Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A Celebration of Dreams and New Adventures - Features - 27/06/2012

Sometimes our dreams have to wait a long time because we nurture everyone else’s dreams before our own, which makes it so much harder to get there, however, today I’d like to celebrate Jen’s dream and the fact that she’s just finished her last undergraduate final exam, which is such a huge achievement. :-) Congratulations Jen!

It’s so fabulous to see someone stick with it, no matter how hard it is and how difficult and do what they’ve set out to do, especially when they’re running a business and a household and looking after the kids on top of it all.

I think, what I am trying to say is, that it’s all worthwhile and so fabulous to set off on a new adventure and to see it through. Our dreams are so important and even if we may not always achieve the whole dream or sometimes not even a little bit of it, it’s still worth it to try and believe.
Here is the dream, all golden and delicious, beckoning us onwards.

dream by © Jeannie Peters

Sometimes it means rising like the Phoenix from the ashes.

Phoniex Rising by © Heather King

Check out Drkgrrl’s plea to help raise funds for Heather to get treatment, here Even if you cannot help financially, maybe you can post this on your facebook or twitter pages to help spread the word.

But there is nothing so glorious as setting out on a new adventure and to realise a dream.

SUMMER SOLSTICE 2012 GODDESS by © eoconnor

It is indeed one very magic moment, that very first step on the way to achieve our dream.

That Magic Moment by © laruecherie

And so very often it means that there is no one to make us do it, we have to do it ourselves. We have to believe.

I CREATED MY OWN WINGS by © Barbara Cannon Art Studio

Although it’s nice to get support and the odd hug when the going gets tough.

the hug by © Michele Meister

However, this is the moment we’ve been waiting for.

You Were Only Waiting For This Moment To Be Free by © Tamarra BaVincio

And we’re finished with the baby steps and one step forward and two steps back. We’re running.

Run Free by © AngieBanta

It’s time to leave the guilt and the worries over failed attmpts behind and to move on towards our dreams.

Mea Culpa by © Leila A. Fortier

Which doesn’t mean completely letting go of who we were but taking with us the good and the strong and that which made us who we are.

Remember Me by © Catrin Welz-Stein

However, even with all the strength in the world and all the hope we don’t always get where we want and sometimes all that is left is the memory of the dream we once had.

The memory of a dream by © strawberries

And sometimes this failed dream echoes through our life and makes it harder to begin again, but it is good to remember that it is only another obstacle to overcome.

echo. by © Jessica Islam Lia

Please join me in congratulating all the artists and Jen on her achievement. Let’s celebrate our successes together and feel free to tell us about yours in the comments below. As the saying goes, Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased—thus do we refute entropy.

Fibers of Feminist Thinking - Midweek Features - 20/06/2012

This week’s feature collection has been inspired by the fibers that make up feminist thinking and motivations. For these very fibers are what weave women together, so that regardless of where each one may be individually, she is still connected to the larger fabric of the sisterhood. Thoughts are important to consider, as behind each one resides life’s motivations. And no matter what one person’s views of feminism are compared to another individual’s, one thing is certain: the scope of feminism as a quest for female equality is as broad as it is individual. To negate where one woman may be on her journey is to paint an incomplete picture. My hope in assembling this week’s collection is to ignite a curiosity to find the fibers (large and small, or fragmented and disjointed) in a diversity of feminist reflection.

For every way of thinking, there is a seasonal landscape that controls the climate.

Stages by © Anthea Slade

For every injustice, area of neglect, place for activism, there is an opportunity to rise up against inequality.

Not Today by © RC deWinter
Don’t whine to me about your petty woes,
the car that doesn’t start, the faucet’s incurable drip,
I can’t be bothered with it now!
Yes, another day I would tsk-tsk
and share your righteous bourgeois indignation,
muttering discontent about politics,
the evils of dependence on fossil-fueled transport,
the perfidy of plumbers whose every remedy is unavailing
in the war of water versus washer – but not today!
Today I weep for people; I cry for half the world:
innocent victims of every color, every god,
caught in the crossfire of the few, the proud, the greedy,
who peddle their cheap philosophies for sale to the highest bidder.
So sick am I of pissing matches in the sand,
a new line drawn every week, every month.
Every time it seems that hope might bloom
in some far-flung oasis of sanity
a fresh new hell gapes wide, to swallow whole the cries of those
who clamor for a peaceful life – no more, no less.
Tell me tomorrow about your wretched in-laws
who every Christmas buy you Scotch when you drink gin,
the scheming paperboy who tosses today’s bad news into
the rainsoaked bushes rather than upon your columned porch,
and curse I will with you the inconvenient idiocy
surrounding our benighted daily lives.
But not today –
today I weep, today I mourn, today I spend in sorrow
for the little people – all of us – yes! you and me –
whose fate is fodder for the few.

Behind every blooming idea is the sower, with seeds in hand.

Some ideas grow on trees and some sprout like a pair of shoes by © Fiery Fire

Never underestimate the view from the top of the ladder.

View from the Balcony by © Vesna D
It’s a stairway to heaven
Seeing eye to eye with the top of the cherry tree
The only way is up
Supported by the pillars of the Earth
Propelled by the desire to fly
Seduced by the openness of the sky
Let your mind soak
In the beauty of epiphany
Drink it
Own it
It’s yours now
A simple view from the balcony

No one can guarantee there will be a path of simplicity, but the pleasure to be found may make the struggle pale in comparison.

Struggle for pleasure by © annauypers

Sometimes silence is NOT golden.

Plague and Pestilence by © msdebbie
Everything dies
Verity is silenced
Even beside loneliness
Reality is a labyrinth
You seek the word for wishful
Torment is truth
History whimpers
It ignores the future
Nothing is illuminated
Going going gone
Despair strides the streets
Illusion is complete
Everyone denied
Silenced the world sighs

As the last auras of this season’s fairytales fade, one must begin to see the world anew.

the last fairytale by © strawberries

And if hope is all that finds you on a given day, go ahead and embrace it, even nurture it a little while the opportunity is present.

Thoughts on a Theme of Blue by © Rhenastarr
Today I woke up happy
A spring of hope running over
Today no tears of frustration
To cloud my eyes
There is nothing specific
Nothing I can put my finger on
Just a tiny little whisper
Filling my heart with song
A sky of white puffy clouds
Amid a sea of blue
Peak through my window
And spirits that were down
Are once again soaring
I feel free and open today
A brand new page in
The never ending saga
That is me
Old hurts, remain sore spots
May find some new ones today
Purple shadows left by well
Intentioned people
Who could not curb their tongue
If their tomorrow depended on it
Yesterday when the rain deluged
Me with doubts and fears
Has passed into a day of
Bright beginnings
I have always felt stand alone
My own shyness and insecurities
Perhaps helped along with
A generous nudge from the
Unkindness of others
But today I will not think of them
I will hold my head high
Today I will be strong, will only
Think of those that love me
Pain and loneliness can keep
Themselves otherwise
Today my emotions are riding
High, galloping toward a love
Of self and to hell with those
That fail to see the real me
Today I give thanks to God
I am not blind,nor lame, nor deaf
I can see his goodness
I can walk secure in his love
And I can hear the music of life
Spilling all around me
I am thankful for the love of
My life
My children
My family
My friends
It is them I turn to on the deeply
Wounding days of blue
I will relish the days of light along
Side the days of dark
Light and dark co-exist
I will strive to always bring the light
The world outside makes it hard
To maintain that well of happiness
It offers up
And defeatist attitudes
Along with love, kindness, joy, goodness
And strength of purpose
I have decided to just journey through my
Sifting out the good from the bad
And persevering with God’s hand in mine
Sadness and Happiness are Kin
They touch each of our lives
We can only live with the hope that
There will be more happiness than
Sadness that journeys with us

Relish in the moments when life presents you the perfect fitting key.

The perfect key by © Catrin Welz-Stein

And while you’re at it, release the locks that bind and shake free from whatever captivity is holding you back.

just right by © Sybille Sterk
you know it’s right
when you feel
that little click
on the final notch
when the tumblers
all fall down
at the twist of the wrist
with unfamiliar lock picks
and when the doors
open to forever summer
and your heart takes a
deep breath and releases
the shackles that held it fast
and the long forgotten wings
rustle dryly and flutter shyly
but the memory hasn’t been lost
of how to use them
it’s like riding a bike
all you ever wanted
so you breathe it in to
make it last like a sip
of water in the desert
and you hope that
this is it
no more nasty surprises
just sunshine and blue skies
even if you know it never
happens that way
it’ll help you through
the first hurdle of
not again
no can do
too much
so you cross your fingers
and you hope that
just for once
really is

Take the time to reconnect with yourself, with nature, and with those who paved the way before you.

Silent Meeting at the Summit by © ArtPearl

For, so often, it’s the clarity of (renewed) vision that acts as the best guide.

Internal machinations by © su2anne
Honesty and
Integrity born of
Self-reflection requires
Visceral courage to
Flay open that which for
Sometime has been
Covered up by
Scar tissue or a
Band aid. To
Agonize through the
Mire. To
Pick clean the
Bones creates
Order from
Chaos and the
Possibility that this
Internal sight will give
Clarity to
Move forward and the
Hope to rebuild.

Manifestations - Features - 13/06/2012

Manifestations of Abuse
This is an unusual collection of art for this weeks features. Normally, I would chose a mix of poetry and art, and always try and build the features to a positive finale. However, over the past couple of weeks, so much of the art being submitted here has been addressing the issue of abuse. The images are so visually and emotionally powerful that I wanted to show them collectively. Many of these images have moved me to tears.
One in four women have, as children, or as adults suffered abuse within the home. Often they feel shamed and guilty, and so feel unable to speak out. Their support systems have been taken away and they feel isolated and alone. There are many reasons why they feel they cannot leave, not least of all because of their fear.
Whilst all the artists here may not be speaking from their own experience, they depict the many faces of abuse with skill and empathy. Here we also see art used as a therapeutic tool, our artists finding deep wells of creativity within. They depict stories of sadness and pain, isolation and shame, doubt and uncertainty. Most of all, we see the strength of their inner selves, their stories of survival and their indomitable courage in speaking out and sharing.
They are challenging us to see what often we chose to ignore. They are telling us that abuse, in any form, has to stop.
I am not making comments on the individual images as each of the wonderful and moving images speak for themselves.

Physical Manifestations – Self Portrait © by Jaeda DeWalt

I lie to myself
My feet burrowing deep into the sands of denial
But my body reveals the truth
The physical manifestations are clear
The past is resurfacing
With it the fear
Waves of anxiety washing over me
As my appetite ebbs and weaves
Fragmented thoughts
Self temporarily lost
Poem © Jaeda DeWalt

Hidden from reality… © by leapdaybride

fractured © by LisaMM

Emotionally Numb – Self Portrait © by Jaeda DeWalt

L O S T © by jacqleen

Damage © by Glitterfest

She Smokes and Drinks and Don't Come Home At All © by DionNelson

torn © by LisaMM

The painter's model in front of the mirror © by Ina Mar

Tomorrow Never Comes © by Heather King

No Easy Decisions © by Laurie Search

Soul Destroying… © by Carol Knudsen

“Domestic violence whether verbal, emotional or physical is wrong …
It is paralyzing for the victim….it can make you feel mute and unable to ask for help, blinded into believing it’s your fault….
It’s soul destroying and damaging not only to you but those innocent ones around you too…
Nobody deserves to suffer violence of any kind especially at the hands of someone they love or who is supposed to love them….
If you are in this situation know that you are valued and precious and deserve to be treated as such….find the strength to break the silence…to be heard, to be free, to be loved as you should…
I know because I was there once a long time ago …and I found that strength and I am so happy I did….I am no longer mute or blinded … I am free and being loved and valued as a woman should be…..♥” Carol Knudsen

If you or a friend need help …..
UK: Contact the freephone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline  0808 2000 247         0808 2000 247   
USA: National Domestic Violence Hotline (7233)
AUS: Respect; Domestic Violence Counselling Service Phone- 1800 737 732

There are groups, services and networks in most countries. Simply Google ‘Domestic
Violence’ and you will find them.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Foundations - Features - 06/06/2012

Each time I look through the gallery and the all the writing that comes in I am struck by the variety of emotions, the mix of happy and sad, and everything in between that is expressed in both word and image. However, there are some recurring themes, which I feel make our ‘foundations’, the structures we build our lives on and also those that errode us from within.

There’s this inner strength many of us have, be it of the playful and happy kind that comes from believing in ourselves…

You wanna play with me… by © Nicolette Thain

…or the sheer bloody mindedness that makes us take a stand against all odds…

Never give in by © su2anne
I’m a lone she wolf.
Fangs bared
Eyes blood red. My
Auburn coat matted. A
Dull brown under the
Cool winter’s light. The
Moon my silent and only
Witness. One
Ear cocked for my
Injured silver grey mate. I’m
Enraged that you
Threaten my
Den! My kith and
Kin. How
Dare you bastards
Relentlessly attack my
Strong and loyal one? For
Days I have
Constantly circled. A
Track worn in the
Earth for my dedication. My
Left hind leg hangs
Limp from an old injury. My
Belly contracted from
Hunger. Ribs
Striated. Back bone
Knobbed. So thirsty.
No matter.
Want a fight;
Smell your
Fear. I
Hear your grunting!
Pigs the lot of you!” You
Dare breach my
Boundary and I’ll
Tear you to
Shreds! I
Will not deign to
Feast on your
Guts. Too
Foul for my taste. I’ll
Spread them as a
Reminder to your
Tired. Alone.
No pack. I
Will not give up. I am
Relentless. I am a
She wolf.

our capacity for suffering and pain…

Mary’s lament by © Maree Cardinale

our skill in turning even this pain into something creative and worthwhile…

The Blue by © MaryMac
the sun is out today
plenty of time to roam
i’am walking around
no destination in mind
the only way in life
i’ve known
the road of what does
the future hold
i fill mine
with paper and ink
sun and rain
i get wet
but i don’t cry
the sun doesn’t know
the reason why
the sun doesn’t know
the difference between
a wealthy man
and a lacking one
the only life
i know
is moving around
the blue
perhaps you don’t know
what laughter is
spend enough time with me
you’ll find out
my humor
my knowledge
perceive the way
i see
i believe
in my world the sun has purple poka dots
the moon is made of parmesan cheese
cows make chocolate milk
everyone likes to sing
i don’t know
the reasons why
there’s something
in the path
which traces the clouds
in the sky
like a circle
there is no end
it’s a pursuit
we all enter in
the sun doesn’t know
the reason why
my future is filled
with paper and ink
the sun doesn’t know
the difference
the only life
i know
is moving around
the blue

our well of happiness and laughter and making the most of the moment…

A Real Portrait by © Valerie Rosen

the friendships we form and hold onto….

A Poplar tree and a Sprig of Friendship by © SimplyRed
I like to watch the stars at night
a gentle Autumn breeze chills my face
I hear the Poplar trees bare of leaves
their click clacking slender branches
echo into the darkness
I flick through my days thoughts
in rythm with the trees
smiling a smile of thanks for life….
and all it entails …. the unspoilt friendships
formed from earthy solidness
the quiet moments
with no beginning no end
I know not how friendships form
a warm smile a kind word
a gesture where words are not spoken
nor needed…..
friendship gives me warm fuzzies
like Gran’s cooking or a snuggly rug
a knowing smile and memories for me to treasure
laughter shared, no explaination needed
some friendships are hard work
others take time to get to where they need to be
and some have been there for infinity
or so it seems…
you my sweet friend
are there amongst the Poplar trees
my click clack thoughts
swaying gently in the breeze
no date , no time no years numbered

our cuirousity for the world around us, the things we can see and those we cannot….

searching by © LisaMM

our willingness to heal and become whole again, often despite ourselves….

mirage by © Cynthia Lund Torroll
Perhaps it’s because I imagined it
for so long that when it happened it
didn’t quite register.
Or just as likely, and this part is a bit sad,
I didn’t feel that I deserved that -
didn’t feel somewhere deep to be worthy of
something that profound.
I won’t hurt myself for that. I won’t ruminate
on why. The old wounds slowly close on their own.
Just by noting them and giving them a slight layer of
light seems to help hasten them along.
But that’s not my point really, not actually my goal.
They can stay crazily. They are mostly benign,
except when noting them against this opposite force,
seeing how greatly they contrast with the thing that
I’ve most wanted and cherished. So I have to laugh out loud
really. I have to say repeat please, because I was in some sort of
ten-second delay. The old heart wouldn’t quite let my new one hear,
take in, or comprehend what I thought I had just heard. And for the record,
not that one really needs keeping, because this stretches back and beyond,
well, you know what I’d have said, and who knows, I might have actually
combusted because just hearing that ghost note, hearing that echo, which now
rings so loud and true through my whole being is almost too
incredible to bear.
Happily, almost.

the way emptiness sometimes rules us until we find something to fill it….

Empty emotions by © strawberries

and the way life and death seem to be close and part of our everyday lives…

Sex and Death by © Nancy Joan
Laughter fills the room so tears don’t
Fine jagged line dividing my balcony
Passion isn’t so far from pain
Remove the sensual, the sexual,
The orgasm and one plus one
Equals one and the same
Fourteen stories up
Enfolded in your arms
I’m standing two steps from the edge
And the ground doesn’t seem so far to fall
Stepping out of borrowed skin
Unsure of the rules of attack
Bible on hotel bedside table
And so we are back to religion
Need does not play a part in our game
Whatever it be called, a game it remains
A broomstick would suffice
But it all it comes down to how you angle the handle
Fourteen stories up
Enfolded in your arms
I’m standing two steps from the edge
And the ground doesn’t seem so far to fall
So I’m falling now
No, not falling, flying
Soaring over the valleys below
White skin with sweat filled hollows
Circling downwards ever further to
Land on the soft flesh rising below
Fourteen stories up
Enfolded in your arms
I’m standing two steps from the edge
And the ground doesn’t seem so far to fall

finally, our immense capacity for love…

LOVE by © Ingz

and for accepting what is.

What It Is by © RC deWinter
Love means many things to people,
and much of that has to do with age
and experience and the life you live.
To a child, love is security,
that warm blanket that enfolds it
when wrapped in its mother’s arms.
To a young and giggly teenage girl
it’s the thought of tangling braces
with that cute guy in science class;
to that same boy, who doesn’t yet
give a shit about real girls,
it’s the feeling he gets when he sees a hot car
or an even hotter airbrushed picture in a skin mag.
As they get older, these ideas of love will change.
The girl, now a young woman,
loves the man who brings her flowers,
who tells her she’s beautiful,
that’s she’s everything he ever wanted
without quite understanding or explaining why.
The young man sees a pretty face, a curvy body
and is convinced that only this will make him happy.
Time’s wheel rolls on, heedless of the human heart.
Some of that luster dims.
There are no more flowers;
the pretty face begins to fade
into the resignation of familiarity.
But when you’ve lived long enough,
your life shadowed by misperceptions,
disappointments and regrets,
you finally learn that flowers, youth
and pretty words mean nothing.
You know, at last, love is
a fire in the heart,
the soul,
the loins,
the mind.
You learn there should be no regard
for convenience,
or anything else
but the conviction
that your life will never be complete
without the other.

Please let the artists and writers know if you have enjoyed their work. Make someone’s day. :-)

The Cycle of Dreams - Features - 30/05/2012

This week’s collection has been inspired by

Janis Zroback © The Dreamer or the Dream.

Ask a woman her story and it is bound to be full of dreamscapes—lost ones, found ones; deferred ones, attained ones; neglected ones, nurtured ones; old, disintegrating ones, new, incubating ones… For me, as I come upon the home stretch of completing my undergraduate studies—a long deferred and discouraged dream—I cannot help but be caught up in the euphoria of finally crossing the finish line and joining the ranks of the others who have gone before me, those who prepared the way. As I assess the many dimensions of my academic experience, I am reminded of all of the dreaming that went into this endeavor. Some aspects of the dream did, in fact, remain intact in their original forms, whilst others died off, completely changed composition, or blended with other elements in order to provide new angles worthy of exploration.
Regardless of these intricacies, one thing stands out the most, that being: the invaluable support and contributions of those who rallied behind me, helping and encouraging me accomplish this lifelong dream. Whatever the stages of your dreaming processes are, just remember to dare to dream. Those who truly care about you will become your circle of invaluable support; embrace them like the lifeline that they are. When one dream dies, be ready to embrace the new one that is just around the corner. When one seems like it’s slipping out of reach, tighten up the shoelaces, take a deep breath, and push a little harder—trust me, you’ll get there. And never allow a single soul to stifle or reduce your dreams; they are yours to figure out.

The best place to begin assessing one’s dreams is to begin the search.

Searching by © LisaMM

Behold the empowerment of deep-sea exploration. Wonder what may by resting on the surface floor, or beneath that shipwreck…

Diving (poem of empowerment) by © msdebbie
I am not an especially strong
swimmer, but even so,
the ocean calls to me.
When I visit my cousin
in far north Queensland,
I always savour the reefs.
Ridiculous though I may be,
I enjoy the rubbery goodness
of a wetsuit and flippers.
Preposterous really,
how large my feet are,
how inelegantly I wobble.
The ladder from a boat
is intriguing, it lies
Until you need to
step from its rungs,
dive deep.
Deeper, deeper.
Oxygen mask
Moving from the blue blue
To the green aquamarine
To black flashes.
and yet
In the ocean
I do not fear sharks,
But myself.
I might explore
a shipwreck,
hidden treasure.
Or find the emptiness
of myself, wishing
I was a mermaid.
This is the place.
Water soothes me,
inflates my soul.
For though I am
largely earth-mother,
I want to explore.
The fish, the coral,
immerse myself
in the wreck.
I am complete.
There are no words.
Drowned eyes wide open.
I breathe differently,

Take time to reflect and assess those dreams; don’t worry; you’re worth the investment of time.

Time for Reflection Xxx by © lovemexxx

Weave a web of protection, if you must, keeping the nightmares out, while allowing the dreams to find their way through.

Dream catcher by © Dorina Costras

For when you simply desire most to reclaim the dreams that managed to get caught up in the attic corner cobwebs…

shadow dreaming by © autumnwind
every day the drab and gray
pierce me
with a sun blinding sword
meant for its mark
my days
the build up
of droplets on my windows
my view
an insidious blur
wishing to scrape away
what is not even there
I crave any sight
I long for the end of numb
mindless repetition
filling me with dread
of no spark
it’s good to feel selfish
I am the prairie girl
the mermaid
and the astronaut
the crisp apple’s bite
and smell of my lover’s sweater
in autumn
I am nothing
without freshly fallen snow
kissing my face red
in biting winter cold
wake me up

though I am hushed
by butterflies
dragonflies and flowery
blue sky moments
I suffer spring and summer
where I do not belong
icicle dreams melt
my running free barefoot spirit
truth is
my destiny is storm
my vitality
the howling wind
threatening dark
I crave a life I lost somewhere
energize me
let lightening strike
this simple rain
is killing me

Although each dream is beloved, knowing when to let go of one in order to make room for another is a necessary step.

Goodbye by © Marg Thompson Photography & Fine Art

Just as the cycles of life are never-ending, so too are the cycles of dreams.

rebirth by © helene ruiz

Build a place of safekeeping, where your dreams can endure the elements before their time of bloom.

Nest by © WhickedlyLovely

Don’t shy away from a new vision, even if, in its newness and loose form, it is difficult to call by name.

Sin título by © Barbara Bezina

Dare to weave the dreams that are sure to lead somewhere.

Not ready yet by © Vesna VD
It’s almost noon
I am not ready yet
Today the Sun came out too soon
I am weaving the dreams
They are leading somewhere
At least, it seems
You can’t stop your rotation
But in the stillness I see all the possibilities
I am swirled in the quiet fascination
I am not ready yet
Sorry, I’ll be late
Maybe I’ll meet you at Sunset

 If your dream is simply to fly, find a way to step into the clouds.

To Fly by © Kanchan Mahon

All That I Am - Features 23/05/2012

“This vast life – the real, interior one in which we remain linked to the dead (because the dream inside us ignores trivialities like breath, or absence) – this vast life is not under our control. Everything we have seen and everyone we have known goes into us and constitutes us, whether we like it or not. We are linked together in a pattern we cannot see and whose effects we cannot know.”
Anna Funder, All That I Am

The features this week take a look of what we are. We are wives, lovers, daughters, friends and mothers. We work, we play, we live and love. We are artists and writers, creative beings. We are women, connected to each other through those invisible bonds of shared experiences and understandings.

All the art featured here celebrates the many different aspects of completeness. All have been chosen because of their impact and because each one has a powerful description which adds to our collective understanding of each other. The images and poems cover different aspects of our lives, including creativity, hardship, disability, roles and relationships.
Congratulations to you all.

Melanie so beautifully captures the essence of living life, celebrating all that we are.

“The ball: the emotion, the fear, the cry, the quiescent convivial inner-self, the languished persona, the eccentricity, the nonconforming introverted flame, the indefinite anguish, the definitive mind, the wholesomeness, the star, the me..
The bat: the drive, the force, the immutable thought, the urge, the passion, the colourful jaunt, the reach, the taunt, the flight and the fight, the transient mask, the introspective cachet.”

Melanie Collette

THWACK: Interpreting self © by Melanie Collette

Jenifer writes with passion, power and integrity, here exploring the feeling of not being connected to one another with all the ensuing emptiness that this brings.

Dusted Darkness © by Jenifer DeBellis
In this moment, society’s isolation strikes
me. I am alone, like a bird
peppered from its flock in flight, now
dropped ashore to forever wander aimlessly.
At the center of life is a vacant
chamber, an attic space.
A place of neglected and abandoned
things. A place of forgotten
effects, yet ones that can never be removed.
So strange are the sights
one’s eyes behold
once they’ve acclimated to the darkness.
The way the shadows shuffle
in order to stay warm,
in order to regulate circulation.
So strange are the sounds in
a moment, isolated.
Even the stillness can be detected
creeping along the loose floorboards.
Still, the moment itself
is audible as its wings brush
against a cracked opening
before it escapes its captivity.
In the quiet calm,
the earth grumbles—a buried murmur.
Discernment washes over
the world. It baptizes
without discrimination, illuminates
everything as lightning does the landscape
with a single flash.
Yet the darkness settles
in again (true to its nature), a light
dusting that builds
with time and with minimal
notice. And as countless
as the grains of sand are that cover
the continent, so too is
this dusted darkness that
pushes against my human grain,
reminding me that I do not belong.

Tammera touches our hearts with her words and an image which belies the pain and impact of disability.

“On a scale of one to ten, I am seeing things half full.
Even when there are times I am stuck at 5,
I endeavor to strive…
To see all things in a plus not a minus way.
Given the disabilities I have, many are suprised
But if you let it get you down too long
The big sink sets in …and then
Which is just a big spriraling downward
And an empty pit, and giving in to it
Can kill in a most realistic way”

1-10 HALF FULL © by Tammera

Su2anne writes with wit and empathy, encouraging us to realise the importance of that ‘good house of self.’

The good house of self © by su2anne
Perfection invited
Kill Joy to
They ganged up and
Let loose
Envy and
Fear. Room by
Room all Good
Was emptied and
All that was left were the
Cohorts of
Misery and
So it was
Surprise who had to
Come knocking…
Curiosity and
Loneliness came next.
Until there was a huge party
Beheld! Bliss and
Reason were unconcerned for
Excitement and
Trust had taken
Remorse and dread
Left with their
Tails firmly tucked
Between their legs and the
Others scurrying behind…
And so it was the Good
House of Self stood
Unsupported and
Joy returned to

Creativity, with all its enervating energy is displayed here by Jaeda. Her description of the creative process and its impact on our collective consciousness touches my heart.

“Creating is one of the most healing and anxiety-reducing activities, for me. When i am in the creative realm, everything else disappears… darkness can be transformed into light, pain has a positive purpose. The creative realm is a safe harbor for my deepest emotions.
I share this picture as a way to celebrate my friends, fellow creatives, love and the divine. Each of you is a fabulously unique thread, woven into the beautiful fabric of our collective consciousness.”
Jaeda DeWalt

Inner Illumination – Self Portrait © by Jaeda DeWalt

Cynthia reminds us that we can withstand emotional winters, and yet still burst through in Spring, with renewed energy and growth.

floret © by Cynthia Lund Torroll
You withstood
many months of ice,
many days of rain,
the pecking of birds,
and a dark without name.
I was clearing away brush.
I was trying to move mud
when a tiny hint of green
shown through.
Ah – you – astonishing you…

Cassandra shows the inner beauty of a woman, her words and image connect with us all.

“At seven months pregnant, few women truly feel beautiful, but this girl struggled more than most… I offered to do this shoot as a baby gift to her, and she told me that showing her the beauty in this would be the best gift I could give…
She saw it, finally truly saw it. the magic, the beauty, the allure of carrying a child… To me, she is a goddess.”

Beauty Concealed © by CassandraOfTroy

I love the poetry of msdebbie as it always makes me think more deeply. In this insightful poem she urges to just let go, and allow self acceptance to have its place.

Battlefield © by msdebbie
I no longer believe love is a battlefield. Rather,
I regard my defective body in that manner.
Adolescence, I raged against the inconstancy,
the inconvenience of irregular menstruation.
I did not embrace my body; I felt too-much,
womanly curves an awkward impediment.
I was stuck, in the mud of myself, like
quicksand, soft and yielding easily to pressure.
In my 20s, I did not notice the depth of my despair,
how much I wanted options and freedom of choice.
The ability to decide, for myself, if I would have
or have not a husband, children, the whole shebang.
These were the reasons I agreed to multiple surgeries,
largely unaware of hidden self-loathing and desire.
In my 30s, I gained no more appreciation of
endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
The medical treatments seem a fairytale,
a Grimm one, like the girl with no hands.
Such poking, prodding and laser precision,
yet I felt beside myself, untethered, unhinged.
I often felt dismembered, rage-red over
bulging blue-veins and stretch marks.
Terrible tendrils over a stomach bursting with
its body’s betrayal, unable to contain the chaos.
Until I found my love, my one, who treasures me,
not as a consolation prize, but with all my flaws.
No longer do I feel a mourning song in my bones,
because true love lengthens my spine, raises my head.
Together, we face the future with a clear-eyed focus.
Even if dragons, ravens, snakes and wolves interfere…
I can calmly retort to any predators
Our love is not a battlefield.
With healing hope I have a new mantra
My body is not a battlefield.
The battle for us all, is to look within and find
ourselves, home, comfortable in our skin.
This journey has taken me from the battlefield
to somewhere euphoric and real.
It is how a woman can shape-change,
whether petite or large, to chase her dreams.
Finding courage, just like in fairytale books,
and choosing character, rather than good looks.
Such searches can seem like a battlefield,
fighting crones, lunatics, or royalty.
There is just one more battle I perceive, it is in
the letting go, acceptance, I am happy to be me.

An image with impact by Linda, reminding us of those women who have to overcome adversity and hardship just to survive. Here we see a strength and courage, with the image touching chords within about our need to find such strength in times of adversity.

“This young girl was a stand out beauty in a classroom of children ranging in age from 7 to 18. I was continually impressed at the beauty of these people who often live on the ragged edge of existence. This school was near Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya.
The circular or semicircular scars seen on the cheeks of many of the children and adults in this region were put there as permanent proof that they had been treated against the river blindness disease, bilharzia.”
Linda Sparks

Maasai school girl © by Linda Sparks

Sometimes it takes so much energy to accept ourselves as we are. Vesna VD urges to to pause, reflect and then pluck up the courage to do so.

Not ready yet © by Vesna VD
It’s almost noon
I am not ready yet
Today the Sun came out too soon
I am weaving the dreams
They are leading somewhere
At least, it seems
You can’t stop your rotation
But in the stillness I see all the possibilities
I am swirled in the quiet fascination
I am not ready yet
Sorry, I’ll be late
Maybe I’ll meet you at Sunset

Ariana so powerfully expresses those needs that drive our very being.

“Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.” Ariana 1985

Three passions © by ARIANA1985

The haunting image by Marge, together with her moving words, bring tingles to my skin. It makes me pause, reflect and reconsider much of the past and the need to let go and move forward.

“Saying goodbye is never easy.
Especially to someone you have loved for a long time and for whom friendship and support, trust and respect come after time and trial. You grow into people and then, when they leave your life, you find it hard to let them go. They become part of your heart, no matter how you try to forget. They become a memory. Their love however, becomes part of you.
I’m trying to let go of the memories as well as the loss. Because memories become distorted with time and the re-telling of what was. Memories can lie and deceive. Memories of what was are not as important as what is. The love remains, no matter what.
Am I choosing to let go of the past or am I reaching for the present moment and all that it holds?

I’m not sure yet." Marge Thompson

Goodbye © by Marg Thomson Photography & Fine Art

Each of these wonderful images and poems has caused me to think differently about many things. I thank you all.