Wednesday, September 19, 2012


For years, and still today, a new year begins in September and after Labor Day, as it did in my school years (before the current August start dates for school).  At least, that’s how the wheel of the year feels to me.  And I’m probably not alone in this feeling. 

Each season has its own remembered spirit and rituals, both cultural and personal, so let me share an excerpt (from the Fall section) taken (with the author’s permission) from a book which explores the essence, lessons and opportunities in each season and includes writing exercises.

From Light Year: A Seasonal Primer for Spiritual Focus by Gail Collins-Ranadive
(who holds a MFA in Poetry as well as a MA and M.Div. and is the author of several other books):

Check Light Year: A Seasonal Primer out at

Fall arrives, and the cool clear days speak to us of perfection with a beauty that is almost painfully poignant.

Perhaps this is because, with the diminishing of the light after the equinox, we know this time is finite.  And so, it commands our attention.

If we choose to pay attention, rather than getting caught up in the beginning busyness of the new school year, we can let this season speak to our spirits.  For there are important tasks that autumn invites us into.

In fact, the sense of urgency that comes over us as we seem to come most alive even as the earth is dying reflects the PARADOX of the season, and teaches us to live in the moment: not in the summer just past; nor into the winter to come, but in the here and now of the now here.  In this urge to be fully present, sit still and ‘know’ is an invitation to become in’form’ed by an inner creative spirit, by that which is deepest within.

One way to sit still and know is to create a special place in your home, in your life, for contemplation, for the quiet observation and reflection as the creative idea evolves.

Contemplation has been defined as ‘taking a long loving look at what’s real’ and, as with creativity, it means paying conscious attention.  But it is also a matter of opening, of expectant waiting to receive.

Considering that many of us receive messages from nature, one way to create a special space is to set out a symbol from each of nature’s elements: earth, water, fire, air…e.g. a flower or stone, some shells, a candle, a few feathers.

You may want to include a particularly meaningful image from nature that can be your companion on this journey.  It can become your symbol of transcendence, an image that points to the need for liberation from any state of being too immature, too fixed or final (in your life or in your creative writing) and it can open you to the process of change.  For autumn’s ultimate message is one of change: we can’t hold onto the perfection of its days.

Near the Fall Equinox, create a special space for the inner work of your own creative process.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


September 11th produced strong emotions in all of us: shock, outrage, anguish, gloom and deep sorrow.  Many poets and writers wrote about their reactions to the events of that morning.  My poem, written shortly after 9/11, touches on the initial grief of those who lost loved ones in the four attacks.


Scientists say we are dust,
fine debris from the distant stars
and we are free-falling in a world
composed of soot and sediment
from the dim past, far-flung
hand-me-downs of prehistory,

not the near distance of memory:
that meal last Monday with someone
you loved and thought would remain
beside you well past middle age,
or the solid sound of the front door closing
at the start of Tuesday’s morning commute.

What does the far and unreachable past
remember?  What grace do giant stars know
before their cores collapse and burst?
Do they call out “I love you”
one last time?  Or are there no words?
The past seems so silent now.

You recognize that the clock of your heart
did not stop midmorning Tuesday
but a thick dust, coarser than any pain,
now covers your once-certain landscape.
What happened elsewhere in the universe
is so far removed that it is of no consolation.
— Lenny Lianne © 2001     

Let us acknowledge the heartbreak of those whose loved ones never returned home that day.