Ingrid Goff Maidoff - Tending Joy

Celebrating Poetry, Beauty,
& the Sacred Essence of Joy

Archive for the ‘Writing as Sacred Practice’ Category

Reverie & Revelation

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when asked, where do your poems come from…

REVERIE & REVELATION

Every poem arises
from a deep unraveling love
for the un-say-able which is living
which is This.

Words filter in through reverie,
an open-ended waiting,
to wander in suspension
the day’s unbroken trail.

It’s fishing with the angels;
the sift for revelation;
an offering, prayer, or opening;
to step beyond the whirl.

Not idleness but courting;
not silence but deep listening;
both lovemaking and stillness;
to take the Presence in.

Delirium; vision; fancy;
blooming; belonging; trust;
to linger in the twilight;
the willingness not to know.

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff, from the book, What Holds Us

Tell me, friend, where do your poems come from?

beautiful, fresh, magical

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Saraswati, Goddess of poetry, the River of Eloquence, generosity of spirit…roses, honeysuckle, strawberries in a bowl…

A few friends have been gathering with me on Thursday mornings to write; to share reflections on what it feels like to be a channel- to open up for something that wants to come through.

This morning, Kimberly talked about a retreat she recently led- how people came, dropped their bags of daily tasks, and dove gently into the sacred.  She reflected, smiling a big smile- sparks of joy in her eyes, “Everyone has such a beautiful, fresh, magical spirit inside.”

Yes. Indeed. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Invitation:

Who are you when you put down your bag of daily tasks?  Have you felt your own beautiful, fresh, magical spirit lately?

xx

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“real poetry is to live a beautiful life”~ Basho

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I met two beautiful souls at the artisan’s fair this weekend who told me that they would like to write poems but they have no time- they are simply too busy and working too hard.  I confessed to sometimes using this excuse myself.

Here is an invitation:

Basho, the 17th century Japanese poet, said, “Real poetry is to live a beautiful life. To live poetry is better than to write it.”

If we are not writing poems, are we living, at least, a beautiful life?  Or is the mind too occupied with struggle and striving?  What are we struggling and striving toward? Is it a day when we might finally relax, breathe, look around at what is beautiful, and write a few words of gratitude and praise?  Let’s do that now.

In the morning, tell yourself, “I am living a life which is now abundant with moments in which I may relax, breathe, see the beautiful, give thanks and praise- every day.  It is so.  This is my life.”

At first, small moments will reveal themselves – like little flashes of light, or a bird’s song rising suddenly nearby.  Then you will begin to sense that these moments may widen into longer pockets of time.  Eventually there will be days of beauty, gratitude, praise…maybe even a poem or two will come.  Nothing much has changed, except you have tuned your attention.  You are noticing a little more, receiving life into your life.

Joseph Campbell taught, “Eternity is a dimension of the here and now.” You begin to notice that  Eternity has been revealing itself all along.  Now you are remembering that you are in it- breathing it, admiring, enjoying.  Life itself is the poem.

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New magical little book!

I was minding my own business this week when an enchanting little book of soul questions asked to be created.  Oh it’s such a treasure!  I put it in my pocket and carried it out on my walks and had to keep stopping to read it again and again. At 1 1/4 inches by 2, it’s a delight for those of us who know good things come in small packages.  It brims with beautiful questions that lead us back to the soul.

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There are 32 tiny pages, with 40 questions in all.

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These are delightful writing prompts… invitations for inquiry… conversation starters…

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Each page offers a powerful invitation and transmission…

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I’ve sewn the book with gold thread and left a loop so it could be hung as an ornament,
or even worn on a chain as a conversation starting pendant.

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CLICK HERE for the product Page for A Little Book of Soul Questions.

Add to Cart

Praise and Unspoken Gratitudes

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I wish I could bring you with me on walks around the island.  I snap photographs and jot notes in my notebook, receiving words and poems.

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Here is this morning’s poem……..

There are undreamed dreams inside you.
Might you name a few?

There are some hopes that were dashed and are jagged –
could you breathe them into repair?

And what of praise and unspoken gratitudes-
begin to speak them in every moment.

Speak them and feel your life turning
from worry into song.

~Ingrid Goff-Maidoff

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Writing for Spiritual Guidance: on becoming still and small

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(photo by Vineyard Colors)

     I sat down to write a letter the other day, to a friend who is going through a divorce.  I wasn’t sure what I should say, so I sat with my pen above the page for a little while, until I felt the warm stirring of guidance.  “You should write this:” the voice said, and I was led to put down just a few gentle words of wisdom and compassion, love and forgiveness – words that would comfort my friend: words that were not my own.

Yesterday I received an email from this friend thanking me for the letter which she said she had been reading over and over again, until she finally posted it with a magnet on her fridge.  She wrote to me that the words in that letter were more healing to her than she knew how to say.

What I realized as I read her letter is that I can’t begin to take credit for those words of love and healing.  I was only an open vessel through which they could come.  That is how it often is with writing for me- whether I am writing a book like the Honey Sutras, or Befriending the Soul,  a poem, prayer, or a letter.  It’s this realization that I want to share with you today.

There is a voice which speaks to all of us, and sometimes we can hear it.  Some call it “the still, small voice” of the spirit.  But what I’ve found is that the voice itself isn’t actually still, or small- it is a generous, numinous, loving and guiding voice- a voice we hear best when we ourselves become still and small.  It is when I make myself still- quiet, open, inviting and receptive that the voice comes.  It is when I become small, reducing my own sense of knowing, of judgment or righteousness or grandeur that the voice comes.

When we allow ourselves to become still and small, humbling ourselves before the mystery, not knowing what may come yet waiting in friendship, in receptivity, in deep listening- that is when the voice comes.  When we are willing to be an empty vessel, to surrender and be of service- when we offer our pens up as an instrument for divine guidance and healing: that is when the voice comes.

Harvesting Passages from Writing Journals

 

I carry a notebook with me wherever I go, to catch any whispers, insights, or images that inspire me throughout the day.  In Piero Ferruci’s book, “Beauty and the Soul,”  He suggests keeping a diary of beauty, and I love what he says: “Journaling in this way activates our aesthetic awareness and creates an aesthetic field, an inner space where beauty is not just a possible encounter but a close friend.”  It’s through the practice of taking notes, and in a way conversing with the day, that I feel a deeper intimacy with the sacred.  Yes, Beauty becomes a close friend, as is my sense of soul.

Every few years I realize that it is “harvest time.”  I come to a moment when I am committed, not just to taking notes, but to bringing a writing project into being. Today is such a day.  I’ve dumped my most recent dozens of journals with the last few years of scribbles and notes into a pile… and must begin to sift through.  It is time to re-read, discover how often I repeat myself on various themes, and circle the passages that speak to me now as a reader.  The more distance, I find, the better.

I’m looking for anything and everything on “Befriending the Soul,” as well as any poems or passages on Joy, both the high, mystical experience of joy as a sense of oneness and belonging, but also the ordinary joy of being… both body and soul joy- both human and holy.

This harvesting is like weeding a garden to uncover the flowers (so many weeds!  so many flowers!)- and so much like a treasure hunt.  I have to get through the grocery lists, notes to self… the “what I would be writing if only I were writing” pages… you’d think that after producing 2 albums of songs and nearly 20 books, I would be over that…

Sometimes,( and this is what I love,)  I find passages that were written as if by someone so much wiser than I am-  as if I were just quickly taking notes- receiving insights through my pen.  I’m grateful for these.  These passages usually happen when I have emptied my mind on a walk somewhere.

Sometimes there are poems, sometimes there are pages that speak to me, though I hardly know what to do with them…

   It’s quite the challenge- deciphering the mysteries,… determining the difference between gibberish nonsense and something a little bit better… searching for what is beautiful, nourishing and true.  I’m still not sure about that page above- it’s amusing… it’s clever…. but is it anything more?