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Category: Poems

The Armor We Wear

The Armor We Wear

 

 

 

That Which I Cannot Name

There you are, 

Behind the eternal veil

Waiting for an invitation 

To my dinner table

 

Patiently you wait

Watching the mistakes

We have made,

I have made

 

The winds of change

Dance with this fabric

Calling out to me

Asking for my attention

 

Distraction makes me blind

All the many obligations

Pulling me away

From the beauty of this veil

 

A faint softness is

Viewed from afar

Teasing my senses with,

What can be, what should be

 

I cannot name you

But do not need to

You are the eternal gateway

To the between, to everything

 

When I get lost in myself

Forget my direction, lose my way

You whisper in the wind

“I am with you”

 

The veil dances into my heart

Filling a longing for this softness

Lighting up the gateway

Into the next

-Lavinia

 

 

 

Yesterday, heart brimming with a slurry of emotions from the collective grief of our times, I walked on the beach and attempted to calm my weary heart. In this moment we must all stop the rhetoric and admit we all know far less than we think we do. The answers we seek are not readily apparent and the need is great.

 

One image I received while walking was of layers of armor shedding as if a butterfly emerging from a cocoon. We all have armor whether we admit to it or not. These layers have been added to the suit of protection we wear, sewn over many years, hiding our vulnerabilities.

 

This armor is complex. Sewn into its coils are race, culture, appearance, orientation, religion, profession, wealth and many other labels. We walk around every day with a tribal mentality thinking it protects us from ourselves. Our wounds and insecurities are often the driving force behind these hardline opinions and core values.  

 

As a student of the human condition, it fascinates me how we cling to this armor, no matter the contradictions, in a colossal effort to avoid facing our wounds. We have talking points and biases that permeate everything we do and say. Over time, it becomes more difficult to hear the quiet voice of spirit over a chorus of societal expectations and unbridled tribalism. If one ventures too far from their base, a disapproving slap on the wrist is given rather than shared dialogue in respectful tones.

 

Yesterday while walking, I found myself completely rejecting this norm. No longer wishing to wear false armor, I rejected the notion we all need protection from our most sensitive self. I am no longer willing to hide behind the “group” whether it be family, community or nation. I am no longer willing to blindly accept the terms of this social contract.

 

Great courage is required when standing up against the group and saying “NO”.  Many of you may have already felt this same call and experienced difficult conversations with your tribe. Let me lend you strength in saying it is OKAY to choose a different way. By choosing to approach life outside of the group, you are not being rebellious. You are living on your own terms, without the constant need for validation from the whole.

 

Shedding false armor can be liberating, as if a heavy weight has been lifted from our shoulders, allowing us to soar as is meant to be. Failure is quite possible, never fear failure. Failure teaches us more about living than success. It is in the moments of despair, after falling short time and time again that resilience is forged. Like iron to the fire, we use the unrelenting heat of discomfort to forge beauty from a blank slate. It takes many years of practice to be skilled at reinvention of self. It also takes courage in facing the heat of the flames, burning our skin as we return once again to build something out of nothing.

 

On the eve of what is to be a powerful summer solstice, with a new moon solar eclipse occurring on the Global Axis point of the universe, commit to bravely facing this fire each day. This is an awakening and we are all feeling the call and need for change. The new is waiting, patiently. A new way of being, a new way of viewing the world. 

 

Reinvention does not have to be scary; it can be fun! Imagine a blank page in which you are free to write your story in your own words, not the words of others. Simply begin with the first sentence and the rest of your story will unfold as it should. The universe is demanding us all to begin. Pick up a pen and change your story. Write about a world that is more equitable, loving and compassionate. A world where we care for the least of us without worrying about the bottom line. A world in which poverty and discrimination do not exist. 

 

If you find yourself saying this sounds utopian and therefore impossible, sit in silence for a moment with this thought. Is this statement your armor speaking?  Your fear? Breathe in and out and allow the feeling of discomfort and heat to wash over you. Become friends with this feeling and welcome it into your life. The time is now. Let us all welcome our most sensitive self to the table, lovingly wrapping our arms around our agitation and uncertainty. Feeling our heartbeat along with every other living thing. Breathe in, breathe out. Smile.

 

 

Poetry Reading

Poetry Reading

 

 

Here we are once again, rounding the corner from hot summer nights into cool crisp fall days. No matter how much time I have in the summer to write, play and bake, September always catches me by surprise. The rhythm of my day changes and my focus intensifies as I prepare for the beginning of another academic year. 

 

Along with this increased awareness, I often experience a specific melancholy. Much of it can be attributed to the rigors of work life. No longer able to flex my schedule, I begin to feel the walls closing in on me. If you have read any of my poems, you know that I absolutely despise being boxed in. My happy place is an open space, preferably a meadow with big sky and distant mountains.

 

To keep my mind off these changes, I am beginning to layout my second book of poems titled Stardust. It has been a labor of love and one that I am very proud of. As a newly published author, I have experienced every version of imposter syndrome and began to wonder if my first book was a fluke.

My first book available on Amazon HERE

 

Thankfully, inspiration came tumbling out of the sky like a freight train. Feast or famine is the way I write and for a few months it was a poetry feast! Now, I am left with a slew of poems wondering how in the world I can present them in a unique way.

 

Around this same time, I received an email from a colleague inviting me to read some of my poems at an event in Pasadena. The Residency Project is an opportunity for artists to collectively share and inspire one another in a beautiful environment. The universe really knows exactly what I need, an opportunity to share my deepest thoughts with a group of fellow artists. What a wonderful way to welcome in the fall.

 

The event details can be found HERE and is called Connections and Callings: A Celebration of Nature, Spirituality and the Arts. I am beyond excited for this experience and am looking forward to interacting, listening and learning from other like-minded artists. 

 

In the meantime, I will continue to do my very best at pulling together another selection of poetry that speaks to other nature writers, mystics, and spiritually curious folks. Send me your good thoughts and positive energy. 

 

 

Lie in the Grass

Lie in the Grass

 

I am feeling the beginning of the dog days of summer with heat bearing down on sun drenched skin. It is in August that one feels the inevitable return of darkness on the doorstep, a change of seasons in the air. It is also with this knowing that I wrote this poem.

My intention was to try and capture the very best of summer as a temporary experience. Seasons are a great reminder of our mortality. Even the very best weather will fade.  Flowers bloom and lose their petals, blades of grass turn brown under the heat welcoming the layers of leaves and snow pack to come. No matter the occasion, all things will change…even us.

 

Lie in the Grass

 

Let’s lie in the grass until the sun leaves today

Staying as long as the world let’s us play

Asleep to the pressures rumbling below

Awake to the brightness of flowers aglow

 

Stretched out among the blades of grass

Letting our worries melt and bypass

This glorious field filled with love and light

Devouring every bit of precious daylight

Let Stillness Speak

Let Stillness Speak

 

Quiet the mind, let angry voices of unrest 

settle, by sitting in silence until 

all that can be heard is the 

steady beat of a broken heart

 

Steep in this stillness, allowing a sacred

balm of reflection to permeate every

cell, giving breath to all that

remains unanswered, all that festers

 

Listen to this stillness speak 

of ancient heart songs singing

 stories of adventures not yet

taken and mysteries left to be discovered

 

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

 

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.