Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Name Poetry

"A name should be taken as an act of liberation, of celebration, of intention. A name should be a magical invocation to the muse. A name should be a self-blessing."

--Erica Jong, Fear of Fifty
There's a book that's been on my shelf since grad school and it's called Poem Crazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. I love Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge's book of wild and crazy poetry prompts, and I wanted to share an exercise from her chapter called "Our Real Names."

Wooldridge asks us to name ourselves and to explore who we were, who we are now, and who we see ourselves becoming. She encourages us to be open to strange and interesting words and images (and combinations of images). In one example, one of her students called himself "tossing helium dream." Another called herself "hot-hipped black woman" and "seaweed."

Here is my attempt at the exercise:

My name was once Onion Skin.
I left sheer sheath flakes between the leaves

of books and in wrinkled flannel sheets,
sweaty marks on the palms of your hands.

Today people call me
keeper of spirals and light.
I make no sound and leave small traces
of silver dust.

* * * * *

What are your names?
Use one or two of these starters to write your poem:

my real name is...

yesterday my name was...

tomorrow my name will be...

secretly I know my name is...

my name once was...

Feel free to post your poem here. Have fun!

Art piece above by Courtney E. Putnam: "Offering," mixed media collage

Monday, January 28, 2008

Intentional Desires

Abundance [n.]: a great or plentiful amount; fullness to overflowing.

Intention [n.]: an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result;
the end or object intended; purpose.

Desire [v.]: to wish or long for; want; to express a wish for; request.

I had the opportunity to host my second Abundance Box Workshop this past Sunday. Lucky me! Six creative women shared their desires and wishes, explored their relationship to abundance, and set positive intentions for manifesting their dreams. They glued and stapled and painted and collaged and glittered. Their boxes were beautiful and filled with specific intentions for various aspects of their lives.

During the box-decorating portion of the workshop, I noticed a collective creative energy filling the room, and this energy reminded me of a passage I read recently from Sarah Susanka's book The Not So Big Life: Making Room for What Really Matters:

"If we're struggling, thinking too hard, and worried about getting something done before our next meeting, our creativity is limited and derivative. But when we're attuned to the vitality of the moment, everything is informed by the creativity of that moment. It's not something we possess or master; it's something that we are. There's no separation between creativity and you. That's why the vibrancy of another person's creative act can inspire our own. It's the state in which the object was made that is contagious."

Thank you, dear participants, for inspiring me with your openness, curiosity, and vibrant acts of creativity.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Winter Special: Healing Sunlight

Healing Sunlight Two-Hour Special

full-spectrum light therapy • foot spa • hot tea
infrared light • acupressure treatment • massage

This winter, imagine feeling warmed to the bone. Think summer, sunlight, and soothing warmth.

This two-hour session begins with thirty minutes of full-spectrum light therapy, a citrus foot spa—complete with two jet settings and continuous heat—and a soothing cup of tea. Full-spectrum light therapy is thought to considerably alleviate S.A.D. symptoms, helping you to experience a “mood lift,” to feel more energetic, and to sleep better by stabilizing the melatonin and serotonin levels in your brain.

After this quiet time, you will bask in the deep heat and healing properties of infrared light. Because infrared light is more penetrating than visible light, it is an excellent source of heat for the body without the negative side effects of the sun. There are no UV rays in infrared light; instead, this soothing red-colored light simulates the sun’s radiant heat, warming muscle tissue, easing joint stiffness, and calming the central nervous system.

While absorbing infrared light, you will receive an acupressure treatment. Pressure to points along your energy meridians may reduce muscle tension, headaches, and muscle tension, preparing the body for what comes next in this two hour special: an integrative massage to fit your needs.

Consider giving yourself or a loved one the gift of sunshine this winter!

Gift certificates available.

Cost: $100.

Call or email to make your "Healing Sunlight" appointment: (206) 228-9124 or

Art piece by Courtney E. Putnam, from mixed media collage "Amor del Sol."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Shaking Your Groove Thing

This winter, I feel like Ms. Hibernation. I am a mama bear storing up my reserves so come spring I will embrace my new and enlivened energy, bask in creative bursts of inspiration, and experience the productivity sprouting from me like new spring tulips. That is what I envision when I curl up with my fleece blanket and take another nap. The second nap of the day. After having slept in until 9:30am. Boy do I have it rough.

During my dreamy nappy times, I also see myself walking and running through hiking trails lined with green and blooming things and playing frisbee at Volunteer Park. In all, I see myself in motion. I will give myself some credit, though. I've been walking around Greenlake on soggy, gray days. I've been taking long walks to do my errands, avoiding getting in my car as much as possible. And I've been doing quite well with doing morning stretches and strengthening exercises (when I don't sleep in, that is).

But what can be done on our rainy days? Not those spittle-drizzle days, but those blustery, full-force rainy days? As much as I try to coax myself into putting on rain gear for a nice, spritely walk, I often end up declining the voice that sounds like a P.E. instructor. When I hear this voice say, "Putnam, you can do it! Get on out there!" I usually listen...except on heavy, soggy, gray days.

A few weeks ago I actually really wanted to move--I wanted to get my heart rate up and exert some pent up energy. But it was raining. Hard. Even when I tried to let my cats out, they simultaneously recoiled at the door and backed up into the house. Exactly, I said to them. That's how I feel, too.

So, what did I do with this impulse to move? What could I do? The answer came to me like a flash of a sequin tube top at a disco: Dance!

I realized that I hadn't danced in a while. I used to dance regularly in my own living room, shaking out any residual stress of my day. Why did this practice disappear? I'm not sure, but I was hopeful to bring it back. So for twenty minutes straight I danced to the deliciously funky grooves of K.C. and the Sunshine Band. I let myself feel a bit embarrassed during the first few minutes, and I then I really let loose. It truly felt like I engaged every part of my body as I bounced up and down to "Sound that Funky Horn" and shimmied to "Shake Your Groove Thing." I tell you, the next day I was sore. In a good "I've been active" kind of way. And I felt a bit more light and energetic afterwards, and a bit less lethargic. For only twenty minutes on a cold, gray day I created my own little slice of sunshine for myself. I may have taken a nap later that day. Or two. But by dancing I seemed to awaken a playful, groovy side to myself that had been a bit dormant.

Might you have some groovy tunes that inspire some dancing? If you are feeling a bit sluggish on one of our wintery gray days here in Seattle, I highly recommend that you try shaking your groove thing. Try this on your own (or in from of a mirror if you're feeling uninhibited) or enlist a friend to join you. I tell you, dancing is good, good medicine.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Chakra Quiz

I'm quite fond of taking self-awareness quizzes, and I've found one online that I'd like to share with you. This quiz helps you identify which of your seven chakras may need a bit more attention. While this quiz is by no means scientific, I find it helpful to reflect on the questions, answer them honestly, and identify where I may need to focus some more of my energy.

The results of my quiz revealed my Root and Solar Plexus/Navel Chakras to be under-active. Ah yes, I can see how this is so for me right now.

To learn more about your chakras, feel free to visit the
Eclectic Energies website to take the quiz!

Have fun!