Life in Photos, Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Chasing Light with Memoky

I wake up with a list in my head, sometimes, not seeing the light, not seeing the shadows shifting through the water-spotted windowpanes, because I’m seeing all the unchecked boxes. I wake up already feeling behind, sometimes, and tumble headlong into it all, very unlike a poet.

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Sometimes, I get up and frantically do, forgetting to be, ignorant to the beauty all around, because the day isn’t going the way I planned.

Because I’m clawing at efficiency.

“We are attempting, all the time,” says Billy Collins, “to create a logical, rational path through the day. To the left and right, there are an amazing set of distractions that we usually can’t afford to follow.  But the poet is willing to stop anywhere.

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My four-year-old stops anywhere.  She’s nonstop, she’s scientific, her brain is a perpetual motion machine, and yet she’s a tiny little poet. Why? Because, even in her intensity, she knows how to pause.

She’s intent on the details.

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She’s still captivated by all the tiny little pieces that together make up this “one wild and precious life” [1], as Mary Oliver says. At four, she hasn’t yet learned to ignore the shapes the sunrise scatters across the wall at dawn. She hasn’t learned to forget how fleeting they are, and hasn’t been trained to shrug over the fact the light fades in seconds. And so she giggles, chasing the shadows, running across the room to catch them, head thrown back, laughing loudly into the golden air.

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memoky_on_oaxacaborn_12And when the light shifts from yellow to white, she stops and pulls her knees up to her chest and lets the light illuminate the pages. It’s as though she’s already read Wendell Berry’s “How to be a Poet (to remind myself).”

“Make a place to sit down. 
Sit down. Be quiet.”

[Okay, so she doesn’t know a thing about quietness, really.]

“You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill — more of each
than you have — inspiration
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity…

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Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensional life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.

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Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.”

I knew we can’t all be silent (although sometimes, after answering  279,817 questions before ten, that sounds like the loveliest retreat.) We can’t all pine away at a desk, acting as writers and poets for a living  (although that sounds marvelous too.)

We can’t all be children. It’s not only impractical, it’s impossible. We can’t abandon our responsibilities. We have schedules, work to do, and tasks we simply must complete. We can’t all recline like men and women of leisure, as though life were some still, calm, ancient painting.

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But we can train our hearts to see the joy and the beauty, right? Even in the hectic chaos, can we see snippets of what the poets see?  Can we choose to have hearts like children? (Jesus had a little something to say about grown people becoming as children, I think. [2])

My friend Marie reminds us that “life isn’t always clean and easy. Sometimes it’s messy and fuzzy.” But, she goes on, “There is still beauty and peace if you look hard enough. Find your beauty and share it. This world needs it.

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So can we do that? Can we leave room in our days for wonder? Can we leave margin for awe?  And then when we switch off the alarm in the morning, we can say, like the poet,

Hello, sun in my face.
Hello, you who made the morning
and spread it over the fields…
and into the windows of, even, the
miserable and the crotchety –

good morning, good morning, good morning.
Watch, now, how I start the day
in happiness, in kindness. [3]”

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About Memoky // Founded in New York City in 2015, Memoky offers an intentional collection of furniture, decor and lighting for the home. Shop online at memoky.com, or follow @MemokyHome on Instagram or on Facebook.

Myhre Table Lamp in White and Brass via the Galla Collection c/o Memoky.

Additional Credits // Flokati Sheepskin Rug: Shades of Light | Side Table, Plywood Chair, Bed: IKEA Orlando |  Tiger Sweatshirt: RUUM | Striped Linen Pants: Leitmotif | Poster Rails: Posterhanger 

Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received a lamp from Memokey in exchange for publishing this post. All the photographs, opinions, and experiences shared here are in my own words and are my own honest evaluation. Please be assured, I only accept sponsorship opportunities for brands I personally use and/or would recommend to close friends and family, and I will always disclose any such relationships.

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Inspiration

INSPIRATION :: A Curated Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Sometimes, I get lost in the tyranny of the urgent. Lost in the chores and the clutter and the cooking and the cycle of washing, drying, folding. I get lost and forget that all around is beauty, even inside these four walls. We were created to know beauty, and it’s worth every bit of conscious effort to choose to see it, even in the whirlwind. The Weepies knew this when they sang“All this beauty…You can ask about it, but nobody knows the way. No bread-crumb trail to follow through your days. It takes an axe sometimes, a feather, in the sunshine and bad weather. It’s a matter of getting deeper in anyway you can…All this beauty; you might have to close your eyes and slowly open wide.”

I believe in making a beautiful home, something I learned from my mother (although I’m nowhere nearly as good at it as she is). “Anything can be made beautiful”, she always told me, “though a combination of cleaning and contentment.” And she proved this, too, over and over and over again throughout the years.

Maybe you have a mother like that too, someone who has always managed to create peacefulness and a sense of home and beauty no matter what. Or maybe you have a mom who whips up magic in the kitchen, or throws the best parties, or has endless athletic energy, or is always on top of the fashion game. (Honestly, isn’t Supermom a little bit of all that and more?)

Keeping everything a mom does in mind — and with an eye toward seeing beauty in the whirlwind — I’ve teamed up with JCPenney to bring you gift ideas for any kind of mom.

A @JCPenney #Momisms Mother's Day Gift Guide curated by the Oaxacaborn blog // #JCPHostMom #JCPFitnessMom #JCPDecorMom #JCPChefMom #JCPTrendyMom

#JCPHostMom | 1. Lantern | 2. Copper Bowl | 3. Plates | 4. Card
#JCPFitnessMom | 5. Yoga Mat | 6. Tote | 7. Hair Tie  | 8. Towel
 #JCPDecorMom | 9. Basket | 10. Rug | 11. Pillow | 12. Art |
#JCPChefMom |  13. KitchenAid | 14. Eat | 15. Cucina | 16. Tray | 17. Bowls | 18. Mortar & Pestle
 #JCPTrendyMom |  19. Lace Tee | 20. Bracelet | 21. Bag | 22. Pants
Even MORE  gift ideas | JCPenney Mother’s Day Hub

This week, I’ve also joined JCPenney in tweeting little snippets of motherly advice. Being a total rookie in the mom department, it probably comes as no surprise that my quips have been of the “Don’t suction-cup the dog”, “Don’t lick the sidewalk”, and “Don’t stick potato chips in the outlets” variety. But you can use the #momisms hashtag to tweet your own, much wiser motherly gems of wisdom — and you’ll be entered to win one of several $100 gift cards JCPenney is giving away, so YOU can buy a little something for yourself!

(Pssst…a little secret? Don’t worry if you aren’t one of the winners of the #Momisms sweepstakes, because I will host a separate $100 gift card giveaway here very soon. Sign up for Oaxacaborn email updates so you won’t miss it when it goes live!)

Leave me a comment on this post letting me know which of the items above is your favorite. Since I curated the list, I can safely say….I love them all!

Disclosure of Material Relationship: I received compensation in exchange for promoting JCPenney’s #Momisms Sweepstakes/Giveaway. I personally selected all the items displayed in this curated guide, and was not required to present any specific products as gift ideas. All the opinions and experiences shared here are in my own words and are my own honest evaluation. Please be assured, I only accept sponsorship opportunities for brands I personally use and/or would recommend to close friends and family, and I will always disclose any such relationships.

Life in Photos, Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Maybe I’ll Write

White Ceramics and Lucky Bamboo

Eiffel Tower and Washi Tape

Grey Dotted Paper Lantern

Pablo Neruda

Blue Toile Pillowcase

“Wonder Aveline the Super Dog” has finally gone to sleep, Josiah is at a Sigur Rós concert, and I am here in a quiet house with a lovely plate of food and silence.

Maybe I’ll watch a movie, maybe I’ll write a bit more — not here, mind you, but elsewhere, and just for me.

Sometimes I think that’s the only way I’ll ever write a book is if I tell myself all the words are only just for me. Sometimes when I’m writing for you, I let you get in the way. Sometimes you scare me, and I let that fear change how much of the story I tell.

I’ll never write a book if I write it for you.

So maybe tonight I’ll write for me. Maybe I’ll finally open up that lonely document called Chapter One, and maybe I’ll begin it like this:

“I lived in the South the year I turned thirty. At least, I thought it was the south. It was well below the Mason-Dixon line. It dangled into the ocean, for crying out loud; wedged between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. But people said it wasn’t the real South. The real deep South, they told me, was further north. …”

Poetry & Words, Travel/Moving

POETRY & WORDS :: The Oaxaca in my Mailbox

 Beautiful Oaxaca embroidered blouse and embroidered coin purse wallet - Textiles from Oaxaca Mexico  Beautiful Oaxaca embroidered coin purse wallet - Textiles from Oaxaca Mexico

You never know when kindness might really, really touch somebody’s heart.

It’s been a long week. But today when I swung past the mail boxes on the way home, there was a package waiting for me. A package of goodies from Oaxaca. 

You guys, I’ve never even met Grethel, the sweet lady who sent these to me. We’ve exchanged messages about our mutual love for Oaxaca — she is from there, and visits each year — but we haven’t met in person.

When I opened up this package today and saw the beautiful tangible pieces of Oaxaca inside,  my eyes filled with tears. (Oh, thank you, Grethel!) It’s funny how a place becomes a part of you, even when you haven’t been back in years heaped upon years.

And it’s funny how home isn’t a single place. It’s funny how home is really composed of many individual threads, all separate yet interwoven, all tied up together in one beautiful and sometimes tangled tapestry.

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” -C.S. Lewis

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(Grethel Van Epps Photography | Personal Blog | Facebook Page)