Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday Verse: "The Song of Wandering Aegnus" - W.B. Yeats


I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout. 
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air. 
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
                                                         - W.B. Yeats 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Music for your Midweek: Kacey Musgraves - "Biscuits"


Let's lighten things up, shall we? I should have gone to Kacey Musgraves concert when she came to Salt Lake last summer, but maybe I can make up for it this year?

A fave:

Bonus! Another fave from her Tiny Desk concert:

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday Verse: "To a Fat Lady Seen from the Train" - Frances Cornford


O why do you walk through the fields in gloves,
         Missing so much and so much?
O fat white woman whom nobody loves,
         Why do you walk through the fields in gloves,
When the grass is soft as the breast of doves
         And shivering-sweet to the touch?
O why do you walk through the fields in gloves,
         Missing so much and so much?

                                                          - Frances Cornford

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Make America Create Again


I ain't wasting no more time"


I've been reading some books on creativity (that a church friend has generously let me borrow for far too long), and they have been striking a chord. Here's Steven Pressfield talking about fundamentalism in his book, The War of Art:

"The artist and the fundamentalist both confront the same issue, the mystery of their existence as individuals. Each asks the same questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the meaning of my life?
     ...The artist is grounded in freedom. He is not afraid of it. He is lucky. He was born in the right place. He has a core of self-confidence, of hope for the future. He believes in progress and evolution. His faith is that humankind is advancing, however haltingly and imperfectly toward a better world.
     The fundamentalist entertains no such notion. In his view, humanity has fallen from a higher state. The truth is not out there awaiting revelation; it has already been revealed. The word of God has been spoken and recorded by His prophet, be he Jesus, Muhammad, or Karl Marx.
     To combat the call of sin... the fundamentalist plunges either into action or into the study of sacred texts. He loses himself in these, much as the artist does in the process of creation. The difference is that while the one looks forward, hoping to create a better world, the other looks backward, seeking to return to a purer world from which he and all have fallen.
      ...The humanist believes that humankind, as individuals, is called upon to co-create the world with God. This is why he values human life so highly. In his view, things do progress, life does evolve; each individual has value, at least potentially, in advancing this cause. The fundamentalist cannot conceive of this. In his society, dissent is not just crime but apostate; it is heresy, transgression against God Himself." 
- Steven Pressfield, The Art of War, pg. 33-37
Cultivating creativity in my life has also strengthened me spiritually, despite that fact that we are often taught to believe it would have the opposite effect. In reality, it is fundamentalism that is a corruption of true faith, stripping it of it's hope and agency. As I've been watching the new Trump administration, I've seen how fundamentalist and fear-based thinking seems to be legitimized in every other executive order. What values are we endorsing? What views are we validating

I think Woody Guthrie got it right. We can use our god-given gifts of creativity to combat poisonous thinking. It's important, for reals. Especially in the face of thisDeanna Haggag, who was recently profiled in Vogue, has something to say about art in times of political strife:

"Why put any skills or efforts into protecting this thing when there are a million other fights? When millions of Americans could potentially die if certain things are repealed and cut? ...The reason the federal government wants to defund arts is that the arts have the power to make people think for themselves, and in every moment when there’s been a fascist society they try to remove the arts because they know that a painting can wage war. 
...We, the community of artists in the world, that’s our job: to bring nuance to light, to open up different ways of looking and seeing. And so part of the job of supporting artists is supporting that, too. The arts, the national parks, public broadcast: We’re just all part of a team; we have to be on the defense all the time so that things like housing and nutrition can be on the offense."

If you're a writer, write. If you're a dancer, dance. If you're afraid to call yourself a doer of the thing you want to do, take a crazy leap and start including it in your personal introductions. We all have an art to share, and there really isn't any time to waste.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

A micro Lesson from a girl who misses school

Clearing out all my old bookmarked videos, and look what I find! Thanks to TED talks for preventinf all of my brain cells from turning into mush:

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Something for Sunday: Run or Wrestle


I began writing this post back in August of 2015. At the time was jumping between temp jobs my professional self as much in the air and my personal, spiritual self. I remember typing and searching while staffing the front desk at and in-between feeling good and feeling bad and in-between trying to figure everything out at once. Things had reached such a conflicted state, I was considering removing my name from the records of the church. It was tiring struggling to balance the things I believed were true and important, with the things I was supposed to believe. Much of this centered around the LDS temple and ceremonies, though it encompassed everything from gender and racial equality, to my place as Young(ish) Single Adult. At the time, I was working the front desk of a fancy design firm close to downtown, trying to hide any signs of tears when customers walked through the door.

Like so many of my real life issues, I kept this post in the "drafts" folder, hoping that continued diligence would eventually lead me to a place of peace and certainty. That didn't happen.

Here's what I was thinking about then:

While struggling to find my place around here I studied the story of Jacob. Like most of the Old Testament, the story of Jacob leaves me feeling a bit unsettled. He is a "perfect man" with a shadily acquired birthright. I simply do not understand. But I feel for him, especially in his pleadings for deliverance and his wrestle with the angel. He fought, both literally and figuratively, so that he could obtain the blessings that were promised to him. The same is expected of us:  
"Men and women in every dispensation have had to wrestle at some point in their lives for desired blessings, greater truth, and light from God... President Brigham Young said that all of us are situated "upon the same ground," in that we must 'struggle, wrestle and strive until the Lord bursts the vail [sic] and suffers [allows] us to behold his glory, or a portion of it." And so it was with Jacob on that lonely night near the river Jabbok, when he began to wrestle with a divine visitor for a blessing — a blessing that would burst the veil and shower down on him greater light and glory from God" - "Jacob: Keeper of Covenants," March 1998
It's a subjection of will, from whom, to who... I don't know. 
But isn't there an end to any wrestle? Tired and sweaty and sore, there is a winner and a loser. Even in enduring, it is not forever, but till the "end". Eventually someone's body has to give out, and I'm afraid it's going to be mine. 
We're not alone in these struggles. We need to find each other. 
Over the past few weeks, I've kept trying to remind myself that even if I want to, I can't leave the church. I am the church, part of the body of Christ. We all are.


And back to the now.

I spoke with my bishop at the time about some of my concerns and he was sympathetic and kind. A couple weeks later, news of the church policy changes came to light and the world dropped out from under me. Went to the temple the following Saturday and knew it might be the last time. Trudged through a failed temple recommend interview, attempts at therapy, regular meetings with the bishop, and the Book of Mormon. I stopped trying to read when I started relating with the wrong people.

It was a rough year.

I'm not sure I've reached a much different place. Still in Salt Lake at 30 years old with career prospects as plentiful as my dating prospects. (Translation: grim). But I have a temple recommend after over a year without one. Even that feels more like a concession than a victory. I'm too chicken to actually go to the temple, but if fire and brimstone comes sooner rather than later, maybe that little card will save me from some 3rd degree burns? Who knows.

Being a member of the LDS faith requires a life time of wrestling, and right now, I'm just looking for any excuse to stay in the ring. Still here, but I sure could use a time out.