Daily Guideposts 2021 devotional today inspired this blog topic. After I chose “Multiplying” as my EMBRACE theme today, every place I looked, I saw evidence of answers to my question, “But what needs to be multiplied?”
When you hear/read the word “multiplying” what comes to mind? I asked Bob that question this morning after my devotional time while we were chatting at the breakfast table.
“Increasing comes to mind. Numbers come to mind,” he answered.
What comes to your mind?
In her blog this morning, Marva Seaton wrote about multiplying. She didn’t use the word, but the concept definitely was there.
In my devotional time this morning, I read an article that spoke to me of the way poetry fits into my life … a life that is filled with the wonder of poetic healing. I am impelled to share it with you because I hope it will inspire and validate your poetic instincts the way it did mine.
Before you read it, you may want to scroll to the bottom here and click on Laura Sullivan’s piano music. Listen to it as you read Jacqueline Suskin’s inspiring article.
Finding the Poetry in Everyday Life
by Jacqueline Suskin From – Posted on Jan 25, 2021 A professional poet provides tips on healing your life by adopting a poetic mindset.
There’s a saying: “Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.” These days, the battle feels especially hard. From everyday challenges to the forces dividing our nation, it’s fair to ask: How can I bring more joy to my life? More peace?
My answer: poetry.
I’m a professional poet. For a decade, I earned a living doing a project I called Poem Store… I wrote a story I wrote a few years ago for Guideposts about how poetry can be a vital part of someone’s prayer practice …
What is it about poetry that makes it such a powerful, universal language?
Poetry reveals beauty in the smallest details of creation. It finds light in the darkest shadow. It is a guide and a teacher, reminding readers that life is a miracle, something to be celebrated. Good poetry tells deep truths about joy and pain, triumph and grief. Like the Psalms, poetry explores every aspect of human experience, shying away from nothing and expressing gratitude for everything.
That’s why I believe poetry can be healing for anyone. You don’t have to be a professional poet.
Here are some suggestions for cultivating a poetic mindset, gained from a lifetime of writing, teaching and finding my place on this planet:
1. Be in awe of everything. A dictionary definition of awe is “a feeling of reverential respect mixed with fear or wonder.”
… The poetic mindset starts with the idea that nothing is an accident. Everything is interrelated and plays a part in a greater whole. Therefore, everything deserves notice and even celebration.
The signs are everywhere. Autumn leaves swirling in wind. A luminous raindrop on your window. The sight of someone you love peacefully asleep. Stars on a clear winter night. (And I, JanBeek, have to interject here: the sight of snowflakes dancing outside on your patio)
Even on your hardest day, a glance around will reveal something miraculous. When I focus on the intricate grandeur of nature, I feel myself relax. My mind unclenches from my problems, and I know that something larger is present, no matter what happens.
Awe is easy to cultivate. Close your eyes. Now open them. What is the first thing you see? Look closer. Ask yourself: How was this thing made? Where did it come from? What does it look like, feel like, smell like, maybe even taste like? What is good about it? What does it remind you of? Does it bring happy thoughts or sad ones? Why? What does it tell you about yourself or the divine?
I’m willing to bet your randomly selected object is full of meaning. A poetic mindset helps you tune into that significance whenever you want. It’s an inexhaustible source of healing, refreshment and inspiration.
2. Make pain your teacher.
Are you brokenhearted and angry? There’s a poem for that…
A poem is a place where you can pour out your hardest feelings. Make the words shout, burn. Don’t be afraid. You can always throw the page into the fireplace once you’ve filled it. Or seal it in an envelope and come back to it later.
Poetry can be a repository for everything difficult in your life.
But there’s more. I find that when I write about something I’m struggling with, my negative feelings begin to ebb. By writing, remembering, I am forced to admit that not everything is so bad. The world is complicated. There is darkness and light. Forgiveness comes into view.
The more I put everything on the page—the whole truth, not just an edited version—the more I ask why things happened. If I could have done things differently. Whether my poem is trying to teach me something. Here’s part of a poem I wrote while I was grieving a loved one.
You were a shining man always giving us a reason to rejoice and so you still are, you always will be.
Writing about grief helped me widen my perspective. I learned that memories are emblems of ongoing life after death. That doesn’t end my grief. My grief teaches me a healing truth.
3. Seek what inspires you.
Life isn’t perfect, but you can live with love and trust anyway.
Poetry helps us remember this essential piece of wisdom. What comes from God is good, and there is always goodness to be found once you train yourself to look.
Poetry to me is a form of praise. I build poems from things I see, people I meet and thoughts and feelings found deep inside. As I present those treasures in poetic language, I am celebrating what is good in them. My poems have an innate optimism. Poetry looks for the bright side of life, whatever is inspiring and beautiful even in the midst of hardship.
To see the world as a poet is to be aware of beauty wherever you go. A poet believes that beauty is a clue to the essential nature of existence. Pay attention to that feeling of joy as you spot a delicate tracery of dew in a spider’s web on your morning walk. The beauty, and your joy, are helping you see something deeply true about life.
4. Open yourself to a new perspective.
Few objects are more humble than the pencil. Yet, for me, a pencil is holy. Every pencil is special because I imagine the thoughts and images that it can be used to create and communicate. What are the holy objects in your life? A poet looks for what is beloved in everything, no matter how ordinary.
That is what makes poetry a force for healing. When you look for what is beautiful, good, true and holy in everything around you, you are really looking for God. When you write down what you see, you are engaged in a deep form of prayer.
When your mind and your heart develop this habit of poetic prayer, you cannot be overcome by the world’s troubles because you carry a treasury of goodness inside yourself.
Your poems don’t have to be perfect. They don’t have to rhyme. They don’t have to impress anyone. All they need is a new perspective, that of a poetic mindset.”
Thank you, Jacqueline Suskin. Your Guideposts article inspired me. I hope it inspires my WordPress friends, too.
EMBRACE WRITING POETRY
Here’s a poem from a fantastic musician, Laura Sullivan, who also dabbles in poetry. If you’re unfamiliar with her music, do yourself a favor and click on the YouTube at the bottom here.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek
Do you have a poem to share? I’d love to have you share something poetic in the comments section here.
These two little darlings exude happiness, confidence, pure joy… I can’t help but smile when I look at them. (I bet you’re smiling, too) I’ve been saving this photo for just the right time. Today is it!
In my devotionals this morning, I read an article by Brenda Wade, Ph.D. Brenda is based in San Francisco. She hosts a radio talk show, “Modern Love” and she facilitates trainings on relationships. Her article in the Jan.-Feb. Unity magazine, Daily Word, is titled, “Overcoming Racism, Healing from Shame, Opening to Love.”
“The love and peace we want to know in our lives begins inside of us,” Dr. Wade wrote. “This has been on my mind lately as I’ve dug deeply into … my work, leading anti-racism trainings.”
In her article, she went on to describe an incident in her life that deeply affected her self-image. She was only 6-years-old.
“One day at school, my classmates and I were told to line up two by two and hold hands. I extended my hand, but the girl standing next to me refused to take it. ‘I can’t hold your hand,’ she said matter-of-factly. ‘My mother told me your skin is brown because it’s dirty.’ I was confused. My skin was brown, but it certainly was not dirty.”
It took years for that little 6-year-old to deal with the hurt. Her young brain just didn’t understand. She felt immediate rejection, pain, and the sting of shame. The notion that there was something wrong with her kept her from telling the teacher or her parents. She just carried that message of inferiority with her and it was reinforced by a high school principal who ignorantly expressed surprise that someone of her color could score so high on her tests.
It was further reinforced in graduate school when a department chair “was more interested in my race than my qualifications” – and as an adult when “a landlord candidly admitted he was denying me housing because I am African American.”
How does someone overcome such prejudicial treatment and regain the confidence that ALL PEOPLE deserve?
That is the question Dr. Walker deals with in her profession. She conquered it in her own life with “years of psychological work, spiritual practice, self-care, and healing.”
Dr. Brenda Wade wrote, “When we feel too hurt or afraid to let ourselves out, it becomes impossible to let others in.”
Embrace the confidence that there is hope and a future and a return of self-confidence when self-insight and self-love can be applied.
The pain of those early wounds go deep.
We know that we ALL have a responsibility to respond to one another in love, with compassion and respect, and to stand together hand-in-hand to obliterate oppression and prejudice.
Embrace that future with confidence and determination!
Yesterday during our ZOOM church service, our pastor, Steve Hundley, offered the following prayer. It is just what I needed to hear as I embrace with confidence the power of prayer and the belief that God hears, God cares, and God answers us when we cry out to Him:
“How many times in Your earthly ministry, O Lord, did You touch the fevered brows of those who were ill; or, the trembling hands of those who were afraid; or, the sagging shoulders of those bowed down in grief?
Walk among us now, we pray, and touch us for the same reasons… * Let those who are ill in body or in spirit feel the power of Your presence, and sense that healing is taking place. * We pray for all those sick with COVID throughout our nation and world… * Give those who are constricted by fears and anxieties a feeling of relaxation in Your grace. * Let peace flow over them like a river, carrying them away from self-preoccupation and into the openness of love and sharing… * Pour out the hope of Your resurrection upon those who are grieving the loss of loved ones… * May they walk the Emmaus Road with You and feel their hearts strangely and wonderfully warmed… * In the chaos and uncertainty of the coming weeks and months, give us confidence of faith in knowing that You are Lord of our lives and Lord of this world, and that You are working Your purpose out… * As Your children, O Lord, You know how often we recoil from those things that should not frighten or upset us in this world. Comfort us with Your presence, and teach us so to live within the disciplines of faith, so that, we are never without You.”
Embrace with Confidence, my friends, the knowledge that you regard all God’s Children as equals… and determine never to inflict on anyone the pain of rejection or the sting of shame.
As God’s children… Let us live as One. Let’s just walk around makng the world a better place! Embrace Confidence!
It’s a different kind of Independence Day weekend in the USA. Our little town of Ennis WILL have its annual rodeo tonight. Social distancing is easy in that outdoor venue. But we will not have the 4th of July parade. Our population of 1,000 grows on that day to about 6,000 typically – and the sidewalks are wall-to-wall people. So for public safety, it was cancelled. We are free to just BEE this year… and grateful to bee alive!
The rodeo will happen as usual, but the crowd will be greatly diminished.
We’ll miss the parade, but we’ll celebrate here at home – quietly thanking God for our freedom and renewed health.
Yesterday Bob was delighted to be able to spend a day on the Madison River with our friend, Scott. The fishing was good – and the weather was beautiful. The wildlife were out enjoying the sunshine, too.
Scott took this picture of the moose who entertained the fishermen.
Yesterday while Bob was out fishing and I was recuperating from my surgery, a couple of my girlfriends and a dear couple from our church made sure I was well taken care of. Terry (on the left) made bran muffins for my breakfast and gave me a darling, soft and cuddly angel blanket. Elaine (on the right) brought lunch and we shared it as we visited for a couple of hours. Then later in the day other friends brought us a delicious dinner of ham and scalloped potatoes, salad, and cookies for dessert. Yum!!!
I know I am super blessed to have such wonderful friends. I hope you are equally gifted.
On another topic, you may have noticed that yesterday’s blog “Learn to Say NO,” with a series of Haiku was all in capital letters. I was not intending to shout at you. I was just trying to enlarge this font that WordPress suddenly has decided to use as a default. I found out how to enlarge the first letter in each new text entry. That’s fun, but do you have advice for how I can default back to a larger text for the body of my posts?
Celebrate your FREEDOM to BEE! See ya tomorrow. Love from JanBeek
Dr. Jimmy Walters has been posting a 30 day series on healing. Today his topic was “Listening.” Check it out by clicking n “Day 26” below:
Dr. Jimmy said in his article, “… listening can inform us, guide us, as we grow and as we learn.”
My daughter DeAna, and her husband, Andre’ (pictured above and below here) are celebrating their 33rd anniversary today. It has been an interesting journey for them. They married when she was not quite 20 and he was 24. Young and naive, coming from a world apart – she a California girl and he a fun-loving guy who’d been working as a chef in Switzerland.
DeAna wore my dress and Andre’ wore Bob’s red bow tie and cummerbund as they were married in the same University of the Pacific chapel where Bob & I were wed 25 years earlier.
They remained in California four more years while De finished college, but eventually, they moved back to Andre’s hometown in Sierre, Switzerland. He missed his mountains, his family, his culture. I don’t blame him!!! De was pregnant with our first grandchild when they left. Talk about a difficult good-bye! But hey… Switzerland…. what a beautiful place to HAVE TO visit, huh?
Life was beautiful – but, oh so different – there.
Listening to Andre’s mom, Denise, was an important part of their marital success. As the years went by, DeAna and Andre’ grew in their ability to share their minds, let their dreams be known, and listen to one another.
Bob & I have been married 58 years, and we, too, are busy still learning to be better listeners. It’s a life-long process. But the effort is worth it. We, too, are happier now than ever.
Psalm 37:10-11 (MSG)
“The deeper your love, the higher it goes; every cloud is a flag to your faithfulness. Soar high in the skies, O God! Cover the whole earth with Your glory!”
Today the skies revealed a slight rainbow arching the skies … look carefully:
As I stood on the porch after the rain, listening to the thunder in the hills, the robins chirped from their nest nearby and the doves flew back onto the roof to coo at one another. Listen! The earth is alive with God’s symphonies.
The rain returned – just light sprinkles, but the birds continued their songs.
Bob came out on the porch and said, “What’s for lunch?” I responded with a shrug, “I don’t have anything planned.” “How about a hamburger and huckleberry milkshake?” he asked. Believe me, I listened, I heard, and … We were in the car in a jiffy.
The sign over Bob’s shoulder says, “Without ICE CREAM, Life is Darkness and Chaos.”
Without good listening, Without open sharing of dreams, You’ll miss out on lots of hamburgers and milkshakes!
Now, doesn’t that look like “God’s Vision for Your Life”??
Listen for your Health! Listen for your Happiness. Don’t miss out!
Each man as my brother, Each woman as my sister Each one as my friend We need one another…
When I was in college back in the late 50s and early 60s, we sang this song in the A Cappella choir at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. I loved it then. I love it even more now. We need it!!
We need one another So I will defend Each man as my brother, Each man as my friend.
Each woman as my sister, Each one as my friend.
Lord, heal our nation. Almighty God, step in and heal our divisions. Help us understand our Oneness. Help us just LOVE ONE ANOTHER!!
Lie down, my friends. Put your feet up. Fold your hands. Click that arrow up there – And pray this as a prayer with me As we sing that song together,
“No man is an island… No man stands alone, Each man’s joy is joy to me Each man’s grief is my own. We need one another, So I will defend Each man as my brother, Each man as my friend.” Each woman as my sister, With love that knows no end.
Beth Guckenberger, from her book, Reckless Faith: Let Go and Be Led,
“Hope is reborn in the form of faith, faith that God will take over, even if you can’t see how.”
Rest in that thought!!
You are in my thoughts, in my prayers, in my heart. Bee well. Just love!
Reaching out to help another is a clear demonstration of these “10 simple words — hope, love, care, culture, kindness, faith, knowledge, health, comfort and warmth.” This quote is not mine… but I repeat them here because these concepts mean so much …
Especially today, October 14th, Columbus Day in the USA. Our banks and post offices and federal buildings and some schools are closed today in honor of Columbus. Why?
Because : “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue!”
I memorized that rhyme as a kid in school. Why was it important? Well, Columbus purportedly “discovered America” on this day.
But, who Really “Discovered” America?
I received this e-mail from St. Joseph’s Indian School today:
“They are 10 simple words — hope, love, care, culture, kindness, faith, knowledge, health, comfort and warmth — but they mean so much … Especially today.“
St. Joseph’s Indian School here in Montana wants you to know it’s not about Columbus! They announced, “Today is Native American Day!”
They continued, “…we want to celebrate in a BIG way! Today we are hosting a special day of giving at St. Joseph’s Indian School. We need 365 people — one donor for every day of the year — to open their hearts and give a gift.
Will you be 1 of the 365? BE 1 OF THE 365 Some St. Joseph’s students arrive without knowledge of their deep, rich Native American culture. They have spent their young lives more focused on surviving day to day than learning about their ancestors and traditions.
As more people give, more student programs and services will be unlocked.
At 165 gifts, donors will help unlock regalia for students to wear during powwows. At 165 gifts, donors will help unlock a cultural trip.
At 365 donors: we will receive a special matching gift offer of $25,000 from a special group of friends who have pledged to support the Lakota students!”
You can join in this effort to recognize, help enrich, and appreciate our Native American friends today. Let’s acknowledge the ones who REALLY discovered America… our Native Americans. They were here long before some white man came to rob them of their land and relegate them to reservations!
I am a faithful supporter of St. Joseph’s as well as the school for our Lakota Natives here in Montana. Won’t you join in?