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Posts Tagged ‘play’


for Michelle


Today I feel too clean to play,
but oh there was that day
when you and I
walked past the mud puddle,
all slick and ooze, a miresome mess,
and we reached our fingers into the sludge
and smeared the muck
onto each other’s faces—
thick mud, gray mud, slippery
and unctuous mud,
wide swaths of heavy mud
that slashed our cheeks,
bedecked our foreheads, mocked
our love of spotlessness.
Not war paint, but joy paint,
cool liquid earth on our skin.
Besmudged and besmirched,
we baptized each other
in the dirtiest of water,
a murky blessing,
our laughter blossoming
between us in the air,
a many-petalled prayer,
a jubilant lotus
startlingly (how?) so pure.

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The first year I won the Slush Mush contest
I was shocked as my grandfather read a long, official letter
to everyone else around the Christmas tree
about how my entry into the Slush Mush Breakfast Cereal contest
had been the best one received that year.
I didn’t remember entering.
In fact, I was sure I had not.
Yet I won a puzzle.
Another year my brother won.
Or my mother. Or my cousin.
And each Christmas morning, my grandfather read
the long official letter
which always ended “Eat more Slush Mush.”
It was many years before I understood
how the contest worked.
And for the last twenty years
since he’s been gone,
I carry on, buying puzzles, writing letters,
appointing unsuspecting winners.
Part of me thrills in this annual ruse
because it reminds me of him.
Part of me thrills in remembering
how strange and wonderful it felt
to be chosen not because of how hard
I had tried, but because I was part
of a circle of love. It’s a malnourished world,
he would write every year. Thank you, Papa,
for the Slush Mush.

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Building the Snow People

We rolled them out of backyard snow.

How quickly snow balls the size of a heart

become snow boulders the size of a man.

We gave them features

to make them more like us.

Dark brown stems and leaves of dried mint?

Those became hair. Carrots for noses,

of course. Small gray rocks for eyes.

Plus knobby sticks. Rust-colored leaves.

Thin icicles from the eaves.

The wail of a siren going by—

that went into them, too.

Plus a prayer for those in pain.

And a slip of blue Colorado sky.

We walked among them,

these rare guests in a time of quarantine,

and perhaps we felt our loneliness lift.

What is a snow man but a temporary cairn,

a dolled up trail marker that leads us

back to ourselves, back to our own backyard.  

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This grave day when it seems

I cannot play, I do.

I go to the graveyard and find

someone who died on my birthday.

I sit at the small metal marker

and read poems about birth and death.

I sing “Another One Bites the Dust”

and dance in my bare feet.

And when the dog starts to scratch at the earth

and flings dirt all over my legs and lap,

I laugh at her great idea

and rub the dirt into my skin,

then cover myself in big handfuls of red dirt,

marking myself as dust.

Here, in the autumn sun

surrounded by tombstones

that have long since lost their names,

it’s so easy to remember

how short this life—

what a gift to be alive,

what a gift to be wrestled by chaos

and find myself still thirsty

for another day, another day.

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Inner Menagerie

In me, there is a mountain lion

who prowls the streets of town

with her powerful legs and fierce teeth.

She’s the one who smiles at everyone,

and why shouldn’t she?

But inside the big cat is a gopher

who knows best how to hide,

who is grateful no one seems

to have noticed her.

And inside the gopher is an elephant

who has been watching her mother

and grandmothers, aunts and cousins,

for centuries to learn from them

how to survive.

But inside the elephant is a sea squirt

who, attached to one spot,

has begun to eat her own brain

so she won’t have to use it anymore.

And inside the sea squirt is an otter.

She wonders how the rest of them have forgotten

the great joy of running and sliding

on their stomachs, playing tag and chase,

rolling in the water, feeling the sun

warm and generous on their backs.

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Like Monopoly. Because you always ended up landing on Boardwalk

where the red hotel meant you owed two thousand dollars

and all you had were mortgaged railroads. Or like checkers,

because really, what was fun about moving small plastic disks

diagonally and hearing the other kid say, “King me.” And soccer?

Only because your mother made you because she wanted

to be coach. You did want to play school, but no one else did,

so you were the principal, the teacher, the student,

giving yourself homework, grading it yourself. Writing in red

in your best cursive at the top of the page, “See me.”

You didn’t want to play basketball, because no one else

ever chose you for their team. Even though you were tall.

And you were chosen last for volleyball, too. And t-ball.

And Red Rover. And dodge ball. Is it any wonder your favorite

way to play was to visit the junkyard and find treasure?

Or to walk along the lake to look for flowers and worms?

Is it any wonder you learned to love playing alone

in quiet rooms with an empty page and a pen?

There was no way then you could have known

that it would save you—no, you just thought

you were playing the only way you knew how,

walking through the only doors

you knew how to open yourself.

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The Grand Embrace: Resistance & Willingness
September 13 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. MDT
$40-$100 sliding scale, no one will be refused for lack of funds


We are learning to stretch in so many ways, many of them very uncomfortable. Living right now can feel like being in a story with an unbearable amount of tension. If it were a book, we might be tempted to read ahead to find out what happens to relieve the tension. Well, we don’t get to skip ahead. And we don’t get to stick our heads in the sand. But we do have the chance to meet our resistance to the moment— our sticky, unadulterated top-to-bottom resistance. And we have a chance to practice being available to the moment. Join dharma teacher Susie Harrington and poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for a day of exploring resistance and willingness through meditation and writing.

There will be meditation practice instructions, guided meditations and silent sitting. Poetry practice will include periods of instruction, time to write, and time to share what we have written and discovered. This combination of silence and discovery can be a magical process that leads us deep into ourselves and into the world. No previous experience in meditation or poetry is required to participate. We expect many will be more familiar with one of these modes of exploration than the other and this will be an opportunity to build on the experiences you bring.

If you have any questions please contact Lisa Allee at 970-570-7936 or lisaalleecnm@hotmail.com (call or text preferred). 
To register, visit https://desertdharma.org/retreats.html

*

Playing with Mindfulness & Poetry
October 2, 5-8 p.m. and October 3, 8-11 a.m. 
$95

It’s like recess for grownups—a chance to let your body and your mind have fun in a virtual playground. Poet Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer will offer playful word games and mischievous prompts for writing. Psychotherapist, yoga and meditation teacher Augusta Kantra will lead light-hearted creative movement and joyful experimentation. Play is for everyone! Leave feeling more deeply connected to the part of you who knows how to enjoy being alive. To register, visit https://calmlivingstudio.com/events/playing-with-mindfulness-poetry/
 

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer co-hosts Emerging Form, a podcast on the creative process. She also co-hosts Telluride’s Talking Gourds Poetry Club and is co-founder of Secret Agents of Change. She teaches poetry for mindfulness retreats, women’s retreats, scientists, hospice and more. Her poetry has appeared in O Magazine, on A Prairie Home Companion and in Rattle.com. Her most recent collection, Hush, won the Halcyon Prize. She is often found in the kitchen baking with her teenage children. One-word mantra: Adjust.

Augusta Kantra is a psychotherapist, a mindfulness and meditation teacher, and a yoga teacher. She and her husband, David, own and operate the Center for CALM Living and CALM Living Studio in Fairhope, Alabama. As a psychotherapist, she helps her clients understand and unravel the dynamics that trip them up. As a mindfulness teacher, she facilitates on-going Yoga Assisted Self-Discovery groups incorporating meditation, movement, and insight practices. As a teacher of yoga, she leads trainings at the foundational (200hr) and advanced (500hr) levels. And each week, she live-streams her fun, inspiring, and awareness-increasing yoga classes.

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simplified

 

 

 

given

only

one

word

 

to

stitch

through

my

 

thoughts

let

it

be

 

this:

adjust

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Second Chance

 

 

Next time the boy

throws the snow

at my face,

 

please let me see

an invitation

to play,

 

though it’s cold,

surprising,

his eyes bright requests.

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Rolling and diving in the pond, their slick,

dark bodies slip through the water

like needles stitching into a great green cloth.

They vanish, then reappear, then vanish.

There, a tail! A nose! Two noses! A back,

then a belly, then a foot. The two chase

each other, then dive, then eat,

then wrestle, then dive, then eat,

then spool and reel in tandem grace.

If there is grief in their world, they don’t show it.

Loss seems unnoticed by them.

They corkscrew their bodies through

the afternoon. Because they’re alive,

they keep swimming. Because

they’re alive, they play.

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