Soul Pulls

“What in your life is calling you, when all the noise is silenced,
the meetings adjourned…the lists laid aside,
and the wild iris blooms by itself in the dark forest…
what still pulls on your soul? “
– Rumi

I dwell in silence
meetings adjourned
list groceries

Former self faded
sorrowful shadow
definition slipped

I am the wild iris
pushing forward
in darkness, unseen

In contemplation
future doors heavy
snowy the path

If I follow light
I find promise
a verdant valley

I am guided
no destination
only presence

Physical constraints
merely distraction
I am the message

Light, shepherd
dreamer, woman
warrior, goddess

My soul pulls
invites passage
I am ready.

(Written in response to my weekly challenge – opening quotation. After meditating on Rumi’s words the image emerged and later this poem.)

Always a Teacher

Set me on the open road,
encourage me to cross borders;
I am hungry for knowledge,
to hear a higher calling.

Cannot tolerate chained-to-
chairs education, imposed
immobility, socratic hierarchy
demanding conformity

spoon-fed compliance –
am too much my father’s
daughter, born rebellious
unable to mold myself
to prescribed slots

would rather initiate
discussion, engage, listen –
let shoes emote, tell their
story, develop compassion

never felt more than a visitor
in institutions, marks adequate
but brain absent, spirit numbed –
more punishment for delinquency
than awakening.

How can we convey the future,
instill optimism in prospects,
when the language of education
is secondary to how students
communicate in real-time?

Minds are energetic, curiosity
a given, youth crave elevation,
opportunity, measure themselves
against a system defined by rows.

How can I cross this barrier
of disability, open the dialogue
to ignite passions, propel learning
to open road scenarios, encourage
minds to cross borders?

(Reposted from December, 2106 in response to The Daily Post prompt:  calling.  Teaching, I’ve always believed to be my calling – loved it passionately, until I had to give it up in 2014 due to ME/CFS)


Internal Struggle

Onramp for freedom is just ahead
but all considered, I will not push
forward, am fragile, misinterpret
signs.  Add to it isolation – who
can blame me….

Move! Move with the throngs!
Set your intentions, correct and
change direction – take a tangent
even – future is just around the

Wears me out; I am shattered,
descending, would rejoin life’s
celebration, be a sister, but this
disability shows no compassion…

Couple with feminism; get ahold
of yourself, move forward – there

is no wrong time – be in support
of something; leap….

This reality is disparaging; in
the aftermath, I have no fight –
lightheadedness sabotaging –
an added foe….

Be independent.  Righteousness
makes a good point of entrance…

Inability to motivate, emancipated,
confused on my own….

abandoning is not an option;
motor!  Want to do the right thing;
come on, turn the page…

…too taxing, paralyzing to
show up, catch up with friends
clueless about ME/CFS….

…don’t you care that people
are being exploited, refuges
fleeing, can’t you feel the need…

impatience possesses; I am
beaten, am legless, spinning

keep pushing….harness strength…

..faint without a stance…

…defy fear…

… desperate…

Clearing Corners

No more out-on-the-town bustles –
the late afternoon light fading in
my corner – focus now turned to
higher issues; try to keep company

with mindfulness – a worthy educator,
facilitating release – but my inventory
is too spun. Achieving a semblance
of completion, something to reflect

my life’s toil, would be welcome, yet
I fear my story is cooked. Guidance
might suggest I’m not alone, but
without my professional footing

I’m at a loss for identity, prodding
to find answers – a woman without
substance, grasping at what is mine.
Seems silly to think that breathing

might offer consolation for this no-
return-on-investment outcome; have
hit a wall, would rage if not numb, so
many parts of self lost in passage…

Midnight approaches and I am tapped
out – a social passenger hitching a ride
on hopelessness – flat broke, empty
(tried to dial up creativity – wrong#)

Contemplate sorrow, luck, temporary
breakdown’s, orchestrated scenes,
a lifelong inability to keep quiet (sorry
kids), a callous bitch – could never get

her to work in my corner, channel that
energy into fitness or financial success –
she just likes to stir things up, doesn’t
believe in peace of mind, jolts me awake

out of my comfort zone.  Maybe I need
her now – forgo relaxation and surrender –
to shake this inactivity, give a hand up
to those repressed, forgotten selves –

get her to lift me out this self-conscious
mire – she doesn’t care about feelings –
markets herself with confidence, breathes
assertiveness, knows her own business…

can you see me sitting up a little straighter,
composing myself in the light of this new
possibility, readying myself to relaunch –
reconsidering my stance on corners?

There’s remodelling to be done here –
and orienting to the new will take a bit,
given my age, but I’m willing to concede
that there is community to serve, and

that as long as human rights are being
violated there is a place for compassion,
and no town is immune to need, so I’d
better get my bustle on and start painting.

( Image: )

Oh Baby, I Have Purpose

Baby Whisperer, they call me –
some definitions we just slide
into, naturally; discovered mine
at the age of nine, when my sister,
a child herself, gave birth and I,
the babysitter, was also born.

Ran a school that summer –
charged a quarter a week to
neighbouring parents, promised
to prepare their children for the
year ahead, turned my knack
into an entrepreneurship.

Uprooted at eleven to a highrise
full of families, filled my calendar
with other’s people’s offspring –
was in demand – while other teens
partied and rebelled, my wallet
bulged with babysitter’s cash.

Projected success into future
plans, told the guidance counsellor
I wanted to get my ECE – work in
day care – she scoffed, said I was
too smart, should be a psychiatrist
the world needs shrinks, not nannies.

So I signed up for psychology and
sociology – did not find myself, quit,
married a man – really just a child –
felt I’d found myself in the role of
wife, ignored the fact that I had
only replaced his mother – grew tired,

ran into the arms of another, racing
to have children of his own – knew
how to do children – returned to school,
studied Children’s literature, psychology,
set my sights on being a teacher – but
it all fell apart; alone raising three.

Married again, finding comfort in the
mothering role, became a teacher –
replaced offspring with classrooms;
certain I was fulfilling a calling, until
illness swept it all away, confined me
to a bed, homebound, erased purpose.

But wait; the story doesn’t end there –
because now I’m a grandmother – my
babies have babies – and even from my
invalid bed, I can care for the wee  –
the Baby Whisperer still has the touch –
purpose reignited with each new life.

A Call To The Quest

My friend Andi’s insatiable craving for knowledge has her signing up for all kinds of workshops and lectures.  I am more selective in how and where I spend my time and money, so when she called up and asked if I was interested in a private audience with a medicine woman, I said I’d pass.

“Will you at least go with me?”  she pleaded.  “I’m a little nervous.”

So, book in hand, I accompanied Andi to meet her newest guru.  “Come inside,” she insisted, when I indicated I’d wait in the car.  Grudgingly, I obliged.

The woman of honour was visiting from New Mexico, and was being housed in a bungalow belonging to a friend.  The house was small, and unassuming.  As we stepped through the front door, we were confronted by a wall, which opened on either side to reveal either the main sitting area, or a hallway leading to bedrooms.  But all of that immediately became a blur to me, as my attention was captured by a large portrait hanging in front of me.

Pictured was a man poised majestically, with feathers adorning silver hair that was pulled back from his face.  Intense dark eyes peered out from the portrait and seemed to penetrate me to the core.  A chill ran through me as I felt an onslaught of tears overtake me.

“Do you know Bartholomew?”  a voice asked to my left.

“No.  I’m sorry……I don’t know what came over me.”

“Don’t apologize.  Go with it.  What are you feeling?”

The voice was calm, and soothing, and I seemed unable to tear myself away from the image long enough to see who was speaking.

“It’s sounds crazy,”  I blurted between sobs, “but I feel as if I’ve been lost for a long, long time, only I didn’t know it until just this moment, and now I am home.”

“Well then, welcome home.”

This was absurd.  How could an image cause such a reaction?  What was happening to me?

The woman gently ushered me into a room.

“I only came to keep my friend company,”  I panicked.  “I don’t have an appointment.”

“Not to worry.”  The woman had long flowing hair, and her face glowed with a soft light that defied any telltale signs of age.  She was not what I expected.

She began to run her hands just above my body, as if searching for something.  The flow of tears continued, and by now my nose was running, and I felt an urge to use the toilet.

“I’m sorry,”  I apologized as I quickly exited in search of the bathroom.

“No problem, Running Water,”  she joked, and added, “That is surely your Indian name.”

After what felt like an uncomfortable length of time, I finally got ahold of myself.

“What happened?”  I asked the woman.

“Your soul made a connection to something that is obviously of importance to you.”

“And what is that?” I was stilling feeling somewhat vulnerable.

“I like to call it the Great Mystery,”  she replied.  “Some call it The Way.”

It was definitely a defining moment for me, from which I would be forever transformed.