Category: prayers

poem: how many times

How many times
have i prayed,
a monster of need,
tiny hands grasping,
flabby arms flapping,
begging,
disconsolate,
stewing in hopelessness.

Such desperation
is exhausting,
and it did me no good.

My worst nightmares
have begun to come true
and i cannot rise
to the occasion
higher
than i already stand.

The worst
has begun
coming to pass,
but such losses
dance
with contentment.

The dog’s last breaths
taught me
about gratitude,
about finding
loving kindness
even in agony.

With a teacher like that,
what could i do?

Suddenly,
all my praying stopped.

For if i can find
peace,
calm,
stillness
and joy
coexisting
with this pain,
grief
and failure,
then who am i
to pretend
i know
what i need?

7 may 2016

Things must change

I am writing this during my last day sitting in an artisans’ cooperative this year; Christmas Eve, 2015.

This marks an end of an era for me. A huge amount of the galleries in which i began this year are either moving, closing (or already closed) and a few others have had sales bad enough i have to make disappointing decisions. Most of my plans for the next twelve months remain purely in the realm of the  hypothetical. What i know i will do is make pen and inks, finish at least one novel, write as many poems as i can coax through me.  Soon, i will have another surgery, and afterward i have to dedicate myself to healing and transcending whatever comes.

Never before has it been so glaringly obvious and desperate: i have to reconceive how i move through my days, even as i acknowledge that my heart beats out art as much as blood. The question remains how to do this.  How do i walk that fine line between financial need and spiritual/sanity needs? As i wrote in a poem posted fairly recently, and the haiku below that i put on twitter, art is a fickle mistress.

Art is a lover
who keeps me chained up tightly
and would let me starve.

Starving is not a viable option for an irrepressible sensualist like myself. Giving up on art, which so many have told me is the most sensible option, also seems to be impossible. Yet, i fight against incredible anxiety and fears. As much art as i create, as much as i deepen my abilities in different mediums, i have been hoxed by this relentless worry. This cannot continue. One or the other has to surrender itself – either i continue making art and become relatively fearless in its dissemination, or i surrender to my fears and live a life painfully diminished.  i do not think i could survive the latter.

So, i have to find a way. There is no other option, really, this long succession of freelance and piecemeal jobs can be the stop gap, the way to keep going, until i find a way to make art consistently pay for bread and butter.  But i must keep my focus on that far off mountain top, where the work that gives me the deepest bliss and aligns my energy with the world so well actually maintains me.

One of the miracles in my life is that this past year has brought a slew of people who believe in me enough to help me get through some terribly difficult times. When i thought i might never throw again, my friends listened to my grief; they celebrated with me when i got back to the wheel.  Gifts of food, money, time, compassion and kindness kept me afloat. As i wrote earlier, this was the year of friendship. Perhaps that is how i can find my courage – to remember that there are people who don’t just want me to succeed but see it as something that will happen, with enough patience, stubbornness and resilience.

So, this blog is a bit of a shout out to the universe at large, steeped with both prayer and intent: help me change things. Help me find a way to make this work with the blessings and limitations i have. i cannot change the basic DNA of my being, so i have to find a path that lets me keep making art AND eat.

Things will change.

Things must change.

i am apparently too stubborn to surrender, so i must find a way to be courageous and maybe even a bit wise.

The whole engine of my heart and imagination manifests this transformation.

i wish you all the best for your coming year – may all people find greater peace, kindness and love in our worlds.

poem: the artist’s prayer

Please.
Help me.

i reach out,
my hands grasping
for something
to change
all this stress
and fear
and crushing anxiety
into a solution,
something actionable,
a clear path
toward
temporal salvation.

But all that comes,
filling my hands
to overflowing
like a tap
turned full force,
is art.

So much so,
i could work
every waking moment,
rushing
from pen
to easel
to wheel
to computer
and still not bring it all
into being.

Forget cleaning the house.

All deviations
from this purpose,
from my bliss,
bring on vague pain.
The more i labor
at cross-purposes
to my calling,
the worse it hurts.
Discomfort grows
like mold
until it takes over
everything,
becoming
howling,
dangerous
despair.

So, on my knees,
i pray.
Tears in my eyes,
i beg.
With all the blood
in my veins,
i beat out
supplication:

Help me.
Guide me.
Save me,
for i am so mad
with passion and dream
that i will keep walking,
moving forward,
undeterred
by this glorious
catastrophe.

22 november 2015

rosary: optimism

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My Lord, my God, you gave me a creative soul. i tell stories as i breathe.

Invitatory
The unpublicized side effect of such creativity is an incomparable ability to imagine the future, good and bad. Which comes up – utopian or dystopian – depends upon my mood.

Cruciform
Christ, all futures are a dream. Therefore, i only have this moment to hold in my hands. Tomorrow’s stress is as much a phantom as yesterday’s pain.

Week
Please, Spirit, fill me now, as i pray.

Invitatory
Hope and optimism flow best without the barriers of projection and anxiety. Christ, i am doing all i can within this moment. Please help me see that is enough.

+
All this i pray in your Name, Jesus Christ, my Lord. AMEN

rosary: existential prayers

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Christ, i am having an existential dilemma. i do not know what i should pray for anymore. Part of the problem is that i cannot keep myself from listening to others. People tell me that if i want something badly enough, pray for it with absolute conviction, visualize it hard enough, demand it from the universe without giving it the option to let me down, work for it with enough focus and zeal, and then i will get it. If i don’t get it, obviously i fell down on one of those things. Another group tells me things only happen because it is your will, Christ, and either i have such blessings or i don’t. One set of advisors tell me that any sorrow or grief or insecurity automatically condemns me and makes all the moments of peace and joy and communion irrelevant, for fleeting enlightenment is worth nothing. The other side tells me that emotions are part of what make life rich, and sometimes surviving the crisis to find peace again is victory in itself – indeed, evidence of your hand helping me through the world.

Invitatory
Christ, i cannot quite define what i believe. i know there have been moments when you touched my heart and saved me. i know that i have prayed and begged to receive a gentle no as an answer. Moreover, i know i have been called and vacillated – in effect saying no to you. All the yes’s in the world do not make up for the guilt of that failure.

Cruciform
Right now, i reach down in my soul and find my most basic prayer:

Weeks
Jesus: help me to be peaceful and awake, always listening for your advice, even when caught in deepest turmoil and need.

Invitatory
My savior, i reach out to you – i have my plans and hopes and dreams, and i will work obsessively to make them real, but i will accept whatever comes.

+
i pray for equanimity, strength, confidence and joy no matter what comes to me, Christ, my Lord, for with your love and forgiveness all earthly things are irrelevant. All this i pray in your name, AMEN.

rosary: in defense of my sanity

+
Christ, I have another person that I cared for to the point of stupidity, who keeps telling me things about myself that do not match what I see within. Once more, someone inserts himself between you and me, insisting that he knows my relationship with you and the quality of my soul better than I do myself.

Invitatory
Jesus, you know, I am one to believe what people say, particularly those I care for and respect. I look for the truth in even the most outrageous statements. I always wonder if you are trying to send me a message through their words. Indeed, this has been a great benefit – realizing that I was being called to trust in You unhesitatingly – and it has been a great harm – tying me up in knots, wondering how something so baseless and cruel could be true.

Cruciform
Christ, hold the hand of this fool, give me better discernment and help me to be strong and confident.

Weeks
Let me see the truth of myself.

Invitatory
Perhaps I should be more hesitant to see the truth, Christ, for we are all have our moments of weakness, wretchedness, failure and cruelty. However, my Lord, I have been working my whole life to be a better servant of God and I cannot manage change if I my vision is clouded by delusions and projections.

+
Thank you Christ, for all the love and kindness you have shown this wayward soul. You have brought me through times when I thought I would perish from this world. I am grateful beyond words to you. Amen.

rosary: centering on love

+
Christ, I had been suffering, but time has taught me what the cure for my grief is:

Invitatory
You have brought so much love to my life, all I have to do is think about the people who have loved me: those I have lost to life’s change, those who have returned to you, those who still doggedly hang on, caring for me despite myself. You have given me the healing passion of great love. And, even if I forgot all of that, I have had strangers treat me with kindness, go out of their way to help me, and see my humanity when I was less than at my best.

Cruciform
The sea of faces, all people who have held out a hand to include me in the greater community of the human family, fill my heart with thanksgiving and gratitude. If I focus on these brilliant examples of love and kindness, it can counter-act any woe that I feel.

Weeks
Thank you for these blessings!

Invitatory
And, of course, human love is but a pale reflection of the Divine – the way we channel you through ourselves and into our lives. Thank you, Christ, for the joy, blessings and comfort that you have given, for the love that has saturated my cells.

+
Jesus, I give you my thanks and love. Amen.

rosary for the broken artist

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Christ, I have been drowning.

Invitatory

Desperately, i want to believe that you would not have given me this intense sense of purpose and the awesome bliss i find in creating just for me to demonstrate all the ways i can fail when given such gifts.

Cruciform

So, my Lord, i hold out my heart to you – i ripped myself open so you can see my urgent, naked need.

Weeks

1 – Please, Christ, make me strong

2 – give me wisdom

3 – stoke my courage

4 – bring me inspiration

5 -bestow some confidence

6 – lead me gently

7 – make me able

Invitatory

i pray thus because it is through my work that i honor you best – my weakness and limitations impede much i would do, so i worship as i draw, paint, throw, sculpt and write.  Thankfully communion can always be found in the flow of art.  There, i feel your fierce love.

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i strive to serve you well, so i beg in the Name of Jesus Christ, please add a few more blessings onto the heap you have already given me.  Please, hear my prayer.  AMEN

rosary for help and hope

+

Sweet Christ, i am lost

Invitatory

My heart aches over my cluelessness.  So many things need to be done.  i am failing myself and so many others, for i am only one exhausted, pained, weak and overwhelmed person.

Cruciform

Jesus, tear through my worry and confusion so the light of your LOVE will wash over my trembling spirit.

Weeks

[Please,] give me help and hope

Invitatory

Every day, I pray for you to save me from my foolishness, my weakness and the gravitational pull of despair.  i keep placing myself onto the firm ground of faith, praying strength and courage will blossom within me.

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Thank you, Lord, for this calling that drives me.  i endeavor to make myself worthy of those wondrous gifts.  AMEN.