Art

Use Poetry

“Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry.”

-Jack Kerouac

 

Last week I had a blog post ready to go but I didn’t publish it. I liked it, and it was truthful, but it felt sorta “venty” and not in the good way. I may publish it one day but for now it is drafted and saved in my “maybe” pile. It was a post all about my frustrations with yoga and all the shit that’s going on right now, but I didn’t want to be seen as judgey or that I was following suit with all the other personalized “venty” pieces going on. I then made a commitment to make two posts in one week– at this rate it’s going to be two posts in two weeks *insert upside smiley emoji*. As I was thinking about what I wanted to write I saw an IG post that it was National Poetry Month. Voila! There is my inspiration–sharing some of my favorite poems. So here ya go! Longer poems will be excerpted and hyperlinked.

 

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*Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Men themselves have wondered

What they see in me.

They try so much but they can’t see

My inner mystery.

When I try to show them,

They still can’t see.

I say:

It’s in the arch of my back,

The sun of my smile,

The ride of my breasts,

The grace of my style.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman

That’s me.

 

*A Poem for Trapped Things by John Wieners

The blue diamonds on your back

are too beautiful to do

away with.

I watch you

all morning

long.

With my hand over  my mouth.

 

*Song of Myself by Walt Whitman

I too am not a bit tamed…I am too untranslatable,

I sound by barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.

The last scud of day holds back for me,

It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadowed wilds.

It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.

I depart as air…I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,

I effuse my flesh in eddies and drift it in lacy jags.

I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love.

If you want me again look for me under your bootsoles.

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean.

 

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*She by Theodore Roethke

We sing together; we sing mouth to mouth.

The garden is a river flowing south.

She cries out loud the soul’s own secret joy;

She dances, and the ground bears her away.

She knows the speech of light and makes it plain.

A lively thing can come to life again.

 

*Borrowed Feet by Michael McClure

LOVE ME FOR THE FOOL I AM

(the laughing angel-imbecile)

The thrill

of kissing you

is seeing me reflected

in your eyes.

We try for purity

but

still

we’re glorious

blobs

of meat.

 

*Love Song by William Carlos Williams

I lie here thinking of you…

the stain of love

is upon the world!

Yellow, yellow, yellow

it eats into the leaves,

smears with saffron.

the horned branch that lean heavily against a smooth purple sky!

There is no light

only a honey thick stain

that drips from leaf to leaf

and limb to limb.

Spoiling the colors of the whole world.

You far off there under the wine red salvage of the West!

 

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*Feeling is First by e.e. cummings

since feeling is first

who pays attention

to the syntax of things

will never wholly kiss you;

 

wholly to be a fool

while Spring is in the world

 

my blood approves,

and kisses are a far better fate

than wisdom

lady I swear by all the flowers. Don’t cry

–the best gesture of my brain is less than

your eyelids’ flutter which says

 

we are for each other: then

laugh leaning back in my arms

for life’s not a paragraph

 

And death I think is no parenthesis

**********

What are your favorite poems? Who are your favorite poets? Do you have a style that you like more than another? I tend to favor Beat Poetry and Free Verse. I also tend to love poetry that speaks to me on a deeper level, like I can see myself in it. What do you think makes poetry special and unique?

Yoga Jams

First off, thanks so much for all the support, comments, shares, and feedback on my previous post: Lessons Learned from NEDA Awareness Week. It has been one of my most popular posts of the year(along with my Whole 30 post)! After my last post I kept thinking about what to write. I have so many ideas but none of them seem right to write at this very moment or they need more time to hash out in my journal. There has been so much going on in the Insta IG World and in my own personal life that I’ve been overwhelmed on where to go. I have had a rough week, and I almost decided not to write a post. But then I remembered my intention to blog every other week–so here I am.

If you know me or come to my classes you know that music plays a huge role in my approach. I love creating playlists or let my students choose the music in case I don’t have a playlist curated. I firmly believe that music can enhance a yoga class and can make people feel comfortable in a setting that can be intimidated. If I can do anything to make a yoga class less intimidating and more relaxing I’ll do it! Music can also  make one work harder, focus better, or turn a bad mood into a good one. So here are some of my top playlists:

 

 

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Body Positivity/Feel Good Playlist

*songs guaranteed to turn your frown upside and make you feel good about your body*

Feeling Good, Nina Simone
Video, India.Arie
Backwoods Barbie, Dolly Parton
Hey Girl, Lady Gaga & Florence Welch
Proud Mary, Tina Turner
Straight Up, Paula Abdul
I Got You (I Feel Good), James Brown
I’m Every Woman, Chaka Khan
The Glory of Love, Nina Simone
Brave, Sara Bareilles
These Boots Are Made For Walking, Loretta Lynn
Beautiful, Christina Aguilera
(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Carole King
Lady, Stevie Nicks
Greatest Love of All, Whitney Houston

I Believe in Love and Jam Bands

*songs by your favorite jam bands that will open that heart chakra and let love flow*

Appalachia Waltz, Yo-Yo Ma/Mark O’Connor/Edgar Meyer
Tennessee Waltz, Appalachian Pickers
Soulshine,Gov’t Mule
Prickly Pear, Bela Fleck
Last Chance to Dance Trance, Medeski, Martin, & Wood
Jessica, Allman Brothers
Free, Phish
Everyday, Dave Matthews Band
Don’t Stop Believing, Vitamin String Quartet
I Believe In A Thing Called Love, Vitamin String Quartet
Simple Gifts, Yo-Yo Ma & Alison Krauss
Spiegel im Spiegel, Angele Dubeau
Breath, Helen Jane Long

Electric Flow

*for all my electronica yogis out there, get your flow on with these electronic tracks*

Moonbeams, MC Yogi & East Forest
Awake, Tycho
Ghost, Kiln
Dictaphone’s Lament, Tycho
Yellow Bird (Michal Menert Remix), Pretty Lights
White Lies, Odesza & Jenni Potts
Finally Moving, Pretty Lights
Innocence, Madeon
Bass Head, Bassnectar
You, Gold Panda
Love & Feeling, Chet Faker
Gooey, Glass Animals
Drift Away, Pretty Lights
Part Two-In My Own Way, Ray LaMontagne

Dedicated to Tom Petty

*I made this playlist after Tom Petty died, 45 minutes of some Tom Petty classics and deep cuts*

Dreamville
You Don’t Know How It Feels
You Wreck Me
Don’t Do Me Like That
American Girl
Free Fallin’
I Won’t Back Down
Turn This Car Around
Here Comes My Girl
Insider
Wildflowers

I Love the 70s

*quintessential classics that will make you take out your lighter while holding Chair Pose*

Junk, Paul McCartney
Baby, I Love Your Way, Peter Frampton
More Than A Woman, Bee Gees
I’ve Got A Feeling, The Beatles
Sugar Magnolia, The Grateful Dead
Learning to Fly, Pink Floyd
Spirit In The Sky, Norman Greenbaum
Dreams, Fleetwood Mac
Heart of Gold, Neil Young
Romeo and Juliet, Dire Straits
Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters, Elton John
Into the Mystic, Van Morrison
My Melancholy Blues, Queen

The Go-To

*this playlist is good for any yoga class and suits all musical tastes, my go-to when I or my students can’t decide on what to play*

All The Wild Horses, Ray LaMontagne
Heart Is A Drum, Beck
Queen of California, John Mayer
Girl, Beck
All I Ever Wonder, St.Paul & the Broken Bones
Funkier Than a Mosquito’s Tweeter, Nina Simone
Sugar Never Tasted So Good (Acoustic), Jack White
Hit ‘Em Up Style, Carolina Chocolate Drops
Take a Walk, Passion Pit
Lovely Day, Bill Withers
What is Life, George Harrison
Can’t You See, Marshall Tucker Band
Souls Like the Wheels, Avett Brothers
Let’s Be Still, The Head and the Heart

My Favorite Pre-Made Playlists (Apple Music): Classic Acoustic, Relaxed/Remixed, Pure Yoga, Essential 70s Soft Rock, 80s Smash Hits, Today’s Chill, Rock Hits: 1973, The Beatles: Best Pop Songs

My Favorite Pre-Made Playlists (Amazon): Chill Indie for Yoga, Coffee Shop Electric, Mellow 70s Gold, 50 Great Beatles Songs, Classical for Yoga, Alt Pop for Yoga

Blog Posts about Music: That’s My Jam!, O, listen to the music, Say it in Song   

 

What are some of your favorite yoga jams? What artists help you get your flow on? What has been the most bizarre song you’ve heard or put on a playlist?

 

 

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His Masterpiece Theater

On this journey to a recovered life, or at least a more manageable and happy one, I occasionally pick up my Bible or read devotionals that speak to me. It is God’s timing that this happens. I know it is. For someone who does not read The Word as one needs to, God definitely blesses the word and jumps out at me from the pages of my Bible. Lately some of my favorite verses have been about new life, being God’s perfect creation, how we are works of art.

As a Christian we are given a new life. Once we believe in Jesus and give our life over to him we are new. We are not our old former self for we have died to the world and became washed in his blood and grace. Then we become a blank canvas, white as snow and ready to be painted with mercy, grace, love, peace, kindness, joy, happiness, and even sorrow(yes, sorrow can be a color that adds to our lives). Over the course of our life here on Earth we become a masterpiece. We become God’s masterpiece. He paints the canvas of our lives, or even sculpt us from clay (for all you potters out there), and turns our unworthy, dark, bleak selves into a beautiful masterpiece fit for the Metropolitan Art Museum.

All of this takes time. It doesn’t happen over night. Any artist can tell you that a masterpiece is not complete in one sitting. There are many rough drafts, bad outlines, blow ups, and miscalculations along they way. Christians aren’t just one canvas or one piece of clay. Christians become multiple canvas’s or pieces of clay. God, being our artist, goes through many drafts. It isn’t because He makes a mistake, it is because his subject matter, US, tends to not cooperate (an ill fitting canvas on the screen, clay that can’t become mold-able, an out of tune instrument). Due to the Christian walk being filled with missteps and mess ups, it takes our whole life to become the masterpiece God wants.

This whole masterpiece analogy is also true for those of us in recovery. We view ourselves as scraps, trash, ready to be thrown out. There is no masterpiece within. We cannot see it because we are head over heels with self-loathing, selfishness, inability to cope, perfection, people-pleasing, self mutilating/harming, depressed, low self-esteem, manic,  with distorted perception. This is all we can see; we cannot see the beauty that is there, our own masterpiece. This life of the fore mentioned is all we know. The pain, the self torture, the lies, the unhappiness. Yet, we cannot imagine our lives without it or feel like no one would want us. All the time we dwell there we yearn to be beautiful. To be something great. To be colorful, magnetic, charismatic.

It is not till we decide to take that step into recovery that the artist begins to mold us. To paint us. To tune us. To slowly start to reveal his masterpiece. Recovery is when most of us end up finding God and completely turning our lives over to him. For some, like myself, we stray and then come back into the fold. We fight and elude Him, we still give into our inner demon, but we also make progress. Through relapses, He is there. Though the mountain highs, He is there. Through the carving, chipping, and painting of our souls, He is there. As those of us on recovery’s never ending journey, we eventually learn to see what God sees. This beautiful creation. In our mirror, our soul reflection, our eyes begin to see the masterpiece that is within us. The beautiful, the great, the colorful, the magnetic, the charismatic individual we always wanted to be.

“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loves us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us new life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by  God’s grace that you have been saved!”Ephesians 2: 4-5

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2: 10

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. the old life is gone, a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

Peace, Love, Namaste, and God Bless!