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.

silo-4379756_960_720

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

 

 

 

Healing · Intuitive Listening · Qigong · Reiki · Tai Chi

My Weebly Reiki, Tai Chi, Qigong, and Intuitive Listening Web Store

Friends,

If you need Tai Chi lessons, Qigong lessons, Reiki sessions, Reiki training, or Intuitive Listening, please check out my services on Weebly!

I am a Usui Reiki Master/ Teacher and a Karuna Reiki practitioner.  Reiki is a hands-on healing modality which originated in Japan. Much like acupuncture and massage, Reiki is a great complement to medical care. The universal life force energy that is channeled for healing is abundant, ancient, and omnipresent (available to everyone). It is unconditional love. Love is the best chemo!

My Reiki clients report stress reduction, relaxation, and a greater sense of wellness after each session. These sessions balance the flow of energy throughout the subtle energy system and organs, promoting healing.

You can receive Reiki in person or remotely. We are all connected, so distance healing is just as powerful as that received in person. Regardless of where Reiki is sent, I am always humbled by its gifts and miracles.

Intuitive Listening is a comforting service as I listen with compassion along with a card reading and/or Reiki treatment. These sessions have opened people up to new insights related to life issues and life purpose.

The Reiki training is thorough and provides practice and in some items I also provide tutorials. There are three levels of Reiki. Level 1 is an introduction with a focus on self-healing and treating loved ones, Level 2 is the practitioner level, and Level 3 is the Master level. Certificates of completion are presented after each level of training.

I was led to try a Reiki session when I had two cancer scares. The session was so profound that I felt it was a calling. Thus, I sought training.  My training and experience with Reiki has had a profound effect on me physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I even feel healthier on the cellular level.

I find that my healing from anxiety and depression has been an ongoing and steady process mainly because I have chosen to integrate the universal life force energies into my being. By allowing, relaxing, and trusting this flow of healing energy, you too can recover from illness and stress.

I’m at the point now where I feel my ancestral trauma is being released and transmuted to the light, and I am gaining clarity on my life purpose just as you can. Another effect for me was heightened psychic awareness. I think we are all psychic, but we repress those senses. Reiki helps to release stagnant energy, which can then enhance our senses. Most importantly, however, my experience with Reiki has opened my heart.

Reiki energy raises our vibrations, which in turn helps us to live in the light and ward off the dark forces that attach to us. Like attracts like, so if we intend to resonate with our higher self and spirit guides, we can repel negativity. Healing is a process of ascension as we embrace the healing and unconditional love of the Reiki energy.

The Reiki Principles in the featured image teach that wellness involves letting go of negative emotions, such as anger and worry, and embracing kindness, gratitude, and integrity. What a beautiful world we could have it we could heal from post traumatic stress, depression, and poor health. What a beautiful world we could have if we could forgive ourselves and others, and learn to love ourselves and others unconditionally. Healing is a deep study of the soul. It is holy work, not a quick fix.

For these reasons, Reiki and Intuitive Listening form an excellent complement to medical care. In fact, more hospitals are implementing Reiki sessions for patients and staff.

The beginning private Tai Chi and Qigong lessons will provide many health benefits, such as improved balance, bone density, and circulation. Tai Chi massages all the organs with gentle movements. Qigong means “breathing”. Improved breathing helps deliver oxygen to all parts of the body, improving health even at the cellular level.

I have been studying and practicing Tai Chi and Qigong since 2006. I want to focus on beginners by teaching proper posture, stance, and form. I learned the 8 Forms in China but mainly I have studied under various well qualified teachers in Columbia, Missouri. I know the Yang style 8 Forms, 16 Forms, and 24 Forms. I’ve studied done Chen forms, and I hope to someday teach the Sun Lu Tang Tai Chi Forms. I’ve also learned fan and sword forms. Currently I am also teaching Tai Chi and Qigong to grade school children.

Some of my services offer intuitive and compassionate listening. I have had crisis resolution and hotline training with a local Rape Crisis Center, I have been trained as a Family to Family Teacher for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. In the class I taught, families of the mentally ill were trained on how to cope with their loved one’s mental illness. And I have had training as a hospice volunteer. However, I am neither a doctor nor a psychiatrist, so during sessions and classes, I do not make diagnoses or prescribe medications.

—————————-

You can order on line. Descriptions of the products are available with the items. Again, I am still adding products, so check back!

https://www.barbaraleonhardreikimasterteacher.com/

Be sure to email me to set up appointments. I have disabled the on-line calendar.

barbaraleonhardreiki@gmail.com

I am grateful to be able to grow my practice and serve others!

Love and Light!

Barbara

 

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

 

 

 

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

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 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 @extraordinarysunshineweaver.blog

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

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 @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