Relearning The Lost Art of Rest

 

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In another life, I rushed. A lot. Hurried to the syncopated rhythm of my own heart beat. Well actually it wasn’t that poetic or rhythmic, it was sort of messy and chaotic. I once described the feeling of living a rushed and hurried life as an overwhelming feeling of being chased. I missed a lot in the frenzy. Failed to document, notice or capture much of the beauty that was then, as now, a part of this marvelous world.

Now as I learn the art of rest and live into a life where moments and periods of long carved out times of rest are a way of life, I love to sing the song of rest. Cheer folks on to simplify and to find ways to restore and rest in the everyday.

Poetry helps. It is healing. A balm. Living a life which is increasingly marked by simplicity serves as a fulcrum. Placing rest and regeneration as priorities is important. Vital to a rich and fuller way of enjoying what God has created.

Reading poetry brings me to a slow place of pondering. Of viewing life through a poet’s eyes. Writing in a compressed form such a poetry, helps me to economize my words. Tell a story in a way that perhaps shows more.Teases out more. Challenges me to make art that evokes a response of yes, I see it that way or yes, me too. Or even, wow, I missed that entirely.

My friend Shelly Miller has spent months studying, documenting, reading and learning about rest. And most importantly,  listening to a community of women as they lean  into the Sabbath and Sabbath rest. This community is called The Sabbath Society.

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I cannot give you the gift of rest per se, but I am giving away two copies of Rhythms of Rest written by my dear friend Shelly Miller. Shelly and I share a love of writing. We lived in the same smallish town for several years before Shelly and her husband H moved to London. Recently I heard her speak about the concept of Sabbath rest. I sat on the front row as she spoke in a Charleston church as part of her Rhythms of Rest book tour. Her message is life-giving and important. And her writing style is lovely.

For a chance to win a copy of Shelly’s book (I am giving away two copies) simply choose one of the following ways to enter. (US and Canada folks only, please)

One – Follow me on Instagram, @graceappears.

or

Two – Sign up to receive my free newsletter A Quiet Place For Words

Both my newsletter and my Instagram feed are increasingly becoming favorite place to write, make art and document the extraordinary ordinary in my world.

Three – Simply leave a comment on my blog and indicate you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Rhythms of Rest. Good luck. I hope you win. Names will be drawn on Saturday, November 19th,

(Shelly’s book is available for purchase at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble if you’d like to purchase a copy to give as a gift and to keep for yourself. As inspiration to hold rest up as a life-giving priority).

Be sure to visit Shelly’s website, Shelly Miller Writer dot com and follow her on instagram, Shelly Miller Writer too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lost Arts

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I dreamed there was a gathering. The lost arts took a seat. Placed a napkin in the lap. And called the meeting to order. Poetry took two seats. The head and the other head. While Simplicity, Civility and Kindness bowed  in deference to each other. The conversation was quite and measured. Polite, with hints of disagreement. No two saw the world the same. I dreamed that in this gathering, the bites were small and conversation big. Joy poured the wine without a wasted drop. Stillness and Rest passed plates in a clockwise fashion, because the collective decision was made. Every one agreed. That no one would go hungry. The gathering agreed among themselves to remain seated. And to keep the tenor and the tone at an audible decibel of  Peace and Quiet. Passing plates of simple fare. All guests, who wore the hat of  hosts as well, agreed. In my dream, the sentences were long, unbroken. No interruptions were made. Daydreaming poured more water into each shiny crystal stemware glass. No one said a word when Manners arrived one minute past the agreed on time, in an effort to be fashionably late. The counter punches never came. Neither did the punches. I awoke at midnight. A table cleared and empty. No signs of a gathering at all. The lost arts, lost again in a world of Imagination. Each gone as if they never were here at all. Hidden, perhaps behind a drawn curtain, dark ebony of this Good Night. Yet one shred of evidence remained. A poem. I dreamed there was a gathering.

Right Now: State Of Change

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Right Now

Every shadow punctuates
Dots the landscape of now
With littered limbs of memory
Brought down in the cleansing
Bold strokes of every shade of grey
Written under the swirls of then and right here
Blink, they move

Sub-plot and backstory
Read from back to front
And between all lines

Hieroglyphics and dead languages
Signing with fingers from the sun’s burning
Rays
Written in plain sight

The story requires an interpreter
My eyes behold the pages
Written for today

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Thank you for reading here and at Gracetable.org. I have a post up there and I would be honored and humbled if you would join me there. Do you know this community? Gracetable? It is a favorite place on the internet.  See you at Gracetable where I am happily a contributing writer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even Bob Dylan Reminds Me of You

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Even Bob Dylan Reminds Me Of You

I have a frayed quilt, folded
Age frays fiber like a document shredder frays secrets
It lays limp as a reminder
Of reconciliation
Anchored, the weight of redemption holds it
In place
Like black vinyl held his lines for years
Before Pandora gathered the whole collection in a mysterious cyber place

(You’ve never seen it, you loved quilts, but this one you would not)
The yellow squares are a billion one inch pieces
No one will count-check behind me
The yellow squares scream louder than a caution light
The shade is one off of gauche

But it’s the story that marries peace with threads
Storytellers know
Poets do too
Fraying helps the edginess

I love every square inch
Except the polyester fabric
Which is 100 percent of this masterpiece
Sewn by church ladies
Or a grieving widow or an Appalachian blue haired lady, retired from teaching
An educated guess at best

The giver is whom I love
I wish the quilt were cotton
Breathable
Some days the man-made fiber suffocates
But sentiment makes me hold on helpless
To surrender
Hope

I can’t get away from your dying
Even the everywhere’s I used to go
To hide and grieve
Have the hollow feel
Of bristling poly-fibers

Flammable, like my burning grief
It is early
The flame still burns
But I’ve got a head start
Preparing for good-bye
With the covers pulled up to my hairline

I sang Amazing Grace to you
And then I realized
If you could remember
If you could speak

You would have preferred Bob Dylan

The prophet, the poet, the Nobel Prize receiver
You saw his greatness before the committee

Knocking on heaven’s door
Simple twist of fate
I shall be released
The times they are a-changin
Just like a woman

You Are My Sunshine and Amazing Grace
Let’s pretend they were Dylan’s version

(We needed the words of a poet
We still do)
We both know Dylan could rock

You are my sunshine