"Carson is drawn to selves who desire immersion and disintegration into an absolute inhuman essence (in the case of Porete and Weil, the essence is God). What's intriguing about her portrayal of this sensibility is the utter absence of melancholy. She doesn't say whether loss of the self is something any of these women try to stem or evade; instead, she focuses on the paradox of someone seeking self-affirmation in an experience of dispossession and dissolution. " Decreation

I have Ann Carson's book, I'm reading it in the evenings. Hers is literary, the way she enters. Ariadne's thread, the scholar who is a poet. But ekstasis, Greek, 'going out of oneself,' 'standing beyond oneself,' it's affecting me. When I dispersed into stardust all about myself, I was losing my/self, it was fearful, this dissolution. It was like the universe pervaded my aura, the stardust in which stars are born, a sprinkling of lights throughout a faint purplish mist. And I was seeing from all points of the expandedness. Overlapping visions, a universe come inwards and the self who is the woman in this life, and some other anthropomorphic interlocution that I don't want to call god-like but was. Each dancing starpoint an eye of seeing. Seeing myself like this and seeing outwards from these vantage points. Disturbing, being shifted out of myself, and peaceful, profoundly so.

Oh, sigh, my visions...

It wasn't an unusual evening. Something to eat, orange juice, a 5km walk with my dog, a long talk by phone with my daughter, who's enjoying her new school, a little red wine, a bit of cheese before bed - had been up early doing yoga before work, so was tired. Woke in the night, not unusually. Awake for a few hours, again normal. But I was tired, mind racing hither and thither, so I sat against my Orbus-forme backrest, a fleece blanket over me, and meditated, over and over the same mantra, the one I've been silently intoning for at least 15 minutes a day since September 1994. The mantra and I know each other well and have been through a lot together. I've used it for many different purposes besides general receptivity to 'what is '- working out problems, kick-starting creativity for a project. It always works: whatever the intention, going through the medium of the mantra causes what I need to happen in my inner insights and motivations. I've used it to understand how to manifest pathways to what I might need at times too. In the middle of the night I turn to the mantra to calm me, and, when I'm tired, and it's dark, it can succeed in stilling my mind long enough for me to roll back into sleep, even an hour helps. I am grateful to this little mantra for all the ways it enables me to be as I want to be.

Only last night I experienced one of those 'mind shifts' during meditation. And I didn't enjoy it. It was like I expanded beyond my body. Like I was dispersing. I was floating in the air all about myself larger than I am. More expansive. Being blown outwards.

I thought, 'Oh, no.' And remembered the other times in my life when I had significant mystical experiences with various forms of mediation and the ways in which those experiences changed my life. In my 20s I was safely enrolled in a doctoral programme in English Literature when I had a few months of extraordinary mystical experiences of light, in dreams and in meditations; they were so powerful, I left the doctoral programme and embarked on a crazy course that never found completion. I applied to Interdisciplinary Studies and fought everyone in the department to get my thesis proposal accepted and was going to write some massive ambitious thing covering imagery of light from cave art through mythology, religion (oh, East and West, if you please), art history, literature, science, psychology, and so on. I might even have completed it, I was a workaholic who rose and began working at 8am right through to 11pm every night, 7 days a week, no social life, who cared, I was driven. But my father went into ICU for 6 months, then passed away, a brother had a break-down, and I took over looking after the family holding companies, then got married and had children. While a lot of that research and thought about light goes into my prosepoems, it was a wild goosechase triggered by mystical mediative experiences. In my 40s, after starting to learn Kundalini Yoga, begining the mediation that I have since done daily, I began to experience energy waves and other phenonemon during my private sessions. A sense of deep inner transformation once again. The upshot of that phase was that I left my marriage in 1997 and who knows what I've done since besides raise two children alone with barely any work. Never mind. Creatively I produced writing and art that I would never have done in the confines of my marriage. But was it all worth it?

So when I experienced one of those 'energy shifts' last night, differently expressed to any of the other times I've gone through a radical shift in my consciousness, I felt fear, and tried to back off. But the experience took me anyhow. I remained larger than myself for some time, like I was a nebula floating, understanding universal process from the vantage of the stars, it was beautiful, oh I'll admit it, stunning, deeply mystical and peaceful, and I did manage to fall back to sleep for a short while.

Following these visionary escapades aligns me perhaps with my 'soul journey' but it's been damn hard on my life, these mind-altering experiences that cause me to make major shifts in my direction.

From my previous experiences, I would say that there is no way if a series of mind-altering shifts are coming that it won't affect the path of my life.

And I'm not so sure that is good.

Okay, each time it has opened creative potential and greater creative expression.

But each time I've left the conventional road and slipped off into the unhewn fields where there's no security. I've followed these visions to the utmost of my ability, been true to them, let them guide me. But they have been visions which always abandon me at some point - meaning the energy which fires them and my crazy leaping about in unknown fields disperses -leaving me in a completely different locale with nothing but my day-to-day mind to cope with a life that looks less and less normal and on which no-one has ever been able to advise me.

Why do I tell this tale to you, dear reader? I suppose, if it's happening again, I ought to track it, note the mystical experiences as they occur, see where they lead. For surely they will lead off the beaten track...

Mondrian's brush...

Or Mondrian's nearly Symbolist paintings, before the geometric Neoplasticism, their jazzy rectilinear primary colour grids for which he is famous, the ones with blue paint, that underlies the flesh in the portraits, or perhaps over it, a defining spirituality, I can't explain what it does to me, this blue of Mondrian's, let's call it a theosophical blue, and the red, perhaps hair, or dress,* or mill, or trees, strong contrasts, earthy, vital, yet the blue, its grayish tint, manifesting the moment of balance of coming into or dispersing from, assembling or disassembling, a vision of whatever we are, this world, incarnating its molecular structures, what coheres energy into form.

I see our loneliness in this blue. What is calling us away even as we maintain ourselves.

The blue is everywhere.

I'm breathing it in the air right now. My fingers are interlaced with it. I couldn't see myself before, but I can now. In an ocean of raw aquamarine, not resisting the waves. Under Mondrian's brush, who's limning my infinite edges.
Or yours.

*She looks like a figure from a Greek mural frieze and is the most haunting of all, even with her too-large eyes, the whites of which are that blue that is the same colour as the outline on the edge of her face and neck and lining her red hair and buried in the background's dark tones, but I can't locate her on the NET: "Portrait of a Young Woman in Red, 1908-09," Piet Mondrian, Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands.

Come, walk with me...

Exquisite imagery, but what is the emotion beneath the surface? I am reading a poem that's like cloisone, as carefully crafted, meticulous, images inlaid and enameled, fine gold lines. Like the mechanical nightingale, a beautiful jewel, yet I can't feel a heart beating, no syntactical error, or slippage, where the pulse is.

Be flagrant. Let the emotion swell beneath the surface. Words that ride over the cross-currents. Imperfect. It's not that the words slip away or are unreliable; they are approximations. No inviolable carvings in stone.

If you listen to these promiscuous words. No, I don't know where that came from. And I don't think I've ever thought of words that way. But if you consider it...

On our walk on this late Summer's scented evening.

The flowers are bright suns in the darkness of the dark green hedge, yellow spikes radiating round. Did you notice them?

What other neighbourhood can you have a conversation with a man who owns a million dollar heritage home and a lake up North and who talks longingly of his solitary beach where his dog swims regularly and has no problems with fleas and come across a small gaggle of people surrounding a man who appears to have collapsed half on the road, half on the sidewalk? Should we call an ambulance? Mister, you're on the road, you have to move. He's in clean new jeans, a clean red t-shirt, his black back-pack tightly around his shoulders. I look closely at his chest: he's breathing, his heart beats. Where's he from? A man touches him and he yells with drunken, slurred words, Get out man, you f-cking b-st-rd.

Let's continue on our walk with my dog, who ignored the guy lying on the road, and she does swim at a beach, too, but she's been scratching and so in between her shoulder blades is anti-flea oil, Hey, don't pat her tonight!

What I most want to talk about is how life feels: in this body, with these perceptions, this mind. How my toes fit in my new brown Roots™ cotton socks in my brown leather Ecco™ walking sandals. How I carry a dog treat in a Guatemalan blue woven wool fanny pouch. How I went into a black car port and gave an old and smelly brown-furred dog who's always tied up a piece of the dog biscuit and the dear dog seemed confused and sniffed it and looked at me, and I couldn't discern what the problem was.

Or how I'm going to write honest words, not jewel-encrusted or bespeckled, even if sometimes they are lush. To share with you, and who knows how you'll receive them.

These words, which have been everywhere, Oh, Mama, everywhere. It's not my fault; I inherited them along with a glottis, and a dictionary (ahem, think biological and linguistic evolution). And how many glottises? Hardly virgin, with their geneologies and wide-spread usage, these worldy words.

What am I supposed to do? Spilling lexical wanton wiles everywhere...

Similes & Metaphors

When I use simile the 'as'/'like' is a gap the neurons fire over, so that one thing carries the energy of the other without either losing their distinctness. But the image is moving along the neuronal pathway of the poem, transferring and transforming as it goes. With simile what you started with isn't too different from what you end with, but it's been through a journey along a specific trajectory and is richer, heavier, wiser, more worldly, better able to explicate itself. Like life. I'm the same as I was half a century ago in many essential ways, though transformed in my knowledge and experience. I'm not a completely different being; I haven't become someone other than who I am.

Metaphor is a richer, complex process of leaping about, collapse into, cross-fertilization, creating a newness out of disparate parts. Metaphor doesn't work for me like the hand-holding of simile but in the relation of things to each other. The best metaphor creates strange, new, fertile relationships.

Often with metaphor I have to let the gap between what is being aligned be in the punctuation, the space between stanzas or paragraphs, and leave that as what the neurons fire over. Because it's like they leap from one highly specialized section of the mind, or a discipline of knowledge, to an entirely different one. Metaphors follow paths of intuitive logic: spark new connections, creating pathways that weren't there before, maintaining the flexibility of the language which is evolving through them. Liquid and plastic, metaphors open up new insights, ways of perceiving, create new realities for us to live.

The ability to make metaphors like the continual creation of neuronal stem cells in the hippocampus, but, then, I'm using a simile aren't I? :-)

Pruning A Wild Creativity

Wild creativity where I continually have to prune the excesses, this seems apropos. Slicing, trimming, removing. Articles, connectives, pronouns, prepositional clauses, whatever slows down the immediacy. Sudden leaps from one image to another, something invisible hovering between that connects them, something other than a random placement on the page, that is. Honing while listening to an internal rhythm, the syncopations of an inner aesthetic, what's overdone and weedy, or too sparse, how to. Otherwise I'd overrun, a confusing conglomerate of overgrowth.

Meditate perhaps for the same reason. To hone wildly outbursting thoughts. Clarify an inner terrain. Make it livable within the self. A friend recently said that I had the busiest mind of anyone they knew and no wonder I had to meditate.

Editing oneself. Ah, so.

How about you?
Comments (3)

Propogating Fire

With my fierce language; it's my writing language, not my speaking words. In speech I am always bright.

Write from rawness. How else to find where we are? Plummet, forget safety. Go for the bleeding. Or maybe that's not it. Maybe it's bathing in nectars of fire.

The burning halo came anyway. And then I was alone. Leave the books behind to write.

I walk past a slate black iron tub in which a wash of rusted water runs, an Ecumenical bath.

A man in a white shirt photographs a bird-bath in the Church garden, a series of circular waterfalls in which birds shake their wings, flapping water.

An ambulance sirens by and crumb-pecking sparrows flutter so quickly to hide in the yellow rose bush that I laugh.

I am walking to a store to look at a sheer red shawl impregnated with flowers that I will not buy, but find myself standing near the park, writing in my notebook.

Two pigeons interlock in a dance on the ground nearby: the beak of one deep inside the mouth of the other, their grey heads bobbing back and forth. Is it a love dance?

It was humiliating that I was coerced into a dead-end corner with one ungraceful exit so the infidelity could occur.

Beating Breath

Still working on it -added IV:


Language of the heart.

An inner maelstrom,
rushing into the future.

Your distant pounding.
Can my heart be your heart?

What tightens or beats
too strongly or dissolves
into pain or

A vocabulary of love,
our bodies.

Expansively warm &
beautiful. Knowingness
of the heart. Where
we breath.


The burning heart.

The Sufi Master,
Hazrat Inayat Khan: "in pain
the heart becomes living
and without pain man seems to be
living on the surface."*

Pain brings the heart alive, and
when purified of bitterness,
then joy flows
from the "source of all goodness"
and acts of kindness
are easy.


Unknot the tangled heart

Slowly, carefully.

A delicate operation, hurts
furies, angers, losses.
Scar tissue, where nerves
have had to find
their own way

Bypassing ourselves.

In Tibetan Tantric Buddhism
the Anahata, or heart centre,
requires copious hours of
purifying sounds of mantras,
visualizations of yantras,
untangling the knots
then energy flows

Kundalini rises,
surging electric current
and multi-petalled
rainbows of love
flower in


We opened passageways, subtle vessels.
Until we hit the dead zone. Scar tissue,
and how many times were our hearts broken?
Where the nerves had gone dead;
where there was almost no feeling.
We liked it that way.
The soft, beating core hidden,
where blood thunders
in its cave of life,
red tides

I lay the whole day alone,
unable to move, or think,
as if I held the weight
of both of our

When we came to each other,
nerves beating in our hearts
where they hadn't for years.

Beating Breath - rough draft

It's not language that I think about, but my heart.
The language of the heart.

Images that express the inner maelstrom which enable me to understand while rushing into the future.

Or expressing you, your distant pounding.
How can my heart be your heart?

Is it a metaphoric centre of feeling? Where it tightens or beats too strongly or dissolves into pain? How did we create a vocabulary of love based on physiological reactions? Or is there a consciousness located in the beating organ? Expansiveness, the warmth and beauty of love. A knowingness of the heart? Where we breath.

A person's "real being is his heart, and in pain the heart becomes living and without pain man seems to be living on the surface." The Sufi master, Hazrat Inayat Khan (A Bowl of Saki, Aug 15th, 2007). If we live and work with our body and mind without our heart, he says, we haven't lived. Pain brings the heart alive. When purified of bitterness, the light of existence shines through. Then we become a "source of all goodness," and acts of kindness are easy.

It beats. It is knotted. Untangle the knots of the heart.

In Tantric Buddhism much consideration is devoted to the careful untangling of the Anahata Chakra, the heart centre, with purifying sounds of mantra and visualizations of yantra. The Heart Sutra.

"A giving which gives only its gift, but in the giving holds itself back and withdraws, such a giving we call sending."

"Why are there beings at all, instead of Nothing?" Martin Heidegger

Give me platitudes, admonish me.

How do I write about fragility? What is it to be fragile? Shouldn't I allow the images to emerge and let feeling sort itself out from there? Can the expression come before the content? Do we learn about ourselves from what we do and say retrospectively?

Is life a backwards motion forwards?

I am always only catching up with myself. A lapse between beats.

An underlying combination of emotions, passions, thoughts, memories, talents, from which emerge words, images that express the inner maelstrom. Where the heart forever untangles itself.

If we can plummet the visceral reaction we can discover our feelings?

Appetites, emotions and feelings, from the simple to the complex. A spectrum where feeling is a complex nexus of interconnections, and we are irretrievably connected.

For me to have empathy, compassion, I need the full range from lived experience to understanding, don't I?

Does a newborn understand perfectly?

Clear mirror.

I tip language like a fallen cup

Jun 2024
Apr 2024
Aug 2023
Oct 2022
May 2022
Oct 2021
Sep 2021
Jul 2021
May 2021
Jan 2021
Oct 2020
Aug 2020
Jul 2020
Jun 2020
May 2020
Dec 2019
Sep 2019
Aug 2019
Jul 2019
May 2019
Apr 2019
Feb 2019
Jan 2019
Nov 2018
Sep 2018
Aug 2018
Jul 2018
May 2018
Apr 2018
Mar 2018
Feb 2018
Jan 2018
Dec 2017
Nov 2017
Oct 2017
Sep 2017
Aug 2017
Jul 2017
Jun 2017
May 2017
Apr 2017
Mar 2017
Feb 2017
Jan 2017
Dec 2016
Nov 2016
Oct 2016
Sep 2016
Aug 2016
Jul 2016
Jun 2016
May 2016
Apr 2016
Mar 2016
Feb 2016
Jan 2016
Dec 2015
Nov 2015
Oct 2015
Sep 2015
Aug 2015
Jul 2015
Jun 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Feb 2015
Jan 2015
Dec 2014
Nov 2014
Oct 2014
Sep 2014
Aug 2014
Jul 2014
Jun 2014
May 2014
Apr 2014
Mar 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
Dec 2013
Nov 2013
Oct 2013
Sep 2013
Aug 2013
Jul 2013
Jun 2013
May 2013
Apr 2013
Mar 2013
Feb 2013
Jan 2013
Dec 2012
Nov 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Aug 2012
Jul 2012
Jun 2012
May 2012
Apr 2012
Mar 2012
Feb 2012
Jan 2012
Dec 2011
Nov 2011
Oct 2011
Sep 2011
Aug 2011
Jul 2011
Jun 2011
May 2011
Apr 2011
Mar 2011
Feb 2011
Jan 2011
Dec 2010
Nov 2010
Oct 2010
Sep 2010
Aug 2010
Jul 2010
Jun 2010
May 2010
Apr 2010
Mar 2010
Feb 2010
Jan 2010
Dec 2009
Nov 2009
Oct 2009
Sep 2009
Aug 2009
Jul 2009
Jun 2009
May 2009
Apr 2009
Mar 2009
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Dec 2008
Nov 2008
Oct 2008
Sep 2008
Aug 2008
Jul 2008
Jun 2008
May 2008
Apr 2008
Mar 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
Oct 2007
Sep 2007
Aug 2007
Jul 2007
Jun 2007
May 2007
Apr 2007
Mar 2007
Feb 2007
Jan 2007
Dec 2006
Nov 2006
Oct 2006
Sep 2006
Aug 2006
Jul 2006
Jun 2006
May 2006
Apr 2006
Mar 2006
Feb 2006
Jan 2006
Dec 2005
Nov 2005
Oct 2005
Sep 2005
Aug 2005
Jul 2005
Jun 2005
May 2005
Apr 2005
Mar 2005
Feb 2005
Jan 2005
Sep 2004
Jun 2004
May 2004
Oct 2003
RSS Feed