15 Days of Writing Prompts: Day 2 ~ Memories

Today July 12th is Day 2 of 15 Days of Writing Prompts. If you’re just joining us today, feel free to do the prompts at your own pace. Just remember to pingback so others can connect with what you share!

2. Begin with “I remember.” Write lots of small memories. If you fall into one large memory, write that. Just keep going. Don’t be concerned if the memory happened five seconds ago or five years ago. Everything that isn’t this moment is memory coming alive again as you write. If you get stuck, just repeat the phrase “I remember” again and keep going.

(These prompts are taken from page 20 of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, a treasure trove of wisdom for writers of all skill levels.)

In case you missed yesterdays:

1. Tell about the quality of light coming in through your window. Jump in and write. Don’t worry if it is night and your curtains are closed or you would rather write about the light up north- just write. Go for ten minutes, fifteen, a half hour. 

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healing with the hank drum

Do you play an instrument? Is there a musical instrument whose sound you find particularly pleasing? Tell us a story about your experience or relationship with an instrument of your choice. from here.

 

playing the "hank drum" at an ecovillage

playing the “hank drum” at an ecovillage circa 2012

This is a story about a sweet little blue propane tank that was made into a “hank drum” (fashioned after the “hang drum”). Little Wren biked and biked and biked up the west coast. You see, she was searching for a new place, a new place to reside, to be. Before she’d left for her journey, she had connection with an ecovillage that held promise of what she was looking for. As she was in communication with one elder who lived there the room turned foggy/fuzzy, as if entering a different realm; she felt her heart open and knew the place must be special. She treasured it as a possibility in the back of her mind as she cycled & rhythm’d her way up hills and on flat land, all beside the ocean, along that coastline trek.

When she got there it was indeed a magical place full of heart-opening and deeper unfolding lessons. There she also met a special sprite that she did choose to spend some more days with (and is still in cahoots with to this day). A magical place it did turn out to be.

And especially because she loved to play the instruments which laid about everywhere… and sing! 

One night in particular sticks out as a big one, a big ole memory. It was full moon & things were getting sticky at the village. The relationship honeymoons had worn off & there was some stuff that needing releasing, perfect for the full moon! So three of us, it was three of us then. A girl from Quebec & my fair sprite & I, collected some instruments, made a fire among a birch stand, calling in the sev7n directions, kali ma~ for destroying & building back up again, for dark goddesses (the ones we’re usually taught to be afraid of, but really just mean death & the beginning again), for ancestors & the power of our own great hearts.

The instrument was there for sure, you betcha. We banged that thing in turn, hearing its hollow reverberating melodious sound enter into the ether & sparkle up toward the tree limbs just like the flames of the fire. Our voices collected the stuff of our hearts, all of our feelings we was feeling that was hard to say became song and healed & released itself in this way.

That night I felt fully released as I howled up to the moon at the end. I felt like a fresh fine baby with no-mind, letting words bubble up & froth forth, spilling out, received by the darkness of the night & my friends’ ears. I was a howling wolf, in company, not judging anything that snarled up from my belly.

The power of music is great for expressin’ that which we may’ve been repressin. Unedited Jam Sessions.

Fresh belly baby birthed in jovial space sacred spaces created by us, graced by our own two feet. Stomping, swinging, standing, sittin’ round that great fire; we are lost & found & birthed anew from the flames & smoke amid our breaths, reverberation of vocal chord collects to form our healing vibrations. Sad, lost, lonely, angry, mean & frustrated finds voice around the fire -without judgment- and in this speaking is released. And what is left is what was always there, but was maybe covered-up by politeness or a holding-in. But we gotta let that stuff out otherwise it may eat us from the inside. 

Let it out in art or song. Let it out your whole life long. Let it out from morn til night – there’s no reason to hold it in tight. Let your mind stop judging it “right from wrong”… you’ve got feelings to feel ~ Let this be your song. And don’t judge it yourself. Nothing’s right or wrong, save we say it is. Clear our your heart; free your body from the not-expressin’ ~ Let yourself say what you’ve been repressin’

And in that dark night lit by bright moonlight, I found the release of so much time & energy built up. Wiggling free with nothing left to say; I was emptied. By art & song & friends, the space we created with the “hank drum” , our voices, a drum & tambourine, didgeridoo ~ music can be a portal for expression, if you let it. If we let it. It can. 

our visions → new structures: this is all experiment

i realized something this morning about stepping forward. sometimes i lack the confidence. i have strong visions and dreams, but in order for them to be manifested i need total confidence, which is hard to muster because everything is and can only be at this point an experiment. no one knows the way forward. there are infinite ways forward. this is the boon and the bane. we are all like forest pilgrims wandering along trails at twilight. yes, the dawn will come, but first we must each walk through that dark night.

and it’s not like our parent’s parent’s paths where to be x (a firefighter, a nurse, a statistician, a professor, a factory-worker, etc) you took the knowable & set steps of a + b to reach a known end. the past systems are inherently based on that which i do not choose to support. cops & the government are corrupt. being a professor means jumping through so many hoops before i can say what i want to say- and then can i even say it? when i’m a doctor, tell me that i am not subject to all the the bureaucratic bullshit, that i’ll not be subject to the insurance or pharma companies or the time-crunches- that i’ll truly get to sit with my patients. that being a mainstream production farmer doesn’t mean the pillaging and raping of our soils and sullying of our waters. that if i’m going to be a 5th grade teacher, that i’ll actually teach the untruths they teach kids in schools- that i’d ever be willing to stand through that. these are the structures which currently keep society going, but just like our unsustainable economy, they are going to crumble, crumble. the truth rising within us cannot stand the compromise.

and new visions, more earth-centered, people-centered visions of justice & beauty have to take their place. experiments, truly. and because we don’t know the steps from a to b (we haven’t been there before), it takes a leap of faith to get there. and, unlike in the past, the path is not pre-planned steps forward resulting in a known outcome. the path is circuitous, winding, currently unknown- tested and changed as we go- unending. this calls for great levels of flexibility, ingenuity, humor, collaboration, strength and resolve. this calls for stepping into the possibility of failure, which is one of the greatest taboos in our culture.

if a doctor fails, she loses her job. if a so-called expert of our culture fails, what happens to their reputation? it drops accordingly. failure is the biggest no-no in an expert culture because it points to lack of competency, which calls into question this seemingly unshakeable cultural framework from which our confidence in the experts is derived. but as many are finding out, doctors don’t actually know what they’re doing. yes, they are trained and can know & do certain things, but hopefully, as trained as they are, they’ll readily admit the fact that the human organism is still a mystery to human understanding. that interactions happen holistically (if you interact with one part of the human system, other parts will be effected; say the thyroid is not separate from the adrenals is not separate from the heart & nervous system) and therefore are basically uncontrollable in their essence.

 

read the rest at the original posting.

in lieu of _______ , I put my energy into _________

in lieu of the anger, frustration, disbelief rising in me due to the fact that so many people seem to have their head up their ass in relation to so many issues, but primarily: the disempowering economic job force media based- buy this to finally be good enough-keeping up with the joneses scheme & the turning a blind eye to earth devastation: deforestation, unclean/unprotected air/water, depleted agro-chemical soil, destruction of indigenous communities & countless ecosystems for monetary gain or expediency…

I put my energy into 

  • searching for land where i can put trees into a land covenant for forest/ecosystem protection
  • keeping bees
  • creating food forests and gardens
  • continuing to be in wonder of the earth’s bounty & beauty
  • dancing on the earth & collecting & implementing her medicine
  • building soil
  • sharing this example with people & encouraging them toward their own healing path
  • speaking out when I can shed more light on the aforementioned devastation

it is easy for me to get caught into my anger which sits in me like a fire. yet anger burns and it eventually creates wildfires. i choose to put my anger as fuel toward creating what i want to see happening. i choose to fuel what delights me and makes my life worth living. amen.

Choosing Dreams

i wrote this over a year and a half ago on a solo bike trip up and down the NW coast.. still rings so true today! living out dreams one step at a time ❤

wren

When I finally learned in this lifetime the level of my greatness…

Now, on a hill in Portland near amanita muscaria

…That it is on par with the great leaders I’ve come across already in this lifetime
They are many and in my dancing with them I have been empowered, drawn mysteriously, intimidated, challenged, fucked, loved, inspired, healed, helped, recognized, seen

These are my mirrors, simultaneously lovable, intimidating- yet, if fear is turned on its side, it is seen as a fire and fire Kindles, fire sparks, fire burns away all that isn’t fire until only fire remains

Fire is a catalyzing agent, fire gets things moving, some people can walk calmly on coals, yet most jump at fire

Fire burns and the wind which brings fire is spirit, Divine Inspiration in its truest form

In choosing to accept these mirrors, the fire turns from in-timidation to empowerment. In seeing…

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of the hardest things to do: taking a stand in your unique creative self

What are the hardest things to do? I would wager that it is the things that the outside world does not endorse. People are given more than food as they grow up. From infancy we are fed ideas about “the way things are”. Children are naturally free-spirited, full of imagination and endlessly creative growing up. Yet over time often the destructive voices surrounding them from youth tear down the creative penchants of a child’s natural way of being. Voices of poverty, practicality, peer pressure, pain, parental guidance, etc pound on the door of their young selves and replace the imagination, shame the creative, limitless expression and drown out and curtail the free-spirited nature. It should not go unnoticed that it is very difficult to rebuild these back once they are torn down in youth, but it is possible. It is very possible. And the hope of our world and our own spirits depend upon it.

People, as anthropologists find worldwide, are naturally creators of culture. It is an organizational structure upon which the very foundations of our lives are set. We would be lost, disorganized, chaotic without it. Yet it is the role of the dreamer within each of us to critically face the faults of the culture, the chinks in “the way things are” to set them more right. Certainly there is no static perfection available in the universe, yet step by step, better by better, more apt, creative, healthy adaptations can be found.

I learned the other day that mammals were very small in the time of their genesis in the evolutionary transition from reptile toward mammal. Large reptiles were the rulers of the land, so the mammals hid underground and learned to hunt at night to escape death. After the mass extinction, mammals, who successfully hid in their tunnel systems to protect themselves from the radiation and other extreme conditions, were able to successively grow in size given the absence of the large reptiles. They terrifically adapted to their climate. Before they were kept in check by the other animals in their environment, yet grew when that variable was gone. Likewise, in the presence of negative voices, limited thinking, overwork, stuck mindsets and reinforced, outdated patterns, the imagination, creative solutions or alternatives to everyday problems do not have room to grow. Harboring and nurturing a creative idea is a challenge akin to seeing a dandelion grow through a crack in the concrete of a busy sidewalk. In the desert. In midsummer.

Growing through “the way things are” to create anything alternative is always a miracle such as this. Mindsets are one of the hardest things to stand up against, grow through and bloom from. Imagine a young child raised in poverty, strapped with financial responsibility and entrenched in familial ways of being which both encourage and stifle the child. As the child grows perhaps the imagination isn’t encouraged toward “dreaming” or envisioning different solutions for everyday problems for a myriad of reasons. Slowly over time the creative edge atrophies. I suggest that it never in fact dies, but can numb over or be cast away into a forgotten nook in some inner closet.

For a child in a situation such as this, say even raised in a financially depressed town in need of many practically creative solutions to create a better life for the town and families, it is nearly impossible to bring to light creative options. Everything that makes up “the way things are” is in opposition to this kid’s ideas. The family chides the kid when the ideas are brought up and even if the family doesn’t discourage the child, the harsh reality of the situation will. As my dad will say when I talk about the necessity of creative problem-solving in the face of ugly “realities”, “It’s great that you are thinking these things – you are very privileged. Think of the mother with three kids who has to work to put food on the table and pay bills. She doesn’t have time to think so much.” While this may be true (I honestly can’t say whether the person in this situation has the time to think as I do), in any event I can see the difficulty of “everyone’s” situation. Even if we do not witness and are a part of impoverished situations growing up, environmental pressures push us away from creative dreaming and toward fulfilling practical cultural norms.

How easy is it for any one of us to stand up in the face of norms, especially when they are tied to economic realities? Cultural norms are some of the most innocuous, entrenched, hard-to-shift patterns in existence. As Ani Difranco says of capitalism, “it’s as easy as breathing for us all to participate.” Oftentimes we don’t readily have a choice to be a part of something other than the pervasive norm because norms are the inherently organizing structures of our cultures- we produce them (or go along with them) without thought. They are “the way things are.” Yet, what if “the way things are” is not just unsuitable to the strong creative dreamers on the planet? What if the pervasive, ever-present “way things are” is actually killing life on the planet? Threatening the existence and perpetuity of our very culture? What if “the way things are” is harmful to life? To us? To animals, ecosystems, air, water….?

Truly, this isn’t a What if – this is a wake up! Wake the fuck up! The current “way things are” is in fact, LOOK AROUND PEOPLE: harmful, damaging, threatening, suicidal toward actual life. Many of the habit patterns founding western civilization are not encouraging the furtherance of life and, in fact, they are downright discouraging to the empowerment of people, the protection and prevalence of wildlife and clean air and water and healthy soils. The facts to support this are endless and I for one am continually re-surprised that more people are blind to these basic, open-your-eyes facts. Or if not turning a blind eye, unable to take beneficial action toward shifting these norms.

So, yes, I get the challenge of creative problem-solving in the face of a problem so large it’s as easy as breathing to participate. So innocuous, so prevalent it’s hard to see. I get that a dandelion growing through a crack in a concrete slab is a miracle. I get that to face and shift norms is like asking a creative idea to grow through that slab-like concrete of the mind and is nearly impossible. But it is possible. I have watched my own mind shape and shift over the last 3 years into a malleable belief-in-creativity-chamber. My creative-muscles were nearly atrophied or at least ignored, and I have seen the instigation of Belief rise again in my system. I know that it is possible to make a mind-set dance and swerve. The unexpected is possible. Life’s beauty is confirmation of that. Our greatest honor while on this planet is to take place in the co-creation of this beauty that exists as Life.

We are not separate from this Life. We are not here watching it happen, as observers or consumers of some great play created by some people other than ourselves (though the media industry would have us believe this). We are Life. We are the creators of our realities. And I don’t mean this in a new-agey at all.

Who opened that new shop in your town? Do you think it was someone so much different than you with super human capacities? Who wrote the book on the best-sellers list? Someone so far removed from you that they are in a different category? I posit that between all of us there is not so much difference in us beyond our choices. Our choices are the stuff of which we are made. Not our thoughts, but our actions. Too many people die filled with dreams. If I can stop one case of that happening in an individual human, I will find a piece of personal happiness. Too many people live lives of… how does it go, of quiet desperation. To hell with that! If you don’t believe in your dreams, who will? If you don’t believe in your one crazy idea, who will? Do you think it is your job to sit back and criticize the actors on our world-stage? Do you somehow see yourself as separate from or different than those actors – something inherently different in you that makes you an observer or consumer instead of a co-creator or conspirator in the “way things are”?

This is a call to arms, a call to action. A call to hands … in the garden, on alternative-fuel engines, on pieces of artwork & handy crafts, writings of inspiration, healthy foods for our families, the list goes on. This is a calling forth of the creative piece of your soul that may be numbed or dormant, but is in no way gone. This is a calling forth of your imagination, that piece of you that served you so well throughout childhood and then fell away as deadlines took its place. Neither I, we, nor our world can suffer a field of players too concerned with passionless things and to-dos. I cannot suffer myself this way.

This is a call to arms, hands, feet. Cultivate your creative nature every day. Believe in impossible ideas. If you have impossible ideas they are within you for a reason. You think only other people can act on their ideas? Why is this? Are other people more deserving dreamers than you? Did someone rob you of your divine right to co-create this reality we are all a part of?

If so, it is time to establish this divine creatorship as a right you also are able to rest in. No matter poor, middle-class or upper-class upbringing (or somewhere inbetween or off-the-chart), we all were perhaps faced with voices discouraging us from living our dreams. Monetary security is only one cat-call from “the way things are” away from our dreaming selves. This “way things are” is continually re-instituted by people who don’t even realize they are refurbishing a “way things are.” It’s time to recreate a “way things are” – many “ways things are” – that are friendly to fish and fauna, all creatures here as friends, as much as possible. We are not innocuous bystanders passing time here. We are here to dream and land these dreams in our lives. This is our mission here. Give me a hand, will ya?