Category Archives: offerings

love poems, too

I’m imagining a night
right now
where I couldn’t get there fast enough
if you hollered for me

so I’ll send this down the wire
like an old telegraph
made of pulses
and listen here
on the other end
alert and quiet

for the sound of the star I recognize

don’t sleep too long

******************

benevolence is a word I cannot stop hearing
gifts that are really gifts
and as soon as I tune my drum to it
the music never quits

******************

I will hold the gaze of my Love
the way a mother would hold the gaze of her child
as her wound was being stitched
because if it is not seen
it is less there.

We laugh when young children hide their eyes
and believe they can no longer be seen
but I wonder if they know a clever truth

that all we own are our own gates
and through them we make the world

******************

you make my heart beat
or should I say something more Gestalt

no,
you make my heart beat because you’ve shined your light
and I receive
and it beats

******************

be still
belly digest
warm cat
fingers buzz
heater chug and blow
pulse go

your every detail is the realm of my heart

******************

let’s meet here
come to my place
and make music
logs burning each other brighter
restoring the superhighway that goes
past every hangup
until we’re so full
only stillness can hold our high
and the world makes itself again
at our feet

******************

this last one out loud
because I want to feel the words in my mouth
when you speak them

your willing plaything

and the buzz moves to my lips.

this is the same realm
with a new door

better yet, tear down the house.

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love poem #1

somewhere in that abyss of light you call the sky
is a force beyond reckoning who
holds you dear
the way all your longing can’t even fathom

we all know this
but then we get the sky confused with God or aliens or a dream-
something other than what it is,
a picture that gives our dense body a sense of horizon
an expanse that awakens our skinlessness
and hope

and then we confuse feeling dear
with feeling uniquely special
and more than something or someone else
forgetting the freedom in love
the inherent, utter equality
and unspecific connectedness

but if you could imagine
for a moment
and paint the picture you wish
from one small thread of remembering
you would find a love so much bigger than love
and more generous than even the softest gaze
from your Beloved.

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The Leaf and the Tree

Mama Tree and Papa Bear

Mama Tree and Papa Bear

As I prepare to lift off for a new experience in the tropical wonderland of Bali, I am celebrating and appreciating both my parents who decided to take the leap too.  They accepted my invite to participate in the retreat I’ll be co-leading there – Soulful Relating Through Song and Dance.  It’s truly a leap for them at every level, and their courage is inspiring.  I’m really looking forward to this time with them and with everyone in the group – reflecting on the ways we connect to our self, our soul and spirit… to others and the outside world as a whole.

Gratitude is one of the most direct routes I know of to that sweet spot of connection, and it’s the key ingredient in my annual holiday poem hunting for family members.  Honestly, the tradition has given way to a (ahem) more fluid and unpredictable timeline – the poems come when the muse stikes and I make enough space in my crazy life.  This year, one made it out on time- my splash around the big pool of Thank You to Mom.

The Leaf and the Tree

I knew of a great tree,
standing within a great forest.
Great, not for anything but being as it was
a natural climber that sought the sun.

She was one of a million sisters, brothers there
making life among life
Raised by the sky that brought food and storm.

She grew strong, like the others—
shapely, positioned on a high slope on a clearing,
more strongly sown than some perhaps, for the exposure and angle of her roots.

She spoke in slow stretches of bark, making leaves as fruit.

She became my tree.
I would come and go, connected to her in grateful, silent ways
though my days and purpose were different, moving—

I spent hours against her trunk yet I could not tell you her true story.
I spoke another, noisier language,
seeing from behind my own reachings.

I wondered how it was for her,
if I had come to serve her, or she me,
if she saw herself reflected in my shiny, watchful face.

She saw me surely,
tended me generously, being tree as she was,
sheltered me as she knew well to do,
with no instruction but her forest and seed.

I saw her from my own eyes, alone among that forest
not knowing if she knew
that my very presence was testament to how she lived
her roots unfurled, giving thanks to her sky.

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silence collecting.

I’m glad blogs don’t need vacuuming.

Instead of dust-bunny collecting it’s just been here silence-collecting, which actually feels like a cleaning. This spring and summer has been one big and unexpected (as these things are) journey of Lisa time – distilling Maslow’s pyramid down to the bottom, then slowly adding every thing back in, now hopefully settling in their places in a more balanced and integrated way. I know I feel more healthy and whole on the other side.

I never stopped writing, but needed to explore my voice with the spaciousness that comes without the conscious or subconscious considerations about how things will land with anyone else. Now the creative-pod-seeds are spilling with much to share and I’m looking forward to being out loud again.

Your eyes and heart, reception and contributions – they challenge and nurture me and I am grateful for your visits and gifts. I’ve missed you!

Speaking of gifts, before I share anything from my own pen, I must proselytize two bits of wonderfulness. Do yourself a favor and check them out.

1) My newest favoritist poem, by Naomi Shihab Nye: Kindness.

2) The bestest-ever mommy-to-be blogumentary of soulsisterwriter Patresa Hartman. She’s documenting her first pregnancy weekly with the perfect mix of poignant wisdom and candid spit-your-espresso-out style. You will be well-rewarded (and learn things) if you take a break from whatever you’re doing and read the archives. It’s been all-the-more interesting for me since I’ll be an aunt around the same time she’s due. So thank you P- if I could hold a hormone cocktail and extra pound or two for you, I would.
Don’t Touch My Belly.

And last for today – with more to come soon – a little gift from Burning Man to me, from me to you:

create this gift for yourself alone,
to generate the greatest gift for others

your guides are unique
though they tell a universal message-

let us marvel in our connectedness
by celebrating you

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Moving and Shaking

I’ve spent the bulk of this week feeling abundantly irritable but quietly happy and oddly brave- a weird combo I’m learning to associate with change. Life is feeling alternately fragile and full, earthy and elusive. A week of mindbodyspirit-opening yoga in Mexico, new heart-flowerings, global movements, powerful dreaming, themes of birth and dying coming from everywhere.

Last night I dreamed of nursing babies – feeling life flowing through me so vividly, and still in the dream I felt like I didn’t have enough, that my limitations were disappointing and hurting my children. Today I watched footage of destruction I could not fully take in on the other side of the earth. Tomorrow I hold space for a service in celebration of my grandmother who passed away last week after a full and rich life. I am feeling the movings and shakings of my own tectonic plates.

I know I’m beginning to explore a new, vital, compelling, raw and shifting place in my life- one that does not yet feel ripe for naming. So instead of word-wrangling here, I am trying to drop in, tune in and feel through.

I decided to write tonight only because I picked up a neglected journal and started flipping through pages, and am always surprised when I find the wisdom I seek. From time to time I write love notes to myself. Some poems, some intentions, some reassurances quick and to the point. Here are a few from my flipping, if you’d like to try them on and wear them around too. I’d love to hear one of yours, if you’re in the mood to share.

 

less good ideas
more trust and surrender
guided by the power of intention
there is no wasted time
all is well

 

The price of aliveness is the will to live.

I choose again to live. To feel the breath of my humanness and bring my formed and formless gifts in this world. I create my reality and choose to see a world of beauty.

 

unfocus.
loss is grace.
the way you take the thread and tie it to your plot-
that is the weight you feel.
the tape replays and reviews-

fuck that.
I want to be inhabited by grace
touching fingertips with the revolution
rolling down the hill sideways
picking up speed on the way to unway
trusting gravity and grass.

there are 10 billion things on the other side of I don’t want to.
surf the wave.

 

There is nothing to know
There is no tomorrow
Your pen writes on the page
until the page turns
Glow
is not a verb
There is nothing to do
Drop into yourself
the way you long to be known.

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mind and heart talking

I do not understand my trust
and that is its nature

mind and faith cannot know each other fully
and that which cannot be known cannot be trusted fully

or, is it so?

The mind says:
Faith is another word for stupidity.

The heart says:
I have knowing that defies logic or reason.

The mind says:
You believe so you can sleep.

The heart says:
Wake with me.

The mind says:
We mean nothing. We are nothing. There is nothing. You are dust.

The heart says:
That’s something.

The mind says:
If you practiced – if you woke up and watched and were aware of everything, you would understand the universe. You would not need to believe.

The heart says:
In the moment before I die, I will not seek to understand. I will seek to love.

The mind says:
I keep you safe.

The heart says:
I fear nothing.

The mind says:
You are beautiful, you are brilliant.

The heart says:
(nothing. Shine.)

The mind says:
Who can I share this with, to make it more perfect?

The heart says:
There is no more perfection, than perfection.

The mind says:
Than why your longing? Always longing?

The heart says:
To evolve. The purpose of longing is evolution.

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Again.

Blogging affords so many opportunities. To connect, to receive feedback, to edit, to obsess.  It shines a light on the writer’s process, inside and all-visible. What a gift.

(You can imagine me saying this with genuine enthusiasm or dripping with sarcasm and be right either way.)

The feedback piece is particularly significant for me a the moment.  I’m challenged with perspective right now in my writing and my life – unbalanced in the big four corners of relationship: take in, share impact, offer out, receive impact.  My rectangle is askew, swollen with the taking in.  This is a comfy, risk-free place to be.   I have been reading books, listening to you talk, reading your blogs… choosing to sit quietly in response.  It’s nice sometimes, but gets unsatisfying quickly. My own bubbles begin rising to the surface and knock on the door, you don’t know that I’ve been listening to you or reading, and the world starts feeling bigger and more alone.  Relationships and communities and creative energies are organic, living things that wilt and break down when left untended.

I forget this, then I remember.  Today, I remember.  To all of you, my friends, please consider this an apology for my neglect in the sharing feedback loop, recently and probably for most of our relationship.   (And look for a spree of blog comments from me shortly.)

Last night I made an offering – writing and posting a poem here.  When I do this, the little stats graph that charts the number of visits to my blog magically leaps up and comments start coming in.  For sure, I am guilty of seeking validation for my little ego, but far more valuable is the hearing and understanding of how my words impact you. It grows me as a writer and as a person and I am ever-so grateful for your thoughtful honesty.

One such piece of meaty feedback goodness inspired a re-write of last night’s poem.  It is new to me, this ultra-visible experimentation.  Like inviting you over to try my new soup recipe. May I be so bold as to ask you how it graces your palate and lands in your belly?  Missing nutmeg? Too much pepper?

snapshots

sit
head loll down and to the side
let jaw go
chest balloon blow in, out

drive
worry about dishes that haven’t broken yet
turn left
soundtrack: pulse, night, honey

make up stories
see flowers in the dark
see them
psychic message in a bottle: delivered

replay dinner
obsess
stop for kitten
think about work
wonder if

drive
wonder if

drive
wonder if

the un-want is hot again.

wrapped tight, moving nothing
hands and elbows push out the skin suit
hard
from inside ribs    face     skull
more, with
each intolerance.

cooperation is a choice.

wrap it tighter.
I want to feel what I’m breaking

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Procrastination Station

I don’t need NaNoWriMo’s procrastination station.  I have an infinite supply of my own. Like this blog.  I should be writing many, many words right now. In my novel, that is.  Instead I’m writing words here.  Because my brain is working like these sentences. Small and random and not well put together.

So here’s my random collection of things to share this evening.

  1. Nano halo with ice cream horns

    Nano halo with ice cream horns

    This is a picture of what I look like right now. I’ve decided this is my Nano halo, complete with ice cream horns.

  2. I am weary. I moved houses, again, today. This is a house I will move out of on Dec. 1st, so I can move back into it on Dec. 15th. And I will live there until at least April.  April!  Oh god! If you want to know how I feel about this, go look at the cover of the latest New Yorker Magazine.  You should seek it out anyway. (Thanks Dale.)
  3. It is ridiculously beautiful in Big Sur right now.  I feel bad for all of you who live in places that are cold and rainy.  It is sunny (not now, because it’s nighttime) and 80 degrees and I did yoga on a deck this morning next to a hot tub, overlooking 180 degree blue blue ocean view. (Thanks Nadine!)  I say this to inspire you all to come visit. Since I will soon have a house. And to say “Thank you god for not making me move in the cold rainyness.” Because today I would have just sat down in the mud and cried.
  4. My friend Mike from London is coming to visit on Monday.  Yea.
  5. I’m having lunch with my friend Chris tomorrow. Yea.
  6. I’m going to Mexico in February. Yea. (Thanks Mom.)
  7. I’m going to San Francisco this weekend to write dangerously, at the Night of Writing Dangerously.  And I found out today I’ll get a prize, for raising all those dollars, from all of you!  Hey! Thanks!  I’m also hoping to march in the streets.  You can too! http://jointheimpact.wetpaint.com/?t=anon
  8. Which brings me, aptly, to number 8, the post-Prop 8 despairdrom.  Seriously. I have been ruminating much on this. So have other people who are speaking out most eloquently. Namely, Keith Olberman and Joe Solomonese. Please take some minutes and click on both those links. And it seems I have something to say too.

The passage of Proposition 8, which takes away the right of gay couples to marry in California, right there in the Constitution, has been beyond a disappointment to me and so many people I know.

To me it feels personal and it feels mean.  What a pointy contrast to the presidential outcome and The Big O’s message of hope – appealing to the best, most heartfelt, inspired, humble and giving parts of our humanness.

I am sad, but I not at all hopeless. I know in my knowingest knowing that the passage of Prop 8 will be more inspiration for all people, in every state, to engage in a dialog.  And dialog will save the day. Dialog with those who are directly impacted by it is important, but also those that aren’t. Those who think this has nothing to do with them.  Those who think that the rights of someone they haven’t met are not inextricably linked with their own. And it is my fervent hope that this inspires dialog with ourselves.  What an opportunity to discover what our own beliefs and (often subconscious) intentions are bringing to the world!

They say a “value” only changes when two held beliefs come in conflict.  It can be a painful and sometimes lengthy process, but it happens all the time.

Example: I believe the gay lifestyle is wrong.  My son just told me he is gay and I love him.

Whether or not it seems so, I promise, these two statements are fully incompatible.  These incompatibilities force something to shift.

My invitation to you is this. Take an opportunity, right this very minute, to shine a kind and honest light on your most deeply embedded beliefs about love and relationships in general.  All your parts.  Write them down. Your parts will disagree and you may not like some. But in so seeing, we have a chance to more consciously choose which part we want to lead our lives.

Cheri Huber says something to the effect of “You can have a wounded little whiny person in you who just wants to get whatever she wants all the time.  You can love her and listen to her and accept her as a part of you.  But you don’t give her the credit card and keys to the car.”  (I have a part of me who wants to pop other people’s zits.  But I do not let her go to parties.)

Ok then. Remember to check out Joe and Keith’s links.

Back to writing.

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Filed under life, lisa goettel, offerings, politics, writing

Spilling

My life is spilling over the top.  Full and full and fuller.  Storms and websites and jobs and e-mail classes and moving and novel-writing… up to the eyeballs.  Doing doing doing from sun up to way past sun down.

But I dashed off a little poem note to myself this morning in my journal, and thought, I’d like to post this.

Happy, HAPPY election day, by the way. (I am so very excited I can hardly stand it.)

so much doing,
and believing,
and unfolding –
still
this will never be
satiated –
no amount of money
or fill
or jars of jobs well done
will relieve
this breath,
or remind you
there is no earning
of joy.
you already belong to it.

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Waterings

I was driving down Highway One tonight in a delightful, blissed out, open heart, giddy, love-for-humanity place. I saw a bumpersticker on the car in front of me – something demanding-sounding that I don’t remember – and I had a sudden little fantasy: what if every car in the world had only bumper stickers that were kind, loving reminders?  Stickers everywhere that said things like “Receive.” or “Enjoy.” or “Thank you.”

Maybe I’ll start a business.

This reminded me of all the little wisdoms and reassurances I’ve been writing for myself every morning, which reminded me of a list of “good parent messages” that my friend Linda dictated to me over a glass of Pinot at the Big Sur Bakery the other day.  I know this list is part of some probably copyrighted teaching I should credit**.  Someone, presumably with a psycho-something background, created this list – a conglomeration of the primary messages we (ideally) should have received (but almost none of us did) as kids.  The list is intended to be something practiced and spoken by the internalized parent we all now carry around in us.

For some reason tonight, sitting in the middle of my spontaneous compassion for all of us and our foibles and perfections, I want more than anything for me and you (yes, you) and the whole wide wounded world to hear and receive and know each of these things. Unflinchingly and in your bones.

I love you.

I want you.

You are special to me.

I see you and hear you.

I love you and I give you permission to be different from me.

It’s not what you do but who you are that I love.

I’ll take care of you.

I’ll be there for you.

I’ll be there for you even when you die.

You don’t have to be alone anymore.

You don’t have to be afraid anymore.

You can trust me.

Sometimes I will tell you no and that’s because I love you.

My love will make you well.

I welcome and cherish your love.

(you might want to read it again.

slowly.

out loud.)

Can you imagine what a world it would be if we all knew these things?

As Linda said to me, on the dark days, reciting this list can have the miraculous effect of actually feeling like someone else is speaking it – that “it’s like drops of water on a wilting flower.”  I love that.

**Since posting this, I have since learned that credit goes to Jack Rosenberg and Beverly Morse. (Thanks!)

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