Confirmations

Some set off to find themselves; 
some say wherever you go, there you are. 
Some never choose paths to explore
but remain stagnant, wishing upon stars. 

(But stars are evermoving,
taking those wishes with them,
beckoning the dreamer to follow
the paths constellationly charted.)

I set off with no objective,
but upon returning, the self-reflection
(thoughts actually in the clouds!)
made me realize about myself
that I am exactly who I thought I’ve already
found.

It’s the lightest I’ve ever felt
upon returning, for now, to the ground. 

Mountaintop Beauty

I hiked to 8,000 feet above the level of the sea
only to confirm my reputation of being a freak, 
for at a summit with world-famous views, 
I am the only one mesmerized stooped, 

having spotted the little bloom…

I feel the familiar flutter in my soul. 
My heart flies home. 

More minuscule than ever, 
the wildflower reminds me
of the mountains I have moved
to get here, to these
identity truths. 

And I remain committed and proud
to be the freak they deem me as, 
the one with eyes turned
in the other direction 
still following maps
to the treasure
that I am. 

Too Early to Title

Are you here?
You’ve been searching,
collecting clues;
perhaps this segment
of sea will weed or
reveal identity truths.

Just you here
and your mind.
What do you carry?
What have you
left behind?

Look about.
Family. Strangers.
One in the same.
Or entirely different?

Who has come
to search,
and what for?
Who will leave
with less, 
with more?

So many shells,
filled and hollow.
So many opportunities
made and lost
among people. 

Memories can be made.
Promises broken. 
Second chances given. 
Losses counted. 

Each drop significant, 
each drop matters,
though so vast is
the ocean’s water. 

Water is one,
a singular thing.
We don’t count drops
until we are thirsty. 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Undam Me

It is the red-flagged waves, 
the storm sirens, 
that wake who I’ve been
for centuries dormant; 
arms by themselves stretch, 
welcome, open, 
remembering the calling,
my true name on the cusp
of being unspoken,
on the cusp of the crescent, 
my dreams dangled,
the cusp of my heart 
releasing the rush withheld, 
on the cusp of my emergence
from the cocoon that protects
the self. I am not afraid!
May these waves finally break
this manmade dam
and reveal once and for all
who I am! 

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

Clues & Pieces

Reinvention of the self,
a mosaic,
from pieces forged
and discovered–
some to be polished,
painted,
others best with
the coatings of
dust and dirt.

Have you found yourself? 

I’ve been rethinking this concept lately. For me, I have never really been looking for myself but rather my home, that place where I feel completely welcome, where I am already accurately and wholly known, where I can be completely, freely me, where I’ve been missed, where it makes sense, where it feels just right.  My soul has always been restless.  As a girl and teen, I always felt different, in a sense, like I couldn’t really relate to others. I think because I was always thinking, philosophizing, dreaming. Feeling seemed to be my superpower–not in sensitivity but in depth. I have always thought and felt too deeply about things. I have always been an old soul, have always felt like I’m just not in the right time period or realm. 

An example of this–well, I think I wrote a poem about it once. Let me grab it… Here it is:

Freckle Constellation

This group of freckles
on my forearm
has me mooning,
time-warping
to childhood…

Funny how even then,
felt like these freckles
meant something,
seemed like
a constellation,
a coding,
a knowing,
a piece of
the puzzle
of me.

Funny how even then
when we would travel
at night in the station wagon,
I pondered if the street lights
spelled out a message that
you could only see from
a distance…

Funny how even then
I would get lost in my
own philosophical thoughts,
felt a bit out of sorts
when others seemed
so content splashing in
shallow waters
when I was so anxious
to explore the
depths of the sea.

Now at 44, I find myself
mulling over those same
mysteries, a calling to me,
a profound knowing that
there’s not only so much more,
but somehow that so much more
involves me,
and not passively.

Do I believe in destiny?
Perhaps partially.

I feel like I was born to love
but also to defend,
sword in hand…

I wonder how my story
will end.

I look for clues
in the freckle tattoo…

(04/06/18)

Yep, that definitely fits right in with my current contemplation… I think it’s a combination for me of looking for my place–my home–and also myself. For a while now, I’ve just assumed that I would not find this internal place and peace in this life, and that was okay with me; I have always intended to make the most of it. But lately, I am finding that I am actually getting very close. I am finding along the way pieces of myself. I just don’t know if it is a mosaicking process of creating myself or if it is a collection of clues that lead to myself. I like the idea of both. 

This all came up this evening because I was looking at some pictures of wildflowers I recently took, lol (see what I mean about getting lost in thought?…) Wildflowers speak to my soul, plain and simple. The meeker, the smaller, the more tattered, the more beautiful to me, the stronger the pull, the more complex the silent stories… White/ivory flowers have the same kind of spiritual effect on me. Framing fragile, wild “weeds” in the first or last rays of the day… that is my soul in a photograph. Just something about it… a piece, a clue, for sure. 

I have a very strong connection to nature. It’s where I prefer to be. It’s where I feel I belong. I would rather watch the clouds all day and all night than do any of those things others like to do. That makes me a freak to some, I suppose; my family makes fun of me for it. While most flocked to tourist attractions over spring break, I lived the dream: poetry, photography, and nature. At home. Lots of pajama time. Lots of coffee and tea. (Hence the abundance of posts on Sunday, my last day to indulge in my hobbies before work began again.) Although I am rather socially fearless and can easily be the life of a party, I would rather be home alone doing my own thing. I think I would be quite content as a hermit, preferably a writer in a small, cozy cottage amidst diverse nature. 

So wildflowers are a clue along the trail of myself, or the trail home, or a piece I choose to include in my “me” mural. 

past the flower beds
I seek colors of the wild
to appease my soul

I sit for a while
let my inner light visit
no place like this home

(double haiku)

The morning after writing this post, I discovered my friend’s beautiful video capturing one of his “children’s” books (with his gorgeous artwork and inspired by his dear chickens). It made me cry. And the timing and relevance…so special. Please do take a moment to be moved. Please do yourself the favor of enjoying more of John’s work and soul: https://mylifewithgracie.com/2021/03/20/a-read-beside-me-book-video/

Tides of Time

Walking alone, 
even his ghost
has abandoned you,
single footprints
in sand and snow
from a boy 
to a man, 
lost truths.

Upon the phantasmal shores, 
you wander, fists raised;
tears cannot erase what never was.

Your own steps become weighted,
the prints deep, breaking ground,
and through the land, you begin to drown. 

Sand turns to ice, entombing half-alive.
Only one hand to reach for, but you decide
it may be better to meet your demise;
you will not fall for that sick illusion again. 

You feel the grip upon your wrist, 
the voice you unjustly cannot place, 
the face barely recognizable
from that one old photo faded.

Raised from the dark, cold hole,
no words exchanged from the one who showed
you only who not to be, whose gap in your identity
made you the man and father and husband
adored, esteemed.

He proceeds to leave. It’s what he does.
One moment in time. Two backs turned.
Decades of hurt. Never-a-grand with regrets.
“Dad..” you choke out. He turns with a tear. 

“I forgive you.”

He nods and once again disappears.
You head to the car, never turn back to witness
two lightly-imprinted sets of footsteps.

I Look Deeply

I look deeply into my childhood eyes.

At 47, I somehow find myself still looking for myself. With major life changes a couple of years ago came a focus on me for the first time. I have been learning about myself, healing myself, growing myself. Extremely low self-esteem grew to tolerating myself to accepting myself to liking myself to loving myself. Vanity knows it has no chance with me; I have simply come to embrace the me God lovingly and very intentionally created. At the same time, I am striving to excavate that person, repeatedly cleaning the mirror and removing the accumulated film put there over time by others and by my own self that has distorted who I am beneath.

I am not having any kind of midlife crisis. I have already had enough crises to last me a lifetime. I do feel I have been having an identity crisis, though. Perhaps because I have always been a caretaker and people-pleaser and rule-follower. I’m not sure what parts of me I merely absorbed from others, which are soulfully me and which are simply surface superficial. What does not only looking at myself but others with new clarity in the mirrors and lenses reveal? I had grown comfortable in denial in some matters for quite time, almost as if I put myself into a self-induced protective state to fully reawaken at a later time, when I was more capable of handling truths.

I am wakening now. As a friend put it recently, this is my renaissance.

So I look deeply into my childhood eyes. Before the world so heavily influenced me and shaped me. I look for clues about my authentic self, about the me God created before I strayed so far away from his plans for me. It took until recently for me to realize He probably wants better for me, wants happiness for me, wants me to fully develop my talents and grow into my full potential, wants me to take care of myself, wants me to love myself as He does. To not like oneself when you believe you were divinely created seems to me now as an insult to the Creator, to doubt your beauty and purpose and potential. Even the physical body is said to be His temple.

When it comes to identity, I believe despite the influences, we eventually come to a point where we consciously and willfully accept or reject ideas and ideals, trying on different ones, keeping the ones that feel like a natural fit and rejecting the ones that do not. When it comes to my personal identity, I identify as a believer, a feeler, a dreamer, a lover, a nature-lover, a creative, and a philosopher. Funny, those are all of the things I know to be true, to see in those very same eyes, in my childhood photos.

So perhaps I have always known who I am. Perhaps I have simply fallen away from my authentic self. Perhaps it is never too late to begin the journey back. Perhaps the only work I need to do is to clean the path.

As I pick up each piece from my past, I must decide which I leave out and which I pack up. For I do not believe we can ever toss out anything; it will all always come back. All of it becomes a part of us, whether we want it to or not. But we can look at each piece through new lenses over time, evaluate each differently, price each more genuinely. There has been far too much clutter falsely distracting me, leading me astray, some placed in the path by others purposely.

Up ahead, I see myself and look forward to the reunion. For only when you find yourself along the looping trails again can you finally resume the forward journey.

Printless Sand

What would prompt me

if not a photo?

Where would I go

if I had but one tomorrow?

 

Of the flames lit inside of me,

which is the one

that fuels naturally?

 

If the slate were blank

and the mind cleaned,

what colors would rise

to the surface to bleed?

 

If the water were so still

no ripple dared move,

would my inner reflection

be revealed in truth?

 

If you were here beside me

and fear never conceived,

would our souls

breathe into each other

sighs of relief?

 

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Finding My Way

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Finding Myself Way

Who am I? When you are soul searching, you usually start here, right?

I don’t think I have ever really questioned this though. Who I am has never really been the mystery. To me, anyway. My self-journey has always been more not knowing how I should further develop who I am. What is my calling? What path should I take? How can I best use my gifts? What is my greatest purpose? How will I be most fulfilled? How can I best serve others? How can I best contribute? What legacy will I leave? What am I training for in this life? What will be my role in the next?

I am still me, the child I was. I still have my cheery disposition, I still like making people laugh, I am still socially fearless, I am still a performer, I still enjoy being creative, I still love the outdoors, I still feel like I was born to do great things. I have always felt free-spirited. If it was socially acceptable, I’d still wear my braids, hanging low on each side.

How I have changed is I have merely added experiences. Every experience shapes us, adds to us, teaches us, but I don’t agree that it necessarily changes our core. It simply makes us fuller or emptier. I, for one, having always been acutely empathetic and so have a heart that steadily overflows. I am confident the source will never run dry. There is only one empty chamber that has been dammed, deep within, but that is for another blog…

I am grateful that I was gifted with creativity. I can’t imagine a life with an imageless mind. As a child, I was an artist. And now, my child is an artist. Over the years, I grew out of creating with crayons and markers. I am careful in making sure my daughter’s flame never burns out. We have creativity as a bond, and in this new, indoor, non-face-to-face, digital-apparatus world we live in, I am grateful we have nature photography to share, and when I write, she draws, and we share. I grew out of creating with crayons and markers. Now I paint white canvases with words.

Many people try to find themselves by looking into a mirror. I have always found myself looking out of a window. Or taking Windows outside. I am not claustrophobic, but I am very uncomfortable when you close the blinds. It makes me feel like a caged animal. It makes me feel like my life source is diminishing. I am one with nature. I am me in nature. I need windows, and I need them open. I need light. I need sun. (But I love the rain.) I need to hear the birds. The sky is my television.

You can find me out on the patio. You can find me out walking. You can find me in the woods. Beach, mountains, or woods? I choose woods. Don’t get me wrong, I spend a lot of time on the couch, in bed, and in my recliner, but I am always by the window—far, far away in thought, occasionally adding to my canvas.

And with each letter upon my canvas, I come closer to finding my way.
I feel more fulfilled and closer to my destiny every single day.

I can’t wait to turn my own page…

02/18/18