Tag Archive | relationships

Simplicity

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There is a kind of simplicity that is undesirable:
It’s the simple minded demand that all situations, no matter how complex they ar, be addressed with simple explanations and solutions.  “Don’t bother me with the facts,” such a person says.  “I don’t care about the details; they only confuse me.”  The lack of insight and engagement is both mind boggling and burdensome.

Soundbites and the opinions of talk show hosts will suffice for these shallow, unwise ones.  To think for themselves would probably give them a headache!

Then there is a simplicity that is beautiful and noble.
It is often quiet and unassuming; bathed in thought and prayer.
People who practice this lack of complication enjoy the good things of life; yet they are not in pursuit of prestige or extravagance.  A beautiful sunset delights them.  Time spent with family and friends is priceless.
One hallmark of such individuals is astuteness.  These ones think with both sides of their brains.  They question, explore and research; never settling for the status quo.  If you were to visit their homes, you would find shelves full of books, art and music in every room, along with creative endeavors.  They might not have the most uncluttered place you’ve ever seen.  That’s because they are busy with thought, creation and relationships.
Another quality is the very high amount of respect and honor these people have for the world:  Their fellow humans, animals, the environment, principles such as decency and generosity.
This simplicity is a paradox, filled with all shades of reality and nuance.
To know people who live this life is to be inspired and encouraged.
How very different these two kinds of simplicity are!  One word; opposite meanings.
That really describes our world, doesn’t it?  The Earth and her inhabitants are concentric systems, interwoven into complex patterns and relationships; yet there is a simple matter of watching, listening, tasting, feeling, smelling, enjoying and caring for all that is around us.

May you discover and appreciate the lovely, noble sort of simplicity that revives and nurtures you.

The Anchor

All I know and hold dear;
Norms, values, ideals and beliefs;
Community, family and friends;
Hold me securely
On a firm foundation,
Regardless of how the winds blow.

 

Ah let the waves rock me;
Numerous conflicting opinions;
Contradictions and paradoxes;
Honest differences
Over all that life brings
Reasoning that defies logic.

 

An anchor in my soul
Never lets me wander too far;
Corrects my course and draws me back;
Helps me consider
Other alternatives
Reminding me of who I am.

I DECIDE

I was thinking about all of the struggle and turmoil that gets reported to us each day.  I was reminded that each person gets to choose his or her identity and quality of life, even when others vie so hard to take control

 

This poem is dedicated to each of you, dear readers.  May you recognize your ownpower, rights and choices:

****

 

Things may happen
In the world around me;
But I decide
Who I’m going to be.

 

Tragedy tries
To steal joy away;
But that is mine
To choose every day.

 

Fear does its best
To destroy my peace;
But I hold fast;
With courage that won’t cease.

 

Unhappy news
Intrudes on swift wings;
But I refuse
To hear what it brings.

 

The power is mine
To live well and strong;
I am the one
Who sings my own song.

.

ACCESS AND ITS PARADOXES

This is one of the short essays I wrote for my application to graduate school.  I thought it might be fun to share.  Enjoy:

 

 

I wonder how Louisa May Alcott and Emily Dickinson would react if they could experience the age of access in which we now live.  For that matter, what would C. S. Lewis and his best friend, J. R. R. Tolkien think?

 

Gone are the days when life was confined to a relatively small area; when poetry was limited to upper class, more educated aristocrats and scholars or relligated to the fringes of “mainline society,” in the hangouts of beatniks and hippies.  Now, it is available to anyone in any place who wants to read, write or listen to it.  This is both a wonderful development and a challenge that presents some rather difficult paradoxes.

 

Global access is by far the single most influential force in all writing, including poetry.  It has changed the entire landscape from more locally centered, culturally governed subjects and styles to one that is broader and in some ways, more homogeneous.  Forms meld together as the international culture becomes stronger.    Everything about it is different:  The immediacy of response to a poem; the ability to read without purchasing; an audience that is as large and varied as the world.

This access crosses all boundaries, from geographical, physical ones to those caused by preference and prejudice.  It allows people to transcend cultural limitations and preconceptions by exposing them to thoughts and styles that are totally outside their realm of experience.

 

When I read the blogs that I follow, I find poetry from Asia, Africa, Australia, all of Europe, Jamaica, Canada, the United States, Latin America and the ends of the Earth.  Some are written by serious, professional writers; others by people who demonstrate very little skill.  The styles and subjects are an interesting mix of things that are completely unfamiliar to me so that I have to go look up words, along with expressions of love, joy and other experiences that each human shares.    Every class, belief system and orientation is represented.  All of this, and I don’t even have to leave my home!

 

Perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of international access is the paradox it creates:  One side is that we communicate, at least on some level, with people around the globe while remaining in the comfort of our own houses.  We share ideas, learn new concepts and points of view; information on any topic is available in an instant.  Having said that, the other side is that we face a new kind of isolation:  There are people whose entire social life is via computer.  They do not see or interact in person with another human being.  The key to any paradox is to embrace both sides.  In this case, that would mean enjoying the electronic connection while seeing to it that we maintain personal relationships in our own communities.  We only know each other in a deep sense when we are fully present; yet we can know about people and their lives through their compositions.

 

When I write something and post it, I can do so without disclosing that I am unable to see, which puts me on a more equal playing ground:  No one is making exceptions because he or she thinks I am less capable; each reader takes my presentation at face value.  I know a handful of people with disabilities who choose to “hide” in this manner.    They are not alone:  A growing number of individuals who are observably different are choosing online careers and relationships so that they can avoid the pain of live interactions.  After all, one of the dynamics of the Internet is that people only reveal what they want to.  This is an advantage and a pitfall.  On one hand, anonymity protects secrets; on the other, we don’t get to meet the whole person.  There is a certain knowing that we miss because of the electronic barrier with which we now live.

 

One mitigating development is Voice over Internet Protocol ( VoIP,) such as Video calling, webinars and other applications that allow people to interact more directly, reducing some of the disconnection.  The ability to see a person, listen to what and how he/she says things is a crucial part of communication that simply is not available with the written word by itself.  In poetry, this is especially true.  To read a poem is like looking at a musical score:  It needs to be spoken (or sung) and heard.

 

Poets and authors who have written before this age of global access had something that we dare not lose:  Personal connections and live performance.  If there ever was a time when we need to keep these alive, it’s now.  Let the Internet be a resource and tool that serves us; may we never come to serve the Internet

THERE WILL ALWAYS BE HOPE

As long as there’s sunrise each morning,
Presenting us with a brand new day;
As long as we build on the future
And opportunities come our way,
There will always be hope.

 

As long as we practice love and honor,
Respectful to each person we meet;
In knowledge and appreciation,
Of uniqueness and diversity,
There will always be hope.

 

As we act on our power to choose
In each situation, great and small;
AS we say, “yes” to higher standards
Of liberty and justice for all,
There will always be hope.

 

As night falls and the sun comes again,
Bringing promise to every person;
As we learn to work with each other,
Till each struggle and battle is won,
There will always be hope!

TWO WAYS

Two ways to live;
Two ways to go;
Which will you choose?
How will you know
Which one brings life;
The one that’s right?
One is darkness;
The other light.

 

Clear is the way
Of love and peace;
Honor, respect,
Freedom’s release.
Will you choose this
In all you do?
Will you speak life;
Words that are true?

 

Dark is the way
Of mindless hate;
Words that tear down;
Bigotry’s weight.
Will you support
Such things as these?
Reject others;
Take what you please?

 

Two ways to live;
Choice that’s so clear;
One that builds up;
One that brings fear.
Will you please join
In choosing light,
Till darkness dies
And all is right?

 

Yours is the power
To make and build;
Choose better ways;
Exercise will.
Which way for you?
Darkness or light?
Anger and fear?
Or the way bright?

THINGS THAT INSPIRE

The soothing warmth of sunshine;
Music that fills my soul;
Interesting conversation
That leaves me happy and full.

 

Caresses of affection,
Tangibly and in word;
One who carefully listens,
So that I know I am heard.

 

Mysterious adventure;
Unanswered questions tease;
Call me to deeper places;
Such things inspire me as these.