Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rules for Writing in Your Journal

Rules for Writing in Your Journal...
Or Any Sojourn into Expression and Creativity.

Just begin.

Start at the beginning:
A word, a thought, a sensation, a glimmering dream, nothing...
Not even nothing is forbidden here.
Say, scribe, strive, stumble, scribble, scrawl,
With longing or release,
Being precise or random,
Felling small or incomprehensibly huge.
Just begin.

Everyone needs a safe place 
To be the self they are 
In the moment.
Including you, even the spirits.
Maybe even God needs a safe space here,
Or not.

There is no sacrilege,
No trying.
There's just do-being.
Being still and moving at the same time.
That's the yin and yang of creativity,
Like a song:
An effortless song
That you cannot get out of your head
Until you sing it.

So, sit still and sing.

Let the pen move.
Set it free.
You may be surprised
at what you see.

When you get stuck, lower your standards.
William Stafford

(c) Copyright Richard Sievers, April 2015, All Rights Reserved

The poem in the picture from my journal is an excerpt from
A Song Sparrow Singing in the Fall
by Wendell Berry
New and Collected Poems, p.176

Saturday, April 4, 2015

What Difference?

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
                                                                        Luke 22:42

It is Easter weekend, a time celebrating rebirth that sprung from the roots of suffering and death. I’m reminded that even Jesus experienced the suffering of a fate that was seemingly beyond endurance. Then he experienced death. Like all of us. Now the story about his resurrection is fantastic, but what I have been interested in is the life lived Before the inevitable demise.

I woke up this morning thinking on the meaning of this weekend. Then I fell into a half dream/half wake state. I dreamed that I died in agony and my last words were:

Oh God, I didn’t want to die this way…
Imagine those as your final sentence. One Hundred and Fifty Thousand people will die in our world on this very day. Accident, violence, debilitation, slow decimation… these are all possible for anyone’s death. What would we be like on the other side of that fateful sentence, of that life lost? What would a “good” death look like and what difference would it make? What about a decent, happy life? What difference? All could just end in annihilation. What if the person you called “yourself” continued on the other side of death in some form? Then, how would you live or die?

Two questions rise up over and over:
  1. If there is only nothingness in store for me after death how would I live now?
  2. If I continue in some form after death how would I live now?
Does the answer vary from either question?
I reply to this query: “NO, the answer is the same to either question.”

This is my vision statement for living at this moment, no matter the outcome after death:
  • Live lovingly, creatively and aware.
  • Treat others as you want to be treated.
  • Swim in curiosity. 
  • Be grateful in wonder.
  • Cling to what and who is sacred.
The vision statement is the same reply to either question, because the consequences of choosing other ways seems to be sad and uselessly defeating. There is no doubt, this is a miracle of a planet. And whether annihilation or immortality (other something else unimaginable) this life, This moment is undeniably a wonder.

It appears that not many beings are bestowed with consciousness and choice of behavior like us. Whatever the end, I want to remember that simple truth for me: I’ll choose Loving kindness, replete with all the consequences that come with being sensitive and open in this hard world of humanity. And when I fail to reach the ideals of my vision statement I will turn towards hope rather than nihilism, cynicism, and craving. When life gets to be difficult and unfair I will pursue peace rather than railing against the unknown. What other real choices are there?

Perhaps the question is not how one would want to leave this world. 
Perhaps the question is how would one long to Live fully in this world, no matter the reality or absence of after-life?  
What is a vision statement for living that you could believe in? 
And what part of life’s difficulties could change into simple peace for being alive if you chose gratitude rather than despair?


© Copyright Words and Image, Richard Sievers, April 2015

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Can You Guess Who I AM?

This is a poem written by the main character who is coming to life in the process of writing my new book. Have you ever began a creative project and found a life and vibrancy within the the work that was completely unexpected? I highly recommend the experience. Most days at the writing desk for me are made up of just sitting down and getting to work. Sometimes the Great Mystery blesses a devoted practice with words from somewhere, someone, beyond the imagination. I met a character in my newest project who vexes me, teaches me  and thrills me. She wanted to share a poem that came at the end of her long life of wonders wrapped in tribulations:

She Writes Another Poem Upon Her Bedroom Wall
Can You Guess Who I AM?

I am the will of heaven.
I am the scion of verdant earth.
I am all that came before.
I am the end within the circle.
I am humbled in magnificence.
I am known everywhere in anonymity.
I am the song between the notes.
I am the memory betwixt the words.
I swim in your veins.
I die at your bedside.
I am born every moment.
I reside in the time beyond time.

Can you say who I am?
That is the beginning of wisdom.
The question is all you need to know.

Can you guess what I am?
Breathe in;
you will find me.
Breathe out;
you will find me.
Cease your struggle to breathe
and you will Be me.


(c) Copyright Words and Image, Richard Sievers, April 2015