there are things to write about every time i blink my eyes

the ever wonderful Tanya Davis has long held a place of honor in this Blackbird nest. she writes words and sings songs that touch the most shadowy and tender of places…they linger long in my lungs…they curl up inside me and make themselves at home. both her poems and her person have become so very important to my wanderings in this world.

Photo Credit: Mark Maryanovitch

Photo Credit: Mark Maryanovitch

today Tanya posted this link to an interview with her and CBC, about poems and words and how she does what she does. it’s well worth the read. i’m pretty sure you could ask her questions about anything and the answers would come out sounding like poems.

speaking of poems, if you haven’t heard one recently, you should give this one a listen.

sunday in 5 parts.

1. slow morning rising…poached eggs, pot of tea, perfectly ripe pear.

2. Over the Rhine on repeat. again.

3. all these words unwritten, unsaid.

4. needle felting in good company while the rain hit the window and the sky fell dark.

5. Tom Waits while thoughts wander, bones settle.

3619810051_02c3dbe30d

on the hunt.

…i went looking for inspiration on this rainy day…

Picture-2-708177

today Thomas Campbell hit the mark for me.

cambell_3_PROFILES_623X401

the color and texture…the mixing of papers and threads…his work feels so full and alive…

thomas_campbell-766633

and his studio space feels kind of like home…

campbell-600x401

i love when i find remnants of myself, and my ideas, in another artists work. it makes me feel like i’m not that crazy. it makes me want to keep going. it inspires me to push my own ideas further…

thomas_campbell5

a sweet find on a gray day.

everything that happens from now on.

bon iver

bon iver

my soundtrack for a working winter afternoon

I am an emotional creature.

do yourself a favor and take 20  minutes to really listen to this today. it will be time well spent, i promise.

Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler

……

I love being a girl. I can feel what you’re feeling as you’re feeling inside the feeling before. I am an emotional creature. Things do not come to me as intellectual theories or hard-pressed ideas. They pulse through my organs and legs and burn up my ears. Oh, I know when your girlfriend is really pissed off, even though she appears to give you what you want. I know when a storm is coming. I can feel the invisible stirrings in the air. I can tell you he won’t call back. It’s a vibe I share.

I am an emotional creature. I love that I do not take things lightly. Everything is intense to me, the way I walk in the street, the way my momma wakes me up, the way it’s unbearable when I lose, the way I hear bad news.

I am an emotional creature. I am connected to everything and every one. I was born like that. Don’t you say all negative that it’s only only a teenage thing, or it’s only because I’m a girl. These feelings make me better. They make me present. They make me ready. They make me strong.

I am an emotional creature. There is a particular way of knowing, It’s like the older women somehow forgot. I rejoice that it’s still in my body. Oh, I know when the coconut is about to fall. I know we have pushed the Earth too far. I know my father isn’t coming back,and that no one is prepared for the fire. I know that lipstick means more than show, and boys are super insecure, and so-called terrorists are made, not born. I know that one kiss could take away all my decision making ability. (Laughter) And you know what? Sometimes it should. This is not extreme. It’s a girl thing, what we would all be if the big door inside us flew open.

Don’t tell me not to cry, to calm it down, not to be so extreme, to be reasonable. I am an emotional creature. It’s how the earth got made, how the wind continues to pollinate. You don’t tell the Atlantic Ocean to behave. I am an emotional creature. Why would you want to shut me down or turn me off? I am your remaining memory. I can take you back. Nothing has been diluted. Nothing’s leaked out. I love, hear me, I love that I can feel the feelings inside you, even if they stop my life, even if they break my heart, even if they take me off track, they make me responsible.

I am an emotional, I am an emotional incondotional, devotional creature. And I love, hear me, I love love love being a girl. Can you say it with me? I love, I love, love, love being a girl!

– Eve Ensler (excerpt from Embrace Your Inner Girl at ted.com )

this and that and the stuff in between.

i realized today that i’ve been pretty quiet over here in the blackbird nest. i blame summer for that. fresh air, warm sun, gardens, patios, campfires, books begging to be read…all these beautiful distractions.

i thought i’d try to channel all of those bits and pieces into a little package for you. a collection of some of the stuff that’s been catching my eye and filling my time.

just for fun.

……

by Fred Eaglesmith

by Fred Eaglesmith

in a couple of days i am going to plant myself in a field and immerse myself in good music and art and people at one of the most charming festivals i have ever known.

this guy is gonna be there too, which is pretty great.

……

despite the lack of rain and the sweltering sun, and although a bad case of blight took hold of a chunk of my plants, i have been swimming in a bounty of tomatoes this summer. i can’t pick them fast enough. i am eating them three meals a day in whatever creative ways i can come up with. today it was roasted over rye toast and old cheddar; pureed into a cold summer soup; and sliced up in a salad with fresh greens and roasted chocolate peppers (also from the garden!). i have started pawning them off on neighbours and  am running out of containers to fill for my freezer.

i am in heaven.

IMG_2432

……

i just finished reading this book. it broke my heart and then stitched it back together again.

……

camping

friends that welcome me like family

food over the fire

good music

sleeping outside

trampoline

kites.

...just before the rain came...

...just before the rain came...

……

0000017_Oma(1)

i met up with the guy behind this brilliant project at our local folk festival this past weekend. the whole concept got me pretty excited. ordinary people wearing ordinary people’s faces on their shirts, over their hearts, telling their stories. i picked out Anna. she likes eating gouda and watching wrestling. i’m actually wearing the shirt as i type this. i wonder if she has any idea that someone is writing about her an ocean away…

……

this last week has been rich with many things, not the least of which has been incredible music. the list of favorite artists that i have had the chance to see live in the last few days feels a bit surreal. songs are best when shared, so here’s a little taste of what has been the soundtrack to my week:

Mary Margaret O\’Hara

Royal Wood

Jenn Grant

the fan is buzzing. my skin is getting sticky. let’s enjoy these last sweet days of summer. they, like so many things, are gone too soon…

i choose this still

a friend introduced me to Magpie Girl the other day. i was a bit taken aback by our virtual meeting. i saw in her words so many of my own ideas, my own thoughts, my own questions…and the fact that we share the same, not-so-common first name (though spelled slightly different) made it feel all the more strange and amusing.

i started exploring her podcasts and found a number of them that spoke to me in sweet and poignant ways. today, on this rainy sunday that feels grey in so many ways, i stumbled on this one. and it fit me just right.

Choosing the Beast

i hope something in there finds resonance in you, as it did in me.

love & bravery &  peace.

Brave Bear by Lisa Congdon

Brave Bear by Lisa Congdon

……

Choosing the Beast

I sat in silence for the first time in a long time today. No television on as background noise, no music, not even the warm tumble-thump of the dryer. Just the candles and a tub full of warm water, and the sounds of my noisy mind slowly settling into stillness.

There is a way of holding still without becoming stiff that only happens for me in the womb like waters of a bathtub. As I have no bathtub here in my Danish expat home, this watery stillness is a much longed for and uncommon occurrence. Today, in my borrowed claw foot basin something came to my side. A revelation:

The choice to love, to really love, is incredibly, ridiculously brave.

It is not a surrendering of self but rather, a time when you scramble a bit to find your footing, and then you stand in your own power and look the Vast Beast in the eye and say, “I choose this.” I choose this thing that can both protect me and tear me apart; that can and will bring me my most enthralling joys and my most excruciating and unanticipated pain. I choose the risk. I choose the possibility of endings. I chose to be as simpatico as old souls and to be equally, heartrendingly misunderstood. I choose to be at intervals rashly taken advantage of and unexpectedly worshipped. I choose this terror and this beauty. I choose love.

There are many times when we step into this place of love in naiveté—in the blithe flush of new crush and happy mutual adoration, blissfully unaware of the awe-full power we are inviting into our lives. We do this when we marry; when we choose our children; when we accidentally fall in love with a jubilant soul, with the idea of beauty, with wanting to be a writer or a painter or a poet; with a country we did not even know was part of our bones. When this happens, we live in that place for awhile with ease and contentment, unable or unwilling to see the depth of the pact we have made, not acknowledging that some part of our soul was the currency used in the bargain. Sometimes this joyride continues through the long luxurious length of our journey. But more often the fearful awesomeness of what it really takes to sustain the choice to love looms in front of us and we find that we must be very brave. Brave enough to say, “I choose this still.” Brave enough to stay the course, to maintain the bond even when it becomes painful to do so. Brave enough to say I will bear the ache of watching you grow up, of watching you be sick, of watching you grow old. I will bear the confusion over what to do, over how to love you best. I will love you through this whirlwind, through this firestorm. I chose this beast called love.

I am in a place right now where I must very intentionally choose to love: to love people who are far away; to love my challenging tween and teen; and most challengingly to love my own ill and tired self. And I am watching others commit brave acts of love: surrendering to a first love; watching someone die; tending to a baby soul born at midlife; loving someone through the sickness part of “in sickness and in health.” These acts, these making of stands on the high ground of love are so real, so raw, so terrifyingly powerful they make me want to shield my soul from the solar-flare burst of it all.

But I won’t. I don’t. Instead I stand in the choosing. I stand in the heart of the flame and I try to remember, “if you are never afraid you can never be brave.” And then, I chose love.

in the land of dancing pants

kite

birdby katie mclellan…an art maker who makes art that makes me want to make art.

the neutral witness

stills_1

“This paying attention to the ground of the mind is like observing the sky rather than the things in it. We may notice a bird flying through the sky, but certainly the sky does not become smudged from this movement. Today it is rainy, but somehow the sky does not become wet. Tomorrow it is sunny, but the sky doesn’t ignite into flames. The next day there is an exciting show of thunder and lightning, yet no one rushes around trying to repair the sky. In the same way, when we have the discipline to stay with our practice, we insist on remaining identified with our own neutral witness, the part of us that stays the same regardless of the passing show.”

~ Donna Farhi

“When I first read the quote above, I breezed right through it. Sky… got it. Birds… got it. Practice… got it. But this quote somehow found its way into my head, and I found myself thinking about it all the time. In the shower… Driving my car… Playing with my daughter… The more I thought about it, the more true it rang. For me, these simple words somehow shed light on the whole idea of being still and watching. On not getting involved and attached to each thought and emotion that rides through our minds. And not letting our stories take us over. It made me stop and try to identify with my own neutral witness periodically. And keep coming back to that over and over. Practicing gently. And I thought that was a beautiful thing.

And so I was inspired to share this beautiful thing I discovered by creating a piece of art and an animation that sort of illustrated the idea. The woman is sitting. Not in meditation or an asana, but just casually cross-legged. That, for me, is where I challenge myself to live my yoga — off the mat in everyday life. And everything flows through her in her stillness. She can still be seen faintly as birds pass, the wind blows clouds in and a storm comes up and finally blows over. She is the neutral witness.

Watch this:

she is the neutral witness

I hope you enjoy it and might think of it occasionally as a reminder to connect with the part of you that stays the same regardless of the passing show.”

~ Penelope Dullaghan, artist

pi_site_index

Check out Penelope’s beautiful work:

http://thisjoyride.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/30-penelope-dullaghan/

http://penelopeillustration.com/

sit and listen

I have listened to this talk again and again. It makes me laugh and think. It inspires me and reminds me of things I can easily forget.

Make yourself some tea, take a seat, listen.

Elizabeth Gilbert on Nurturing Creativity

images

Next Posts

Words + Photos + Credit

Unless otherwise noted, all original photography and text are property of Raechelle Kennedy. If you see or read something here and feel inspired to share it somehow, please be considerate and give the artist (me!) credit, or even better, drop me a note and make sure I don’t mind.
Thank you!

Here + There

Secondhand Sainthood and the gift of losing it all – Topology Magazine, December 2015

Ten Things Made – Topology Magazine, December 2015

Subscribe!