Over the last few years I have been focused on abundance. Meaning, I start with the paradigm that Earth is abundant then note expressions of that abundance: leaves and acorns in the fall, flowers and medicinal plants (often discounted as weeds) in the spring, snow in the winter and so on. Although I don't live in direct relationship with Earth, I am an Earthling and I get to live within that abundance so I am intentional about noticing it. Further, whatever comes my way, I know that it is here for my evolution, my benefit. Often it is my judgement about a thing that eclipses my understanding of it as abundance. For example, the shorter days of winter are a form of abundance because they invite us into a more restful rhythm for a spell.
On an energetic level, we operate within self-fulfilling prophecies; constructing reality with intentions, paradigms, and beliefs. I think about the line from the book Wild, 'put yourself in the way of beauty.' I put myself in the way of abundance, a path I pave with gratitude.
I say all this because I'm in an overtly abundant season and need to bear witness to that abundance.
As you know my first full-length collection of poetry has been published. The poems in We Remember Ourselves were midwifed through the generous and thoughtful critiquing of many wonderful writer friends. That is a form of abundance. Even the process of layout and publishing was delightful and pleasure is also a form of abundance.
I have many readings lined up for February and beyond because Kansas City has such a supportive, thriving writing community. This is abundance.
Because of Kansas City's writing community, I am one of the four featured artists for February with the Missouri Arts Council.
And again because of the writing community, I'm a February featured artist with the Poetic Underground. Getting to answer the fabulous questions they asked me, is a practice of noticing abundance: When did you first start coming to Poetic Underground, and why do you keep coming back? I started coming to Poetic Underground around the start of the pandemic, so late 2019. I keep coming for several reasons: Poetic Underground has a strong community vibe; I respect the thoughtful and sensitive rules of engagement stated at the beginning of open mic; I value the workshop offerings; the art shared is cheered on by participants in a super encouraging way; I love the wide range of people that show up and are welcomed. Do you have a favorite Poetic Underground memory? I've been blown away so many times by the masterful work shared. But my favorite memories revolve around the quality & depth of conversation that occurs during workshops. Do you have a favorite local poet? I can't say that I have a favorite poet. I am just inspired by getting to witness people express themselves in brave and authentic ways. How long have you been writing, and how do you stay inspired? I have been writing for as long as I can remember. It's the way I understand what I experience, how I navigate the world. So in that sense, I am constantly inspired. There is so much I want to understand more deeply and the deeper I dive into a thing the more connected it is to other things, which means I get to keep writing. What advice would you give someone who loves to write & wants to share their work, but is nervous about putting themselves out there? Earlier I mentioned that I've been writing for as long as I can remember. But it's only within the last eight years or so, that I've begun sharing my work. Several things helped me overcome my nervousness about putting my work out there. 1) Being a part of a critique group full of other writers being vulnerable with their work and experiencing the respectful way they gave feedback. 2) Seeing people share ideas that were similar to my ideas but they had the guts to share and I didn't, pissed me off. 3) Working aggressively to remove the judgemental non stop loop in my head and replace it with a loop of gratitude and awe for the incredible gift I have. 4) My mantra-there is no pass/fail-it is all a learning. 5) Cultivating a deep regard for my relationship to my art, to myself as a writer. And to some extent, the gift/responsibility that comes with that. Imagination, story, poetry--these were my spaces where I could be held and inspired. My work can do that for others too.
Oh and there's so much more! But I'll share that as it unfolds. In the meantime, I wanted to offer a meditation on the picture above from a winter hike. There's so much abundance in that little scene: the leaves support the hibernation of many creatures. The bare branches allow sunlight to penetrate the woods, providing warmth in the cold (conversely, when I hike in the summer, the leafed out trees provide shady respite in the heat). These particular mushrooms form on decomposing tree limbs. What more proof can there be that Earth is abundant than mushrooms growing from something that's decaying? Which of course makes me wonder, what in my life is decomposing right now to form something else, to create abundance in a different form? May you find yourself in the way of beauty, in the way of abundance. Even in the seemingly dormant winter.