I settled into my meditation on the dock this morning, luxuriating in black bird twitters and the flash of red wings. The sun on my back thawed my winterized bones. Ahh, how good to be alone with the divine… until the holy muse quietly morphed into a magnificent Great Blue Heron holding vigil in the water lilies. Her faithful practice spoke to me,”Stand still. Watch and wait. Your authentic self will catch up with you.”
It is both frightening and painful for many Americans to witness the daily unraveling of the principles we hold sacred without relinquishing all hope. Today I am returning to the magic of Pat Conroy in his novel Beach Music. Let the vibration of hundreds of loggerhead turtles on their first march to the sea get deep into your soul’s bones as you take in Conroy’s description:
We must not forget our spiritual homing instinct, our restless urge to go beyond ourselves to the Other, however we define that for ourselves. Know your spiritual landscape. Fix your eyes on the vast ocean of the Other’s love, and let’s head out together. In this lies hope.
photo credit: Eddietherocker <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/28393978@N07/35807963985″>Tres Turtles</a> via <a href=”http://Aphotopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Jennifer A. Payne’s
WOW! WOMEN ON WRITING TOUR
“Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind”
Would God floss? Do spiders sing? Can you see the Universe in your reflection? Find the answers to these questions in more in this new book by Connecticut writer Jen Payne. Her poems in EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING: WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND investigate the human condition and its folly, the beauty of our natural world, and the possibility of divine connection. 80 original and vintage photographs include a series of discarded dental flossers that inspired the book’s title.
ALA Notable Book author Dale Carlson calls the book “a brilliantly incisive commentary on our simultaneous human sense of beauty and waste and loss.”
EVIDENCE OF FLOSSING speaks to the common heart that beats in you and in me, in the woods and on the streets, across oceans and around this planet. It asks us all to consider the effects of our actions and how they influence everything else in the Universe.
Jen Payne’s book, Evidence of Flossing: What we leave Behind, carries prophetic power in the spaces between its words. It is truth and beauty delivered to us in wide-eyed wonder by a child’s heart passionately in love with nature.
The prophet shows up in bold statements like,”This watch around my neck doesn’t work,” (Time Peace) and “My fingers touch its teeth like rosary beads, penance for our collective apathy,” and “Numbed and dumbed by these machines,” (Now Trending>)
Other times we encounter a mystic drawing us into the essence of the universe, “Everything is flowing, god whispers. How foolish am I to resist?” (Resistance is Futile.)
In each poem Jen crawls inside a subject and settles in for a leisurely lie-in until she understands, then becomes her subject. The integrity of the process gifts readers with fresh insight and renewed commitment to be mindful of what they leave behind. As in this verse from “Sanctified without Assistance,” ‘Jen’s writing is sometimes spare, creating space for soulful birthing: “Come winter, bare-branch whispers of hope promised, stored.”
Evidence of Flossing: What we leave Behind should not be missed. You will come away with both righteous anger and with hope. You will be blessed with insight into the nature of spirituality and rekindled with the joy of nature.
About the Author:
Jen Payne is inspired by those life moments that move us most — love and loss, joy and disappointment, milestones and turning points. Her writing serves as witness to these in the form of poetry, creative non-fiction, flash fiction and essay. When she is not exploring our connections with one another, she enjoys writing about our relationships with nature, creativity, and mindfulness, and how these offer the clearest path to finding balance in our frenetic, spinning world.
Very often, her writing is accompanied by her own photography and artwork. As both a graphic designer and writer, Jen believes that partnering visuals and words layers the intentions of her work, and makes the communication more palpable.
In 2014, she published LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness, a collection of essays, poems and original photography. Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind is her second book.
Jen is the owner of Three Chairs Publishing and Words by Jen, a graphic design and creative services company founded in 1993, based in Branford, Connecticut. She is a member of the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, the Branford Arts and Cultural Alliance, the Connecticut Poetry Society, Guilford Arts Center, the Guilford Poets Guild, and the Independent Book Publishers Association.
Installations of her poetry were featured in Inauguration Nation an exhibition at Kehler Liddell Gallery in New Haven (2017), and Shuffle & Shake at the Arts Council of Greater New Haven (2016). Her writing has been published by The Aurorean, Six Sentences, the Story Circle Network, WOW! Women on Writing, and The Perch, a publication by the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health.
You can read more of her writing on her blog Random Acts of Writing, http://www.randomactsofwriting.net.
Jennifer can also be found online at:
Be sure to visit!
To all my American bloggers, Happy Thanksgiving! To everyone else, may you also find a way today to celebrate the richness of your culture. I am grateful to all of you for your presence here and wish you abundant blessing.
that the drama of mottled clouds
stirs the iffy places in our souls?
that skeleton trees create space
for soul seeing?
that the snare drum dissonance of leaves
announces the death of misconceived decisions
and promises life conceived in hope?
that the pungent odor of garden leftovers
wafting on crisp autumnal air
promises a resurrection like none other?
that the threads of November’s spider webs
emanate from the same spiritual fiber
that weaves one soul to another soul to another?
© Rita H Kowats
How will I mark the place of my living today?
Here is the path. Walk it.
Waiting for Hope
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
Into the womb of the Sacred deliver us.
Brood us, Lifegiver.
Warm our crippled core
with the elixer of your hope.
The immalleable membrane of despair
Stretched to the limits against
We dared to imagine-
© Rita H Kowats 4-10-2017
(Inspired by The Lord’s Prayer, New Zealand Prayer Book)
The video takes a few seconds to begin…don’t give up!
Photo Credit: Lynn Schooler, Juneau AK
Photo Credit: See-Through-Cathedral on a Hill Outside of Brussels, Belgium