Speaking My Truth: About What, From Where

About What, From Where

I’m only here for a short while.
It’s such a lucky accident for me,
having been born,
and so I feel obliged
to pay attention.
I may be part of the only part of the universe
that’s self-conscious.
I could even be part of the universe’s form of consciousness.
I might have come along so that the universe could look at itself.
I don’t know that,
but I’m made of the same stuff
as stars
or things float around in space.
But I’m combined in such a way
that I can describe what it’s like to be alive,
to be a witness.
Most of my experience is being a witness.
I see and hear and smell
other things.
Being alive, for me,
 is responding.
While writing,
 I lose my sense of time,
I’m completely enraptured,
I’m completely caught up
in what I’m doing,
swayed by the possibilities I see.
 When that becomes too powerful,
I have to get up and walk around
because the excitement is too great.
I can’t continue to work
or continue to see the end of the work
when  I jump ahead of myself.
In writing,
 I’m so saturated with it
that there’s no future or past,
just an extended present
in which I’m making meaning,
dismantling meaning,
and remaking meaning.
For me,
writing is not just essential communication,
daily communication;
it’s a total communication.
When I’m working on something
and it’s going well,
I have the feeling
that there’s no better way of saying what I’m saying.
The themes of my poems emerge in the writing,
as one word suggests another,
one image calls another into being.
One of the amazing things
about what I do
is I don’t know when I’m going to be hit with an idea,
I don’t know where it comes from.
 I see something in a phrase,
or even in a word,
that allows me to change it
or improve what was there before.
I have no idea where things come from.
It’s a great mystery to me,
but then many things are.
I don’t know why I’m me,
I don’t know why I do the things I do.
I don’t even know if my writing is a way of figuring it out.
I learn more about myself the more I write,
but that’s not the purpose of my writing.
I don’t write to find out more about myself.
I write because . . .
I’m always thinking in the back of my mind,
there’s something always going on back there.
I am always writing,
even if it’s sort of unconsciously,
even though I’m doing other things,
somewhere in the back of my mind
I’m writing, mulling over.
And another part of my mind
is previewing what I’m going to write.
I move between critical self-assessment
and a relaxed, receptive, nonjudgmental openness
to experience.
My attention coils and uncoils,
 its focus sharpens and softens,
like the beat of my heart.
It is out of a dynamic change of perspective
that a good new work arises.
Without openness I would likely miss
the significance of an experience.
But once the experience registers
 in my consciousness,
I try to transform it into a vivid verbal image
that communicates its essence to the reader.
I do not take myself too seriously.
But that does not mean that I take my writing lightly;
my view of my poetry is as serious as any.
My writing grows out of my mortality:
Birth, grief, love, joy, and death are the stalks
onto which my verse is grafted.
To say anything new
about these eternal themes
I do a lot of watching,
a lot of reading,
a lot of thinking.
I just try to pay attention
to the textures and rhythms of life,
being receptive to the multifaceted, constantly changing
yet ever recurring stream
of my experiences.
The secret of writing something worthwhile
is to be patient.
If I react too quickly,
it is likely that my reaction will be superficial,
a cliché.
And so,
I strive to
keep my eyes, ears, heart open,
and my mouth shut for as long as possible,
not always successfully.

Source: Speaking My Truth: About What, From Where

John Chuchman, a graduate of John Carroll University has been a Hospice volunteer since 1990. He has received Pastoral Bereavement Counselor certification and a Certificate in Spirituality. In 2000, he was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Ministries from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. In July, 2010, John was ordained by the Catholic Diocese of One Spirit. John shares his story, his experiences, his wisdom-discoveries in a series of workshops, seminars, and weekend retreats with his Sacred Quest Team, more and more centered on Spiritual Growth. John has spoken at a number of state, national, and international conferences and has written a number of books (16) on his life experiences, grief and caregiving, spiritual discoveries, and frustrations with institutional church. He has been published in Spirituality magazine and his article Forgiveness: A Key to Grief Healing has been published in Healing Ministry magazine. His books can be ordered directly from John or Amazon.com. His website, Sacred Quest, is http://www.sacredtorch.com. Some of John’s writings can be viewed on http://apoetman.blogspot.com. His books are available on KINDLE.
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