The Sanctuary Project

“Every little thing is gonna be alright.” – Bob Marley

 

I recently spent several months with my iPhone camera amassing footage of my posing a simple question to people I encountered.  Some friends, some strangers.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I would find on this little journey, but I knew it could only be inspiring.  The desire to do this came upon me long before situations in my personal life became unexpectedly dire, and suddenly the project went from being fun to urgent.  Add to that a concerning world landscape presently in our midst, and there blossomed this resonant anchor to the question of where we go for our sense of sanctuary.

Take a look at some of the answers I was blessed to witness, and then take a moment, or several, to think about your own.  Never has there been a more crucial time to turn inward and build practices or rituals that help to assuage suffering.

Featuring a beautiful musical underscoring by my dear friend & composer Chris Hardin, and a diverse group of individuals (from a prison inmate to a Buddhist monk) bravely willing to open their hearts and share.  I invite you to enjoy The Sanctuary Project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Carole Brown is a published author, a recipient of the Heritage Magazine Award in poetry, and has produced several albums as a singer/songwriter, and a yoga/mindfulness CD. Bindi Girl Chronicles is her writing blog.   Follow her on INSTAGRAM & YOUTUBE.

 

Advertisements

Our Senses Whispering . . . Or Is It the Dead? (A Year-End Thought)

angel-statue

Certain laws of the universe just seem to never fail:

That if we’re looking for something we’ll never find it;

then suddenly when all effort is abandoned, there it is.

The guarantee that if the appointment is conveniently close to home,

we WILL be late to it.

And the absolute assurance, when someone we love dies, that themes of living, truly living,

not just sleepwalking,

are suddenly as loud as sirens.

 

They say to be devil-may-care when you’re young, and cautious when you’re older,

but I have begun to maintain the exact opposite.

Young is when you should organize and plan,

so that effective longevity stands a greater chance.

It’s when you’re older, and with fewer days ahead than behind,

that the attitude of “what do I have to lose?” makes more sense.

The older I get, the bolder I get.

It didn’t used to be that way.

I used to grow increasingly conservative as the years went by

and the hairs on my head began to lose their color.

A little more cautious,

a little more nervous,

the sense of consequences ever larger and clanging in my head.

But in this past year, a shift of some sort has happened.

And, yes, I am indeed growing more into the “what do I have to lose?” category.

 

I believe the reason is that a personal record number of people in my life passed on this year,

and the sheer volume of it has dizzied me.

And perhaps with how untimely so many of them have been,

I’m simply being nudged to move with more deliberateness in my gait.

Because, after all, tomorrow could be my last,

as it was (too young!) for so many I knew.

And then what would’ve been the point in my hesitation?

 

This isn’t a gloomy thought.

On the contrary; it is fresh with hope.

Ripe and rife with possibility.

Inspiration to be gleaned from the seeming senselessness of death.

It IS senseless, that death,

unless we, the ones left behind in life, choose,

through it and because of it,

to be awakened.

 

“Be nobody’s darling:
Be an outcast;

Be pleased to walk alone
(Uncool)
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous
Fools . . .
Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.”
― Alice Walker

 

“And when great souls die, after a period peace blooms, slowly and always irregularly.
Spaces fill with a kind of soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed.  They existed.  We can be.  Be and be better.  For they existed.”
― Maya Angelou

 

We are not born only once,

but many times over, when someone dies,

to a better level of ourselves,

climbing studied rung by studied rung,

to reach a self worthy of that death.

 

. . . At least we should be.

 

The Scottish song Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns

translates roughly to “times gone by,”

and was originally a commemoration song about loved ones past,

and never letting them be forgotten.

According to modern legend, Guy Lombardo popularized the song

when his band used it as a segue between two radio programs

during a live performance on New Year’s Eve in 1929.

Purely by coincidence, the song happened to play just as the clock struck midnight,

and a New Year’s tradition was born.

 

2014 was a rough year by just about all accounts of everyone I know,

and much of it had to do with death, for some cosmic reason.

So, as long as we’ve had to endure it,

it might as well not be in vain.

 

That’s up to us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Carole Brown is the author of three published books, The Assassination of Gabriel Champion, The Kidney Journals: Memoirs of a Desperate Lifesaver, and Trading Fours, is a recipient of the Heritage/Soulword Magazine Award in poetry, and has produced several albums of music and a yoga/mindfulness CD.   Bindi Girl Chronicles is her writing blog.   Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube.

I Discover Treasures

CrosswalkBox

 

Newborn pups suckling from their mother
who is wary of the stranger stopping to take it all in.
As well she should be for her protection of her young is a wonderful thing to behold.

A lone bloom in a garden full of yet-grown flowers.

A couple on a street corner holding hands and kissing.
Perhaps a little too intimate for public view.
So deliciously meretricious.

A crosswalk box so layered in endless encounters with midnight taggers and their spray paint cans
that it has transcended its civic role and become art.

A fledgling on the pavement before me
whose little life has been lost from falling out of the nest too soon.
The scurrying ants upon it.

The windshield glass in the street shattered into snow and the splats of red upon it.
The ubiquitous yellow tape.
Remnants of a city tragedy that are merely an inevitable part in the tapestry.

A sky that radiates a marbled canvas of unspeakable magnificence.
Or the rolling dark angry eyes of a tempest creeping.

The tiniest thing is mine.

All mine.

To love.

To cherish.

To covet.

To reflect upon.

To mourn.

Perhaps a moment of silence and a bowed head.

Just another day on my morning walk.   A meditation.

Until it is someone else’s turn for a captivating discovery.

And then to be able to let it go.

To appreciate its impermanence.

To move on to the next wonder.

The next brush.

The next audacious interception with life in all of its astonishment.

I once opened a fortune cookie to a fortune that was meant for me:
You discover treasures where others see nothing unusual.

 

I DO discover treasures where others see nothing unusual.

It is my proudest trick.

I also brazenly plagiarize fortune cookies.

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Carole Brown is the author of three published books, The Assassination of Gabriel Champion, The Kidney Journals: Memoirs of a Desperate Lifesaver, and Trading Fours, and has produced several albums of music and a yoga/mindfulness CD.   Bindi Girl Chronicles is her writing blog.   Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & YouTube.