My Words of Love.

poemcatherine3

We all need to be heard…

I was contemplating this need after a conversation that I had with a dear friend. I had shared a poem with him and he explained that it caused deep feelings to well from the depths his heart. He was sad and told me that he felt like crying. This was the exact feeling that I had experienced upon reading the very same poem that I had sent to him.

The more that I thought about our exchange, the more I came to believe that I am at my most vulnerable with my writing when I am creating poetry. Somehow, this form of writing opens up the gates to my heart more than with any other type of writing is able to do.

I also feel that poems, when read or heard, dig a little deeper into our souls than any other form of written medium.

Further, I realized that when you have a very good friend, you can’t always hold back information that touches your own heart in an effort to spare their heart. We are on this earth to laugh and cry together.

The following poem was inspired by the above conversation with my friend. I was also inspired by another beautiful friend’s vision of how poetry (writing, reading, and sharing) frees our souls and touches all of us so deeply as every ‘Journey of the Heart’ inevitably does. Continue reading

Contemplating the Arts.

image

“From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love this quote. It speaks to what I believe deep inside my heart and soul. When I think of the light that shines through us, I think of myself, my children, and about all of the people I know and even those I don’t know or haven’t met yet.

When I apply this idea to the arts, magical light starts shining from within me. And I begin to think of others—how glorious would it be if more people let their light shine upon a painting, photo, song or poem?

I also think of our future—the children in this world. Will they grow to appreciate and let their light shine upon various types of art?

With so many of the arts being taken out of school curricula, my hope is that the next generation will learn either through self discovery or gentle guidance from their parents. And my true wish is that they will learn to do this mindfully.

When I was a child, art was something that I could escape to, and oh how wonderful it was! It made me feel every emotion I never knew I had.

image

I grew a deep love for the arts at an early age, as I enjoyed the many paintings that we had hanging on our walls, and I was profoundly mesmerized by the photography and art books in our home.

In particular, I spent hours studying a photography exhibit made into a book called, The Family of Man. This book showcased photos of various people from all the world over. I would stay blissfully fascinated for hours at a time looking through those photos. They chronicled people from birth to death—in war, happiness, fear, serenity and all that fell in between.

I studied those photos so much that I became those people in my mind, noticing every detail of their facial expressions, contact that they had with the land, objects or people among them. I was entranced, and I still often retreat to this cherished book.

Many people neglect to take their children to museums these days. Or if they do, many simply walk through the exhibits without talking about what emotional response the artwork brings, or taking enough time to absorb any one piece—and many families don’t even display more than a poster or two up in their homes or own a book presenting an artist’s work.

This breaks my heart, and so—I decided to host an art appreciation lesson for my daughter’s first grade class.

I brought five paintings that I owned and shared one after the other with the students. I saved a special one for the end. It is one of my favorite paintings, entitled “Laura’s Gardenia” that was painted by my good friend from a photo that was taken of a gardenia on my patio by my step-father.

b0ebc000f0bc5446021327698b7a03a120afd3a8 (2)

As the kids sat around me in a semicircle on the floor, I revealed this last special painting and asked, “What color is this flower?”

Each child knew the answer immediately and all of their hands flew up at once—I called on the first little boy who eagerly raised his hand. “It’s white!” he exclaimed. I then asked him to look closer and see if he could find any other colors in the flower. “Oh, now I see some yellow”, he replied.

This led to a beautiful time of meditative self discovery with the class of children. Just as I had done on my own many times before, we became lost in the painting and its never-ending details.

We explored the warm peaches and gentle yellows in the center of the flower. We discovered the gentle folds of the petals that caused shadows to fall in cool grays and blues upon the blossom. There were hidden hues of purple along the petal’s wavy curves. We followed the edges of the leaves and petals and marveled in their splendid windings. We talked about how the different colors and features made us feel and about which of our senses was stirred when we looked carefully and long enough.

There was appreciation for being able to quiet ourselves enough to see all of the different facets of the flower.

We even noticed the light being emitted from the painting. Each brushstroke was intentional and we were grateful for this. We also contemplated being grateful for the details that we couldn’t find that day.

I was very moved by the time I spent with the children on that special day. I could see their lights shining upon the painting and was awash with joy. We each found a place in our hearts that rang true when we became collectively awarethat day— our light, and the light that shined through us was burning bright like a beacon on a foggy day.

I believe that we can all become more thoughtful through appreciation of the arts, and it is bound to rub off in other areas of our lives because oftentimes, a little awareness can magically lead to more.

We can meditate on a poem or a painting. We can see the aspects of the arts that stir our senses. We can uncover what those senses and feelings are if we just let our light shine through us long enough to notice the details that surround us.

We might even find all of the colors of a beautiful sunset in a single white flower that awakens more than only one of our senses.

The following is a poem that I was inspired to write based upon the beautiful painting that I wrote of above.

The Gardenia

Smell its sultry perfume
Sweet and thick

Begging a glance
It can not be helped

Beauty understated
White, with highlights

Craving attention
It wants to please

Look at Me!

Ahhh . . .
Adoration
Petals pleasing to the eyes

By, Laura Kutney

Photos of paintings by Diana Pace. You can find more of her gorgeous work here.

10 Ways to be Sensual without being Sexual.

image

“Sensual pleasures are like soap bubbles, sparkling, effervescent. The pleasures of intellect are calm, beautiful, sublime, ever enduring and climbing upward to the borders of the unseen world.” – John H. Aughey

I have been struggling with the possibly of writing about sex and I just can’t go there.

I have teen children and a husband who is a very private person, and whom I respect greatly. And, I am also very private about this part of my life as well.

So, I have decided to write about some of the expressions of love that make me feel really close to my husband (and even some that apply to friends and family), which have nothing at all to do with sex. And believe me when I say that I feel that these sensual experiences are what almost every woman (and possibly man) secretly or not-so secretly desire and need in a relationship much more than sex at times.

So here they are: 10 Approaches to Sensuality without Sexuality:

  1. Being Private about One’s Sex Life.

No one wants intimate details of their sex life spread around in rumor fashion—be it oral, written, or through any other method. My husband and I have in this part of our relationship. It is no one else’s business!

  1. Snuggling

Who doesn’t love a great snuggle session? I know I do!  Sometimes it is just holding one another and other times it is when we are merely watching television and I have my head on his lap.

I think this may just be one of the most important signs of true love.

I am not judging anyone who has had one, but people who are after a one night stand or are in a relationship with you for reasons other than love are probably not going to hold you all night.

  1. Having My Hair Brushed or Played with.

I love it when my husband plays with my hair with his hands or a uses a brush on it. This is something that makes me feel so good and relaxes me down to the core of my being.

  1. Getting Tickles.

By this I do not mean torturous, hold-me-down tickles—I hate those! By this I mean being nice to me by lightly touching my face, back, arms, or hands.

Often my husband does this if I can’t fall asleep and it works every time even though I say it won’t. Guess he must know me better than I know myself in some ways.

To be truthful, I have always traded tickles with good friends and my sister too! When we were young, we even went so far as to use a timer to trade off whose turn it was!

  1. Holding Hands.

This seemingly little display of affection can go a long way. If we are taking a walk, watching a movie, eating out, or simply sitting on the couch this can be so comforting to me. I feel attached to my love in a way that I am okay with in public. (Like I said, we are private people.)

I’ll never forget holding hands on my husband-to-be parent’s couch and his father asking if my hands were cold. Of course I told him that they were freezing, and I think he got a kick out of my answer and respected me a little more that day that I stood up to him!

  1. Kissing.

Who could leave out kissing? A short hello or goodbye kiss or a longer one that might just lead to something more. Kissing is an art form all in itself. A kiss with a slow build up or just a small kiss that leaves you wanting more. And about this, I will say no more, as I promised I was not going to talk about sex. Instead, I offer this quote and leave it to your imagination:

Kissing is like drinking salted water. You drink, and your thirst increases. – Chinese Proverb

  1. Direct Eye Contact.

Eye contact is something that most of us know about but the effects are hard to put into words. There is nothing more appealing than seeing the person you love looking directly into your eyes while you talk with one another or just be.

This tells me that the other person has a vested interest in what I am saying and is really listening to me or being there for me. At times, it makes me feel that they are drinking in my soul through looking into my eyes.

  1. Love Letters.

Okay, my husband admittedly once gave me a birthday card that had a monkey on the front with a firecracker in its butt that said, “Have a blast on your birthday.” I will never forget that awful card and neither will he! I think I even cried when I opened it. Let’s just say that it never happened again.

In my opinion, a much better option than sending an e-card or letting Hallmark say what you are thinking is to buy a blank card and to write your own words in it. Better yet—make a card!

I can’t tell you how special it makes me feel to see actual hand writing inside of a card these days. I have saved every written letter and card that I have received since I was seven years-old. Seriously—it means that much to me!

  1. Being there for Me When I Need Someone to Listen.

I know what they say about men being able to tolerate fewer words per day than women, but talking is such a turn on—somebody who cares about my thoughts, dreams, hopes, problems, and desires. Yep—this is a biggie for me as well.

When we are in a relationship, shouldn’t we all be able to speak candidly to the person who we are choosing to spend much (or most) of our time with? I would think so.

This one works in another way too. Sometimes, I just need a hug or someone to hold me and no words need to be exchanged to understand where they are coming from. Hopefully, your partner just ‘gets’ you in this way.

  1. Telling the Truth.

“The profoundest of all sensualities is the sense of truth and the next deepest sensual experience is the sense of justice.” ~ D.H. Lawrence

You would think this would be obvious, but it unfortunately doesn’t always work out that way for everyone at all times. Everyone deserves the truth and owes it to their mate to tell the truth.

There is nothing more disheartening than finding out that someone has lied to you. Don’t be that person. Enough said.

Finally, I want to leave you with this thoughtful quote that really sums all of the above up:

“Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep…wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends, who thinks you’re just as pretty without makeup on. One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky his is to have you….The one who turns to his friends and says, ‘that’s her.’” – Chuck Palahniuk

The Birds & the Bees Like You Have Never Seen Them!

image

“My profession is to always find God in nature.” – Henry David Thoreau

This glorious brief film by Hans Meir Buijtendorp moved my heart immeasurably.

There is nothing grander than being in tune with nature and I delighted in every graceful hummingbird’s twirl, bee’s interaction and flower’s bloom.

There are so few words to describe this beautifully done short film. I hope your soul will be moved as much as mine was.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

Photos: Still shots from video.

Transformation & Butterflies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“How does one become a butterfly?” she asked pensively.

Orange Butterfly: “You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.” – Trina Paulus

When I received a phone call telling me that my father had committed suicide, I hit the floor—both figuratively and literally. It is devastating news when someone passes, but a suicide is especially hard to deal with.

Thank goodness I can not predict the future, because If I had known in that moment what the next few years had in store for me, I’m sure I would have given up right then and there. Instead, I somehow found the strength and courage to get up off of the floor that day and on the many days following my father’s death. It wasn’t always pretty or consistent, and much of it I did for my children and husband who needed me, but I did get up as much as I was able to.

Grief is such a personal process to go through for each individual. When we get bad news—life altering news—such as finding out about a loved one’s death, there is no way to tell how we will react, but in my experience, we will and do find ways of coping with our loss.

Somehow, we seem to embrace what it is deep inside of each of us that will help us to survive a loss. These tools that we carry at the core of our beings help us to maneuver our way through the unthinkable situations which are put before us in life.

Further, these tools can be used consciously and sometimes unconsciously. But, each and every one of us has an outlet of some sorts.

For me it is writing—lots and lots of writing. I have always written, but for a couple of years, I focused my writing mainly on my father and my feelings surrounding his death.

Some of the stories and poems were very gloomy and morbid, but others were so hopeful that I wonder how I created them in that time when everything was so shaded in darkness.

I have always associated butterflies with my father since he passed. I know that this is not uncommon as butterflies are magical and beautiful creatures that have transformed themselves from another life form—from a caterpillar into a butterfly.

Butterflies can also travel thousands of miles on their migratory path, much as I can imagine a soul might do after it has passed from this earth. And they seem so free and beautiful as they flutter about in the air—something I have always wanted to do myself! (Not to mention that some species help in the life cycle of flowers through pollination.)

I have found countless poems, stories and quotes regarding the two subjects of both death and butterflies. Here is one of my favorites:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“The caterpillar dies so the butterfly could be born. And, yet, the caterpillar lives in the butterfly and they are but one. So, when I die, it will be that I have been transformed from the caterpillar of earth to the butterfly of the universe.” – John Harricharan

The following poem is one of mine, which I wrote in honor of my father’s memory. I hope it might bring peace to another person who is trying to ‘get up and stay up off of the floor’ after a loss of their loved one . . .

Heavenly Butterflies – by, Laura Kutney

Gorgeous lives go flying by
Into deep blue azure skies

Exquisite wings, so decorated
Each one should be celebrated
For its beauty, strength and might
To see such splendor taking flight
Watching them brings much delight
And takes the soul to higher heights

So wondrous and free they are
If only they could reach the stars
Then those night lights in the sky
Would be bejeweled with butterflies
What a sight for all to see
Wings lit up like Tiffany

Do you ever take the place
Of these creatures with such grace?

{If so, someday I’ll meet you there
Where we will be so blessed to share
Ascending through sweet air of blue
Goodbyes erased I’ll fly with you}

necklaceinhand

Photos: By author.

Because I Love You More than You May Ever Know.

6c9e2a90bb268dc9528aee0649baf3347d1afed3 (2)“Are you awake?”

I hear nothing in return but his gentle breathing and weigh the consequences of whispering aloud again.

I understand that he needs his sleep. But, at the same time, I sense the lonely weight of being the only one awake with unsaid words that press urgently against my heart. Words that need to be spoken.bedsanoma.jpg

“Honey, are you up?”

A few moments pass and then he utters a soft “uh-huh” as he turns to face my direction—his lovely familiar and sleepy, relaxed face glowing in the moonlight streaming through the window.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Yeah, I guess so.” He replies.

I decide to say what has been on my mind. . .

“Remember the last time I saw my dad and I thought he was dying because I felt that his soul had left his body, but no one believed me? Everyone told me that I was going crazy because there seemed to be nothing wrong with him, but then he took his life ten days later.

Well, I wish with every fiber of my heart that I had told him everything I felt about him while I still had the chance. I regret that I didn’t reveal that I knew something was wrong, but my feelings were influenced by other’s reactions so much that I felt too awkward and stupid to mention anything to him.

You know how nothing is certain in life? And I do feel that you and I are certain, but I can’t bear the thought of ever having to live without you.

Really, this thought troubles me a lot. It has made me anxious since the day we fell in love and now it upsets me more since my father’s death.

It bothers me and keeps me up at night sometimes, but I know that there is nothing that I can do that will change the fate of our future and so I wake up, try not to worry, and attempt to go back to sleep as best that I can.

But lately I have been thinking that maybe if I told you about my feelings, that it might help me feel better and at least you would know and understand my feelings a little better.

Please don’t worry, as I don’t think you are dying. It’s just that since my father died, I now have this fear of not telling people how I feel, because you just never know.

Do you know what I mean?

So, I just wanted to tell you how much I love you and appreciate you for all of the big and the little things that make you into the wonderful person that you are.

I love your kind and trusting heart. And the way that you never give up on me (or us) during the rough times. How you are such a kind and loving father to our children.

I love watching you get so absorbed when you work on projects. I treasure the way your hands that can be so gentle, but at the same time can also take a fence or a motor apart with expertise and ease.

I love the way the sun shines on your handsome face. And I especially cherish the way your eyes crinkle at the corners a little when you smile.

You know how I cherish laugh lines and crow’s feet.

Well, when I met you, it was my hope that you would grow old with these beautiful lines of happiness more so than furrows and creases of worry and angst. And my desire has paid off with the lines of joy that gently crease your handsome face when you smile.

I know there have been many ups and downs, but like trees in breezes as well as strong wind gusts, we have swayed and bent, but have never broken. I would like to keep it that way for as long as I know and love you, which I hope will be an extremely long time.”

“Are you sleeping?” I ask.

“No, I’m awake” he replies.

“Good, because there is more—Maybe more than I can even think to say right now.

“Do you remember when we were first in love and it was too painful to even think being apart from one another for even one day? I still feel this way.

Remember when I felt that I needed a few days by myself and I booked that room at the bed and breakfast inn for a few nights just blocks from the vineyards and that spectacularly beautiful mission?2bc249e36dfb8f0f809a578292852758a7904d81

I’m not sure if you knew it then, but I was so homesick after the second day, I decided to come home a day earlier than I had to. I hope I always feel this way about you.

With the kids, work, life and all of the rest that gets in the way, I don’t take the time to tell you how much you really mean to me enough. But I hope you know. I hope you know deep down in your heart everything I feel, even if I don’t say it enough or out loud at all.

Because, I think I love you more than you may ever know.”98b6b4599df7a8cd23d38fc4b1dd15bf397081b4 (2)

Photos: By author on trip to Sonoma, CA while staying at The Cottage Inn and Spa, which I highly recommend.

Walk Away from the Negative & Toward the Positive in 3 Steps.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision.” ~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama

I have been running across the concept of dealing with one’s outlook, inner thoughts and spoken words more and more lately. I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel the universe brings us concepts when we are ready to appreciate and utilize them.

The concept is simple to understand when one is open to it—Let’s say one is spending their time dreading a party—well guess what? This may become a self fulfilling prophesy that will grow inside of them until it manifests in real life.

What if instead, one is open to thinking, “There are a few people at that party that will be really interesting to talk to” or another positive statement such as this? You guessed it—this will become one’s outlook when they walk into that party. And they may actually enjoy their experience!

Further—the very best part about it? It can be anyone’s option to choose the second, more positive stance. Once someone makes a habit of thinking in terms like this, great things start happening. People are more attracted to positive people, doors that were once closed will open, and best of all—the person who makes a conscious decision to change the way they think becomes much more fulfilled by taking a positive role in directing his or her own life.

***

I have made up a short guide about this that is in no way all-inclusive of all situations possible, but here is a sampling:

  1. Regretting the Past.

This is the frame of mind that many of us live in. It takes us out of the present, which may hold all types of potential, when we allow ourselves to dwell in days of yore that don’t conjure up fond memories.

When we thinks about this, it is easy to realize that this isn’t a good state to dwell in, but then why do so many of us live our lives saturated in our negative memories and pondering what could have been in a past that no longer exists?

I think the answer is as easy as human nature. If we are used to pining over a lost love, for example, it will take up brain space of the possibility of meeting someone new today. And, thinking of the past won’t change what happened back then. It will only occupy our precious thoughts of today if we allow it too.

Hopefully, we can agree that this is not ideally what most of us set out to do, and also agree that it takes practice to gently refocus our energy on living in the possibility of the moment. I believe it is worth each and every effort.

  1. Projecting our thoughts on what will happen in an uncertain future.

I think that some amount of fantasy concerning our goals for the future is a positive thing, but the future is not here yet and all we really have is today. Why not, instead, enjoy the moment that we all have right here and now?

We can all hear the clock of today ticking as time passes us by while we think of things that are not guaranteed in the future.  It is a good bet that if we don’t live in the moment that the moments of the present may become the regrettable moments of the past that I wrote of in the first example.

  1. Blaming others for your present situation.

Sometimes accepting that where we are in life is not where we want to be is difficult. It is so easy to blame a bad childhood, a traumatic experience, the lost opportunity of ‘that’ job or relationship, or our living conditions on others in our past, present or even on the universe or god!

Accepting the truth—that we, as adults are responsible for our current situations, is imperative to getting on with the solutions to fixing our unhappiness—no matter how deep the unhappiness runs.

What if the person who wronged us never seeks forgiveness? Or if they feel or act righteous about the way in which they wronged us? This can be a tough pill to swallow, but I feel that if you forgive them anyhow, you can move on.

The real truth is this—we can sit in our resentment and let that take over and color our present days, or we can decide that it is up to us to make a change. Yes this is a lot of responsibility and may sound daunting, but honestly trying to make someone else ‘pay’ for one’s present unhappiness only makes one person unhappy, and guess who that one person is? It is the one who dwells with the bitterness.

Once we are aware of our feelings, we have taken the first step to changing the path of our present and hopefully our future as well. It is up to us to make that change. And I feel that the sooner we decide to change, the better!

***

In actuality, this list could continue on and on, but I hope those reading will come to the conclusion that this is about changing the polarity of their thinking. And in order to do that, one has to be conscious that they have a choice in the matter of how their own lives can proceed.

Should we get angry or frustrated with ourselves if we find our minds drifting back to our old ways that are probably fairly ingrained in us? Nah, that would just be another regret to mull over, and this may be a new concept for many of us. This is much like meditation and it takes a lot of work to bring our focus back to the present moment. In some ways it is a practice of living in meditation. It may not always be easy, but it will be well worth the effort.

The point is to make a ritual out of guiding the center of our attention back to today from wherever (past or future) it happened to drift off to. This way we will be able to see today’s opportunities and live a happier now! This will attract the opportunities and people that were meant to join us on our positive journeys. If we do this enough it will soon become habit and we will be on our way to changing our ‘todays’ into a collective, more positive future as a whole.

Sensual & Graceful AcroYoga. {Video}

image

“All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.” – Martha Graham

It would seem that there are so many thoughts on what real yoga is—Is it done in a heated room? In a studio? At home? On our heads?

While I am guilty of having my own opinions, I have neither done nor seen anything remotely similar to the likes of what is in the following video in any yoga class that I have been to.

But, the other day, when a friend shared this video, I found it to be very beautiful, sensual, and uplifting. The choreography is so graceful and I felt others might agree and gain a little appreciation and inspiration from watching it as well.

Enjoy!

Photos: Screen shots from video.