Bagua · Ekphrastic Poetry · Healing · Original Digital Art · Poem · Poetry · Reiki · Tai Chi

Entwined Spirit: Me, Myself, and I

Entwined Spirit: Me, Myself, and I


Let me introduce myself

This poem is about me

Inspired by my sister’s art that

She created from a photo of me.

She calls it “Entwined Spirit”


I am an entwined spirit

A composite of hues

Swirled to create a

Kaleidoscope of soul

A patchwork of many

Places and adventures

As we moved many times

I am a composite of Midwestern roots and accents

Giving sustenance to my many roles

As daughter, sister, friend, wife,

Teacher, friend, colleague, healer, poet, writer


I grayed young

The silver threads have bound

The quilt of my life

And kept people’s gaze

Off my hips and thighs

And kept the attention

Of my many international students

Who valued my wisdom

Though I was just a young woman

Who knew the English Language

I am retired now and feel

I lovingly earned every gray hair


I have many scars

As many women do

And we often compare our rites of passage

From maiden

To sage and goddess

One is carved down my abdomen

Another on my throat

Two cancer scares

That came with a surprise appendectomy

Pending a septic explosion

Needless to say,

This all led me on the path of the wounded healer


Another scar is down my right side

The entryway for a new hip

The idea of losing my flesh and bone

Terrified me, but

Like many my age

I am now bionic

And the energy of my missing organs

Is still there for healing

For healing is a journey

And my scars create the journal

Of my womanhood unfolding

Into and out of chaos

Forming my “charism”

My grace


I have many faces

Aside from my social roles

Childless, I have mothered

My siblings and students so

“Mother” is my main archetype

As is my role as “Priestess”

For poetry is prayer

I am a “Sacred Companion” to the dying

I am a “Light Worker/ Healer” and have taught many

On this path

I started by healing myself of measles encephalitis

When I was 7

But that’s another poem on my blog

I really think I survived a

Near-death experience at that time

Because my entire view of life changed

And I wondered why

I couldn’t read minds after that


I have my shadows

I give to the expense of loss

For it is better to give than to receive

So I often feel like a candle

With no more wax

I sometimes feel abandoned and

Invisible, so entwined am in my soul

That I am a prisoner to myself

Introspective and more a listener

Than the life of a party

Depression made me ill and gave me

Those scars from surgeries

As illness finds a home

In a tortured soul


I constantly seek to transmute grief

To the light but

I have been unable to cry out loud

Since my mother died, so

The wells of tears are thirsty

Only my heart is wrenched open

When I feel suffering

And I feel my blood flood my chest


Despite all this

I am quite happy


I love my husband, home and cats

I love my sacred places and treasures

I love my rituals that begin and end my day

I love playing Tai Chi Chuan and Baguazhang

I love my Reiki clients and students

I love writing poetry and recording it

But wish I could publish more

I just haven’t tried much

And fear success and pressure

And I have been a bit lazy

Since my retirement


So looking back on my life

Has been a joyous experience

After all

I am not used to revealing my

Entwined soul to an audience

Although it is hidden well

In my other poems

I prefer to keep it a mystery that way

But now that I have spilled my guts

We are closer

Which is good in this life

Who am I really?

As the Mayans said, “In La’kech” (“ein lah kesh”)

“I am another yourself”


©Barbara Harris Leonhard

Image “Entwined Spirit” ©Martha Harris  See Martha’s Artistic Flarings

Bagua · Poem · Poetry · Tai Chi

Uphill on Walnuts with a Weak Leg

Uphill On Walnuts with a Weak Leg

Walking the Bagua circle,

I move like a snake 

Slithering on patchy grass

Or a path etched by other warriors

On dry soil, as they are

Space holders and guardians

Of the world in this vortex,

This circle of yin and yang.

But uphill

On walnuts

With a weak leg, 

I stumble.

Why can’t –

This way –

Be easier!

Why can’t it be smoother!

The walnuts underfoot are like boulders

Throwing me off the path.

I step forward, and

Grip the soil with all my weight

On that leg.

I bring up the back foot

Without it leaving the ground,

The toes turned in

To throw off my opponent with

No lifting of the toes or heel.

This is to be a surprise attack,

My snake step is to be swift

And smooth,

Securing my position in battle

As I throw the offender

Off balance into the tree.

Unless –

I am going uphill –

On walnuts-

with a weak leg.

Is this how it always is

For the aging warrior –

The bramble,

The rocky soil,

The clumps of weeds,

The dips and potholes –

My true opponents,

grabbing me and throwing me

Off balance to the ground?

No one can hear my stealthy step

But for the sound of my grinding hip!

Can I expect the way to battle

To be paved asphalt or even

Polished wood? 

That is no way to train

Regardless of age.

The snake knows how to

Maneuver uphill on walnuts

And isn’t concerned about 

An old weak leg.


(My teacher, Dan Miller, consoled me with his humor one day. No matter how well we cleared away the walnuts and obstacles on the Bagua circle, I felt challenged on my path. So he helped me laugh by saying, ‘uphill on walnuts on a weak leg’.)

Image Wording and Poem: ©Barbara Harris Leonhard

Image: Sun Lutang

Bagua · Digital Art · Poem · Poetry · Tai Chi

Be As Water

Be as Water

Be as water,

Flowing from falls into silt,

Creating pools and streams,

Moving around rocks

And through openings in

Masses of reeds.


Be as water,

Flowing without obstruction.

Finding its course

Over the embankments, and

Finding stillness

In pools fed by streams.


Be as water,

Earth’s pulse,

Flexible, agile,

Life giving, lithesome.

Its supple force,

Cleansing all.


Be as water,

Its nourishment, creating and sustaining life.

Its steam, forming clouds

In Earth’s simmering heat,

The ice in her arctic breath,

Piercing fog.


Be as water,

Pure and enriching,

With powers that can’t be harnessed.

It’s Earth’s blood,

Pumping life into her veins

With vital force.


Be as water,

Dangerous and destructive

If Earth’s veins are slit.

Her roaring torrents of tears

Are savage and fatal.

Water knows its course.


Be as water,

A force of peace and joy,

Spitting up shells and glassy treasures.

A force of nature,

Sweeping away the ages

That need rebirth.


Copyright ©2018 Barbara Harris Leonhard

Image: digital art “Water World” ©Martha Harris See Martha’s Artistic Flarings