collage, Cat Charissage (c) 2019 a.r.r. with artwork by Rima Staines
Happy New Year on this first New Moon of 2019. I’ve chosen the word Spaciousness for my Word of the Year. I’m speaking here of an inner contemplative spaciousness where I go for depth, not the shallows or the simply urgent. We shall see. . . .
As I’m putting 2018 to bed and prepping my journals, files, studio, and inner self for 2019, I thought I’d show you my collection of journals for 2018. Remember I told you that I’ve started a new journal on the new moon of each month? Here are the results of that practice for this year:
My journals include not only my writings and daily schedules, but copies of my artwork and poetry, doodling, smashed in images from the internet that I love, and copies of selected emails that I’ve sent. They are the chronicles of my everyday life. Each journal is 9 in. by 12 in., and about an inch thick. Here they are on the shelf (including my 2017 journals as well):
I’ve been so happy that several opportunities to share poetry have opened up here in Lethbridge. There is the now monthly Open Mic on the 4th Thursdays at the Owl Acoustic Lounge. Shaw Cable is filming those to show on their cable channel here, and also at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2M9VHrOeCZY&t=74s. If you follow the links you will find 3 of our sessions. New ones are added as they become available. Out of this, the host of our Open Mic nights was offered a radio program! Teri called it “For the Love of Poetry” and I was honored to be her first guest: https://www.facebook.com/jessfm/videos/2093527114041007/. I thought I’d also share with you one of my new poems. It’s a good reminder for me in these dreary days of winter to live with as much gratitude as I can muster.
May your days be filled with as much grace and fullness as you can handle!
With much love and many blessings,
ORDINARY DAY Cat Charissage
I show up with pen and paper anyway
Even with nothing to say.
The muse might be visiting — but not with me.
Any good ideas anywhere? I look around.
Nope. Just an ordinary day.
My tummy full from a hot breakfast, plenty of protein.
The quiet house, warm.
The comfy bed calling me back to its embrace.
Wet hair, drying after a hot shower.
Good food — plenty.
Indoor plumbing — reliable.
Central heating — cozy.
Water — hot at the tap, enough to pour over dear body
Over and over and over again.
But only a few centuries ago,
These were not so ordinary,
Not even for kings and queens.
And not so ordinary even now,
For children in refugee camps,
For migrants walking a thousand miles towards safety,
For the homeless, here in Lethbridge, sleeping under the overpass.
My ordinary day is really not quite so ordinary —
My ordinary day of warmth, comfort, enoughness.
Extraordinary, isn’t it?
Cat… I also write poetry but lately intermittently. You are an inspiration and your poetry group is exactly what is needed. Just seeing the actual poet read his or her works is wonderful ! Will continue to follow from my home on Vancouver Island. I chose balance for my special word this year…Jo
Jo, the poetry group has been a goddess-send! The host for it is a capable, energetic woman who does an amazing job getting the word out. It’s been a capacity crowd for several months now. Having an outlet to share your poetry is a great motivator in writing regularly! I hope you can find a great outlet for your own poetry.
Cat, your journals are lovely and an inspiration..I am in awe of your work and writings…..AND poetry..I have started the new journal you gave me and enjoy it so much. miss you and wish you many days of spaciousness in this new year.
Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Carol! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the journal I made — they ARE fun, aren’t they? FYI, I’m scheduled for cortisone injections today, so hopefully will be feeling better soon and able to come visit. I miss you too, big time.
Hi Cat, you make the ordinary sound extraordinary when you put it in context. I wish we could all do that, instead of looking at all the things we lack. It is so easy to focus on what we lack and be unhappy.
Yet it doesn’t take any more energy to focus on what we do have. One creates content and gratitude, the other creates discontent and sadness.
Thank you for your comment, Teri. Yes, the turn of thinking towards gratefulness brings way more contentment than dissatisfaction, but actually making that turn is harder than it sounds. I understand the grumbling of lack and thwarted desire (too much), and on some days, pulling ourselves out of that takes a lot of pulling. But really, those of us born in Canada (or immigrated to, as you and I)
have won the cosmic lottery: not perfect by any means, but still, the basics for almost any of us to have happiness come visit!
Thank you, Cathy. My journals are also a way of me fighting a default thought that I have about myself (planted way back in childhood —- I understand where it came from, who it benefited, how it’s played out, the whole bit, but some of these things, cell deep, are so difficult to eradicate —- in the meantime, I dance with it and play some tricks with it). It’s the idea that I don’t do enough, or that I waste my time. Now, I DO NOT, but still the feeling comes up. So I look at my journals for the real evidence of whether or not I do, and am steered in the direction of truth rather than O.P.M. (other people’s manipulation). May your days be spacious, indeed! Cat
Cat ~ Happy New Year! Love your journals, and that you did them every month! Huge accomplishment. Your poem is a good reminder of all the simple luxuries of our lives that we might take for granted when they are really so important for a comfortable and safe life. Congratulations on your poetry venue! I’m looking forward to following the links you offered. My word this year is also Spaciousness, inner and outer. Cathy