A Voice of Initiation, Reconciliation, & Gender Intelligence

Archive for poetry as spiritual practice

Newsletter #139

September 2014 | Read a Friend’s Heart

Hopeless and Homeless

As I write this, four South African women will be killed by their partners. Along the interstate in Anywhere, USA, cars will pull over and release bewildered dogs in fields, then drive off. Untold incidents of elder abuse will occur. In Turkey’s refugee camps, thousands will struggle through the day, wondering if and when they’ll ever see home … or find new ones. In America’s disposable culture, women and men will exit the relationships they’re in, believing the grass is always greener somewhere else.

What can one do in a world like this?

Abide. Persevere. Meditate. Go on.

“What is there to do?” asks the spiritual supplicant. Perhaps embrace Lord Buddha’s teaching that every moment of our lives we are loved and accepted by beings seen and unseen.

Trust your purpose, that you are here for a reason, that it includes making your mark with integrity and compassion. Do your inner and outer work, then rest in stillness.

When doubt wells up in your chattering mind, lean into a tree and listen. Speak your truth to it, your dreams, your aspirations. The tree will listen and speak to you. Resume. Bring love and gratitude to everything you do, especially to those areas of your life that require forgiveness. Enter surefooted the dream of your sacred life and live.

Where is my daughter? Where is my love?

Can I ever again enter the ruin of my house?

What do the trees know? More than you.

Lean into and be lost in the psithurism

Of their language of branches, wind and leaves.

Go back to your labors. Your answers are in you.

Answer the predator with love.

Examine your heart with precision

And make right that which you’ve done wrong.

Step up. Encounter the world. Love.

Book Recommendation

Washing the Bones Book CoverWashing the Bones: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Transformation, by Katherine Ingram

Participate

Please visit my website and look around the new site, which I envision as a hub for our global, gender-enlightened community.

I ask your help to spread the word. Please share with your friends and contacts. If you enjoy the videos, please Like them at Youtube. I’m grateful! I look forward to serving and collaborating with you.

—Robert

Read & Share

Please consider reading these books. If you like them, perhaps you can share with friends and loved ones. They make appropriate gifts.

Poetry as Spiritual PracticeThe More We Get Together: The Sexual and Spiritual Language of Love, and other collections are available at my websiteIndieBound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and by request at your local bookstore.

250 Words about Poetry As Spiritual Practice

Robert McDowell Speaking

Overview

Poetry As Spiritual Practice Book CoverPoetry and spirituality, two of the Top Ten most googled words, create when combined the most potent spiritual practice you will ever perform. All of us—Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist, Animist, Atheist—seek a meaning beyond ourselves and a path that leads to peace and greater comprehension of the uncertain world we live in. By reading and writing poems and making them an essential part of daily rituals of aspirations and intentions, Poetry as Spiritual Practice guides readers on their quest to find peace, meaning and success in their lives. Though abundant materials exist on poetry and spirituality, very little actually exists that remembers how poetry is the language of devotion, the richest expression of spiritual practice. Poetry is the reverberating note, the pure sound and shape of spirit as it makes sense to us at last. Poetry in spiritual practice creates clarity; it deepens and expands one’s ongoing inquiry into the most profound mysteries.  benefits all seekers, generating greater wisdom, compassion, self-confidence, patience and love.

The Book

Poetry as Spiritual Practice includes an Introduction and four opening chapters on mentor/apprentice relationships, poetry as contemplation and communication, misconceptions about poetry, and the difference between poetry and prose. The book’s middle chapters, 5-8, introduce poetry’s building blocks (words, figurative language, rhyme and meter, stanzas). In chapters 9-17, nine traditional poetry forms are introduced and examined. The forms include haiku, sonnet, villanelle, sestina, elegy, limerick & epigram, ghazal, pantoum, and the prose poem. Chapters 18 and 19 are devoted to free verse and narrative in poetry. Each chapter includes engaging, enjoyable examples of poems and writing exercises that will help the reader create her own poems in each form. Throughout the text, readers will be guided and encouraged to include poems in their on spiritual practice. Poetry as Spiritual Practice concludes with a brief section, In Closing, an Index listing guided exercises by chapter, and a list of poems used as illustrations.