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Author: laviniachristine

Allowing

Allowing

 

“The one close to me now,

even my own body-

these too

will soon become clouds,

floating in different directions.”

― Izumi Shikibu

 

 

The all too familiar feeling of being ill suited for this life has returned. I understand this earthen existence is not home as a familiar longing takes hold. So much of the routine of life mean very little to me. Each day I muster up courage and head to work knowing about this disconnect and the loneliness that is my all too familiar companion

 

As has always been the case, I find solace and heart in poetry. Reading Shikibu brings clarity to the confusion of the moment. Clouds float effortlessly in the sky seemingly unencumbered by what is happening on the surface below.  There is a freedom to their flow, the way they change from a raging lion to a delicate flower in an instance. This idea of metamorphosis is appealing in so many ways. We are all complicated beings and it is crucial we feel the freedom to change. If something is not as we would like it to be, we have agency, we have a voice. Likewise, if facets of our character become abrasive, it is never too late to change direction and become a more loving and tenderhearted person.

 

Clouds are also the keepers of possibility, they are the trumpeters of weather and the shelter from the sun. Clouds are the master imitators, faithful companions and a distant reminder of the expansive energy constantly at play. One never really knows what the skies will bring. Spending an afternoon stretched out in the grass, watching the sky dance, I am reminded once again of the impermanence of all things. I question more earnestly, what is of real importance? Is it meeting a deadline at work, or taking an extra moment to stop and let someone know you care about them? Perspective is everything.

 

Becoming a part of this universal heartbeat speaks to me so deeply. We are everything yet nothing. So very small in the moment yet full of life energy. Looking to the clouds I am reminded of the value of allowing rather than resisting. Life has a rhythm and we are able to be most true to ourselves when we allow this flow to lead the way. Surrendering all fear and believing in a grander purpose we live more fully in the moment, less restricted by worry and circumstance.

 

Celebrating the spring equinox this week, I sense an ushering in of the light now more than ever. It is as if constantly looking towards a horizon with sunrise off in the distance. The light is there, but not yet fully expressed. I stand in wonder and absorb every bit of this warmth knowing that it’s full brilliance is yet to come. It is time to embrace this light, let go of resistance and float. Float above, expectation and judgment and allow metamorphosis as you would a welcome guest. Let YOUR cloud become true and light up the sky brilliantly, into the next part of your journey.

 

 

Nothing Speaks

Nothing Speaks

 

Lips pressed so tightly sealed, eyelids close as emotion yields

Everything slowing to a crawl, vision narrowing down the eternal hall

Wanting to run but legs remain, stuck in quicksand from the rain

Face to face with a godly mirror, reflecting ideas falsely clear

 

Suddenly now I feel the growl, a voice stifled and becoming foul

Rising up from the darkest place, around my throat with fingers laced

Willing any sound to be heard, trying to shout like a morning bird

Crumbling apart and thought as weak, no matter the effort nothing speaks

 

-Lavinia Busch

 

How does one find their voice after many years of holding back, willing it to silence because of insecurity or scrutiny? I have made my fair share of mistakes learning how to speak up over the years. It is very difficult finding the right tone when freeing an idea that has been wanting so desperately to emerge. Often, the result is a harsh exclamation…not a good look.

 

When I wrote the poem “Nothing Speaks” my mind was in deep consideration of this contradiction. When a voice has been silent for an extended period of time, it is unbelievably difficult to change course and exercise a willing openness. The give and take of daily conversation can set off all sorts of alarms. “Is it safe to say what I know to be true?” or “Will people think less of me?”  The self-doubt never ceases, and the easiest road is to just keep silent.

 

It takes great courage to finally speak up, especially for one like myself that prefers to keep most thoughts tightly held. In my rush to seize the moment and speak to an issue I am passionate about, sometimes the words tumble out more assertively than I would like.

 

In general, my goal is to find the balance between not speaking, as in the poem, and sharing my thoughts openly. Some days I am better at it than others. I have learned that as in all things, balance in conversation is a muscle that must be exercised.

 

 

 

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.