them.

In terms of the types of poems I mentioned today and yesterday, are you (more of) a romantic at heart who appreciates the rhythm and rhyme of sonnets? A singer who loves a good story? A rapper who has a lot to say and get off their chest? Do you identify more with the left- and right-brain challenge of a short haiku or a slightly longer limerick? Or do you prefer the spiritual soothing words in mystic poetry? Maybe you're even undecided and thus enjoy writing in combination with both prose and poetry?

So, using what we learned about styles and definitions of poetry yesterday and today, what poetic license - definition on top of this posting - can you create with the form of poetry that most tugs at your heart strings, calling you to style your own poem, whether by ink or not. ;)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Poet in You, Yes YOU!


Yesterday, I shared some spontaneous, albeit not my best poetry, and was starting to analyze and/or define it. I thought that I would save for this blog as there are variations of poems as there are poets.

Here are some I am familiar with: 'mystic poetry' (not sure the exact name though I assume this is the closest to describing poetry) from the likes of Rumi and Hafiz, former 'Middle Eastern' poets (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East):
A poet is someone
Who can pour Light into a cup
and raise it to nourish your
beautiful parched holy mouth

- Hafiz
Tender words we spoke
to one another
are sealed
in the secret vaults of heaven.
One day like rain,
they will fall to earth
and grow green
all over the world

- Rumi
Haiku, a short and unique style of poetry that changed over time was born in Japan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiku_in_English). I prefer this simpler interpretation better (http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Haiku-Poem). It features three lines, the first with five syllables, the second with seven, and the third with five. It is often on the theme of nature.

I have attempted haiku though it is a challenge for me. Here is one I just wrote:
First cherry blossoms
Delights both my nose and eyes
No going back now
Or how about this one I also wrote as part of this posting:
a feast for my eyes
pink petals dropping like rain
- ballerina show
There's that word "delights" again! Must like it as I also used it in yesterday's spontaneous poem.

Limericks originated in England - I thought Ireland! - with five lines: Lines 1, 2, and 5 have eight syllables and rhyme, and Lines 3 and 4 have five syllables rhyme (as in A, A, B, B, A). They are usually nonsensical and silly. The following limerick, a great example of its structure, won an Irish 'Listowel Writers Week' prize in 1998 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limerick_%28poetry%29):
Writing a Limerick's absurd,
Line one and line five rhyme in word,
And just as you've reckoned
They rhyme with the second;
The fourth line must rhyme with the third
.
And then the prose poem was birthed in 19th century France and Germany; a combination of both prose and poem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poem.) Rainer Maria Rilke is a prose writer as well as Hans Christian Andersen, even Edgar Allan Poe!

My favourite prose poem or one of them is The Invitation by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I am only listing the link http://www.oriahmountaindreamer.com/ for brevity's sake: see left-hand side of her website. (You may need to use control plus the button on your mouse pad to enlarge it!)

Here is my take on prose poetry, an excerpt of one I wrote in Grade 9. Yep, I'm proud of that piece of writing as I received an A+ on it!
"...The leaves murmur among themselves, bravely preparing for the coming of winter..." And a little further on I continue, "The melancholy trees moan and mourn for the loss of their leaves ... The trees shiver from the cold as they are unprotected ..."
But what is the definition of a "poem" in the first place. According to google - where else would you suggest I go? Please tell me and I'm serious about that - this is their definition: "a piece of writing that partakes of the nature of both speech and song that is nearly always rhythmical, usually metaphorical, and often exhibits such formal elements as meter, rhyme, and stanzaic structure. Synonyms: verse, rhyme, piece of poetry, song ... something that arouses strong emotions because of its beauty."

I wonder about that I have come across some - hopefully not mine - that do not necessarily evoke strong emotions or rhymes or is rhythmic for that matter.

According to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetry), "Poetry is a form of literature that uses aesthetic and rhythmic qualities of language - such as phonaesthetics, sound symbolism, and metre - to evoke meanings in addition to, or in place of, the prosaic ostensible meaning." Well, that's a poetic mouthful. I'll let you figure out that in plain English! ;)

To be continued, with some unusual videos. ;)

What is your take on poetry? If you were a poet, would you wear any of the above-mentioned styles on your sleeve or heartstrings? If not, what is your style?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Poetry: Healing AND Delicious!


WOW! An explosion of monolithic proportions!

Those are the exact words I got intuitively as I took my first bite out of a creamy (ganache?) brownie that a work colleague made and brought in last week.

As soon as I received those words, I thought that it was a great line for a poem. I very often only get snippets, literally a line or two, sometimes even a few words that I sense is a poem or is the beginning (line) of a poem.

For example, after drafting this posting and washing my three-or-four-day pile of dishes (due to this daily blog challenge, ahem), I got these lines out of the blue: "disdain of dishes" while washing them, and "elixir of life." (And I wouldn't normally use the words "disdain" nor "elixir." By the way, check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elixir_of_life as you may find it a rather interesting read.

And synchronistically amusing to me, a day or two later, someone used those exact words, "elixir of life." I forget the conversation, but it was like a "doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo..."" moment! Think of that in terms of the opening theme music from Twilight Zone by Rod Serling:



Hey, wait a minute?! Who said a poem can't be one line, I mean one verse? I've read a few poems by Rumi and Hafiz for instance that were one-liners if I understand correctly: "O wondrous creatures, by what strange miracle do you so often not smile?" Supposedly this is considered a quote by Hafiz. I say, why can't it be a poem: a one-liner poem?

There are types of poems that are only a few lines in length. And besides, I read a few blog posts recently where a story is told in only five sentences, imagine that! So why not a poem that is only one verse? I am a 'rebel' after all preferring to colour outside the lines. No, not in a rebelliously, angry, war-like, disastrous kind of way. That is not me at all, well, except for certain issues in the world that push my buttons.

Oh wait, that's another story or rather blog post! Ah, see where inspiration can come from? It can come as I think and/or type words on this page, I mean computer.

So here goes everything or nothing ... sometimes I like to challenge myself as I prefer to write poems when they come to me, not 'forced' out of me (similar to how I feel about writing by the way!)
WOW! An explosion of monolithic proportions
this orgasmic sensation on my tongue
delights my lips, my mouth, my throat, my tummy
hmmmmmmmm, yum, yum, yum
Ok, that was a short poem of whatever kind. My on-the-spot version.

Then a little later, I changed it slightly to read as follows:
WOW! An explosion of monolithic proportions
this orgasmic sensation on my tongue,
my lips, my mouth, my throat, my tummy
delights me
hmmmmmmmm, yum, yum, yum
Do you like to read and/or write poetry? What do you like to read and/or write about? Do you have a favourite poem and/or a favourite poet? If you write them, do you have a particular style? How do you get inspired or where do you get your inspiration from? I know, I know...so many questions! I'm a curious lot, what can I say. I like to learn, even from you the reader! ;)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Poetry Therapy?! Bibliotherapy and Other Such Therapies


A poetry group I led Feb. 13, years ago

Last week my theme was about different types of healing, and I'll continue on that vein, albeit somewhat differently.

There are many - I love this about the United States that they are ahead in some ways - forms of therapies that I heard about in my early 20's. And when I did, not sure how I came about that, I wanted to be and/or do all of them! After all, creativity and expression are important to me and that's what they are about to a certain degree.

One of these forms of therapy which I love the concept of is known as "bibliotherapy." Bibliotherapy is an expressive therapy that uses an individual's relationship to the content of books and poetry and other written words as therapy. Bibliotherapy is often combined with writing therapy. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression. ..." ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetry_therapy). Isn't that neat?! Well, I absolutely LOVE it, love that concept.

I'm not going to expand on that or any of the other therapies, at least not at this time, as they are not my area of expertise, and also because this blog post will be way too long or too many posting parts and I do not have the energy or interest to do that. (Truth be told, I feel rather "blogged out." If that isn't a term, it is now. I just invented it!)

Other related forms of therapy that intrigue me, in no particular order, are art therapy, dance/movement therapy, drama therapy, music therapy, and expressive arts therapy. In my early 20's when I came across this information, not sure how, I wanted to be either an art therapist or a dance therapist. I believe I didn't come across music therapy as a form of healing, similar with sound healing; both of these would have appealled to me greatly.

Unfortunately, I was not well versed in any of these therapies, never having been groomed for any of them as a youngster. Too bad!

Even though drama therapy captures my interest greatly - I think it could be fun - one of my EXA courses was on psychodrama which is quite different in its focus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychodrama). And though I would have loved to be a music therapist and/or sound therapist, I instead studied dance/movement therapy and also EXpressive Arts Therapy (known as EXA Therapy for short as EAT didn't quite cut it.) ;)

Pastel drawing of my emotional realm (my inner passionate fire)

Expressive arts appeals to me as there is an eclectic assortment of modalities within the expressive arts as you can see from my profile (right-hand side of my blog). My definition is as follows, "Expressive arts is a form of (psycho)therapy using a variety of creative and artistic modalities that can transform a client's experiences to one of empowerment. It is the process, not the end product/result that is important. It bypasses the cognitive mind, allowing a client to explore and discover a new perspective in coming to terms with a problem or in solving a problem."

Wikipedia has a great definition and brief summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expressive_therapy

I am a non-practicing EXA Therapist. I actually avoid the term therapist as it doesn't feel right, at least for me. A therapist is "a person skilled in a particular kind of therapy." Psychologists, psychotherapists, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, counsellors, and the like are forms of therapists.

No wonder I prefer not to be affiliated with them! I think of many years of therapy with a psychologist, counsellor, or psychotherapist; Sigmund Freud concerning psychoanalyst, and medication in terms of a psychiatrist. My preference is the term facilitator which I have always admired. It also seems not to be so 'superior' a term.

What I felt intuitively before entering the EXA Therapy program was that I would use my learnings in a different way, my own way, in my unique/crazy/signature style and I believe that it has to do with my alternative choir-to-be. That was confirmed to me by someone who did an angel card reading for me.

That is my hope and inspiration, at times strong and other times fading as time has marched and is marching on.

Have you heard of any of these therapies before? If so, have you studied and/or been a recipient of any of them? Did it allow you to express yourself and thus be more of you?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Part 6: Ways of Healing


Credit: photo of me by Michael Julian Berz

Rumi, a mystic Sufi poet (see my July 7th, 8th, and 10th posts) informs us: "There are many ways to kneel and kiss the ground." This is applicable to ways or methods of healing as well.

When I mention the word "healing," what comes to mind: traditional? contemporary? alternative? complementary? or a combination of these?

Alternative healing may be considered by some as "new age" though this is a misnomer; it actually refers to "...alternative approaches to traditional Western culture, with an interest in spirituality, mysticism, holism, and environmentalism" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Age).

Furthermore, even though some of the so-called 'new age' healing modalities have existed for centuries, some even for millenia (as referred to in this article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_medicine), its meaning is actually referring to the astrological age of Aquarius. Check this link for more information if you are curious: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrological_age.

There are many ways to heal and paths of healing, and no one way is "the one or "the one and only." There is no "one size fits all" philosophy, as what works for me might not work for you, and vice versa. One method of healing is not necessarily better than another, just different, just like you and I are different.

Healing modalities for me include my voice via my speaking and singing; my hands via my writing, my art, and my conducting; and my body via creative dance/movement (like when I used to perform spontaneous dance years ago).

I have been aware for some time that my voice is instrumental as a healing modality from numerous compliments over the years of how calming and/or soothing it is (especially when I used to work on a crisis line and other phone lines, and similarly when reciting poetry or reading kids' books in public); and my hands which 'perform' their own kind of magic, moving spontaneously through involuntary movements, and through my writing. (Yes, that's me! I'm dancing to a poem I performed as a rap at my Expressive Arts Therapy graduation.)

These forms are healing for myself and hopefully for others in some way; sometimes it can be primarily or only for myself, and other times not.

Are you aware of your ways of healing? What do others admire about you and praise you for and/or that you know are unique to you?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Part 5: Healing Me, with A.C. (How I Overcame Brain Buzz)


Hehe - that's me chuckling - what can I say? I love to rhyme sometimes, eh! ;) (referring to the title of this post)

I know that one is not supposed to claim healing someone or being a healer with non-traditional methods AKA (also known as) alternative medicine, though I am not a healer per se anyway. I am only a channel or conduit, primarily through my hands, whether through hands-on healing energy work or my writing. However, what do you call it?...What is the term you use to describe when symptoms change - disappear or lessen - for yourself and others whom you work on? Hmmmm?

The medical system directly/indirectly admonishes the general public in not making any claims that we can do so, i.e., heal, at least not where alternative healing methodologies are concerned. However, this is my blog and I am a 'rebel' at declaring truth: where is my right for freedom of speech?!

I would say 'truth' with a capital 'T', though I reserve that for spiritual truths. There are some, perhaps many folks who would not agree with this; however, I am not here to appease anyone which is what speaking up and speaking one's truth is about, speaking up for what is really going on, that serves the higher consciousness.

Please understand that I am not claiming to be the end all and be all in this realm - I am not the 'Grand Poobah!' (like Fred Flinstone, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Poobah for a great yet brief explanation).

You, the reader, may choose to be responsible for reading between the lines in some of my blog posts, but I digress here. That is a whole other topic, a big whammy that I do not have the interest to travel on on my blog or at least not at this point in time anyway. My preference is to encourage, empower, inspire, and hopefully transform people's lives through whatever means.

Essentially what I want to say about the said title is the following: My mind used to race a lot (most often) with tons of fleeting ideas that seemed to be bouncing all over the place like ping pong balls in action x 1,000 or more times. Another analogy is as if my brain was buzzing, on like the humming of an electrical switch or current.

It seemed like my mind would not shut up or shut down and relax. I swear it was constantly going, going, going, going like a busy bee. At least that is what I used to say to describe this continuous pattern of thinking. Even when attempting to meditate, my body does not like sitting meditations - the worst for me - my mind was non-stop thinking.

And then one day, Access Consciousness which I wrote about yesterday, came into my life very spontaneously and somewhat unusually, at least on my part. I was introduced to it via an email from an acquaintance. I persuaded someone whom I had met through a women's circle to join me without watching the video, or only a minute or two at most, if that.

After arriving and settling into the venue, I laid on a massage table. Someone I knew "ran bars" on me. "Bars" is the name of a particular process.

I knew something had occurred when I got up to walk around for (1) I couldn't walk properly, more like being drunk and swaying and (2) I felt somewhat lightheaded. That wasn't a "bad" thing I was told and I didn't feel it was.

When I walked to the tables of interesting and unusual refreshments, I saw a woman whose face literally glowed. It wasn't an hallucination. I wasn't imagining it. Think of this: does your face or someone you know ever light up especially when you or they are extremely happy/excited or the like? That is what I am taking about.

It was the combination of that experience, but more so because of her face, that actually caused me to sign up and enroll in my first 'bars' class. I thought, "I want that!"

I came to be truly grateful and still am as this methodology alone saved me in a sense. It kept me calm, focused yet relaxed, grounded, peaceful, and stable in a sane way.

I mean, can you imagine this? Your brain going constantly for years, hardly ever getting a rest, a break, a much-needed and well-deserved vacation? I was amazed after one treatment, my intro to this, how I felt. I knew I was onto something, something good!

When the facilitator worked on the 'bars' on me, I was distracted by the click-click-click of a women's heels on the wood floors and her incessant talking just like my brain was thinking - "Will you shut up please lady! I just want to relax, maybe even sleep. And besides I am having difficulty hearing you" - with hardly a pause.

Now when I reflect back on that incident I find it rather amusing, but at the time I was extremely annoyed and rather irritated.

Do you believe you can be healed? Do you believe you hold yourself back from healing? What if you were to open up and surrender to the process? What could/would happen?