Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
I am delighted to share I have a third poetry collection being published on May 9th from Paraclete Press titled Love Holds You: Poems and Devotions for Times of Uncertainty.
As part of my preparation to release this book into the world, I worked with my favorite filmmakers at Morgan Creative here in Galway to create a series of poem videos. I want to invite you into a meditative space with these poems and see what they stir in you.
The first poem I am sharing is modelled after a poem written by Jenni Fagan titled “I want to be the kind of woman.” A wonderful practice for writing is to look for a title or line of another poem you love and let it be the starting point for your own reflections (just be sure to include the attribution!)
These last several months I have experienced lots of health challenges and several personal losses including two deaths of people I loved. As death does, when you are paying attention to its wisdom, she has helped me strip away a lot of unnecessary baggage that I am ready to leave behind and she has invited me to consider who I want to be in this next season of my life.
I am this kind of woman already, I know that, but sometimes we need reminders of our essence, of what we love and whom. Sometimes we need to clear a space inside to let these passions have room to dream and unfold.
I invite you to read the poem below slowly with the ears of your heart. Then click the link for the poem video above. See if the images add anything to your reflection. If they are a distraction, close your eyes and just listen to me reading it to you.
I want to be the kind of woman (after Jenni Fagan) I want to be the kind of woman who milks goats each morning and drinks straight from the bucket — who isn’t afraid to reach into the hive. I want to be the kind of woman who lies down in winter, in the brown mulch of leaves and sleeps until spring who loves the generous folds of her body. I want to be the kind of woman who has found her sealskin, who would cross oceans to make her dead father love her once again. I want to be the kind of woman who can name hyssop, nettle, lady’s mantle and knows all their healing uses. I want to be the kind of woman who goes out under the night sky to chant with owls and wolves, who falls more in love each day with her husband, her little dog, her life. I want to be the kind of woman who knows she is daughter of sunlight and mud who knows that her grandmothers are still singing her name.
Then allow some time to reflect on your own heart’s longings:
What is the kind of person you want to be?
What images shimmer with meaning for you?
How might you embrace this vision as the manifestation of your soul’s deepest desire?
After some time sitting with these questions, consider resting into a breath prayer:
Breathe in: I am the woman/man/person (choose one)
Breathe out: I long to be
See what it is like to acknowledge this about yourself. What you long for is already with you. How will you make more space to let it flourish?
You might close with an affirmation:
I hear the song of my ancestors each morning singing me into a new day.
You can pre-order your copy of Love Holds You: Poems and Devotions for Times of Uncertainty. Pre-orders really help authors a great deal if you are able. Much gratitude as always for your ongoing support.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Poem Video by Morgan Creative