'The Muse needs quiet in order to be heard.'
(Joy Beaudette Cripps)
Lost and found in space
Letting go of thoughts
Of self of time and space
No I, nor me, nor you exist
Just this expanding sense of space
This space so empty
But gently, sweetly holding me.
Now falling deeper
With empty mind
Space opens up and swallows me
Each part of me
My flesh, my soul, my story
Consumed by space
All matter melts
In endless realms of glory.
Peace rolls in as I dissolve
The mystery of life is solved
The lost is found in empty space
And lost again in endless grace.
No separation now
No sense of small aloneness
Consumed by space I grow
Lost in heaven's foundness.
– Angie Churchill
I think this is a beautiful description of the meditative state.
Angie is one of my offline writer friends. When a Village of Women (VOW) group was formed at a local Neighbourhood Centre, both of us joined, in mentoring roles. The group was formed to bring together and empower women who'd been through major trauma, and were also experiencing isolation in a community where most of them were new arrivals. (If you're thinking pathetic and needy, think again. They were brilliant, creative, proactive women who went on to perform miracles of success in their lives, together and individually.) Quite soon, a number of the women expressed a need for a writers' group. Having facilitated many writers' groups, I offered my services. Angie was among those who joined.
The major task for me has been persuading the VOWWriters, most of whom had been scribbling poems, stories and reflections all their lives, that they were indeed writers. Angie was one who insisted she wasn't – despite revealing that she regularly rewrote Bible stories to present to modern Sunday School children in a way they could understand and relate to.
We were invited, as a group, to present a written piece on the benefits of the group for an Australia-wide newsletter to community organisations. It consisted of selected writings from our members, including a very affirming short poem by 'non-writer' Angie, composed on the spot. Space was limited for our contribution; I had to make arbitrary decisions as to which writings could be included. There was never any doubt hers would make the cut.
But that was all. She continued to be a great contributor to our discussions, and swore she got lots out of being a member, but no more writing happened. (She even retired from the Sunday School volunteering.) Until....
Our isolation for the pandemic began shortly before our school holidays, when the writers' group normally takes a break, as some members are mothers of young children. After the holidays, with Australia still in lockdown, we eventually had a video meeting. To my amazement, Angie turned up with this poem and a few shorter ones. The result of doing some reading on mysticism and meditation, she said. I was blown away by the beauty of them all, and immediately asked her permission to share.
Others in the group – some who'd mainly only been writing in our fortnightly sessions and not between times – had also become surprisingly more engaged with their writing since we'd last met in person: revising previous writing, reading books for writers (from our group library) and writing new things, such as this.
Angie told me in a message, after I exclaimed about all this:
You have awakened us to the beauty of poetry, and shown us how to reach into our souls to discover pearls within. Thank you for your patience and wisdom. We've been slow to respond, it's true. But we are getting in the flow now.
Her lovely words of thanks were very sweet to receive. Yet, while I don't discount my influence, I think that these new developments must also result from the period of isolation. And so I'm reminded of the wise advice a fellow poet once gave me, when I was complaining of a lack of inspiration. (It was long before the days of the internet, let alone regular prompts.) Knowing I was very busy, she said – and it bears repeating, even for those of us who do now use prompts – 'The Muse needs quiet in order to be heard.'
Our Own Success Stories
(This will be an occasional addendum to Wild Fridays.)
Ayala Zarfjian, of the blog A Sun-Kissed Life, recently won an award for her book Second Chances published by Golden Dragonfly Press – namely, the Next Generation Indie Award in the Poetry category. (I found out on Instagram.)
For more about the book, including the opportunity to buy it, click here.
Material shared here is presented for study and review. Poems, photos, and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, usually the authors.