Kundalini Splendor

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Friday, February 21, 2020

The Follower––poem by Dorothy 

The Follower

I gave up wife and child
to come to this place.

Now I sit here
with a straight back
and a loin cloth
as I say my mantras,
even the ones
I composed,
that just came.

A bit of rice
now and then for food,
recitation of sacred passages
for the master to hear.

Long walks
by the river,
the ground
to sleep on.

He tells me
that such austerities
will purify the soul,
bring the spirit
to enlightenment and joy.

Sometimes when I
am sitting
under the stars,
 their radiance
warms my heart,
and I feel something strange
open in my chest,
as if I were being kissed
by an unknown love.

I wait to see,
do not tell him.
He knows the way.
I must listen in silence
as he gives me more repetitions
and twisted moves,
more cold nights,
till I reach my goal.

Dorothy Walters
February 20, 2020

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

The Stranger––poem by Dorothy 

The Stranger

Something has carried me
into a new place,
a country where
I have not been before,
a language
I do not know.

This dervish on the screen
now turning in my heart,
spinning me
into newness.

This music from
an unnamed source,
its drumbeat of
unity and love.

These leaves trembling
on the tree nearby––
now they are me,
now they have invaded
and overthrown
what I thought I was,
boundaries dissolved,
cells all given way,
faded into
this familiar stranger
I have become.

Dorothy Walters
January 19, 2020

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A Flower––poem by Dorothy 

A Flower

(for Rumy)

What shall I do?
I am become this flower,
this scent, this other
of who I am.

Sweetness flows from head
to foot,
a gentle stream of forgetting,
of becoming only this,
this fragrant reality,
this is of what is,
what I am,
what I am going to become,
this irrefutable evidence
of All.

Dorothy Walters
February 18, 2020

(Today I was still in an altered state from the excitement of the magical afternoon on Sunday.  Then, this flower caught my attention and as I held it near to enjoy its sensuous odor, I felt gentle but very real flows of shakti.  So this was my morning practice, as I moved my hands near but not touching my various chakras.  An hour later I stopped to smell it once more, and the odor was gone from it and also the remaining blooms in the vase from which it had come.   This transitory experience was like a brief visitation from the goddess, who is indeed Kundalini.)

Monday, February 17, 2020

Amazing Day 

Amazing Day

Yesterday was special.  A friend of mine set up a performance of music and poetry in a nearby city and it was a smashing success.  We had some very good local poets, music (flute and harp) from Val the organizer and harpist, and poetry from both Val and me.

Seventy people came––an amazing turnout for a poetry reading (often you get 10-15 for these.)  Every one seemed to love it and some even cried during the reading of sacred poems.

I am still vibrating from all the excitement.

I think it is events like these that remind us that we ourselves are in fact talented and creative and such community gatherings can help us survive during these difficult times.

Blessings to all,


Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day––Penny Evans 


Penny Evans

Love wears red tights, of course, and a long loose top so she can dance easily.  She rides a bicycle decorated with bells and flowers and carries chocolates in a big canvas bag which she hands out liberally.  Contrary to popular opinion, she does not own a bow and knows nothing of archery.  She also shares poems everywhere she goes. She’s a Quaker and loves silence but also is known to use curse words now and again when things don’t work out.     She doesn’t wear make-up.  She seems to cause people to fall and she has unusual disguises.  She likes to sneak up on YOU.  Sometimes people mistake others for her.  She has imposters.  Watch out for them!  They usually seem too good to be true – and often are.  When she’s done her work, she leaves you alone to figure out the hard stuff.  Because she’s real, she does have some warts, scars and occasional bad breath.  You have to take the whole package.  She can break your heart – but, that too can be a sort of gift sometimes.  She likes it if you prepare the way for her;  sweep the path,   expect her to arrive.  Be home.  And, if she came into your life long ago and you’ve begun to take her for granted – dust her off – buy her some flowers – ask her to dance.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Garrison Keilor––An Old Man's Sunday Morning 

Garrison Keilor

An old man’s Sunday morning annotated

“Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet!” said the prophet Isaiah, which we read in church on Sunday, but nobody shouted. We are flatlanders, brought up to be still and behave ourselves and listen to instructions, but if the instruction is to shout out and raise your voice, wait to see if other people do it and then, depending on which ones do, maybe do it yourself but quietly. And we are Episcopalian so what would we shout? A poem by Mary Oliver? A recipe for bouillabaisse?

I would shout, “God help us and do it soon.” I was provoked last week to wonder where I would go if Democrats hand over the White House and the Current Occupant remains for sixteen or twenty years until he’s in his mid-thirties and I thought, “Iceland.” England is an obvious choice but I don’t understand Brits when they talk and Icelanders speak beautiful English. I was in Reykjavik once, driving around, lost, and saw a large white home by the sea and walked up and knocked on the door and it was opened by the president of Iceland. It was his home. He told me to get back to my hotel. He spoke perfect English, of course. Imagine knocking on the door of a white house and it’s opened by the C.O. The thought is depressing, not to mention his English.

But the Sunday service moved on to the confession of sins and I thought of my unfair bias against pop music of the past thirty years and the replacement of melody and harmony with rapping and tapping and my shameful bias against people with tattoos. This is wrong of me to dismiss my fellow creatures just because, on a crazy impulse years ago, they had enormous orange flames inscribed on their left shoulder. Or the young woman I saw in the grocery last week with green leaves tattooed on her neck. Just because she imagined herself as a trellis is no reason to look down on her. Someday I may be in a vegetative state myself and I hope people are no less kind for that.

I confessed this to Almighty God to Whom all desires are known and from Whom no secrets are hid, including my envy of a friend who lives in a majestic house with umber tile floors and rattan carpets atop a hill overlooking the blue Pacific, which he earned by cranking out mindless TV shows in which unattractive people snarl at each other to the accompaniment of a laugh track, which enables him to jet down to Brazil and hike into the rain forest and have more fun than I do and so I entertain hopes that he will fall off a ledge into a slough and be bitten by poisonous fish and catch a rare fish-transmitted disease that leaves the victim feeling lethargic and stupefied and for which the only cure seems to be fasting, chastity, and immersion in cold water. I imagine visiting him to express my insincere sympathy. I confessed the sin of envy but as you can see it is a continuing problem.

On my way home I remembered more sins, including a loathing of braggarts who cannot bring themselves to ever admit being wrong and a strong intolerance of ducktails on older men. I know of a man who is very committed to maintaining the swoop of hair with distinct comb tracks behind each ear, touching them up every fifteen minutes or so even though he is allegedly fully employed. I knew boys in high school sixty years ago who were dedicated to their hair but the habit tends to fade as one acquires children, wives, debts, etc. Barack Obama has zero-maintenance hair, unimpeachably so. Nobody imagines him spending time doing his makeup and sculpting his hair. The gentleman in question is also the biggest braggart in the history of America. When you hear him spout off about his perfections and you see the duck marks on his head, there is a cognitive dissonance like the sound of a stack of china dropped on a concrete floor.

Be that as it shall be, I am thinking that Iceland may be worth a look. My people left Yorkshire in 1774 and came here and it’s been good but eventually things run their course. Next Sunday in church I will say a prayer for the man and for his hair. I think baldness would be good. He is bald-faced so why not the top too?

The light bulb is out and needs changing

I flew into New York last week, descending over the East River onto LaGuardia, and outside Baggage Claim I was surprised to find men and women in official yellow vests guiding us tourists toward the taxi stand, helping with luggage, saying, “Welcome to New York” and “Thanks for using LaGuardia” and “Enjoy the city.” This is not the New York that we Minnesotans expect to find, but thank goodness the cabdrivers are still genuine New York cabdrivers, surly, scrappy, contemptuous of the stupidity all around them.

In Minneapolis, the cabdriver who drove me to the airport told me, without prompting, about his brief career as a guitarist in a band, his failed marriage, the difficulty of getting back to music. Call me a cynic but it struck me as a plea for a big tip, which I, a Minnesotan, duly gave him. In New York, no cabdriver would take that tack. He is a fighter who will get you from the airport to the Upper West Side five minutes faster than anyone else could.

New York is a good place to visit when you feel the country is falling apart. On the island of Manhattan, high-rises keep rising, water mains break, rush hour is crazy, you can’t help but feel the fragility of the complexity of the place and yet people cope. They cram into subway cars and find privacy in a book or a pair of headphones. I sat next to a woman once who, I swear, was listening to Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” while looking at a solid wall of people’s legs and rear ends. Everywhere, you see the resilience of the human spirit.

The country is splintering, farmers going broke, government stewardship of the planet is a dead issue, the Arctic is melting, we’ve come to accept dishonesty in high places, and in January we watched the cruel punishment of Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr., chained to a chair and forced to listen to the Senate’s impeachment trial, like making Wynton Marsalis listen to one hundred hours of air horns. But the president won a big victory, just as the state of Kansas did in the Super Bowl, and now we move on to other matters, such as socialism: what percentage of American voters consider themselves socialist? Five? Eight? Three?

My phone rang in the cab. It was a friend I’d recently been miffed with. She said, “My kid told me a joke and I thought of you. Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?”


“Amish who?”

“That’s funny, you don’t look like a shoe.”

It was the first knock-knock joke I’d heard in years: I don’t know many nine-year-olds. I am a mature American male, a tax-paying Episcopalian, and this joke kills me. It made me forget whatever it was I was miffed at her about. This is the beauty of jokes: if they’re funny, they erase bad feeling. “Why don’t Amish water-ski?” I ask. “Because it’s so hard on the horses.” She groans but she is amused.

I’m sad that the lightbulb joke has vanished in America, it was clever, often funny, but it made fun of categories of people and this was seen as offensive. How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? (One but the lightbulb has to want to change.) Irishmen. (One to hold the bulb, nine to drink until the room spins.) Jewish mothers. (None. I’ll just sit in the dark and suffer.) Episcopalians. (None, we have candles.) Amish. (What light bulb?) Germans. (Nein.) Comedians. (This is not a joke, it’s a question.)

Trump is the first president in my lifetime who’s incapable of telling a joke, a remarkable thing about him, plus his inability to smile. When he refers to dissident Republicans as “human scum” and African countries as toilets, he’s not kidding. This is old-fashioned New York street talk. Trump is New York through and through, elected by Midwesterners who were charmed to find out that someone could talk like that and run for public office. They decided we needed an abusive leader. Meanwhile, the yellow vests at LaGuardia who said “Welcome to New York” were under strict orders from a powerful boss who can fire them in five seconds: this was not voluntary, trust me. I liked our cabdriver. He didn’t tell us about his problems, he just got us where we were going. Meanwhile, the big news is that Melania has put Trump on a diet so he loses five pounds a week. In a year, we’ll be rid of him entirely.

What goes on in Minneapolis on a winter night

I drove to the grocery the other night and there, near checkout, saw a freezer case with the sign, “Artisan Ice Cubes,” a bold new step in our march toward Preposterosity. I asked the checkout guy if maybe the sign meant to say “Artesian” and he wasn’t interested. Word usage is not his responsibility. To me, artisanal ice is in the same category as organic non-GMO ice cubes. I’m a Minnesotan and I appreciate the beauty of frost and snow but an ice cube is an ice cube.

I drove home and saw a man and a woman alone together on a neighborhood ice rink, skating as a pair, side by side, arms crossed, and I slowed down to watch. He swung in front of her and turned, skating backward, holding her by one hand as she lifted her back leg and struck a pose, then they turned in a wide arc, paired up again, and did a figure eight. They were in their sixties, no longer sylphlike, and this public display of artisanal skating was very romantic. Made me think of bell-bottoms in the Seventies and Elvis’s muttonchops.

This is the spirit that draws people to the opera. We live in the Age of Numb Disbelief, but the opera is one place where the heart speaks and passion rules and Aida descends into the tomb with her lover, who has been sentenced to death; she cannot live without him so she must perish with him. Meanwhile, they sing a gorgeous long duet that if you leave early to avoid traffic, you are missing the whole point.

I come from a family of Calvinists, my wife from a family of violinists. Twenty-five years ago, she and I were living together while my divorce went through and I brought her out to Minnesota to meet my elderly parents, I the scapegrace son bringing my illicit lover, and she, whose family are huggers, walked up to my mother and threw her arms around her neck and held her close and then did the same to my father, and that was that, they loved her from that moment on. Rational discussion wouldn’t have accomplished what she did with her own warm heart. When I came home from the artisanal ice cubes, she did something similar to me and, old as I am and slow afoot, it was thrilling. The full frontal embrace of the woman you love — let’s face it — can make a man forget about Ukraine and obstruction of justice.

The impeachment of Bill Clinton was so much more appealing than what we’re seeing now. It involved temptations of the flesh and who hasn’t been there? What we have here is a drug deal. A bundle of cash for a load of OxyContin. The Clinton impeachment had possibilities as a movie musical. This one? I don’t think so.

So when I got home (where we have our own ice cube maker, which is purely mechanical, not artisanal) and the woman embraced me and held on, it put the U.S. Senate entirely out of mind and made me want to go get my skates (which I do not have) and take her to an ice rink and do some figures in the dark. I’m a Minnesotan. Wrestling with girls in the snow was my earliest erotic experience. I was nine and “erotic” was not in my vocabulary but I knew that I was tangling with a mystery that would only get more and more interesting.

This is where the word “artisan” truly belongs, with matters of the heart, not with solid water. Every romantic engagement is a work of art and craft, especially a long and happy marriage. We walk into a room to find the other and we gracefully engage. The verbal back-and-forth has a cadence and music that is unique to us. We have our private laugh lines. I stand behind her as she makes a salad and put my hands on her shoulders, my two thumbs pressing on either side of her spine, and she says, “Lower,” and sighs with pleasure. I tell her about the artisan ice cubes at the grocery and it’s of no interest to her, she is engaged with her lover’s hands on her back. I’m an old man but I am an artisan when it comes to her shoulders. Now my job is to convince her to fly away with me to England in April when daisies pied and violets blue paint the meadows with delight. I could use a delightful meadow at this point.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Tales of Hemingway - Michael Daugherty 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Pity the Nation--Lawrence Ferlinghetti 

Pity the Nation

 Ferlinghetti’s thought-provoking poem (2006), in a riff on Gibran’s, is a searing call to action which still remains very relevant today.

(After Khalil Gibran)

Pity the nation whose people are sheep
And whose shepherds mislead them
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
Whose sages are silenced
And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
Pity the nation that raises not its voice
Except to praise conquerers
And acclaim the bully as hero
And aims to rule the world
By force and by torture
Pity the nation that knows
No other language but its own
And no other culture but its own
Pity the nation whose breath is money
And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
Pity the nation oh pity the people
who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away
My country, tears of thee
Sweet land of liberty!

 — Lawrence Ferlinghetti
San Francisco, January, 2006

Saturday, February 08, 2020

Becoming Angels––poem by Dorothy 

Becoming Angels

Some are speaking with angels.
Others are growing wings.
And still more
are the mothers of children
who are recalling
when they lived elsewhere,
have strange memories
of other families,
husbands and wives,
when they themselves
looked different,
had different talents.

Who are these young ones,
where are they from?
Where did they learn
what they seem know?
It is as if
they have been
to a different school,
sung in a different chorus,
and we are doing our best
to understand what they
are telling us,
learning to speak this
unknown language.

Dorothy Walters
February 8, 2020

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Antartica glacier melting 

I read a fascinating article today about the collapsing glacier on the west side of Antartica.  It is happening much faster than expected. When it completely melts, sea levels will rise a lot and all coastal cities will be threatened.  Islands in the Pacific may be inundated as a result.  We need to be alert to the problem and prepared to deal with the situation.

Greenland is also in big trouble.

Similarly, our own democracy/republic also seems to be collapsing in front of our eyes.  So sad on both counts.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Poetry Reading in Lafayette––Valerie and Dorothy and others 

Aprylisa Snyder
Interview by Aprylisa at Pennies and Dimes with Poet, Musician, Artist Valerie Szarek about Afternoon Delight, Sunday, February 16, 2 – 4

Brewing Market, 95th and Arapaho, Lafayette

Contacts: Valerie Szarek, poet and tickets

Dorothy Walters https://www.facebook.com/dorothy.walters.397

See the interview on Aprylisa's FB page for February 3

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Jeff Carreira--No Place Like Home 

Hi Dorothy,

I am very happy to announce the public release of my new book: 'No Place But Home: Reflections on Meditation and the Spiritual Life'.

Each of the 30 short chapters in this book illuminates a different aspect of the life-altering miracle of meditation, and that miracle is the direct recognition that you can always be perfectly content even when your mind is not.

By following the guidance, you receive in these pages, you can liberate yourself from the hypnotic trance of fear, worry and self-concern, and learn to rest in the abiding peace of awakened consciousness.

As you read, you will be led to the awareness beyond awareness, where you are always already free, clear and awake. You will also discover that the freedom of mind you discover in meditation is only the beginning of the journey. Once your mind is free of its limiting assumptions, you will open to extraordinary realms beyond the familiar; energies and perceptions that lead into extraordinary realms of higher consciousness.

This book contains further guidance for recognizing and following the delicate sensibilities of higher wisdom. This is the essence of spiritual life.

You can also purchase a print copy of the book directly from Emergence Education.

Please enjoy the preview chapter I have included below.

Book Excerpt:
Chapter 9
The Immediacy Of Meditation

There is a magic to the practice of meditation that many practitioners never discover because we only find it when we eliminate time from the equation. You can call this the discovery of radical immediacy and it is the central insight of the Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedanta that I was initiated into, and the Dzogchen teachings of Tibetan Buddhism.

The secret to this profound approach to practice is the realization that true meditation is not something that happens in time. It happens instantaneously, the moment you decide to let go. It doesn’t matter if you sit for twenty minutes or two hours, the meditation always occurs in the very first instant. Everything after that is just sitting as any Zen master will tell you.

When you sit in meditation you simply let go. You just drop all attempts to control, alter or manipulate your experience and let everything be exactly as it is. As the Sufi mystic Rumi put it, "close your eyes and surrender."

If in meditation you find yourself engaged in the activity of trying to let go, you are, in actuality, still holding on. Pick up a pen in your hand and then let it go. How long does it take? If you open your hand slowly, it could take an hour before the pen drops. That doesn’t mean that you were letting go for an hour. It means you were holding on, albeit less and less, for an hour before letting go.

We often, without realizing it, approach meditation the same way we approach everything else in life – as an accomplishment to be achieved.

At the start of meditation, we see ourselves as separate from some higher state of consciousness that we must work toward through the practice.

By imagining ourselves as somehow not there, we are inadvertently causing our own bondage. Spiritual freedom is not a goal that we attain in the future. It is the truth of our true nature now. Free is what we are. The only thing that keeps us from realizing it is our own insistence that we are not.

True meditation is not an activity designed to liberate you. It is the practice of freedom itself. The goal is freedom and the practice is to be free. No distance needs to be traveled and no time passes in this journey to where you already are.

This is the realization of radical immediacy. The magic begins as soon as we choose to be free by simply allowing everything to be exactly the way it already is.

Suddenly, we realize that we have slipped out of time. We have become liberated from the relentless march of passing moments.

It is impossible to describe in words, but it is as if you are nowhere and everywhere simultaneously. You still see every thought, every feeling, every sensation, but you are not inside them any longer.

As you continue to rest in this magical space beyond time, the passing show of arising experience becomes less and less captivating of your attention. Gradually, you become aware of the utterly invisible infinite space that all experience arises in.

I believe that this experience of trans-sensual perception is what inspires spiritual passages that speak to being blind but seeing everywhere.

Practicing meditation in this way initiates us into the mystery of being.

Once we taste the invisible infinitude that engulfs us, we realize that it is not just empty space. It is a living being – the ultimate source of wisdom and love in the universe. It is not dead. It is alive and it lives through us.

From this moment on, we feel compelled to become an ever more perfect channel for the manifestation of this universal heart and mind. We recognize in a way that can perhaps best be described in the words made famous in the West by the Indian sage Nisargadatta when he proclaimed, "I am that.

If we are so lucky that our identification with the small self yields to the recognition of who we really are, our spiritual orientation will flip on its head. We are no longer interested in trying to get anywhere, we only want to be more and more of who and what we already are.

~ End ~

 Purchase your copy here

e: jeff@jeffcarreira.com
w: mysteryschoolforanewparadigm.com
w: emergenceeducation.com

Sent to: dorothywalters72@gmail.com


Emergence Education, P.O. Box 63767, Philadelphia, PA 19147, United States

Dorothy Walters

The Kundalini Poems: Reflections of Radiance and Joy
Some Kiss We Want: Poems Selected and New
Unmasking the Rose: A Record of a Kundalini Initiation

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Trump is a fascist 

" Trump is a fascist."  Barack Obama

Fascist (definition)––"often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control
early instances of army fascism and brutality
— J. W. Aldridge

Note:  We have witnessed suppression of freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and other violations of the constitutions.  Those who disagree with "him" are fired or insulted or smeared.  All are marks of a fascist.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Jeff Richards––Blog entry  

Jeff Richards––blog  entry

Jeff''s work is highly original in both content and form.  Using thread as his medium, he creates most unusual works, spinning the threat into geometric forms that demand your attention.  In addition. he is a bright and articulate artist, one who combines his art with insightful and often profound reflections on the artistic process and other matters.

Hi Friends,

Part 2 of "My Significant Other is the Kosmos - Darker Than Any Mystery" is published, subtitled "Emptiness Emptying".  You can see it by clicking here  http://hexagonart.blogspot.com/

I'm sending this announcement out to a limited number of people, but please if you know of others who might be interested pass it on.



Monday, January 27, 2020

NDE meeting––February 2 


See you at A Valentine for YOUR Soul - - with Anne Salisbury,PHD and Greg Meyerhoff
Boulder Near Death & Other Mystical Experiences(IANDS)
Invite a friend
Simply forward this email to a friend to invite them along.

Sunday, February 2, 2020
at 2:00 PM

Boulder Public Library - Meadows Branch
4800 Baseline Rd (95th and Araphahoe)
Boulder, CO 80303

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Your Words––poem by Dorothy 

Your Words

Your words,
too beautiful
to be understood,
cling like shadows
to the corridors of my mind,
echoing through
the halls of my soul,
awakening my body in each secret place
as if this were
the last day of listening.

I looked everywhere for you
attic and basement
and all in between,
even in the garden
with its early blooms,
but always came up
with empty hands,

Once I was someone
who thought I knew what it was
I was seeking,
and then everything turned
and I became the thing
I was looking for.

Dorothy Walters
January 23, 2020

Sunday, January 19, 2020

When Shiva Danced––poem by Dorothy 

When Shiva Danced

I do not know how I chose my parents
or if or when.
In a way they were hard to miss,
for they looked just alike.

When I arrived I looked like
both of them put together
(black haired, blue eyed Irish)
and so it all made sense.

I was indeed their child,
one strong and determined,
the other yearning for
beauty in her life.

Life itself is not easy
for certain children,
those different from
all the rest.
She knew that she
was not like the others,
never part of the crowd
or the chosen ones.

She plodded ahead in her own way,
glasses and all,
the library her favorite place,
her sanctuary.

So when the Mother came,
she knew she was Her child.
She bowed often,
wrote verses for Her,
gave Her the gift
of herself.

And when Kundalini
 exploded, she recalled
her true beginnings,
Shiva Nataraja the dancer,
singing "I am eternal bliss,"
as rapture flooded her body.

Dorothy Walters
January 19, 2020

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Who? from Joanna Moorhead 

Joanna Moorhead

An illustration of a woman looking up at a huge lit lightbulb with the words 'I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my fate' written on it
 ‘There’s a certainty and stability about being able to conjure those words’. Illustration: Eva Bee
How can learning poetry by heart help us to be more grounded, happy, calm people? “Let me count the ways,” says Rachel Kelly, who has suffered from anxiety. Whenever she’s feeling wobbly, she finds reciting lines of poetry is grounding, validating and connects her to others who have felt as she is feeling in this moment. And it’s something we can all do: poetry we’ve learned to recite means we have another voice inside us that’s always there, a kind of on-board first responder in times of psychological need.

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There’s also a certainty and stability about being able to conjure those words: they’re a crutch, we can lean on them, they can even do the thinking for us. Kelly describes how two lines from Invictus by WE Henley can make all the difference to what happens to her next: “I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul.” When all she can hear in her head are negative voices, she can drown them out by repeating, over and over, positive lines from poetry: they’re substitutions, life-giving mantras rather than life-sapping ones.

Kelly was very unwell – at one point she was in a psychiatric hospital – when she had an inkling that poetry could offer enormous comfort. “I’d had a lot of drugs and I was in a terribly anxious state. I was clinging on to my husband, who was on one side of me, and my mother, who was on the other. And suddenly my mother started murmuring some lines from Corinthians: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee, for my power is perfected in weakness’. And those words felt like the first stirring of hope. This seemed like a shard of something positive, something I could cling on to.”

 He held my hands across the century and said to me I’d be OK
When her mother realised the power of repeating words, mantra-like, she sought out more. “She would drip-feed me little lines of poetry – it was like chicken soup for the soul,” remembers Kelly. “One of her favourite poets was George Herbert from the 18th century, and there are some incredible lines: ‘Grief melts away/like snow in May/as if there were no such cold thing’, from a poem called The Flower. I kept repeating those lines, and they spelled out hope to me: they’re about renewal and rebirth, and I started to know that, as Herbert goes on to say, my shrivelled heart would recover its greenness.” What was so powerful, says Kelly, was that Herbert described desolation – but also recovery. “He held my hands across the century and said to me, ‘You are going to be OK,’” she says.

Today, Kelly is OK: and she’s keen to share the power of poetry. She’s written the foreword to a new book that features 52 poems – one a week, for a year – to learn by heart. They’ve been chosen by Georgina Rodgers, who says the first hurdle to overcome is that for too many people, poetry is scary.

“Perhaps it’s because it takes them back to their schooldays, or perhaps it’s because they think it’s impenetrable,” she explains. “But there are so many accessible poems, and those are the ones I’ve tried to choose for the book.”

Poetry, she points out, is experiencing “a bit of a renaissance” – and it does seem to have a particular appeal in our connected, short-form world. If you want to be pithy, if you want to be quick, if you want to say a lot in as few characters as possible, then it’s to poetry that you should turn. As the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy once said: “The poem is a form of texting… it’s a perfecting of a feeling in language… a way of saying more with less.” But conversely it’s also a means to getting off the frenetic, fast-moving rollercoaster of the digitised 21st century. “It’s a way of being mindful, of being in the moment,” says Rodgers. “We’re so used to looking for shortcuts, to skimming through things the whole time, but poetry makes us sit down and engage, it forces us to take something to a deeper level.”

 One of the most lasting cures has been here all along.

My own deadline is looming, and I know I should tear myself away from Rodgers’ book but suddenly, now I’ve chanced upon EE Cummings I know that the most vital thing in my life right now is to recite these lines: “I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)”; and I can’t leave Nikita Gill without pondering on what she has to say (“Most people in your life/were only meant/for dreams/and summer laughter.”)

There are much-loved favourites within Rodgers’ book (No Man is an Island by John Donne; Leisure by WH Davies), as well as less popular pieces such as Thinking by Walter D Wintle (“If you think you are beaten, you are/If you think you dare not, you don’t); but Rodgers says she’s also looked for less well-known work by the big name poets (such as The Eagle by Tennyson; In the Forest by Oscar Wilde).

If there’s one poem that seems to sum up what the book is all about, it’s The Guest House by the 13th-century Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. Not only does it speak to us across the centuries (Beyoncé and Jay-Z named their daughter after him, while Chris Martin says his poetry changed his life), but also it does that so-difficult task of turning disaster to blessing, guilt to goodness, and grief to joy: “The dark thought, the shame, the malice/Meet them at the door laughing/and invite them in.” All emotions, says Rumi, are valuable – and the uncertainty of life is its treasure, not its pain.

Rodgers and Kelly do not claim to be first with their wisdom on the links between verse and mental health. Bibliotherapy has a long and distinguished past, and the ancient pharaoh Rameses II had the inscription “Healing-place of the Soul” above the entrance to his library. Many centuries later, in 1671, John Milton wrote that “apt words have pow’r to swage/The tumours of a troubled mind’; and later still, in the 19th century, John Stuart Mill attributed his recovery from depression to reading William Wordsworth.

In a world in which we tend to look to what’s new, to cutting-edge science and to medical breakthroughs for hope in better health, there’s something marvellous in the realisation that one of the most beautiful and resonant and possibly longest-lasting cures has been here all along – on the internet, on our bookshelves, under our noses. Words – down the centuries, over the ether, across the miles – have the power to steady us, and to make us feel better.

A life in rhyme: other ways poetry can help
relit.org.uk is a website looking at ways in which poems, novels and other literature can help us to cope with emotional strain.

Writing your own poetry can be a way to access emotions and feelings that have not emerged via other means. Many organisations run therapeutic poetry-writing workshops. Google them in your area.

Grief and loss have long been assuaged by well-chosen poetry. Gerry McCann, father of then four-year-old Madeleine who disappeared during a family holiday on the Algarve in 2007, recently spoke movingly about how he connected with the Middle English poem Pearl, in which a father laments his daughter’s loss.

thereader.org.uk brings people together to read poems or a book aloud. Many of its members are going through a time of transition in their personal lives.

Encouraging the recitation of poetry learned in earlier decades can help elderly people, including those with dementia, to remain connected with their lives and loved ones. For more information, see alzheimers.org.uk

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

Brenda McMorrow's New Album: "Chidananda" 

Brenda McMorrow is one of my most treasured friends.  She travels the world singing kirtan and her original compositions.  A free rendition of "Adi Shakti" (song from new album) is now available on the link below as well as Youtube. This song is truly sublime and offers full measure of  Kundalini shakti to those who listen with open heart . The album "Chidananda" is now available for purchase.  It speaks of the love for and from the Divine Mother, who nurtures each of us in our lives.

from Brenda:

I’m excited to share the first in a series of 8 lyric videos and visual meditation videos by Anila Shakya. You can also see it on Youtube at https://youtu.be/mdRypkB_3qs (comments, subscribes and likes there are much appreciated - helps the music be heard by more people!)
The amazing Primordial Spiral by Dan Schmidt that is featured on the cover of my new album “Chidananda” is the moving background to a lyric video for every song on the record. Mesmerizing. Here it is for the song “Adi Shakti”, a song to the primordial feminine energy.

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Lynn McTaggert––Intention for Australia 

from Lynn McTaggart

Intention of the week: Australia

Intention of the Week: Australia
Join us to help end the bushfires
Sunday, January 12, 2020
10:00 am Pacific US time

On one of our webinars last week, many members of my 2019 Power of Eight Intention Masterclass joined a special intention to quell the Australian bushfires.

There’s been a temporary reprieve with the rain, but the forecast is for the heat to build again and for gusty winds to accelerate in the West, spreading the fires further. For our Intention of the Week, let’s all come together for a special intention to help Australia:

Please hold the following intention on Sunday, January 12, 2020 at 10:00 am Pacific US time/1:00 pm Eastern US/6:00 pm UK/7:00 pm Europe:

‘Our intention is that the excessive heat in Australia immediately subside, and that the winds die down, so that the bushfires are completely and permanently contained with no further destruction or loss of life.’

Send in your Nomination for Intention of the Week

Do you have a loved one who needs our healing intention? If so, please send in his or her full name, age, location (town/country), photograph and the nature of his/her illness here: https://lynnemctaggart.com/intention-experiments/intention-of-the-week/

New Age Publishing Limited, Unit 9, Woodman Works 204 Durnsford Road, London, Greater London SW19 8DR, United Kingdom

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