Thursday, December 31, 2009

A New Perspective



Sometimes we get so wrapped up
in our perpetual way of seeing things,
we lose the ability to see potential, to open to surprise,
to find a new way of interpreting what is.

We become so comfortable with the stories
we tell ourselves about our lives
and the way things work
and why things happen
and who's to blame
that we forget they're just stories.

If the old ones don't fit,
we can create new stories.



"A View from Above" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian



What things in your life do you need to see
through new eyes?

Now's the time.
Happy New Year.





Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Through the Cracks



Soul enters life from below, through the cracks,
finding an opening into life
at the points where smooth functioning breaks down.
- Thomas Moore







Sometimes, it seems,
the cracks develop (or we invite them) 
because it's the only way
we can break free of the "smooth functioning"
that is stifling us, causing us to ask
Is this all there is?

In traveling the lonely and rocky path, we find
the quiet place where we can listen to our soul. 
When we are challenged, we have an opportunity
 to grow strong at the broken places.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Creation Myth


A Whisper created the Universe.

She blew a stream of air across her voice box,
through the gates of her lips
and words were loosed into the void.

The sound increased in magnitude
until it formed shouts of joy
and songs of praise.

The whoops of joy became waves of energy
that coalesced into matter. Bits of matter
became stars and plants and continents




and mountains and green, green valleys 
and oceans and frothy rivers




and sea monsters and dancing fish
and silly looking birds with long beaks and all kinds of animals.

 

The songs of praise separated
into individual notes that became humans.




The joyful noise sounded like the tinkle of wind chimes,
the crash of cymbals, the curling of waves,




the cry of a newborn, the flutter of wings,



a chortle of laughter, murmur of love,
the chanting of prayer.

The Whisper made the Universe
so she could send words out
where she could hear them, for she was tired
of keeping silent, of withholding her truth.

And on the first day, the Whisper smiled
and said in a booming voice, "It is good!"
And then she laughed.



Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wishing You . . . .


I'm wishing you a world
where each and every one of us
sees everyone and everything



through the eyes of love,
through the eyes of compassion,
through the eyes of peace.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dancing for Joy


It's the time of year for celebration,
for family and friends,
for connection at a heart level.



"Dancing in the Dark" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

What special things in your life
make you dance with joy?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rebuilding


All too often, at least for those of us who prefer the status quo,
parts of our carefully constructed lives self-destruct in the most disconcerting ways.
 Those we love die or move far away.
Relationships end with or without our blessing.
Winds blow.
Volcanoes blow.
And we're adrift in a sea of change.

The certainty we took for granted
proves to be an illusion.
Sometimes we feel like there's a pile of rubble
where our dreams once lived.




When circumstances stripped your life down to bare essentials
-- and it's probably happened to all of us at least once --
how did you clear the debris
and start rebuilding?

Your wisdom, shared,
might be a lifeline for someone else,
someone who is wondering,
right at this very moment,
how to go on.

Let's leave a map
others can follow
when they think they're lost.



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Looking for the Face in the Mirror


I have a friend who once told me about a dream she'd had.
In the dream, she looked into a mirror



and much to her dismay,
there was no "her" reflected.

She was gone.
Vanished.
Invisible.


She was absent from her own life.
At least, that's what her dream told her.

One of the risks of being female in contemporary society
is losing our authentic selves.

When we let the expectations of others dictate how we live our lives,
we become invisible.

When we don't take credit for our unique gifts,
when we don't use them and nourish them and celebrate them,
we discredit ourselves.

When we are so concerned about what makes others happy
that we can no longer remember how to create our own happiness,
we are lost.

There are so many ways in which
to vanish from our own lives.

Are you absent from your own life?
Why did you decide to pull a disappearing act?

What efforts are you making to become
PRESENT
and take up your allotted space in the world?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Anonymous Quote & Self Portrait


Got an email from a friend yesterday
in which she passed on a quote that had been making the rounds.



It appealed to me and I thought it might to you.

So, with regrets that I don't know who said it
and can't give proper credit, here goes:

I want to be the type of woman
that when my feet first hit the floor in the morning,
the devil says,
"Oh shit -- she's up."


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Be The Change You Want to See in the World


If you haven't already read it,
I highly recommend


by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

It's a factual and informative book
detailing the many forms of oppression
that women and girls experience in developing countries.


It also introduces us to home-grown organizations
around the world that are making an impact

in redressing the wrongs on a local scale.


You can find projects to support
that address issues such as:

midwifery and maternal health


empowerment of women through job training and microloans


eliminating sex-trafficking of young girls for prostitution


helping educate girls, which reduces rates of early pregnancy,
provides a way out of poverty, and breeds a new generation
of women to educate and inspire their communities


and provide menstrual supplies to girls so they don't have
to miss school on a cyclical basis.


I've given Christmas gifts in honor of my parents
who have always been committed to activism
to achieve social justice.

I've put my money into job training for Afghan women,
helping to build a shelter for former prostitutes in India,
and into purchasing midwifery tools for a new midwife
just completing her training in Africa.

The book (and their charitable organization)
will lead you to organizations that allow you
to choose someone to sponsor for microloans,
to pick someone to provide monthly support to.


As Martha Stewart would say,
It's a Good Thing.

Read it and be the change
you want to see in the world.

p.s. Don't forget Rebecca's shrine auction project
to benefit education of Oaxaca's street kids.



You can click on the link on my sidebar
to find THE SHRINE PROJECT 
if the one above doesn't work.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Alternate Self: The Guardian


One of my selves is a beautiful door, ripened with age
and wearing a coat the hue of the Aegean on a cloudless day. 

My eyes are glass or wood
and rimmed with eyelashes of dainty filigree.


I safeguard spirits embodied within
and mark their comings and goings.



"Guardian" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

Strangers may gaze in my eyes but they will not seduce me.


I cannot be tricked, for the wisdom of the ages
is encoded in my core.


I stand vigilant, waiting, watching, protecting.
Intruders will rue my strength if they try to harm those I love. 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Reflections on Ugliness


It's odd.
I think this building is totally ugly, the worst kind
of modern architecture:
graceless, ordinary, a grid of supports and glass.
I'd never set out to take a photograph of the building itself.


"Reflections on Ugliness" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

Yet when it's flipped on its head
and mirrored in a pool of still water
it becomes something else altogether.

Ripple magic.
A watery baptism that washes away all sins.

Everything
turns out to be
a matter of perspective.


Friday, December 11, 2009

The Beauty of Imperfection



There is breathtaking beauty
in the imperfect
if we take the time to notice.

Weathered bricks, faded paint.
Laugh lines around the eyes.
Strong hands that show a lifetime of labor
through skin no longer taut.


"Faded Glory" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian



The kind of beauty that is so much easier to see
in the world of things,
in the visages of others,

than it is to recognize in ourselves.

How are you
imperfectly
perfect?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Becoming Poem


Becoming a Hummingbird





I am becoming a hummingbird,
my iridescence coloring the words 
that rise in my throat a glistening red.
My wings support me as I dip and soar,
spiral and hover. I travel at the speed of dreams,
searching out the nectar of the gods to sip for succor.
My breath shapes my thoughts, a gentle inhalation 
shooting straight to my core and rustling the ribbons of my soul,
exhalation giving me power to exchange depleted elements
for new ones, brimming with life. 
The purr of my wings stirs the air,
bringing a catlike contentment to those around me.
The chatter of my heart sends waves of sound vibrating 
into a parallel universe, fresh pulses of delight 
erasing the darkness and birthing blessings
for all who feel the stirring of my wings.



p.s.  This is one of the creative writing pieces done on the Egypt tour.
As we speak, Normandi Ellis and Gloria Taylor Brown 
are compiling and editing an anthology of works
written by tour participants.
It is tentatively titled "The Book of Coming Into the Light."
  Three publishers have expressed interest.
I'll let you know more details as they become available.




Sunday, December 6, 2009

Seeing the World


Each of us has a distinctive way of seeing the world
and representing it through imagery.


Jan Phillips, God is at Eye Level


"Everywhere I Look" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian


Everywhere I look, I find little miracles,
grist for the creative mill. 

Things unfold perfectly,
just as they were intended,
even in the least fertile ground.


How do you see your world?
How do you represent this to others?


Tell us about it.






Thursday, December 3, 2009

Early Morning Reverie



I was up early this morning. It's something I do now.
I've learned to love the quiet of the morning,
when the dog and cats are fed and watered
and are content to leave me to my thoughts.

This morning, I sat in my little computer nook
on the second floor, reading emails
and catching up on blog posts
while watching the sky outside my window
turn red-violet, then amethyst.

It finally settled into a faint pink near the ground
that graduated through the lavender range over to blue,
growing faintly more intense as I looked up-up-up,
but still a soft, soft powdery blue of a still morning,
just after sunrise.

I should have grabbed the camera early on,
gone outside in the 30-something temperature
and taken a photo to show you
the glory of Mother Nature's paintbox.

But I didn't -- I knew that by the time
I pulled jeans on under my nightgown
so I wouldn't scandalize
my very-Republican neighbors
if they happened to glance up to my deck,

by the time I tucked my toes into some shoes
and slipped out the back door,

the early morning splendor would have faded like a memory
to a from vivid hues to a faint blue
tending toward the gray end of its range,
and a yellow to the east so faint
it might as well be white.




I waited a few extra minutes
and everything changed,
everything muted to the colors you see here.
I guess there's a little pink left.
And you can see the carpet of frost
spread out across the expanse of grass.

I waited because I didn't want to miss
  the eagle who flies between my house
and my neighbor's each morning
about this time, on his way to the pond.
He always makes a point of dipping his beak
and showing me his snow white head.
He's close enough that I can see
the yellow rings in his eyes.
I wonder what he thinks,
as he watches me watching him.



That's the magic of my morning.

I wish you magic, too.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Still Stuck Outside Time


I haven't reoriented myself in time
even though I've been home for a month now.

Egypt did something to my normal sense of place, of time.
It's hard to explain, really.
All I can tell you is this:
something's different.


© 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian. All rights reserved.

I lose myself in the moment.
I am spending hours writing each day but it seems like minutes.

I created a new series of 21 pieces based on chrysanthemum imagery
in a couple of days, but it seemed like a couple of hours.

Some call this state of mind "flow."
I don't know what to call it.
I just know I haven't been the same since the trip.

Talk about trippin.'

Oh boy.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chrysanthemum Imagery


Today my time went to the act of creation.
When that happens, everything else flies out the window.

Here's one of the new pieces in a series based
upon chrysanthemum imagery.


© 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian. All rights reserved.

My friend June tells me that in Asia, the chrysanthemum
is highly revered.  It symbolizes tranquility,
purity, abundance, joy, longevity, and life.

She says that John Steinbeck wrote a sad,
but sexually charged story about a woman
in The Chrysanthemum and that Cathy Song,
one of her favorite poets, penned a sensual poem
about the chrysanthemum in her work Ikebana.

She reminded me that Georgia O'Keeffe
painted chrysanthemums that were said
to have sexual overtones. She sees them
in one of the pieces I worked on today,
but she also sees bodhisattva figures
(enlightened female deities)
or shrouded figures in the same piece.

I sent her two files.
She thought the other one looked like a spider.

I hope it wasn't a black widow devouring her mate.

Things are hard enough in the dating arena.






Monday, November 23, 2009

Playtime



The chrysanthemum photos were just too tempting.

"Wallflower" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian.


I had to play today. 

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Suffer for Beauty


A community museum somewhere in the outskirts of the local area
recently mounted an exhibition called "Suffer for Beauty."

I didn't go see it
because it just didn't fit into my schedule, 
but it got me thinking about the ways
that I have suffered 
in the quest forbeauty
on the outside,
the place that seems to be of utmost importance
in the American scheme of values.
Maybe where you live, too.


There are the obvious things, of course,
like cramming my feet into high heels
and teetering around town
with feet that are screaming 
and back that's trying to adjust its alignment
and ankles threatening to twist
just to stop the madness.

I've also had abdominoplasty,
a "tummy tuck",
to pull my muscles back into alignment
and cut out excessive skin and stretch
what's left back together
after repeated C-sections left my abdominal muscles a little lax.
Hurt like hell (more than the C-sections)
and the compression garments I had to wear
for about three weeks afterwards weren't exactly glam,
but I have to admit, 
the post-recovery results made me feel less self-conscious
about the little pouchy place
that no amount of dieting or "core work" had eradicated.

I haven't had botox injections,
but I have had a cool laser treatment that's supposed to
stimulate collagen production
and let me tell you,
it's not as "cool" as advertised
(though I thought my skin looked great afterward).


Who among us hasn't poked the mascara wand
into her eye by accident?
Or am I just incredibly clumsy?




I never laced myself into a bustier or corset so tight
 I had a 19 inch waist like Scarlett O'Hara,
but I have laid on the bed to zip my denim jeans
after they shrink in the dryer
and I wouldn't necessarily count that as suffering
but I have accidentally zipped my skin
in the process
and that definitely counts.

I've bought and used the little machine
from Suzanne Somers that she swears by
to keep her face firm.
The electrical current's not too strong,
so I'm not sure it counts as suffering
except that I let one of my friends try it
and she doesn't have my pain tolerance
and there were a lot of "ow"s 
before she managed to shut it off.


I haven't had my face lifted or my eyes done,
but if I can afford it and my vision is compromised
by the sagging or I'm totally disgusted
by living with jowls, I wouldn't rule it out. 

 Right now I am pretty satisfied with how I look.
 
No, that's a lie.
 
Unless I'm a size six or smaller
and so thin my boobs barely fill out a B cup,
so thin that everything I try on looks fabulous,
I'll always be dissatified with my weight.
And it's been a long time
since I was a 6. 

But I've got great skin
and my eyes glisten with intelligence
and excitement for life,
so I guess that's more important in the long run
than the size of my panties.

 




What things have you done
or are willing to do
that amount to
suffering for beauty?


 

Friday, November 20, 2009

An Invitation


I know that most of you are too far away
but still. . . .


I wanted to invite you to my upcoming show
of dreamscape images from my "About Time" series.


"About Time" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian


It's going to be mounted at
Dragonfly Holistic Healing
in Seattle's Fremont District
760 N. 34th Street


"In the Nick of Time" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

in time for the Fremont Art Walk
Friday, December 4 (from 5 pm until 8ish)
and will be exhibited through December 29.

There are seven related images in the series.
This is a sneak peek at two of them.


Enjoy!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Windows



Sometimes I'm lucky enough
to take a photograph that excites me,
an image that's a visual metaphor.

It might say

"oneness"

"grace"

or

"sadness."


"Seeing All the Way Through to the Heart of Things" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

Here, the magic for me is in
the wavy panes of glass showing their age,
being just as they are.

The meaning I ascribe shines through
the transparency and openness,
the way you can see all the way through
to the light on the other side of things.

The light
so pervasive and yet delicate,
coming in quiet in the morning
and illuminating everything inside .

The art leaning up against the window walls,
 hidden treasures just waiting to be revealed.

The whole tableau speaks to me
of light
and open hearts
and the gift of creativity.

What moved you today?

Tell me.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Letting the Light Shine



One of the challenges that most women face

is learning how to gracefully wield their power
and let their light shine.


Some of us were lucky enough to find great role models
and learn from their examples.

Others of us acquired power but never learned to use it wisely.

The rest of us still struggle with expressing personal power.

What lessons have you learned
that might shine a light for other women?

Share with us, please.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Writing Circle


One of my favorite things about the Egypt trip
was the writing (and reading) circle.
Here's a piece that explains the magic.


Left to right - Margaret Kachadurian, Laura Janesdaughter, Nettie Eldredge, Piliaka Peter, Denise, Pat Chesser, and just the merest hint of Joyce Brady's peach-colored sleeve. Not visible: Nicki Scully, Mark Hallert, Gloria Taylor-Brown, Normandi Ellis, Barbara Lindsey, Kathryn "Raven" Ravenwood, Vera Kaplan, Cathleen Shattuck, Jane Wodening, Alma Donato, Donna Swindells, and of course me (the photographer).

The group sat in rapt concentration, bringing to a close the scribing of words that described alternative selves, alternative realities. Eighteen women and a lone man sat on chairs, sofas, the floor, with journals in laps and laptops on tables or perched upon their knees. The air conditioner exhaled a steady stream of air above our heads but we barely noticed the cool breeze caressing our shoulders, the sacred energy was so vibrant and compelling. The writing done, each participant floated back from imagination and inspiration to the present. These embodied goddesses and the lone god sat expectantly, attentively while in turn each pilgrim's voice emitted words so pure and true that they pierced the hearts of those who received them. I am the priestess, the protector of the vortex. I am ritual, the sacred nectar. I am the meaning of life. Sometimes my sisters and I sing with passing whales. I am the intoxicating drink brewed during the dark moon. I want to capture that creative juice in an iridescent crystal bottle so I can tip it upside down against my fingertip and dab the essence of spirit and sacred union on my wrists. I want to inhale its fragrance forever.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Raindrops. . .



The word for the day is

raindrops.

Raindrops on roses,
raindrops hanging for dear life on the leaves and twigs
of my coral bark maple.

Raindrops dripping down your face like tears.
Raindrops pattering a soothing sound on your roof.

Raindrops filling the creek behind my house
so the ducks can body-surf from the bridge to the pond.


Raindrops.
Have any fallen lately into your life?

Are they helping things grow
or making you think you might drown?

If there's too much rain falling around you,
stop complaining. Complaining doesn't stop the rain.
It makes you focus on what you don't want.
Just let your friends
shelter you with their umbrellas of love.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mum's the Word


My cold and I went out for an adventure today.
I couldn't seem to leave her at home, though I've tried.
I don't know why I think it's a her, but I do.
It might be because she keeps urging me to eat chocolate.
Whether she's a she or a he, it'll do her good to get a breath of fresh air.

We went to the conservatory in Wright Park in Tacoma

"Hanging On" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

and were overcome
by the beauty of the floral displays.

" Unfurling" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

She started whispering to me,
making lots of suggestions.

"Pink Princess" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

You know, said Ms. Cold,
people might like these photos.
You ought to get off your butt and get prints made.

She's pushy, this cold.

"Yellow in the Thick of Things" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian


So I said to her,
once you decide to go live in someone else's head,
I just might do that.
Are you planning to leave anytime soon?

"Cinderella Moment" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

She just smiled.
Mum's the word, she said enigmatically.

Indeed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

While We're on the Subject of New York. . .


I know the Empire State Building is taller.
I know the observation deck of the Empire State Building
was romanticized in An Affair to Remember
and Sleepless in Seattle,
but in my book
it doesn't hold a candle to the Chrysler Building.


It was designed by architect William Van Alen for a project
financed by Walter Chrysler, chairman of the Chrysler Corporation.
Ground was broken in 1928, not long before the crash of Wall Street.

At the time, there was intense competition to build
the world's tallest skyscraper
and with a few tricks up their sleeves,
Van Alen and Chrysler managed to do just that
but only for a brief interlude.


It was the first habitable structure standing taller than 1000 feet.
But less than a year after it was opened in 1931,
its height was surpassed by the Empire State Building.
The Chrysler Building still can boast about being
the tallest steel-supported brick building in the world.

The building is a National Historic Landmark
and is considered a masterpiece of Art Deco architecture.
The Chrysler Building is renowned for its graceful crown
consisting of seven radiating terraced arches
clad in stainless steel riveted in a radiating sunburst pattern
with many triangular vaulted windows.


Close inspection shows another decorative feature of the building
that I didn't know before my tour of New York on a Gray Line
double-decker tour bus.

The ornamentation on the building is based on details
that were used in Chrysler automobiles of the time
like hood ornaments and radiator caps.
Nice detail, I think.

What's your favorite landmark building?




Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flying Rats

I know they're considered pests.
I know my darling ex called them "Flying Rats."
Or was that seagulls? No matter.


I know pigeons leave messes on statues
and park benches


and sometimes even on people.


But don't you think these guys
are pretty?


They've got colorful eyes


and a vast range of feather designs.

They're very entertaining and useful too.
They make soft little noises
and keep Times Square free of crumbs.

That's kind of a miracle, when you think of it.

And lest you get all hrr-umphity on me,
consider this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

The invariable mark of wisdom
is to see the miraculous in the ordinary.

There.
Don't you feel better about pigeons?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Vignettes

I love to find fancy little shops
that sell lovingly-chosen antiques
or decorative items
and arrange them artfully.

"It's Gone to Her Head" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

I especially love it when the items
are unique, unexpected

"Blue Glass" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

or when there's an arrangement of items
in my favorite colors or shapes.

"Those Were the Days" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

And it never hurts to find a display with cake stands,
particularly one with pierced edges,
because I love the way they look,
even if I rarely bake a layer cake these days.

"Drunk on Possibility" © 2009 Meri Arnett-Kremian

Stumbling onto a place like that
turns a lackluster day into a creative festival,
makes me positively giddy
and just a little drunk on possibility.

What treasures have you found
in your wanderings?


****************

p.s. Take a moment today to remember the service to our country
that military veterans have rendered and their personal sacrifices,
both large and small.

And Happy 120th Birthday to Washington
which became a state on November 11, 1889.