Dante’s Prayer

Dante’s Prayer (Loreena McKennitt)

When the dark wood fell before me

And all the paths were overgrown

When the priests of pride say there is no other way

I tilled the sorrows of stone 
I did not believe because I could not see

Though you came to me in the night

When the dawn seemed forever lost

You showed me your love in the light of the stars

Cast your eyes on the ocean

Cast your soul to the sea

When the dark night seems endless

Please remember me
Then the mountain rose before me

By the deep well of desire

From the fountain of forgiveness

Beyond the ice and the fire 

Cast your eyes on the ocean

Cast your soul to the sea

When the dark night seems endless

Please remember me

Though we share this humble path, alone 

How fragile is the heart 

Oh give these clay feet wings to fly

To touch the face of the stars

Cast your eyes on the ocean

Cast your soul to the sea

When the dark night seems endless

Please remember me

Breathe life into this feeble heart 

Lift this mortal veil of fear

Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears

We’ll rise above these earthly cares 

Cast your eyes on the ocean

Cast your soul to the sea

When the dark night seems endless

Please remember me

Please remember me

Amen.

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The Journal from the Op Shop

DA8CC7F8-2632-4804-9F9F-AAA1098C189EI was a very serious teenager. Journals were my favourite books because of the potential they held, to house my most personal intimacies on life, love and my desires. They were akin to sacramental vessels. I loved them. I can remember too, when I was 16, I dreamt of being a designer. My bedroom was furnished in black and white with pops of colour. Black and white Audrey Hepburn postcards adorned the wall, as did other black and white photos and art pieces. My cupboard that was home to my op-shop wardrobe I wore to school – was a white stand-alone, and on the top, I displayed (as if a shop display) my personal items – books, scrapbooks, sketchbooks, a blue Sub-zero bottle with a yellow gerbera in it and my quotable journals, of which I had a few. My student desk was also my drafting table to help with my orthogonal and isometric drawings I had to produce for my graphics class. I even had my own orthogonal ruler (thanks Mum). Minimalism meets Mondrian was my style guide, if you can imagine it. I even had black bed sheets because any other colour or pattern would wreck the flow.

Finding this journal for sale today at Vinnies op shop was a delight. Buying it at its $2 price was easy. But having it now in my possession is priceless, for it has brought back memories of the person (and dreamer) I was, which I am sure will undoubtedly influence and shape my near and unveiling future.

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.

-Thoreau

Sure thing, journal! Slowly, slowly!

Her Opening Act

matilda@2x
Matilda the Musical (UK)

I am filled with so much gratitude that I cannot help but share it. Tonight my daughter surprised and amazed me with her performances, but above all, with the beautiful person that she is.

At times I wonder if she floats through life, blowing with the wind whichever way it goes, but tonight I saw something firmly planted, taking root and reaching out, simultaneously.

 

I cannot take the credit, nor do I claim to contribute largely to her gifts, but I am so very privileged to be her mother.

The more I replay her opening act in my mind, the more I seem to utter, “Thank you.” For her part, and this is why I am so proud of her, she told me that she is grateful to have had the opportunity to play ‘Matilda’, even if it was only for one song, on one night, in an ordinary school.

Paper Bits

I am clearing out the front room, a daunting task, since it has been home to mess of my making/belonging, for months now. I find paper bits, scribbled on or annotated. Some bits I wonder why I kept at all, and some I continue to file away for another day.

One piece I found was something I wrote at café one winter’s day. It was cold and raining but I sought the outdoors anyway. I wanted to capture the crisp cold air and if I was lucky in working out how to, the rain.

Interesting is this note I made on self-care:

I’m shaking with hunger in an effort to eat less; to save more money. I’m sure it’s not how it’s done, this self-care thing, but don’t worry, I am waiting for lunch to arrive. [This time out] is a little respite, a retreat for me.

I’m learning lots – and perhaps it’s true, that I hide from myself, from silence, the silence and solitude that gives rise to unheard voices from deep within. – Journal, 2013

Could this be why it’s taken me so long to swim my depths and to write about what’s there, once again? Fear of what’s there, fear of what I might learn?

The task of clearing out stuff that’s been sitting and collecting for months is largely emotional. I’ve wanted to take it on, but it’s only now – dispersed with blogging/noticing – that I’ve managed to really start.

Thank God for paper bits. Carriers of the past, of memory and of insight; insight into the humourous, the bizarre and the wisdom of listening and holding.

In Search of Stone

There is an unexpected break and shards of memory cut through my skin, heat now escaping my curled up hand. You can feel it on the surface, followed by a cool sensation passing through with the lingering of blood rush. The sting brings me down to reality and in an instant am brought back to mortality. There is an itch in the palm of my hand and it bothers me, as though a speck in my eye.

And to think that this happened because I went in search of stone, or stones, I should say. You remember these stones, don’t you? The shiny black ones I gave you one year. There are none like them anywhere else that I know of, which makes them special. But more than that, these stones have come into contact with the prayers of many, not least of all, my own. I made them for you and for all who might happen upon them. From many I chose each one, selecting them singly for their shape, and on each one inscribed a word. Likewise from a vast ocean, I chose only a few words that in my understanding, were particular to your ideal, yet general enough that each word would resonate with any one, at any given moment, however the Spirit called. They would be both vessels and launchpads for prayer.

Mission: Be Earth Heart God

Mission. Be. Earth. Heart. God. These were (are?) the words I looked for to chant a mantra for myself tonight. And even though they were kept in a vault in a past I do not want to hold on to, I had to find them for the promise of rest they would bring me. Special stones, indeed.

—–

It’s been years since there was such relating between us, years, I regret to say, since we really spoke. Surely you must remember how things were when I gave you the stones? I recall that I was a bolder and perhaps more brazen version of who I am now. I had relatively speaking, recently tasted the fruits of a knowledge and depth I had not known before. Perhaps you experienced similar heights, which is why our dances were synchronised. Do you remember the lightness of my step? Everything was a song and every thing I encountered was like a moment with God. In my heart was a restlessness that opened, though I did not know its name until you gave me the words. You showed me that my thirst was a desire for communion with God and one that I could nurture. You taught me how to pray and to pray as I am, and that I was loved by God, however I was. Do you remember?

I am asking because really, I ask myself. I had nearly forgotten the person I was, and the good that we were, now that I am painted over and over with masks of bravado in an effort to heal. It was only tonight that I remembered the stones since something made me want to know what they had said, yet it was my very search for them that brought me face to face with your memory, like a ghost; a presence hovering in the background, but at the same time, completely invisible. And the truth of it is that this invisibility hurts.

In my search for these precious stones, I was caught without guard, which opened up a sensitive wound. Yet the funny thing is that by holding these stones (or prayers), smooth and close to my skin, will the heat of pain be soothed.

What are other insights can be gained from this story?