Writing, Yoga, Meditation, Retreats and SEL Professional Development
Today, as you sit to write, pull up an extra chair. Welcome your shadow. Good morning, shadow. I don’t like you. I don’t like what you say in public. I don’t like what you hide in private. I detest your habits, mannerisms, biting sarcastic tongue.
Look at the way it makes itself at home, slurps your tea and devours your lunch. What nerve! Your shadow will chew with its mouth open and spit all over your keyboard. It will make you angry. Hold it. Pause. Can you use that feeling (whatever ‘that feeling’ is) to generate a scene? Which story or poem of yours wants to meet the slob hogging up your chair? Name it. Write it. Now.
Pete Vanderberg knows the sea and he knows his way around the page too. He writes about family, the Long Island beaches, and sailing, but there’s a flavor that comes from his experience serving in the US Navy that makes this book so unique.
Peter Vanderberg and I went to grad school together (disclaimer) and I have always loved these poems. It is wonderful to see them come alive in print. Weather-Eye is a physically beautiful book. It is a collaboration of paintings by his artist brother, James Vanderberg, and poems by Peter.
I am grateful that he is allowing me to share two favorites with you. Take this book with you to the beach this summer. It will change the way you see the tides.
Father with three sons in a sailboat,
minds’ eyes in four directions
until drawn in to a rope turned line
by his word & the bay beneath us.
Difference between a knot & tangle
is the knot will hold & easily...
Nathaniel and Gil entered the stark warehouse below Canal Street; sage-scented fumes engulfed them and new age music droned. A hand-written placard listed all the sample sessions
“I’ll grab a shot of wheatgrass juice and check out Sufi dancing,” Gil said. “You can go for a chakra consultation.”
“What’s a chakra?” Nate asked.
“They come in many colors,” Gil said, walking away.
Before Nate could decide which session he’d tolerate, a woman with red bangs and toned arms handed him a mat. “Don’t be shy,” she said. “I’m Lulu. Welcome to yoga.”
Nathaniel noted her light brown complexion and a curl adhered to her forehead; some kind of green-and-black tattoo shimmied below her shoulder blade. He decided it was a large frog.
“I’m not a yoga guy,” he said, shrugging.
“Come on in. You’re on the path.” She smiled and held open...
Like the glowing match on its cover, Marie-Elizabeth Mali’s book, Steady, My Gaze, is spiritual chiaroscuro, a quiet conversation between light and darkness. Reading Steady, My Gaze, makes me feel as if I’m on retreat. I’m uplifted one moment, carried away in gorgeous imagery and masterful writing, and then slammed by reality in the next. Although, in these poems, the slamming is beautiful too.
“Silent Retreat,” The final section, is among my favorite. The words of Adyashanti, the retreat leader, are threaded throughout each poem. “The image you have of yourself/ is unworthy because it’s an image,/ unreal. You interpret it to mean/ you are unworthy, but it’s the image/ that’s unworthy, not you.” The next stanza is in the speaker’s voice, “Resonant body strings, our sitting/ thrums the room./ At the back of the hall, a toilet/ flushes like thunderclap.” Such is life; the...
In honor of National Novel Writing Month, we have a terrific guest blogger! Enjoy some wisdom from writer and yoga instructor, Barbara Joy Beatus, and good luck to everyone who is writing 50,000 for NaNoWriMo. – S. Lipsey