Thursday, February 19, 2009


Surrounded by darkness
with a strange sense of comfort.

The woods,
the branches
enclose me with their limbs.

Lifeless as it may seem,
is here with me.

As I depart,
I promise I will return
and your presence
will be revealed.

Now that I've returned--
is this the same place?

The sun now shines bright
the woods,
the branches
have opened themselves up
and a whole new world
awaits me.

I never knew
this beautiful, blue ocean
surrounded this promontory.

it's amazing to see
the doves circle the ocean.

Oh, there you are
walking so slowly
on a deserted path.

How different--
in the dark
in the light...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Secret 6: Conquering Saboteurs

“A critical skill for many creative women is discernment – knowing whose advice is from the heart and really meant to be helpful, and avoiding folks who pull you away from your intentions and may be trying to undermine your achievement.”

I can thank my mother for my self-confidence. Self-doubt and self-destruction, saboterus that Gail McMeekin discusses in her sixth chapter of the 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor, are saboteurs with which I do not grapple. I speak up for myself and have been dubbed aggressive in the workplace. I would, however, argue that I am assertive, as opposed to aggressive. Writer Rebecca West’s quote really resonated with me:

“People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that distinguish me from a doormat.”

My assertiveness hasn’t stopped from seeking the approval of others though. Through the years, I’ve learned that it’s important to hear other’s opinions, especially those who have expertise in your field of study. I’m confident but not arrogant enough to think that my work and ideas are perfect. So, I typically seek the advice of and input from others before making a major decision. Bouncing ideas off of others has been invaluable in my professional and personal life! What I’ve also learned through the years though, was that some people are quick to criticize and undermine your work/decision without explaining why or offering ways another/better suggestion... saboteurs as McMeekin calls them.

I remember being super-excited about a workshop I conducted. I received really favorable feedback from my attendees. I shared this with my Director and explained that I would like to talk to her about conducting future trainings, especially since I received requests from other agencies to train their staff. Her response: It’s such a small piece in the larger scheme of things, Erika. I guess it’s something we can talk about. However, she proceeded to change the subject. And before I knew it, I was dismissed from her office. Miss Confident Erika’s feelings were crushed. All I could think of was my child running into my room and saying, “Mommy, look what I did! Can I make another picture?” and me responding, “I guess. It’s not that big of a deal though.”

I sulked for a minute (ok, a day or two) and decided I would continue with the workshops with or without the support of my Director – outside of work though! In fact, I’m conducting the same workshop for another agency after hours in early March. Yes, I will continue to seek the advice of others, but like McMeekin points out, “we can listen to everything we hear, but then it’s important to sort it out realistically, learn what we need to do, and discard the rest. Not everyone is going to understand what we’re up to.” My thought is my Director failed to recognize the value of my work and creative expression through the workshop. I refused to allow that to stop me from doing what I love and what I deem as important in helping others in their work. Discernment meets determination!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fear Not...

"Some of us just go along...until that marvelous day people stop intimidating us--or should I say we refuse to let them intimidate us?"
--Peggy Lee, Singer

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cherished Poetry

Poetry is love drifting through the sky
as birds do, when they glide up high.

Poetry floats on the pillowy clouds
not just quiet, sometimes loud.

Poetry opens like a flower on a bright, sunny day.
Feel the deep sadness as poetry fades away.

You can’t imagine that? Funny…neither can I.
Poetry’s hot cocoa when snow’s thrown in my eye.

Poetry’s a cushion when I’ve fallen down.
Poetry’s a presence I need when no one’s around.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Secret 5: Committing to Self-Focus

“Many women fear appearing or actually being selfish if they commit to their creative work.”

I can understand why many women may feel this way. Females are often raised to serve others, as Gail McMeekin points out in the fifth chapter of the 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor. She also points out that a creative outlet while raising children protects her and her children from great unhappiness and stress. I would argue that the same holds true for one’s spouse.

When I was on a creative hiatus, I found myself looking to my husband for my overall happiness, entertainment, physical and mental stimulation. On days when he was tired or simply wanted to be alone, I found myself twiddling my thumbs and eventually harassing him, “Are you ready to talk? What do you want to do? Lets do something.” If he didn’t feel like talking or going out, I became bored and annoyed. Not only was I frustrated, but I was aggravating him as well. I learned a valuable lesson: never depend on someone for your overall happiness. Through my writing, especially poetry, I am mentally stimulated, entertained, and often able to release bottled up hurt feelings from my childhood. Who knew, something as simple as writing, could be such a wonderful and healthy outlet.

McMeekin mentions “putting yourself on top of the priority list.” This is the first time in my reading the book that I disagree with the author. As a wife and mother, I don’t deem myself as the “priority.” Instead, I hold each role (mother, wife, individual) with equal weight – each are equally number one priorities. Thus, I ensure that I maintain a healthy balance of mommy-child, husband-wife, and me time. And on occasions when there’s imbalance, my husband and children are sure to alert me, as well they should. Nothing like checks and balances!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Around the globe,
three times and back,
to pursue my love
but I realize I lack

patience and faith
that God will provide
all I desire and need
in this world to survive.

On a planet that's filled
with mystery and revelation,
all I ever wanted was
a little love and dedication

from a man with a heart
that's pure and tender
alas, I have found him
all my love I now surrender.

I am a queen
who has found her king
I sit back and enjoy
all the love you bring
into my life...

Featured in the Poetry of Marriage anthology, a trademarked series of books.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Idiot

By Charles Reznikoff

With green stagnant eyes,
arms and legs
loose ends of string in a wind,

keep smiling at your father.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Circus Monkeys

Not quite best friends.
We don’t share secrets,
play dress up, or bake cookies.
Instead, I am your sparring partner.
And we speak loudly without saying words,
competing for his love and attention
while he tosses us peanuts.