Category: Personal Updates

I was especially drawn to the “Bear River in Danger” article by Clyde Prout in News from Native California because it addresses the meaning of “home.” The writer points out, “We had a house…, but it wasn’t until I was older that I began to understand what [was] truly meant by ‘home.'”

Reading this, I realized how my background—having been categorized by the government as a “Displaced Person” in the 1950s—caused my search for “home” to unfold in painfully disorienting ways. Which is why it has been a blessing, for the last 20 years, to have had easy access to nature and wildlife, which promotes a sense of healing continuity for me.

The deer trail within sight of our home, for example, well used from before my life time, creates delightful and instructive interactions. And so nature freely provides a larger perspective for our journey on this planet. During difficult times, especially, finding ways to move from disconnection to connection seems ever more important.

 

Gudrun Mouw

(c) April/May, 2018

Personal Updates

The day I finished reading, The Sun and Her Flowers, I saw an interview with the 20-something poet and also learned about the international admiration for this book, which has been quickly translated into numerous languages. Apparently, Rupi Kaur’s fame began with a controversial Instagram image.

I like how the author has made the idea of poetry popular, which by itself is an immense achievement.  Born in India, the poet was raised in the west with a multicultural family awareness, which I know something about from my own experience. Overall, the poetry style seems quite innovative.

I was struck by how the poems in The Sun and Her Flowers dramatically expand the possibilities of the genre. Sometimes, the poems are simply short statements; other times, there are italicized summaries at the end (which serve as captions; there are no titles). Often the language seems designed to jolt and surprise. At other times, the poems are quite prosaic. 

In the interview, the poet responded to critics, who have called her too simplistic, by saying she was fine with that, but in the end she wanted the reader’s stomach to turn.  

Though this book is interesting, in the future I would like to see the kind of poetic mastery that could, perhaps, slow down the reader in order to deepen one’s experience, move one towards a rich, intuitive silence and keep the poems from falling flat emotionally.

 

Personal Updates The Process of Writing

There doesn’t seem to be one definitive answer of how to move through difficult times, such as the misfortunes of 2017. Perhaps, the best approach is to handle one one situation at a time, one step at a time.

For example, we were hit hard by flu this year. Once the worst was over, as part of my recovery work, I began walking again, seeking sun. There was an oblong of light between the forest and garden which beckoned; I followed. One way, I walked through December wind. The other way facing sun, words floated into view, but I did not catch, or try to hold them. This went on for almost an hour, and the sun overhead gave just enough heat to warm through three layers.

And so a moment of peace was gained. Time to slow down. Even a cup of tea is more enjoyable inside the safety of a mind at rest and open to potential.

Gudrun Mouw (c) aka Krishnaprema Jyothi

Personal Updates

I sometimes forget that transformation is a creative process which often moves in surprising directions. How we interpret life’s circumstances can either overwhelm or enhance the flow of creativity.

To honor the truth and to transform suffering into life affirming behavior, is a natural, creative path. Nevertheless, the process of moving from suffering to transformation can seem mysterious, even impossible at times.

Today, winter light pulled me outside, reluctantly at first. Following the outline of long forest shadows to the garden fence, I found myself inside an oblong of December sunlight, more precious because its warmth is subtle. Repeated circumambulation became a walking meditation, beyond the pain of suffering faces, the pain of loss. Light became a vehicle for transformation.

That night I dreamed I was learning how to play the violin, meaning I thought, a creative need was calling out to me. I got up to meditate. Afterwards, I turned on the Tranquility Music Channel and practiced Hatha Yoga asanas, beginning with a traditional sequence but soon continuing with positions that occurred intuitively and spontaneously.

Insight at last; I thanked powers beyond my comprehension for assistance I had not even known to ask for on this anniversary of my mother’s death seventeen years ago.

 

December 7, 2017

Gudrun Mouw aka Krishnaprema Jyothi (c)

Journal Entry Personal Updates

I was intrigued by the article, The Historic Road That Never Was in the fall News from Native California magazine. It initially piqued my interest, because of where I live. There is a monument along a mission dirt trail nearby claiming to be a portion of the old mission days, “Historic Road of the El Camino Real.”

Mission time accounts say there was no marked “Camino Real” road (Spanish for ‘royal road’) on any early, historical map that connected the currently popularized, commercialized and much visited 21 California missions. There was only a trail that connected a few points.

There were numerous cultural, deflecting, romanticizing and, thereby, capitalizing reasons for the El Camino Real myth to arise, according to several of the early writers. This article was an eye opener for me, and I was very moved by a comment made by Marcus Lopez, “Let’s celebrate Indigenous peoples by telling the truth….”

 

October 31, 1017
Gudrun Mouw (c)

Personal Updates

The 2017 documentary called The Island President, is a portrayal of President Mohamed Nasheed as he works to save the people of Maldives from a rising sea. He is a democratically elected President who had been a political prisoner 12 times, suffered solitary confinement and torture by the dictator who had been in power for 30 years.

The Maldives islands are visibly disappearing. At the climate change summit of Copenhagen in 2009, President Nasheed pointed out that carbon emissions should be a concern to everyone, since Manhattan is at the same sea level as the Maldives.

He tells those major powers who are reluctant to come to any climate change agreement, bluntly, “You are not really listening, not paying attention to the right thing.” His persistence is key.

He continues to address climate deniers, “Yes, there are also people who don’t believe the world is round. Sea levels are rising whether you choose to admit it or not….We had to get democracy, because I didn’t want my children to be in solitary confinement. Now, I don’t want us to be climate change refugees.” As a result of the climate change summit in Copenhagen, we achieved the world’s first climate change agreement.

Around here, the west coast climate also seems to be shifting, dramatically, from years of drought to relentless rain, flooding, mud slides, tornadoes and other surprises. I notice a spell in the downpour and calm myself with a walk through the forest. My hope is that enough people do not get stuck in panic and paralysis but stay activated in whatever way they can for the greater good.

 

Gudrun

Personal Updates