Identity: January 29 Posting #2

A Wellness Exercise

Can you remember the last time you felt truly joyful and carefree? How old were you and what were you thinking or doing at the time? How difficult is it to recall that joy and how long can you hold your focus on the memory? Do you know that focusing on a joyful memory can release the same endorphins as though the event were happening right now? Restorative healing can happen when we let go of the woeful stories and embrace our blessings.

 

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Original Art by Sara Blair McNally

The most profound loss of my life has been the loss of myself. Wanting desperately to feel loved and avoid rejection, I molded myself to please others. Indeed I became a shape shifter. If you were an owl I would be a field mouse, allowing you to devour me, solely to please you. In this way, I lost myself, one little field mouse at a time. The ghosts of all those mice haunted me until I began the inward journey to reclaim them. It was grueling to get all those owls to regurgitate those tiny bones and even harder to remember the particular characteristics that would flesh them out again. Still, I persevered. It became an expedition. Having gathered and fleshed out all those sacrificial mice, I was still bereft of identity; all those mice, but no life in them. Reclaiming wholeness while identifying parts seemed an impossible task. Then, I remembered one characteristic of the owl that helped: long-sighted vision. I had to step back and get a broader view. Following the guidance of my inner owl, one by one, I swallowed each mouse and once again they were alive and reanimated aspects of me long forgotten. Inside me now lives an owl and many mice.

© 2016 Bessie Adams Senette

Identity: January 16 Posting #1

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Photo by David Senette: “Christmas Flowers”

Prodigy Envy

If everyone could know at a young age what they were destined to become, would it change all of our social systems? A child prodigy not only excels at a particular skill but is driven to perform that skill and never seems to tire of it. It is more than just being passionate about something. It is that they are created for it. It’s in their DNA.

Statistically, what is the number of people who have college degrees, even post-graduate degrees who are actually working in their field of study? How many people have worked years at a white color job, even excelled at it, only to discover that they really just wanted to be a farmer? I sometimes envy those who are certain of their identity. It seems to me that knowing what your purpose and value is to humanity sooner rather than later can be both rewarding and treacherous. It took me a long time to be comfortable in my own skin. I suspect I share that sentiment with many others.

I am What I am.

Does the seed wonder what it will become?

If it’s a daisy, does it want to be a bean instead?

When it becomes a beautiful flower,

Does it think that its roots are too short,

Or its petals are too far apart,

Or its color is a shade too flamboyant?

 

I watch a bird pecking at something

Perhaps a bug or a worm

In the cement birdbath that we grew tired of cleaning

Resorting to using it as a planter instead.

 

I wonder if this is the same bird that

Bathed in the sun-warmed water last summer.

It doesn’t seem to care that the water isn’t there.

Perhaps it’s a different bird or maybe it has

Already forgotten what used to be.

I can relate,

What I am now is far more interesting.

 

I look in the mirror and smile.

What an absurd creation I am,

As though source of creation

Thought it might be fun to use only spare parts from

Leonardo da Vinci’s atlas of anatomy.

I no longer care that my legs are short

And my wrinkles are deepening,

I still have a twinkle in my eye.

Like Popeye,

I am what I am.

 

© 2015 Bessie Adams Senette

December Posting #2

Mending Me

I am first a seeker

Searching without for so long,

I have now come to seek within.

I am next a spirit.

Captured by human form,

Whispering wisdom so my soul will carry on.

I am almost a butterfly,

Having spent my caterpillar days devouring life,

I settle into chrysalis now, awaiting wings to fly.

I am that which knows itself as one with all that is.

Though some days splintered forms of me

Are scattered by the wind.

I am absent in Holy Presence and present in unholy absence.

I am longing and satisfying.

I am creation and creator.

I am healer and healed.

I am that which I seek but only rarely find.

I am sound.

I am color.

I am movement sometimes huge as a tidal wave,

Sometimes, an infinitesimal shimmer.

I am black as the void,

And more brilliant than the sun.

I am born, and borne, and born again,

And death too represents itself in me.

I am torn and tattered flesh.

Like a weeping willow I bend.

But I hold a truth so solid that I am on the mend.

Life knows its name when I speak it,

For in me, it finds true meaning.

I am, and that I am is enough.

© 2015 Bessie Adams Senette

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Photo by Trudy Gomez

December Posting #1

 

The Beginning of the End

December’s postings recall beginnings and endings. Life is full of those. Each time I leave my 94-year-old-father who is experiencing the end of this life to a new beginning — eternal life, I ask him to kiss my deceased mother for me, if he should go before I return. His wizened, watery eyes look up at me, crinkle at the corners as he smiles and nods. As 2015 comes to a close, our eyes are filled with images of recent senseless acts of violence. I wonder about the souls of those departing this world with so much hate. Who or what will meet them as they cross over? Looking forward to the new year, will 2016 bring about a shift in global consciousness? Will we begin to speak into reality a vision for humanity of inclusive cooperation that honors the dignity of every life? Do we have the will to fight against the urge to fall asleep and numbly accept mass shootings as our new normal? My constant prayer is that we keep our eyes and our hearts wide open.

Home

Inside this dome

       Turtle Island,

I face the sacred West.

Ancestors drumming thunder,

Calling me home.

 

Hear now

Three rivers converging

An amalgamated trinity

       Vibration

                   Sound

                               Color.

                              

Full moon shining

Light on the path to solemn passage

Where my soul will sleep at last.

Here now, the journey seems so long.

There, merely a wink.

 

Will God delight,

       Will I,

In what I bring home?

 

It will have to do.

All has been done

Until soul longs again to

Return to the light of the sun.

 

Here now

       I dream

                   I hope.

 

Perhaps next time

My previous shinings

Will be remembered.

Here or there, I will be home.

 © 2015 Bessie Adams Senette

Photo by Bessie Senette: “Tranquility Point Carolina Jasmine in Repose”

Carolina Jasmine

Are We Thankful

First and Always is an excerpt from” Cutting the Clouds, a Bayou Mystic’s Poems, Musings, and Imaginings.” Remembering now how gratitude is the remedy for woe, then choosing to remember all that I am grateful for, is  life-long mind training. Be mindful of your blessings first and always.

First and Always

Thank you maternal grandmother for birthing the daughter who would become my precious mother, who at the time of her birth carried the egg that was the potential of me.

Thank you paternal grandmother for birthing the son who would donate his sperm to the cause making that potential a reality and for contributing to the loving father he became.

Thank you mother for my life, for nurturing me and challenging me to be more than I thought I could be. Thank you father for the lessons of humility and self worth. Thank you both for my sister and for her beauty and brilliance that helped me to shine in my own way and for my brother whose gentle wisdom taught me the importance of kindness. Thank you for the sister I never knew who taught me about the power to heal. By her life and by her death, I learned perseverance. Thank you sister for my beautiful niece, today a friend and scholar, who gifted us all with the next generation: that brilliantly clear, redheaded baby boy. Thank you family for all the times you challenged and encouraged me. Thank you ancestors, unknown and uncounted; the wisdom you came to in your lifetimes is surely part of my soul’s journey now.

Thank you, all you angels, both human and otherwise, who scolded me when I needed scolding, who taught me when I needed teaching, who lifted me up when I needed to be held, who nudged me along toward greater integrity.

Thank you my husband, heart of my heart, for your loving that surpasses understanding. Thank you my two sons for your continuing love and support and for crediting me on occasion for gifting you with life and lessons that you cherish. Thank you for the daughters I never had by choosing such exquisite wives.

Thank you Jade and James for generously sharing with me the newest addition to the community of heroines, awakening in me my Garden of Eden. While you are not children of my womb, you are without a doubt children of my heart.

Thank you friends who walk beside me helping me to contain so much love. I trust you know who you are.

Thanks to all of you who have allowed me to be a part of your healing and for those who sought me as their mentor. I have been honored and blessed by your trust in me.

Thank you Great and Wondrous Spirit for gifting me with so much love and support. Your gentleness is awe-inspiring and sometimes overwhelming.

© 2015 Bessie Adams Senette

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Photo by T. Senette – Lake Martin Lotus

November

Holy Stick

Around the fire

Sacred mountain sage

Wafting up and into

The gathered pilgrims

Seeking a new

Connection to deeper truth –

How does one breathe it in

Without first letting go?

 

Coyote Skywater, the elder,

Grandmother,

As Pueblo tradition holds,

Hands me the Talking Stick.

No one but the holder

Is allowed to speak.

She cautions all to listen, and to me –

“Even your ancestors are listening, White Owl,

So speak to them first.

 

Overwhelmed by silence and this sacred listening,

Searching my mind for perfect words,

My heart takes over.

Unable to speak

This Holy Stick

Sticking my tongue to my pallet

Like to a frozen flagpole,

A moan issues without beckoning

As I grasp the stick and weep.

 

I wonder,

Is it true that I have never

Been given this honor –

To be truly heard?

Surely, having been heard like this

Has taught me to listen.

© 2015 Bessie Adams Senette

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Inspired by Meinrad Craighead”s “The Litany of the Great River”

Original collage by Bessie Senette

November Musings Harvest

Harvest

It has taken an extraordinarily

Long time to come to this harvest.

Pulling plow through timeless alluvial soil

Once rocky and frozen with resistance.

Encouraging worms and discouraging slugs

Laboring for fertile ground.

To nurture this soul’s harvest

I have been busy bending nature.

Planting love seeds and tending experiential fields,

From this bounty I now harvest.

I choose carefully the most delicious fruit

Not because I am deserving of this ambrosia

But because I am the author of it.

This wisdom did not come to me by chance

But certainly by thoughtful design.

© 2015 Bessie Adams Senette

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Wendi Romero, Photo: Fiddle Fern

November Musings

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“Karma” Original paper collage art by Bessie Senette

Cause and Effect

What longing

Caused the falling from

Formlessness to form,

Casting itself adrift from source,

Wander lust,

Divine refinement,

Curiosity,

Karma?

And what longing calls the Soul

Back home,

Exhaustion,

Divine design,

Reunion with those we miss,

Curiosity,

Karma?

Whatever the cause

The effect is eventually forgotten.

October Theme: Falling Part 4

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Original art by Bessie Senette “Paper Wings”

Paper Wings

Is the earth falling or am I rising?

Paper wings catch the wind,

Be forever a gentle breeze, I pray.

Lift me from lowly places

Unburden this skin

Grown too tight for spirit form,

Captured long ago by longing for

Dragon flight in ground fog.

This weight–

This wait–

Too heavy for speedy travel,

Too slow for waking dreams.

New desires entice me now–

Free-falling into the abyss

With wings to fly.

© 2015 Bessie Adams Senette

October Theme: Falling Part 3

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Collage by Lisa Domingue

Tolerance or Adaptation?

Smoke rings lassoing mountain peaks,

Leftovers from western wildfires.

Newscasters have already moved

On to the next catastrophe.

East coast dams

Damning us with inadequate engineering

In the wake of a thousand year flood.

294 days in the year 2015,

274 mass shootings in the

Land of the free and the home of the brave.

Males in America own on average 7.9 guns.

Expect a massacre in your hometown.

Are we becoming more tolerant?

Are we just adapting to the new normal?

Frogs in a pot waiting for the boiling point

What bravery does it take to shoot a deer

With an automatic weapon?

How free are we, really?

Falling from grace our

Moral compass signals due north

While we continue south.

© 2015 Bessie Adams Senette