“Snow Day” by Christina Knowles

winter-moon
via http://www.stevenaitchison.co.uk

“Snow Day”

An unexpected gift

Like waking up on Christmas morning

Brightly colored packages piled high by the tree

Sitting in the dim glow of the TV

The “Closed” message trails across the bottom of the screen

Outside, it’s still dark but with a mysterious glow

Surreal, as if lit from some unknown source

The white sky, a snow globe, shaken

Oversized and intricately detailed flakes

Drift gently to the ground

Forming a lumbering blanket of white

Mounds drift and roll and disappear

Into the fog, the thick, wet air

Not quite frozen, heavy with the promise

Of more to come

I turn on the lights of the Christmas tree

The undulating glow casts a soft pattern on the wall

The village lights reflect on the glittery surface of the snow

My own private scene suspended in time

I light the fire and sit, absorbing the moment

The gift

A day to do anything, my own suspension of time

Life does not go on without me

I’m not missing anything

When I emerge from my snowy haven

Life will be just as I left it

—Christina Knowles (2015)

“Trust” by Christina Knowles

black-and-white-forest-desktopIf you were to lie to me, I’d be forever lost

Wandering through the darkness of the trees

Among the cold and lonely frost

Clinging to the confidence no matter what the cost

There’s a scent of hope in the breeze

But if you were to lie to me, I’d be forever lost

In the icy wind tossed

Deserted, no one to hear my pleas

Among the cold and lonely frost

Ignoring the voice inside, fear glossed

Believing by degrees

But if you were to lie to me, I’d be forever lost

Between barricades I’d never attempt to cross

Trapped in a prison of dying leaves

Swirling among the cold and lonely frost

But seeing into you, trust embossed

My nervous heart is eased

But if you were to lie to me, I’d be forever lost

Among the cold and lingering frost

—Christina Knowles (2015)

Photo snagged from wallpaperswa.com

All the Heaven and Hell by Christina Knowles

Lightly falling snowflakesFlowers in Hair

The loving eyes of my old dog

The smile of a baby

Red and gold leaves scattered on the ground

Glistening wet petals in the morning sun

This is all the heaven I will ever know

Holding the hand of my mother as she leaves me

Burning tears of loss, the indescribable pain in my chest

Holding my best friend as she takes her last breath

Angry words from a trusted mouth

Grave news from a doctor’s chart

This is all the hell I will ever know

The soft glow of a crackling fire

Holding hands with the best man I’ve ever known

The swell of love his gaze makes me feel

The time spent with my closest friends

Laughing until my stomach hurts

This is all the heaven I will ever know

The anxiety of deadlines

The crushing weight of responsibilities

Debts to pay and artificial worries

The helplessness of age

The loneliness of loss

This is all the hell I will ever know

Pain and depression

Joy and the sweetness of love

Anger and frustration

Comfort and peace

Gratitude for all of this life

This is all the heaven and hell I will ever know—Christina Knowles (2015)

Photo snagged from Pinterest

“Country” by Christina Knowles

stones on riverCascading watercolor gravel

Winds and descends

‘round shady bends

Decaying pastel stones

Trip precariously over hills

The breeze

kisses the scented pines

Whispering clouds

Tell secrets

As the wind awakens

Russet leaves

Swoop and swirl in a mock tornado

While the maddening

Ticking

Of the insect population

Fades to silence

A dazzling autumn

Day in the country

Peaceful

and

Chaotic

–Christina Knowles

Photo snagged from wallpaperstock.net

Failing at Meditation? No, You’re Not by Christina Knowles

Hippie girl in nature Recently I’ve returned to practicing meditation. I only stopped because I thought I was a failure at it. I thought I had to empty my mind and think of absolutely nothing, and I never could accomplish this. I thought I had to feel nothing but calm, and if I could not think of nothing, then I had to focus on just one image. Well, after succumbing to a stress-related heart attack, I decided I needed to give meditation another shot. This time I joined a meditation group that meets on weekends at one of our many beautiful and natural parks in Colorado Springs. The one where we met the first time I attended, was in a large mountainous park, full of rocky cliffs and pine trees, dirt trails, and wildflowers. We sat in an open pavilion in the shade and let the cool breeze flow over us. We wrote down our worries on pieces of scrap paper and ceremonially put them in the Universe Box to symbolically let the universe take on these problems for us. Then we went inside ourselves, eyes shut, quiet, breathing smoothly, and let our thoughts float in and out. I felt the breeze, I listened with gratitude at the birds chirping, and I went deeper into me. It was like my unconscious mind woke to put her arms around me. Occasionally I’d hear a dog bark or a siren in the distance, but it would gently float in one ear and out the other, not even disturbing the serenity I felt. It was like I was one with everything, a part of each thing happening around me, yet above being affected by it.

What happened next was somewhat unexpected. My mind gently drifted to images that I call my “happy place.” Usually my favorite happy place image is a wintry Christmas scene in a room only lit by the softly blinking lights of a small Christmas tree and the warm, crackling of a fire. Looking through the window into the night sky, I see big fat snowflakes falling slowly and gently, no wind to divert them from their path. The light from the moon illuminates them just enough to be clearly seen through the glass. My hand rests on my dog’s back. She is lying next to me with her head resting on my lap. I look down at her, and it’s my beagle, Mulder, who passed away several years ago. She looks up at me with love in her soft brown eyes. I notice that the gifts piled haphazardly under the tree, the tree with homemade and personalized ornaments from my childhood, are all wrapped in old-fashioned Christmas paper, reds and greens with pictures of kids dressed in snow gear that look like they’re from the 1950s. All around me I feel love, not just any love, but the love and wonder of my childhood. I felt like I was me back then. I just sat and let the love and memories wash over me until tears streamed down my face, happy, poignant tears; the coolest thing was I felt such love for me—that little girl. I thought, Is this what they mean by visiting your inner child? At that moment I had an epiphany, that child, her feelings, her hopes, her fears, her personality, they are still me. This was profound to me because I usually feel like such an adult, not in touch with what I always considered my old self. Just realizing that this was still me, that I am still she, gave me a strange kind of understanding of how to take care of myself, how to live a life that I need to live for my good. It was so beautiful. I went home feeling lighter and filled with pure joy.

When I told my meditation group leader about the experience, he told me that what I did was meditation, and it was just fine. I hadn’t failed. I didn’t need to blank out my mind. I can just let my mind drift, go deep, and let my unconscious tell me what I need to know. This was so freeing, and now I am excited each day to visit myself, which ever part of me that decides to show up, and relax, be comforted, and learn whatever I need to learn or let go of. It has been so much easier to make time for my meditation each day. It has never been just like this first experience again, but it is always good. It centers me and I let my mind drift to anything positive it wants to, gently pushing away any other distractions. Sometimes it is just sweet images, sometimes it’s only the sound of nature, or the feeling of a fan blowing on me, but every once in a while, the little girl me, will make a small appearance just to remind me she is still there, we need each other, we love each other.

I’m still working on giving things to the universe, but I’m getting better and better. It’s not like I’ve become a spiritual person though. Well, I guess it’s how you define spirituality. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a spirit—I mean the kind of thing that survives death and somehow contains my personality and essence of who I am. I believe these things, things that make me me, live in the brain, and the brain does not survive the death of the body because it is part of the body. But if you want to call the essence of who I am, the sum total of my experiences, feelings, and personality, maybe even the unconscious or subconscious mind, spirit, then okay. I can deal with that. Meditation for me is getting to the heart of who I am and visiting this calm place where I can be with the inner me in a totally intimate way, a way that I can’t be in touch with myself during the busyness and chaos of the day.

Being exactly who I am on every level and loving that person despite my flaws through meditation has been a freeing experience that I never imagined. I’ve never had a problem with self-esteem, but it’s a different thing to really feel love for who you are, fully acknowledging every flaw. I’m not talking egocentricism, but just really loving and accepting yourself despite not being perfect and not caring if you are perfect to anyone else. Through meditation I understand who I am and can completely accept myself without the pressure of any performance. During those 15 minutes, the world disappears, and I am just a being, worthy of love and tenderness, with no expectations at all. So when I return to the world of constant demands, the responsibilities seem lighter. I am refreshed, rested, and ready to set boundaries to protect the value of myself as a being on this earth, a being with an expiration date. I won’t let that time be used to harm me anymore. So if you think you are failing at meditation because it doesn’t fit some description in a book, don’t listen. If it helps you, if it calms you, or benefits you in any way, you’re doing it right. Do it however you need to do it. Your subconscious you knows what you need. Peace—Christina Knowles

Photo snagged from aquarian.es

“I Dreamed of You Again Last Night” by Christina Knowles

a-searching_for_you-152345I dreamed of you again last night

As always, I searched for you despite

The distracting crowd of others gone

Desperate for just a glimpse in the throng

Above the heart-crushing mob

My hollowness behind a façade

Of going about my ordinary life

But my longing remains a knife

I hide behind all the day

But when the light gives way to gray

I submerge in the slumbering hope

In my subconscious relief, grope

Wondering why, always why

Do you know I cry

Every night whether I see you

Fall in your arms and believe you

When you say you still love me

Or times when you are no where I see

When I wake, my face wet

With tears, unable to forget?

I’m starting to think I never will

The silence from you still

Batters me in the truthful dark

My memory of you leaves a mark

Do you ever dream of me, I wonder

When we meet in our slumber?

Are you really there somehow?

Or do I cross your mind at all now?

Sometimes your face interrupts the dawn

Just a glimpse and then you’re gone

I know it’s me who hides you in the light

But I’ll search for you in my dreams tonight.—Christina Knowles (2015)

Photo retrieved from wallpapersinhq.com

“An Ocean of Possibility” by Christina Knowles

“An Ocean of Possibility”

fishes-underwater-on-a-tropical-beach-wallpaper_3960

Language in a thousand pieces

Inadequate to express

An ocean in a million directions

Overwhelmed but not afraid

The obvious creates meaning

Without limitations

Another recognizes the idea

As my mind reconsiders beauty

A jungle of first impressions

I dream of the possibility

I compose it

This silhouette

From my desires

The passion in me

Turns my reality into

Dreams

—Christina Knowles (2006)

Photo courtesy of Bing Images.

“Apprentice” by Christina Knowles

“Apprentice”

GoodFon.su
GoodFon.su

Chipped wood

Nicked and dented

Purposely abused to create

What was not earned

Am I a craftsman then?

Or a liar?

Fabricated walls

“Aged” plaster

Crackled paint chips

Shards that flake off into

My shaking hand

Like broken glass

Glass like metal shavings

Their fragmented images

Steal my light

Sending it in a dozen different

Directions

Confusing me

With ambiguous fingers

Pointing first this way

Then that, iridescent swirling hope

A spectrum of half-truths

Promise the possibility

Of a lovely destruction

Even an apprentice can make something

Beautiful

Now and then

–Christina Knowles (2015)

“Dinner Party Queen” by Christina Knowles

cocktail-partyEntering your enormous and lovely apartment,

you greet me with your gratuitous smile,

your plastic-flower image, and oh-so-courteous temperament.

You taunt me with your high-styled manners

and your generous remarks snub me as they normally do.

“How do you take your Beluga?” and “Which wine do you prefer?”

and “Oh, I didn’t mean to assume—I’ll be happy to select for you.”

You quickly explain to all of your friends

my regrettable shortcomings and beg them to forgive

my sinful lack of politesse, and then

politely excuse yourself and float across the room,

leaving me blundering in your cultural forum.

As I bitterly gaze at your perfect state,

your fashionable clothing gaily stabs me in the back—

your mission in life, so-to-speak.

Crimson faced, I hate to admit

your silky silhouette does look stupendous

in your A-line frock and jacaranda dyed heels.

I would never say it conflicts with your artistically painted face,

contrasting so vibrantly your pale complexion.

Bullhorn-bright and swelling with pride,

you sweep through the room, bulldozing my dignity

with your swanky attire and arrogant demeanor.

Slowly, I slide away from the circle of beautiful people

and fade into the paisley wallpaper,

which, I might add, is out of style.

Here I blend

Again, I gaze in your direction,

your elegant coiffure turns up its nose at my violin-string hair.

Mortified, I hide

humbly in the corner reserved for shopping school dropouts.

Slouching behind your ornate décor,

I look down at my flower-flocked frock and Payless shoes,

and ponder my sanity—why did I come?

I really must control these masochistic tendencies.

Swallowing down my caustic remorse; emerging

I slither my worm body over to your graceful self

and settle at your satin shoes.

Weakly, I rise up through the ashes of my incinerated pride

and face your rude disposition.

“Although it’s been so lovely, I really must be going,”

I croak as I meet your captivating blue eyes with my insipid ones.

“Before dinner? Oh well, if you must,”

you drawl so gallantly, perceiving your work is complete,

and I may again return to my hovel, properly placed.

Recognizing the dominance of your station, I retreat.

Backing down from the challenge, I fall into line

at the prosaic end of the pecking order.

There really was never any debate.–Christina Knowles

Image from laplayaclub.com

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