Dream Song

10-14-11 Tangle #4

I am back to that other activity I do, teaching online. We suspended the classroom for the Holiday season, and now we begin again. I had no intention of writing here for a while, but something happened that I felt was important enough to share here. This blog was originally started as a place for me to share my own experiences about writing. What it means to me personally, and many of the things I learned from keeping a daily journal for over half of my adult life. It also gave me the opportunity to share many of the things I’d taught in my late career, as an Ad Hoc Writing Instructor at the University from which I’d graduated. Which is why I am choosing to write out this latest experience about personal writing and what it can accomplish.

At the present moment, I am taking a small group of writers through the stages of the Heroic Journey. Today we begin Stage Four, which is about the energy of the Mentor. That one who comes to help us get moving forward into our own Journey, called life. When I suspended the class for the Holidays, it was my intention to just relax and enjoy those days, but something occurred, and I found myself giving daily prompts for a Creativity Challenge that lasted for forty days. Although I knew I would have to start working on the next stage of that classroom journey, I found myself putting it off each day. Telling myself, I’d get to it later. Filling my days with images that soothed and relaxed me, and to be honest, I didn’t want to quit doing that. It was working really well. But then, one morning, I woke to a dream, one that I understood was important because it was so clear and yet, left me with all kinds of questions.

Dream Song

If I needed you, would you come to me,
would you come to me, for to ease my pain?

In the dream, I entered a room, and there was a woman singing these words into a microphone. She walked slowly toward me, as she sang, then tilted the mic in my direction, inviting me to sing with her.

I was both surprised and confused. Didn’t know her, this stranger, but she seemed to know me. Or, the person I used to be. The one who sang every chance she got. And although I knew the song, it hadn’t been a particular favorite, that I could remember. Yet, when she tilted the mic toward me, I found myself singing the second half of that first verse of the song, as if it were yesterday, when I did such things.

If you needed me, I would come to you,
I would swim the sea, for to ease your pain.

Woke up because I couldn’t remember the words to the rest of the song. Got up and came in here to the computer to find them. Surprised when I found the song on Youtube, sung by Don Williams (a definite favorite) and Emmy Lou Harris. I used to have a couple of his albums. I’m sure that’s where I’d heard the song before. But, although the rest of the words were vaguely familiar, they didn’t come with the simple ease of that first verse.

Which has haunted me ever since. But, until I sat down here to write about it, I couldn’t seem to connect it to anything or anyone. The moment I decided to write about it, I saw several connections. Amazing. I believe the dream is about the Mentor energy within my own person. That energy brought to life in my relationship with my father, and continued in other disguises throughout my life. He, my Dad, was the only person, until I was an adult, who told me that I could accomplish whatever I set my mind to. There were one or two of my high school teachers who tried to tell me I had value, but I dismissed what they whispered because the voices of my other family members were far louder and far more immediately and regularly shouting at me, that I was no more than a liar. That I couldn’t see what was right in front of me, so made it up, or exaggerated it all out of proportion. Subsequently, leading me to believe that I couldn’t trust what went on in my own head.

Well the night’s forlorn and the mornin’s born
And the mornin’s born with the lights of love
And you’ll miss sunrise if you close your eyes
And that would break my heart in two

This is the voice of my inner mentor, speaking directly to me. If I remain asleep, don’t see the light of her sunrise within me, I will not learn whatever it is I need to learn. And that would not only break her heart, but mine as well. She was calling me to this lesson, but I didn’t know that at the time. Had a feeling, but not a definable one. I found myself humming the song, in odd moments, through several days. But, when I would reach for whatever was behind it, I’d draw a blank. Until I sat to write. And that is what she really wanted me to see, to understand, to comprehend. When I pick up a pen, sit to my keyboard, I am opening that door to her energy. It makes no difference how long a time passes, writing words is the key to hearing her sage and wise voice.

If I needed you, would you come to me?
Would you come to me, for to ease my pain?
If you needed me, I would come to you
I would swim the sea for to ease your pain

Here again, is that inner voice, calling me to remember who and what I am. All that I have to offer to the world, based in my relationship with my own mental abilities and experiences. For well over thirty years, the first thing I did most mornings was to write in my journal. I was teaching myself to listen to the only individual I can ever truly know. She will swim the sea of my own confusion and my lack of knowing, help me to steady my own hand by lending hers to me, to help me up, to get me moving again. So that I might, in turn, offer it to another who might need it. For that is the purpose of the Mentor energy. To pass along whatever we have learned through living our lives.

Baby’s with me now since I showed her how
To lay her lily hand in mine
Who could ill agree she’s a sight to see
A treasure for the poor to find

All too often, I forget that I myself am the treasure within my owned existence. And a treasure has no value unless it is shared, given away freely, to anyone who would listen. When I, when we, sit to write, we begin a dialogue with our own person. Makes no difference if that dialogue is a poem, a short story, a personal essay, or the Great American Novel. All those words come from within, from our memories, imagination, personal experience, and the music we prefer. When we write, we take possession of all of those things. We create the landscape of our own journey, by engaging that mentor energy.

And don’t we need that now? When our world is being split apart by arguing voices sometimes filled with hatred and sheer nonsense? We need that voice that brings clarity to our fear and confusion. That single voice that can allow us to find and even defend whatever ground we choose to stand on.

Elizabeth 1/17/2017

Notes: The image is a line weave drawing done in pen and ink, several years ago.

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Color Therapy

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This space has been calling me for several days, but I’ve managed, until now, to ignore its constant whisper. I was busy doing some color therapy. Having finished the Creativity Challenge, I wanted away from words. During the Challenge, I put up 80 posts in 40 days. First, creating the prompts here, then responding to the prompts on my main poetry blog. Now that it is all behind me, I have to wonder about my own sanity in attempting to do it at all. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it (for the most part), but was also glad when it was over. But, am also hoping that you might understand my need to get away from the words, and to sink myself in a sea of color.

The easiest way for me to do that, is to use old photographs I’ve taken, or those supplied by others, and put them through the kaleidoscope app. The photo above was taken a couple of years ago, at a library in our sister city of De Pere. I was actually looking for a writing group that met there occasionally. The group didn’t work for me, but this one photo has provided me with hours of enjoyment.

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I’ve used several different kaleidoscope apps over the years. And each time I try a new one, I go back to this photo because I love the colors and the affect of the sunshine on the flowers. One of the first examples I got from playing with the photo is this one.

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But the variety is endless. This is another kaleidoscope image from a very different app. Yet just as delightful, simply for its difference.

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Color therapy is soothing, but it can also use up energy. There are an endless number of choices to be made, as well as alignments to be considered. And the differences can be somewhat spectacular.

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Most recently, I have been pulling up all of my files and finding images I especially like and turning them into full page photo copies. And as usual, I got a bit carried away and now have enough photo images to cover most of the walls in my apartment. But that sounds a bit like too much work for this old woman. And besides, I will begin teaching online next week, which means its time to get back to the words.

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Although this is only one of the means I use for color therapy, there are several others I enjoy. However, I would like to make an offer to those of you who read these posts. Do you have a favorite color? If you send me an email, with your street address, I’ll send you an image of one of my kaleidoscope photo prints, in the color/s you choose. I will need your full name and address. My email is
el.crawford@yahoo.com

My wish is that you find as much pleasure in them as I do.

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About Diversity

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This is a line weave drawing done in colored ink. It was done in a small 3.5 x 5 inch sketchbook. I have several of them, because they were easy to carry around, and use, when I was caring for my Mother in her final years. But, I like to play with these sketches digitally. So, I tried it in black and white.

2a

Of course, I had to find out what would happen if I put it through the kaleidoscope app. Was really surprised at some of the results.

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And again in black and white, which makes for a good template to color.

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Just had to keep going and find out where it might all take me.

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And then to this.

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And this.

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And back to black and white.

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And then inverted.

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All of these images, each one diverse, able to stand alone. Each one a different, but unique expression. Able to tell a different story, allowing for a different perspective, yet all connected one to another. All coming from the same source, as though sharing the same DNA. That is the strength to be found in diversity. It allows us to grow, to expand our own horizons, as well as that of others.

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Thoughts On Calmness

purle14

The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy, and a thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all of its own — for the children, and the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined … to the Twilight Zone. – “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”

There is something bothering me. I go to Facebook everyday. Many of my friends there are writers, poets, I’ve never met, but care about deeply. And, over these past few months, I have watched some of them change in ways I can’t, and don’t understand. Granted, I only know them through the words they write, and I read. But, I do believe that our written words, because they come from within us, say something about the very real person we are. That one who lives and breathes on the other side of my computer monitor.

I have just spent forty days creating word prompts to help myself and others get through the current upheaval and distress of our present political and everyday reality. I did that for several different reasons:

1. Because I was aware that people were frightened, and I wanted to show them how to use their own skills and abilities to alleviate at least some of that fear.

2. Fear is a signal from the brain that the individual is being threatened. It manifests itself in anger.

3. Anger is a flow of energy, meant to be used against that threat in one of two ways. One either runs like hell, or stands to fight off the threat.

4. Sometimes running away is not a bad or weak thing. It can provide the time needed to assess ones skills and weapons for coming confrontation. It can and does provide for preparation.

5. Creativity is also an energy flow that comes from deep within. It focuses our efforts and also provides us with the knowledge of what we really can do, or be.

6. I truly believe that Creativity is a built-in healing agent, meant to help the individual grow in the ways and means of living a fuller and more actualized life.

7. Thus, my main purpose for creating the forty day Challenge, was to show others how to use their given talents to heal themselves and the world around them.

When I began the Challenge, I had no idea how long it would continue. Some days, I had to work really hard to come up with a word prompt that was suitable. Other days, I knew as soon as I sat down at my computer, just how I needed to proceed. In other words, it was very much an up and down hill climb. A journey, without a map, or a known destination. But, as the days continued to pass, I could see a definite pattern developing. The words that I chose seemed to have, or appeared to hold, a certain sort of movement. They seemed to be directed: first inward, then outward. That made sense to me. We must go inside before acting outwardly. Become aware of our own person, before directing our thoughts and words toward the outside world.

And, somewhere around Day 31, I knew it would all end on Day 40. That also made sense to me. My original faith system is based in Christianity, but over the years, I have explored and incorporated other belief systems into that original basis. Although I am going to use a Christian story for this further explanation, I’m fairly certain, that others will identify something in that explanation that will allow them to relate to what I am about to say.

Before entering his final ordeal, Jesus went into the desert to meditate for forty days and nights. He met a great deal of difficulty during that time and was also confronted by the devil, who tempted him with the lure of the outside world and promised him that world’s adulation and ownership, if he’d just stop what he was doing. Jesus resisted those temptations. Yes, he ended on the cross, but his final words were a prayer that the people be forgiven because they didn’t know what they were doing. He did not act out in fear or anger. He chose otherwise. He came from inside his own being, having learned the meaning of his own existence out there in the desert.

I am well aware that my example is an extreme one. But, I also believe we are in extreme circumstances. We are facing the possible end of the world we live in and on. And although we may not face the exact end of that world, our children, or their children, have a possibility of doing just that. Is that the legacy any of us wish to leave those children?

We are faced with a leader who is essentially a business man. A billionaire who has used and abused others to gain whatever he wants. A creature used to playing ‘the game’ and winning. He promised us a wall, that someone else would pay for. And by using fear as a weapon, he has created that wall. A solid demarcation line between us and them. And we will pay an exorbitantly high price for his efforts. Because while we are fighting one another, he is amassing a cabinet of cronies that will ensure not only his leadership, but all of their bank accounts as well. He doesn’t care, as long as he stays on top.

Which brings me to what concerns me in this present moment. When we use the language of fear and anger, we lose our ability to be heard. And all we accomplish is to add to the noise that doesn’t allow us to hear, let alone, in ways that are beneficial to ourselves, or the world around us. The use of foul language will gain us nothing. Nor will vulgarity or spitting rage at others. We might have valid points to make, but who will even try to listen?

When we express ourselves with anger and rage, we defeat our own purpose. Remember those famous words, “Walk softly, but carry a big stick?” It is the quiet voice of reason that will be heard, not the one of vulgarity and violence. Yes, the vulgarity and foul words feel good as they cross the paper, or page, on which we write. But they are just more bricks cemented into that wall he is building. By all means, write them down, but don’t post them. Release the anger on a personal page, and then enter the public fray with kindness, caring, and reason. And above all else, please remember, those others are not the enemy, they are people just as afraid as we are. The only way we can be, or become, a calming influence is by remaining calm.

And the only way to remain calm, is to spend some time each day, going inward. Making contact with the real person and potentials we all own. If we truly want to be heard, we must first learn how to listen. Listen to our own heartbeat, then reach out from that place.

Elizabeth Crawford 1/2/2017

Note: For me, purple is the color of personal power.

 

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Creativity Challenge Day 40

Creativity Challenge 40

The Challenge here is to use your creative talent to bring light into the current distress in the world around you, in whatever form that talent takes. Please remember that we are reaching out to a world that is facing upheaval and possibly a great number of changes. Let us reach out to that world and bring it the lessons we have learned by becoming artists and writers.  You may use images, photos, music, poetry, prose, short story fiction, personal essay, or whatever suits you best. I will post one word a day, adding a few of my own thoughts about the word. The rest is up to you. You may post as many times as you like, and may use old or new pieces, as you choose. When you have finished creating your post, return here and leave the URL in the comments section below. Then post it to whatever social media you are involved with. If you are not connected to some form of social media, consider joining one now. If not, say so when you post, and I will attempt to post it on mine, which is Facebook.

Word for Today

 Finish

To complete a task, or any endeavor. Crossing the finish line. Putting the finishing touches on something. This will be the last of the daily prompts. I have to get ready to resume teaching a class online. And I want to thank all of you who have participated. I can only hope that it helped you to see how your art, and your creativity, can be healing in times of stress and upheaval. And how reaching out to others is the greatest gift we have to offer our world, while finding our own sense of balance.  I wish you well in all of your adventures. There is both relief and sadness in finishing the task, and you may express that in any form you wish.

Example

 new-year

Elizabeth

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Creativity Challenge Day 39

Creativity Challenge 39

The Challenge here is to use your creative talent to bring light into the current distress in the world around you, in whatever form that talent takes. Please remember that we are reaching out to a world that is facing upheaval and possibly a great number of changes. Let us reach out to that world and bring it the lessons we have learned by becoming artists and writers.  You may use images, photos, music, poetry, prose, short story fiction, personal essay, or whatever suits you best. I will post one word a day, adding a few of my own thoughts about the word. The rest is up to you. You may post as many times as you like, and may use old or new pieces, as you choose. When you have finished creating your post, return here and leave the URL in the comments section below. Then post it to whatever social media you are involved with. If you are not connected to some form of social media, consider joining one now. If not, say so when you post, and I will attempt to post it on mine, which is Facebook.

Word for Today

 Silence

The absence of sound. Many individuals are afraid of silence, so they fill it with distractions. Silence makes us aware of our own person, alone. The mind rushes to fill that void with memories and feelings. Depending on the person, silence might trigger fear, or a sense of peace. There’s a lot of territory between those two realities. Silence might be seen as a weakness, or a weapon. A crutch, or a sword. It might hide ignorance, or a depth of wisdom. I’d like you to try something. Sit quietly, and just breathe. Concentrate on the sound of your own breathing, entering and leaving your body. Once your mind has quieted, breathe deeply for a few moments, then starting with the word silence, write out a stream on consciousness list, adding words as they come from one another. When finished with your list, use a few of those words, in phrases, to create your post for today. Or simply post about your thoughts and feelings about the word itself.

Example

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Creativity Challenge Day 38

Creativity Challenge 38

The Challenge here is to use your creative talent to bring light into the current distress in the world around you, in whatever form that talent takes. Please remember that we are reaching out to a world that is facing upheaval and possibly a great number of changes. Let us reach out to that world and bring it the lessons we have learned by becoming artists and writers.  You may use images, photos, music, poetry, prose, short story fiction, personal essay, or whatever suits you best. I will post one word a day, adding a few of my own thoughts about the word. The rest is up to you. You may post as many times as you like, and may use old or new pieces, as you choose. When you have finished creating your post, return here and leave the URL in the comments section below. Then post it to whatever social media you are involved with. If you are not connected to some form of social media, consider joining one now. If not, say so when you post, and I will attempt to post it on mine, which is Facebook.

Word for Today

 Relief

Release or ease from pain, distress, or discomfort. A positive change. Help when or where it is most needed. Replacement during a time of duty, or work. What relief would you most like to see in the present moment. What would bring relief to our current situation/s? What can we, as individuals, offer to our world, friends, family, neighbors to ease their distress and discomfort?

Example

elephants

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