A Benediction for 2017

by susanna suchak

adapted from “A Blessing for the New Year” by Kayleen Asbo

(dedicated with gratitude to Mike Prepsky who always inspires)

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As the presence of light

begins to grow with each passing day

may the fearful places in your heart

unclench their grasp on your life;

may your courage blossom and bloom.

 
Let this be the year that you

silence the monkey’s chatter,

pick up the drawing tool,

the pen, the paintbrush, the rasp,

and compose together with

the chorus of creativity.

 

Let this be the year that you

break the invisible yardstick

of impossible expectations

and learn that, just as you are,

you are enough –

and so much more.

Let this be the year that you

embrace the messy wonder

that is your life

as it is;

hold it close 

and do the tango.

Let this be the year you

cherish your own humanity

be tickled by its

quirky charm.

Elope with the wonder

of your own true calling,

and invite the hungry world

to the wedding feast.

goinginwardinvite_birchbark

#bounceback

Caregivers are compassionate. It is their nature. For most humans it is their nature and very natural to care. It can be an exhausting job though. Sometimes the compassion well feels pretty dry and empty. Oftentimes, caregivers are not the first to notice the symptoms of empty well or exhaustion until they are just about at the end of the caring rope.

It feels awful. I know. I’ve been there.

But where do you turn?

I turned to counselling. I turned to prescription drugs for depression. But neither were enough.

Until I began searching and seeking for a way that was natural, had no side-effects, and was virtually free, I was flailing. I felt like I was sinking. I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize the face in front of me.

Then over a year, I dug my way out. I found joy and I found the me I remembered. It was so wonderful that I wanted to share my how.

But first I had to develop the step-by-step method. That took me another year and a bit. With the help of my wise woman, academic advisor, Reinekke Lengelle I have developed my methodology into something that others have found as helpful as I did.

I call it “Wordscaping”. Over the next few weeks, I’ll explain with pictures just what it is.

I am trusting that you will find it worthwhile to try it.

It’s a good way to practice self-care even if you are not a frontline caregiver.

Talk soon!

November’s post

Since it is a month of remembrance, I wanted to share a poem. Not everyone goes to war, but most of us have battles to fight day-by-day. Please read of a kind of battle that people like my grandmother may have had to live as they spent their lives grinding out a living as a servant.

Title

by Knud Sørensen

Danish domestic workers were required to maintain these books from 1832 to 1921. Issued at confirmation, the book held record of employment, conduct, and wages for the individual.

Every first of November

she took out her Record of Conduct book

and laid it on the table in front of the man

on the farm that she now would be leaving

and the man got out a pen and ink

and tried the pen on his fingertip

or on the corner of a piece of scrap paper

and then he remembers his glasses

and gets them and sets himself down

and writes slowly and carefully

and with the proper pressure on the downstrokes:

The girl Karen Jensdatter has served me

loyally and with good conduct from the first of November last year

to this date, and he

dates and signs and she

curtsies and says thank you, thank you for everything

and she walks out the door and she still holds open

the Record of Conduct book so the ink

has time to dry, and she thinks

that now begins a new year in a yet unknown place

with a yet unknown master and mistress and maybe

with some yet unknown luck, and sometimes she also

has to go to the churchwarden to report her move

from one parish to another

and every first of November she hopes

that it will be her last first of November of this kind

and the years pass and all the young farmhands that have property

get married and the years pass and not until she is

38 does Kresten inherit

his parents’ house with no land and she gets

her last entry in the book and her real life

begins,

as a sharecropper’s wife, mother

to a pair of girls who quickly

are too young for her

and full of insecurity

and go out into the world with new

authorized Record of Conduct books in their hands.

“Skudsmålsbogen” ©1980

Translated from the Danish by Michael Goldman

from Rattle #48, Summer 2015

__________

Knud Sørensen (b. 1928) was a certified land surveyor for 28 years, during which he became intimate with the changing Danish agricultural landscape. A book reviewer for fourteen years and board member of numerous community organizations and cultural institutions, he has written 37 books and won over 20 literary awards, including a lifelong grant from the Danish Arts Council, and the Great Prize from the Danish Academy in 2014. He lives in Northern Jutland. This is the first appearance of Sørensen’s writing in English.

Michael Goldman: “I taught myself Danish in the summer of 1985 to help win the hand of a Danish girl. We have been married now for 24 years. I have loved Danish literature from the beginning, and I am pleased to be introducing Danish writers to an English speaking readership.”

Questions:

What emotions rise in you as you read this poem?

What would you say to this woman as she watches her daughter leave?

Because…

Today Patti Digh called her blog Poetry Wednesdays and it gave me the idea for this.

We have had FOUR days of sunshine in Owen Sound and Juno came nowhere near. But my cousin, Dawn Walker lives in Saugus, Massachusets and they got whacked. I’ve shared this poem at Page to Stage and it seemed to resonate with the adjudicators so I’m putting my neck out and sharing it with you.

It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day so I’m going to be brave and share how I deal with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which descends upon me here where winter seems to imprison me.

But we’ve had FOUR days of sunshine and this morning a winged fellow was singing his heart out and I know that Spring will come…will come…will come. Just because.

Because

Because Creator smiled;

Because the stars aligned;

Because our paths finally connected.

Because Gord forgot,

there was an R in his name;

Because failure crushed me.

Because your eyes sparkled;

Because I threw down a gauntlet;

Because I didn’t really think you would;

Because you did.

Because backing out was unthinkable;

Because I made a promise long ago.

Because we persist.

Because we are one.20140129-DSC00321

We shovel snow …

upon snow …

upon snow.

susanna suchak     January 10, 2015

Thirsty Thursday …

  Rain1 Today it rains. Il pleut.
Interestingly enough in French Il pleut can also mean “he cries” or is it “he is crying/weeping”? At any rate, I think the French have it right … for the rain often makes people a little rain2misty-eyed.

Strangely enough, not me, not today.

Perhaps it is because I have another poem to share with you. Not mine this time. Mine the other day was a very first draft … and we all know about first drafts, don’t we?

Today’s poem is by Antoinette Voûte Roeder
from her book, Still Breathing

Who isDSCF1227 God Now?

Rain.

The drops, the spaces between,

the times when it does not

rain.

Wind.

       When it blows, storms, rages,

       when it lies down in quiet pools.

Wind.

Body.

When it rises strong and free, entwines with another,DSCF1238

when it loses its luster and begins the  long descent.

Body.

Love.

In all its facets, birthing, growing, yearning,

breaking, losing.

Love.

Who is God now?

Far and near.

Here, not here.

Always, all ways.

God.

Although I no longer have a faith community that I meet with regularly … I find this comforting.

Let me know what feelings this poem evokes in you, if you like. Thanks for visiting.

listening_reflectionAll photos are my own, if you share or use them please link here. Thanks.

Poems to Ponder … a new feature

morning_Nov3

Every day blusters anew

more yellow, gold, red, brown leaves

dance down and down

delighted to joinEachLeaf_Nov3 copy

brothers and sisters

as they find their rest

on earthLeaves_Nov3

and in earth

as I

Chaos of leaves_Nov3

would do

and will doGoldLeaf_Nov3

sooner than

perhaps I

would prefer

 

Autumn’s Grace

susanna suchak

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Planting Seeds …

Today is Labour Day.

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Photo Credit: Jeff Suchak http://mythiclandscape.com

The group I spoke to last night paraded in Port Elgin this morning. They will partake of a well-deserved BBQ this afternoon.

I have been a member of CUPE, the OSSTF and grew up as the child of the CAW. I know that my life was the better for that.

So a deep bow of gratitude to all of you…and especially to UNIFOR who honours me by sharing their work with me. I offer this poem, one of my favourites, by Marge Piercy… I can think of no better way to honour them and the others who work to improve life’s quality through their participation and service in a trade union than to keep these hard won rights and privileges in front of people; vigilance is always our duty.

To be of use

by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best jump into work head first without dallying in the shallows and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight. They seem to become natives of that element, the black sleek heads of seals bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart, who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward, who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge in the task, who go into the fields to harvest and work in a row and pass the bags along, who stand in the line and haul in their places, who are not parlor generals and field deserters but move in a common rhythm when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud. Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust. But the thing worth doing well done has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident. Greek amphoras for wine or oil, Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums but you know they were made to be used. The pitcher cries for water to carry and a person for work that is real.

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“To be of use” by Marge Piercy © 1973, 1982. From Circles on the Water © 1982 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and Middlemarsh, Inc.

 

Monday’s Musings

 

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Spent a most delightful morning in the presence of a wonderful woman. What an indulgence. Sadly, an indulgence we often deny ourselves. To be with someone who fills our cup and loves us just as we are in this present moment. An act of mindfulness that is also a gift to self. I am blessed to have discovered this … at long last … that I am enough, that I am precious, that who I am can morph and transform and that is perfectly and imperfectly perfect.

 

Cutting through the fog of shoulds and oughts and could have/might have beens…to see the real beauty that lies within.

 

And to top it off a writing colleague who lives in the UK — Peter Forster — posted this in a private group just this morning… I’m excerpting of course… If you click on the links you can read more about him and of his writing.

Writing Prompt_August25

“allowing me

to see the world anew.

Every view,

texture,

hue…”

And that’s what my dear friend does. She allows me to see the world anew, every view, texture, hue. And when I do that I grow through the mundanities and inanities of this world’s day to day. (If I made those words up, I’m sure you know what I mean.) And when I see the world in its fullness, every nuance, in the present moment, then, and only then, and only sometimes, things fall into place and the world makes sense in its senselessness.

So I owe a debt to both Peter and Louise for their gift of presence, sharing, and allowing me to see myself through another’s eyes.