Nothing Remains

Nothing Remains

 

Nothing Remains

 

Pictures drifting as before, when frailty roamed with an audible roar

Apparitions lifeless and complete, in precious memories so very sweet

Blink and the fragile forms will change, faces and stories all appearing strange

Set your watch and shed your chains, at long last nothing remains

 

-Lavinia Busch 2019

 

Having just returned to work after a six month sabbatical, I am caught in a fog of “work stuff”. As a librarian in higher education, I have the wonderful opportunity to work with young adults excited about learning and exploring new ideas. By the same token, the culture of busyness and the hierarchical structures of university life have left me conflicted.

 

What I am left with is the idea of impermanence and contribution. Well aware of the fragile nature of life, it is striking how much energy is expended doing things that have nothing to do with permanence. Pepper this with what can be real injustices in the world, and I find myself constantly thinking about an elusive other way forward.

 

“Anyone who has lost something they thought was theirs forever finally comes to realise that nothing really belongs to them.”

― Paulo Coelho

 

As a person attempting to let go of all that weighs heavily, what remains clear is that the practice of minimalism is not just about stuff. Minimalism is what we allow into our lives and what we set free to move along on the rivers of fate. Nothing remains static; no problem, institution, relationship, river or mountain. Everything is in a constant state of change. Stepping away from my workplace for six months really demonstrated this concept for me.

 

When I am gone, my work contribution will remain as if an echo bouncing off the walls of a vast and empty hallway as new voices, ideas and leadership step forth. What then is really important to me? How should I be spending my precious life energy?

 

The answer I always return to is family and writing. Both are extremely important to me and deserving of my very best. Through my family, I leave a bit of myself in all that I do. My children may not grasp the value of this work, but I am convinced my job is only to plant the seeds of hope and inspiration. They must tend their own soil and allow unique flowers to bloom.

By writing, I contribute my voice, my heart, in a format that will far outlast my physical body. It would be lovely if in 100 years, someone picked up one of my poems and felt unfamiliar emotions after reading. To me this would epitomize life energy well spent.

 

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”

― Heraclitus

 

Remembering that nothing remains is also a comfort during times of unease. Everything that confounds me about this life will pass. The discomfort of this physical body, awkward relationships and the many mind numbing tasks that make up a day. In the future, the world will no longer be as I see it now.  A new landscape will emerge as the cycle of life returns and repeats.  Taking this in, my desire to spend more time doing what speaks to my heart is pressing. We must all ask ourselves, if these were our last days on earth, what would we do with the time remaining?

 

 

Gentle Brushstrokes

Gentle Brushstrokes

 

Solitude resides with a peaceful clarity, a sharp

 picture of what is and what might be

Only in this quiet can a heart beat freely, unbound by

the constant blur of thought running errant within

 

In silence, the tsunami of emotions

rubbed raw by the roughness of the day

subsides, leaving a softness, colored by

the gentle brushstrokes of a rolling hillside

 

-Lavinia Busch 2019

 

With the intensity of the lunar eclipse this past weekend and the air as vessel for all that remains, I find myself wishing everything to slow down, lending more time to consider things as they are. So often, when the stakes are high, I get caught up in the swell of emotion as if a leaf in a tsunami. Returning to the work environment has sent a cascade of ever turbulent waves my way and it is taking all that I have to swim rather than sink.

 

Honoring my need for quiet, I spent some time at Vasquez Rocks this weekend. The air was crisp and the hillside called. Acting as if young again, I found myself scrambling up the rocks wishing nothing more than to get to the highest vantage point. Feeling the cool wetness of the rocks against my hands, I climbed and climbed. As I reached the highest point my legs would allow, I took notice of the pools of emotion laid bare on the hillside. The surrounding area looked like a beautiful painting created with gentle brushstrokes rather than the jumble of people I had left on the ground below.  Perspective really is everything.

 

Storms will come and go. It is and has always been my personal work to weather the storms with gentleness and love. At times I fall short and suffer the consequences of reacting in an abrupt or harsh manner. In these moments, it is up to me to forgive myself and reset intentions. If history serves, there will be much more opportunity for forgiveness as I stumble along the turbulent shores of life. My salvation continues to be writing and nature.

 

To that end, a random flock of birds caught my attention while walking on a busy street in my neighborhood. The birds looked to be rehearsing a ballet with sharp changes of direction and shape. The whole spectacular took my breath away and for a brief time, the waves of turmoil quieted. Stopping to feel the calming heartbeat in all things has become my hope and aspiration. No matter the circumstance, beauty can be found in a morning sunrise, the whip of the wind or the quiet of a winter night. These gentle brushstrokes allow for a respite from the hardships of this flawed life and a reminder of the universal breath in the most honest of ways.

 

Castle Up In the Air

Castle Up In the Air

 

Living in my castle up in the air

Floating softly without a care

Clouds as pillows, stars as light

Nothing but beauty both day and night

 

Tranquil sounds fill the sky

Symphonies of angels passing by

Oh how I miss this ancient lullaby

Rocking me gently way up high

 

The ground is rigid as hardship looms

Soaking in regret, resting in tombs

You shall find me light and fair

Forever in my castle up in the air

 

-Lavinia Busch 2019

 

Bird On A Wire

Bird On A Wire

 

 

Just a bird on a wire hanging on decision

Minding the sky no matter the condition

High above the distorted slums of fate

Somewhere between love and hate

 

From this perch clarity should prevail

A crewless ship minding the sails

Which way will the hidden tempest cry

Gusting upheaval from the sky

 

Very soon I must leave this temporary stage

Skirting along the propensity for age

For now I remain, divided among

Love still humming on a silenced tongue.

 

-Lavinia Busch 2019

 

We All Have Unique Contributions to Make

We All Have Unique Contributions to Make

 

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,

and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender

be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;

and listen to others,

even the dull and the ignorant;

they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,

they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,

you may become vain and bitter;

for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;

it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs;

for the world is full of trickery.

But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;

many persons strive for high ideals;

and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.

Neither be cynical about love;

for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment

it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,

gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.

But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.

Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,

be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,

no less than the trees and the stars;

you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,

no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,

whatever you conceive Him to be,

and whatever your labors and aspirations,

in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, Copyright 1952.

 

Desiderata has been a favorite of mine for many years, so much so that I have a copy hanging in my office. Returning to his words, on this New Year’s Day, I am struck by the relevance standing on the threshold of the new filled with unlimited mystery.

 

Not a fan of resolutions, my exploration of the nuances of life is forever ongoing. Thinking on this topic, I am left with the understated importance of unique service. What do I have to offer this world by showing up as authentically as I can? What is my unique contribution?

 

This contribution may quite possibly have nothing to do with a role or title but rather a value, or character trait. Stay with me here for a moment. Living in a goal-oriented society, service often circles around career, family or community involvement. While these are all commendable vehicles to affect change, they are simply the vehicle, not the mechanism.

 

“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk.” -Thomas Moore

 

As a fairly private person, I have the unusual habit of showing up as I believe the environment calls for. My true character is never on display but rather put forward in pieces as if living my life a la carte. Strange I know, but this has been the way I have navigated the treacherous social constructs of my life…until now.

 

It has become clear to me that one of my potential contributions is specific to human nature. I enjoy talking to others, reading their energy and trying to figure out why they are who they are. This microscope on interpersonal relationships has become, over time, my “mothership” or home base.

 

“Many of us have made our world so familiar that we do not see it anymore. An interesting question to ask yourself at night is, What did I really see this day?”

― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

 

Up until the present, this has also been my dirty little secret. When talking with someone, the busy beehive of my brain is analyzing, questioning and insatiably curious. The pretense for the meeting makes little difference, I am much more interested in understanding the participants human nature. It also makes no difference what emotion is exposed. I see anger, sadness and loneliness as well as kindness, love and joy. Each emotion fills in the blank page of the other, similar to an amazing novel you just can not put down. People are so beautifully complex.

 

My continued commitment is to honor what I see. Whether it be in my workplace or home, I must believe what others share even if it was meant to be quietly withheld. This information allows me to be the best caretaker in ways that may be foreign to some. Having the ability to hold the sadness of others is an incredibly humbling responsibility, especially when sadness is expressed as anger or criticism. It takes every bit of strength to see this sadness and be gentle.

 

My hope is to find more opportunities to practice this gentle patience amid a world lead by harsh judgments, born from some of the darkest of emotions. I hope to be able to see the genesis for these emotions and be a source of light, a different way forward. Maybe in this way, I will learn more about myself and act upon what is discovered.

 

 

Stardust

Stardust

 

The light is blinding, with foreign sounds, loud harassments

Coldness attacks and a feeling of isolation lingers in the dark corners of this space

Just as I hesitate to breathe in life, warmth encircles seeding my fire.

 

Shivers run across my scalp, as the body shudders in agreement

How small and unseen I feel, a ghost among those walking but no longer alive

Looking towards the clouds I am sure the lion flies above

I wonder if I am the lamb on this hard and rugged plain

 

The spirit objects wishing for acknowledgement among giants

Everything fades, even stardust as I crave forgotten shadows roaming the universe

Fingers seared by tenderness explore this atmosphere, foreign elements assault and permeate the skin

Downcast orbs conceal confusion behind lashed shields, guarding against the rain

 

Finally, I welcome disbelief and disorientation as lifelong friends

Shedding all that weighed heavily I become soft, light as a wandering feather

Warmth returns in a fury of homecoming as legs stretch from sand to forever

Flirting with the sky, I see the trail of stardust in my wake and willingly become the mystery.

 

 

-Lavinia Busch 2018

 

 
Order “Mystic Cookie” the book here

Order “Mystic Cookie” the book here

My first publishing endeavor is now available here for a direct purchase discount of 50% off retail price. This book represents the culmination of many years of questioning and self discovery reflected upon during a recent six month creative leave from CalArts. It is a compilation of poetry and photographs delving into the deeper and often neglected emotions of our psyche. Below is an excerpt of the introduction.

“A lifelong lover of the written word, poetry has given voice to my rather introspective inner world. Written exploration of this inner world has allowed for a freedom of ideas not possible when in conversation. It is my hope that by putting pen to paper, someone flirting with their shadow will embrace this journey with a knowing that all will be well. It is only by embracing the darkest corners of self that one fully blooms…

-Lavinia

The discount purchase price is reflected below. Normal retail on Amazon and Barnes and Noble is estimated to be $29.99 and $35.00 respectively. Enjoy this discounted only here!


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Sway

Sway

 

 

I have no idea why I felt compelled to write a meditation today. The idea of swaying as a comfort is on my mind along with the use of breath to facilitate this comfort. As one that does not meditate routinely, I find reading these words deeply relaxing.

Intuitively, the tension of the holiday season is upon us and a palpable unease of obligation is in the air. Take just one short moment to center yourself each day and remember we are a part of something so much greater than we can comprehend. Let the small things go and know all will be well.

 

Sway, gently… back and forth

Deep breath in, deep breath out

Close your eyes and feel lightness

Let your chest expand and contract

 

Sway, gently…back and forth

Deep breath in, deep breath out

Notice your thoughts and set them free

Release all that binds your heart

 

Sway, gently…back and forth

Deep breath in, deep breath out

Settle into this space between

This warm and welcoming unknown

 

Sway, gently…back and forth

Deep breath in, deep breath out

Rest in this space for as long as you wish

Disregard obligations and pretense…just be

 

Sway, gently…back and forth

Deep breath in, deep breath out

Unfold and unwind, release all tension

Allow light to permeate every cell, every space

 

Sway, gently…back and forth

Deep breath in, deep breath out

Sense possibility, know it is for you

Embrace all of it, as if a loved one

 

Sway, gently…back and forth

Deep breath in, deep breath out

Fly now, do not look back,

Soar and gaze upon mountain peaks

 

Sway, gently…back and forth

Deep breath in, deep breath out

Let the wind lift you, higher and higher

Soak in the warmth of the universe

 

Sway, gently…back and forth

Deep breath in, deep breath out

Continue above the farthest spaces

Seek the nearest star and make it home

 

Sway, gently…back and forth

Deep breath in, deep breath out

Now slowly allow the spirit to return

Gently unwrap the layers of protective energy

 

Sway, gently…back and forth

Deep breath in, deep breath out

Gravity leads and your feet touch the earth

Ground yourself and feel the life in the soil

 

Sway, gently…back and forth

Deep breath in, deep breath out

Know the stardust and soil are one in the same

You are here, you are everywhere, all is well.

 

11/11

11/11

Art:Freydoon Rassouli

 

Today, I headed out on my usual Sunday morning hike with the smoke from the fires appearing over the mountain. Hopeful that I could be back home before the winds picked up, I decided to take the short path. The path rests against the river wash and brings me right back to natural where my mind is able to roam free from the tangle of city life.

 

This place has become my sanctuary after returning from two months on the road. The reentry into city living has been jarring at best and everything feels ill fitted and wrong as if I am wearing someone else’s clothes. As soon as my feet hit the dirt path, I immediately sense “me” once again. I would be lying if I didn’t say tears have been shed on this path as well as discoveries made. Today, I clearly heard the words “I am ready to receive” repeated over and over. A trail message from my guides, if I choose to listen.

 

In addition to this reentry, I have been consumed with compiling my poems for publishing. This whole experience has been revealing. Sharing deeply held thoughts and ideas makes one so uncomfortably vulnerable. I wonder if anyone will read my book. The worst of it is, I do not even like my writing at times. It represents so many scrambled emotions that require a certain head space to feel and explore. So many doubts.

 

After having traveled in the RV, it is clear that a cabin in the mountains is where I need to be for mind, body and spirit. As fate would have it, the city apartment we moved into is very small and far from ideal. Interestingly, the new apartment number is 111 and as soon as I walked in, I knew it was just where we both need to be right now. To make things even weirder, our parking spot is number 11 and the fire engine for this area is 111…. angels and spirit guides are with me, this I know. I just wish I understood the message.

 

Being 11/11 today, I happened to glance at my phone right at 11:11am and smiled knowing I am well protected as I have been my entire life. Beautiful things are on the horizon if only I am ready to receive. Today is a very forward thinking moment for me and for all of us. Yes, we all have wounds and deeply held fears and apprehensions. Now more than ever, we must set aside these fears by looking with an open mind and heart to the future, our destiny. There is no way to reach this destiny by looking back, the answers we seek are in front of us.

 

I am a writer.. Whether anyone reads my poems, stories or blog is not of importance. I am finally at peace with transposing my voice to paper. The very same voice that has been with me all along. The fire beneath layer after layer of expectations, good girl persona and societal roles. On this 11th day of the 11th month of 2018 (11), I am ready to receive all that is meant for me. I hope to understand what my guides are leading me toward and know the path will not be easy, great things never are. I see, feel and hear the change in the wind. It is a peaceful lullaby of angels that sweeps me up in loving arms and shows me the beauty in even the smallest of seeds. Today, this lullaby is calling all of us to receive, allow and bloom.

 

Hearing My Voice

Hearing My Voice

 

 

“Being true to that self involves sifting through the layers of bad advice and unreasonable expectations of others. It requires seeing through your own delusions of grandeur or your fear of failure or your impostor syndrome or your conviction that there is something uniquely and obviously screwed up about your particular self.”

― Elizabeth Lesser, Marrow: A Love Story

 

As one with a personality that thrives in the grey, speaking a strong opinion sounds foreign and unwelcoming. Ask me my opinion on any sensitive issue and you may leave the conversation never knowing my true view. By design, I hold strong beliefs close. Debating the merits of moral and ethical ideals is in no way appealing to me. My beliefs may shift over time and are framed by personal experience, representative only of self and not the whole.

 

This may also be why my writing has taken a turn towards prose rather than essays.  I enjoy the metaphor in poetry and how words can mean a multitude of things depending on the readers experience. I can now speak to a much larger audience and find a renewed freedom in the metaphorical imagery of poetry. Each new piece is brought to life by evoking personal emotions with little control over the end result. I grab my laptop and start writing as if consumed by what are sometimes dark and uncensored thoughts. It is an exposure in the deepest sense and one that leaves me completely spent.

 

Should it be me, that others see.

Could I possibly be the one,

who holds center stage, alone in a cage

fearful yet outspoken.

 

Should I project, all for effect

A false and misfitting equation

Or should I be, completely me

Rejecting all misleading notions.

-Lavinia Busch

 

 

After writing, I often let the poem sit for some time before returning to read and edit. This is when the awful “imposter syndrome” rages. Looking at otherwise private emotions is a humbling venture. I wonder what in the world was I thinking and how could it be of any importance to others. Slamming my laptop shut, I walk away from my words, my heart, time and time again. Self doubt is so very insidious.

 

Having repeated this over and over, it is clear that writing is a radical act of bravery. Inherently, I understand publishing intimate thoughts, requires a letting go of obsession with “the other”. I must write for me and only me. It sounds selfish, but the only way in which my unique voice can be heard. By releasing the focus on approval, I am free to take risks, explore uncharted emotional territory and dive as deeply as words allow.

 

Ultimately, there is only one of me in this grand universe and my singular voice matters. Similarly, the collective voice of humanity also has something to teach, whether it be frightening or inspirational. It is up to each individual how they wish to interpret words, imagery and creative thought. How freeing to know we each have choice in this way.