Essays · Healing · Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry · Poetry · Publication · Reiki · Tai Chi · Writing

Broken Womb, Shattered Soul: Living with Infertility (part 3)

The final section of my article on infertility is up on Phoebe,MD: Medicine + Poetry. Links to the other sections are provided. I am grateful to Phoebe and her beautiful site for being a major part of my journey with memoir writing.

Phoebe, MD: Medicine + Poetry

By Barbara Leonhard | Featured Contributor


[Click forPart 1andPart 2]

The bandage torn
From new flesh
Releases wails
The wound still
Imbibes air
The scab hides
deep repair
Let it rest. Wait
In time the scar
Records a fate

I learned that healing is a deep process. We may heal a physical wound, but to become whole, we need to heal emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. We need to dig into the old grout of our deep being. Moreover, we must trust help is available.

View original post 625 more words

Audio · Bagua · Podcasts · Poetry · Poetry: The Memoir of the Soul · Publication · Tai Chi · Writing · Xing Yi

Podcast The Art of War: Enter the Dragon

I have a new podcast up to commemorate International Women’s Day, which is March 8, 2020.

https://meelosmom.podbean.com/e/the-art-of-war-enter-the-dragon/

This memoir is dedicated to victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape, incest, and sex trafficking, and murdered and missing indigenous women. I apply the teachings of Sun Tzu in the ancient Chinese text, The Art of War, to show how I have called on my inner dragon throughout my life to ward off jackals, perpetrators of violence against women.

I include my poems “The Art of War: Enter the Dragon” and “Life Finds a Way”.

I also read a poem by a woman named Latesha, whose courage in the face of ongoing rape and assault beginning at the age of 5 is clearly seen in her poem “I Just Write”. There are hundreds of other poems like hers at

https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/healing-from-rape-with-writing.

I would like to highlight the fact that both men and women, girls and boys endure rape, incest, murder, sex trafficking, and sexual assault. Also, females are capable of performing these acts…not just men. In this podcast, I limited the scope of the topic to girls and women for time purposes.

If you know of cases of rape, abuse, sex trafficking, or incest, especially against children, or if you are a victim, please report it to law enforcement authorities. Only by prosecuting the offenders, the jackals, can we stop these vile acts. Perpetrators are found is all social classes, occupations, and races. …..both males and females …… We can’t make assumptions about who is capable of abuse. Check out “California Megan’s Law Website” to read the facts about sexual assault, rape and abuse.

If you would like to contribute poetry to this podcast, you may submit it to me in a Word document attached in an email to me at meelosmom@gmail.com. On the subject line, indicate it is a submission to this podcast. I can fit it into a theme. In the email, include any pertinent information on yourself and publications you want me to promote, especially for the work submitted.

©Featured  Image, podcast, and my poetry Barbara Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog and meelosmom.podbean.com

Poem “I just Write” © by Latesha. https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/healing-from-rape-with-writing.

 

Bagua · Poem · Poetry · Qigong · Tai Chi · Xing Yi

Tao Play

 

When they come to the temple,

they are but broken warriors,

seeking redemption

in Tao play.

 

They enter the temple gates

out of the shadows of their lives

in the light of the sun

rising on the horizon.

 

They are vessels receiving and

giving sustenance from the ball of life that

lifts them out of their birth place and

roots them to solid ground.

 

Taking their positions,

they center in Wuji,

spread and cool the white crane’s wings, and

grasp the sparrow’s tail.

 

They take to quarrels

with monkeys and prevail,

warding off their fears and sending them

flying with swords and fans.

 

They find the balance

in all Forms, which,

when done to perfection,

will make them immortal.

 

Rev. 10/7/2019 from an earlier version on WordPress in June 2017.

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver,blog

Art Doll: Inessa Morelock

Yin/Yang Image: Lisa Ryan

 

 

Bagua · Poem · Poetry · Tai Chi · Writing

The Art of War: Enter the Dragon

The Art of War: Enter the Dragon

He sees me at a distance

from the Salvation Army.

The soft glow of my white hair,

my short stature and square hips,

a slight limp,

a slow stride,

I am an easy mark

to a desperate bully.

Mam! Mam!

Come here!

Come here!

It’s like he’s found his prize.

He doesn’t see these deep lines

tracing the fingerprints of my soul

on my small face.

Each mark, a scar,

a battle won.

I am no kitten!

Come HERE! He commands.

I hear shouts of dominance,

impatience and irritation.

Does he think I’ll cross to HIS side!?

I veer into the parking lot of a bank.

It’s CLOSED!

Mam!  

He is crossing the

street in pursuit of me!

Come HERE!

He demands

like he is calling the pigs.

I take to the ATM area

to get to Broadway.

He’s advancing!

Leave me alone! I yell.

Go AWAY!

He’s on my back.

MAM! MAM!

Give me MONEY!

Leave me alone!

Go AWAY NOW!

I do not cower to extortion.

My duty is to self!

Give me MONEY! MONEY!

He flashes the cigarette butt

burning into his fingers.

He shows his teeth,

planted cock-eyed

behind tense lips.

I show him my piercing eyes. The flames,

my shield, my sword.

I am no stranger to bullies.

NO MONEY!

GO AWAY!

I advance to his face.

My scars deepen as I scowl.

My spirit finds its gateway.

My light is charged.

He persists, speaking loudly

in another language, but not imploring.

He isn’t my tribe. He doesn’t know

the rules here.

I’ve read the Art of War.

Do not press a desperate

soul too hard,” says Sun Tzu.

However, I assess the enemy’s

slight build.

Should he touch me, I’ll advance

and strikehim under the jaw

with the root of my palm

and throw him into the ATM.  

His screams will be filmed.

MONEY! NOW!

He practically hits me

with his near-empty bottle of Dr. Pepper.

I see no tears or pleas

for pity. Only dominance

over an old lady.

Show your banners!

beat your drums!” exclaims Sun.

I glare at the offender

with the eyes of a dragon.

Don’t let my shape or size

deceive you,

I am a round stone

gaining momentum

down a steep slope.

I will sweep you away

into a chasm.

Still he demands money. His tone,

You, Woman, give me money!

NO! I yell.

Leave me ALONE!

Go AWAY!

Sun whispers, “On contentious ground,

attack not. Lure the enemy by

pretending to flee.

One moment. I suddenly nod my head.

I open my purse and the perpetrator

doesn’t grab it.

He thinks I’m getting money,

but I take out the phone.

Police! I yell, I’m calling the POLICE!

911!  POLICE!

I gather myself, my troops, and my honor.

I withdraw slowly, back onto Broadway,

my eyes always on my foe.

I wave my phone at him as a new saber.

The baying jackal curses

and retreats into the shadows.


Battle bleeds another scar.

Victory, purifying fire.

Harmony, restored.

Such is the art of war,”

nods the smiling Sage.

Revised 02/07/2020

0CD07448-C96E-4191-B42B-D70A5A2A0202

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Image: Google search, Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Ekphrastic Poetry · Poetry · Prose · Tai Chi

The Death of a Farm

I submitted this poem to the July 2019 Ekphrastic Challenge, but it wasn’t chosen. I don’t have permission to use the image here, but you can check out Ekphrastic Challenge on Rattle.com for the exact scene. For this post, I chose some free images on pixabay to illustrate the poem.

The image in the July 2019 Rattle challenge shows a small farm with a house and trailer on the right, positioned behind a pen. In the muddy field, there are two cows. In the background to the left, you see an old silo and in the center in the background, a barn. Above the silo is a jet making a descent. The image is named: Restricted/U.S. Air Force by B.A. Van Sise from the artist’s “Elsewhere” series.

For me, the image on Rattle elicited memories of my time on a farm in Missouri. Our large family rented an old farm house for a couple of years in the early 60s.

My impression was of the passing of an era for the house, the farm, me, and even the nation.

THE DEATH OF A FARM

The house was a woman of years

refusing to sell to developers.

She still had her wringer washer

and coal-burning stoves waiting to be fed.

How she quaked with the roar of the coal filling her bins.

She ate that coal like candy.

And the ubiquitous black dust fought me each winter

as I scrubbed and scrubbed the cracked vinyl flooring

and the sills and woodwork that trimmed her bodice.

Each summer, the dust blown in from the fields

would blanket the old woman.

Her ivory dress, tattered and stained,

spoke of bygone trials and triumphs on her American soil,

where she stood her ground.

I was her caretaker in our sojourn there

as she indulged this family of nine,

who needed a roof with substantial lodging.

She complied with the courtesy of a elderly southern belle

eager for companionship as she had been lonely too long.

Her barn became a nursery for newborn kittens

and a playground for boisterous boys.

They climbed the rickety ladders to view her farm

from the highest loft overlooking the pasture

and her crop of tobacco and such.

barn-101273__340

The crops were farmed by hired teens

who tried to scare this young girl

with gross beetle larvae from across the fence.

Wanna smoke?  They would ask me.

I was too young for them  – and busy.

I worked for the sake of the house.

I would wring out the sheets and hang them in the sun.

The laundry on the lines would whip in the wind

to the songs on American Bandstand and the current top ten.

When free from the chores,

I took to the pasture to sing and dance to my own tunes

in the fescue that nourished the livestock.

woman-792818__340

My heart wandered in the farmland hills and the trickling creek

as I imagined my possibilities.

But one autumn day, the pasture became my refuge of tears

when I heard that President Kennedy had been shot and killed.

I ran from the kitchen to the pasture and

slumped down. My cries resounded as a death toll

in the shadow of an abandoned silo.

 

My old friend stared with wide, hollow eyes,

As her light dimmed to still night.

The cows scattered to the sound of a jet

descending to torn earth.

 

 

©Barbara Harris Leonhard, extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

Images: Pixabay

 

 

 

Audio · Bagua · Original 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 @extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com

Image: digital art “Clouds Rising” ©Martha Harris See Martha’s Artistic Flarings @artisticflarings.blog

 

 

Audio · Digital Art · Ekphrastic Poetry · Healing · Original Digital Art · Poem · Poetry · Reiki · Tai Chi · Uncategorized

Pain, The Poet

Pain, the Poet

Those who forgive,

Can they be poets,

For where is the poetry but

In released pain?

Pain, the fire breathing mist

Rising to rain.

Pain, the reddening blood

filling the veins,

The river of the soul.

Pain, the rooting to the sacral tree,

Birthing stories and songs,

Creating new souls out of barren wombs.

Pain, the cries from scattered tribes

Reaching for limbs and branches,

Anything to hold onto until dawn’s light.

Pain, the songs of ancestral curses

Clinging to the cells like webs

To be cleared in spring.

Pain, the dead rooting of loss

Blocking the secret chamber of the heart,

Where peace resides.

Pain, the tenant evading eviction,

Holding truth hostage

From inner sight

And auric brilliance.

Pain, the dirges and the hymns,

The shadows, dislodged and

Transmuted but not forgotten

In the poetry of forgiveness

And the forgiveness of poetry.

 

©2017/11/07 Barbara Harris Leonhard @extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com

Image: Digital art “Out of Darkness, Light” ©Martha Harris See Martha’s Artistic Flarings @artisticflarings.blog

 

 

 

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

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

The energy of my missing organs

Is still there for healing

Healing is a journey

Of scars, a 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 I 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

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

Actually

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, Bagua, and Xing Yi

I love my Reiki clients and students

I love writing  and recording poetry

But wish I could publish more

I just haven’t tried much

I fear success and pressure

And I have been a bit lazy

Since my retirement

 

Looking back on my life

Has been a conflicting experience

After all

I am not used to revealing

My entwined soul to an audience

Although it is hidden well

In my 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 @extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog (revised 01/2020)

Image “Entwined Spirit” ©Martha Harris  See Martha’s Artistic Flarings @artisticflarings.blog

Bagua · Poem · Poetry · Tai Chi

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 @extraordinarysunshineweaver.com

Image: Sun Lutang

Bagua · Digital Art · Poem · Poetry · Tai Chi

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 @extraordinarysunshineweaver.wordpress.com

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