Tag Archive | poetry

Ultimate Quiet – an interview with poet Kenneth Steven

Ultimate Quiet – an interview with poet Kenneth Steven

This is my interview with poet Kenneth Steven about his new poem ‘A Song among the Stones’ and Iona, which was posted in the Baptist Times Online. Just click on the link above.

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One-Minute Icon: inner #sanctuary

Finding Sanctuary book

Inner sanctuary

Inner sanctuary

Paintings like poetry can shift our mental gears from doing to being, from thinking to awareness, from autopilot to mindfulness, from self-preoccupation to contemplation of God, which becomes love for others and the creation around us.

Step out of clock-time for one minute and focus your attention on the painting. As your mind wanders allow yourself to become aware of the noise in your head, the afflictive thoughts, the self-preoccupied narratives. Allow the volume on those thoughts and feelings to be turned up. Become aware of the silence in the painting. You can click on the picture to make it bigger.

As I was praying this morning I came across this painting I had done in France a while back. As the rain beat down outside, and it looked like we wouldn’t see the sun today I suddenly wanted to be in this bright summer place in France. But then I also thought: this is a picture of what my inner sanctuary could look like. My inner sanctuary doesn’t have to be grey like the external world was this morning.

How do we create this inner sanctuary? If you want a good book to begin, read Father Christopher Jamison’s ‘Finding Sanctuary’ (see attached link). What are some of the building blocks? Virtue…silence…meditation and contemplation…

Three-Minute Icon – #Patience – guest artist Natalie Woodhouse

Natalie’s paintings on Facebook

Natalie

Natalie

Hope in fragility through patient waiting

Hope in fragility through patient waiting


In his book The Mindful Brain Daniel Siegel writes, ‘Poetry, like silence, creates a new balance of memory and moment. We see with fresh eyes through the poet’s artistry, which illuminates with words a new landscape that before was hidden beneath the veil of everyday language.’ (p54).

I think this is also true of art, which helps us to move from a clouded thinking to a new awareness, moving from thinking to the streams of awareness in our minds.

So step out of clock-time for 3 minutes and just look at Natalie’s painting. If your mind wanders, notice what it wanders to and bring it back to the painting. Pay attention to what comes into your awareness. Write it down.

This is what Natalie says of this painting:
‘PATIENCE’

This painting was based on an image someone had for me of a butterfly emerging form its cocoon too early – when it was not yet ready. God was holding it in his hands, stroking its wings, waiting for them to dry. It had to be patient while God dried its wings – if released too early the butterfly wouldn’t be able to fly. Something big and spectacular will come but you have to wait patiently – it cannot be rushed. Trust in God’s timing, not your own. Be patient while God ‘dries your wings’…

What I love about Natalie’s paintings is their texture, they invite you reaching out and touching them. Have a look at some of her other paintings on the attached Facebook link. Too often art is hidden away behind glass and barriers. I feel if I touched the butterfly I would come away with wingdust on my fingers.

As I gazed at the painting I was reminded that it is alright to be fragile. An experience of when I felt I was falling apart, and someone was able to hold me until my wings dried, came to mind. In the patient waiting of fragility, the painting also gives me hope.

(These is some details about Natalie:
The side of God that I find easiest to relate to is God the creator and artist. When I took a year out in Australia I used to walk along the beach each morning and marvel at how the scenery, colours and texture would change so much from day to day. I would imagine God ‘painting’ the scene – each day a new and exciting canvas – and as I walked I would say to Him “loving your work today God”. It was at these times that I felt closest to Him and most at peace. I try to capture glimpses of the incredible beauty of God’s creation in my paintings – nature being the ultimate inspiration. I work primarily in acrylics on canvas, often adding texture through mixed media. Having completed a degree in Surface Pattern design I also enjoy working with textiles, designing and making clothing, cushions, bedding and wall art, amongst other things.

Email: natwoodhouse@hotmail.com)

#mindful experiment with #poetry #autumn

poem-of-the-week-john-clare  (click on this link)

This is a watchful, noticing, self-aware reflection on a watchful, noticing self-aware poet. Read both John Clare’s Autumn, but also Carol Rumens’s reflections on it.

Daniel Siegel says of poetry…’Hearing poetry feels integrative. The science of language and the brain reveals that while the left hemisphere specializes in  linguistic language, the right takes a dominant role in words with ambiguous meaning. Also, the imagery evoked by poetry seems to more directly activate the primary visuospatial processes of our brains…’ (The Mindful Brain, p. 161)…poetry creates a mindful state.

Now speak the poem out loud, or get someone to read it to you…hearing may be different to reading…is there a new receptive awareness?

A Mindful Experiment- read this Paul Kingsnorth poem

A Mindful Experiment- read this Paul Kingsnorth poem

In Daniel Siegel’s book The Mindful Brain the author talks about the mindful awareness induced by poetry, creating what he calls ‘a receptive presence of mind’ (p.161). By presence he says ‘I mean quite specifically the state of receptive awareness of our open minds to whatever arises as it arises’ (p.161).

Paul Kingsnorth’s poem ‘Vodadahue Mountain’ has just that impact. Follow the link to this poem, read it attentively and see what happens. Daniel Siegel argues that such poems activate the streams of awareness within us (p.162).

This poem won the 2012 Wenlock poetry prize. As I read it I had a moment of clear vision that there is, to paraphrase Luther, something important written on, trees, flowers, clouds and stars (and mountains, elephants and pumas). Something I need to track.