The Poetry of Life with Jacqueline Suskin

podcast Jul 08, 2020

As humans, we often struggle to express our emotional realm, which can feel confusing, shadowy, and private. But words are vessels for emotions, and poetry can help us understand why we feel the way we feel — something science struggles to explain. In this episode, poet Jacqueline Suskin discusses the relevance and power of poetry for this moment in time, and how writing teaches us to find healing and hope in our lived experiences.


Jeff: You have one very specific example of how you were able to kind of develop a relationship with a senior executive at a timber company, someone who would probably exist from a political or social perspective in complete diametric opposition to who you are. But can you tell that story and kind of how that kind of shared humanity sprung forth?

Jacqueline: Yeah, I mean, it started with me writing a poem at the farmers market up here in Arcada, where I now live again. And I was doing what I do, I was just there writing poems and this man came up and asked for a poem. And he was kind of skeptical which most of my favorite people like they just think what I'm doing is novel, they're drawn in by the novelty. And then I write the poem and they're either silenced or they surrender to it and cry, maybe.

Jacqueline: But he was really taken by what I had written, I wrote him a poem about being underwater. And I didn't know who he was, even though this is a small community up here, I don't know everyone, so he just seemed like another person to me. But later, I got an email from him and he was requesting that I might be able to create something for his wife who had passed away and opened up this whole intimate relationship with him and his family.

Jacqueline: And it wasn't until after I had written that poem, that I realized who he was, that he was this Timber Baron, somebody who is engaged in the timber practices which are highly controversial. And as an earth worshiping person, I have obviously a lot of issues with that world. So, I was able to develop this familial connection with this person through poetry and this experience of the loss that he and his family had gone through.

Jacqueline: And this was a huge lesson for me about this bridge that you can make, which started with poetry and then expanded into conversation and just by being open to him and who he was, which to be honest, in another situation, in another setting I might not be. He's someone who people easily demonize and dehumanize. And for me, I had this intimate lens into his loss and his grief, and I could really only see him as a person.

Jacqueline: And so that enabled us to create this friendship and have all these conversations and read many books and things that we probably would never talk about together and that he would never be exposed to because I was so tender with him and so open and he was able to be that way with me. And now at this point, I mean, it's been many, many years. And I've been to many Thanksgivings with his family, and I'm close with his kids.

Jacqueline: And he kind of stands as this example, because at some point in the midst of our conversations, he saw how there is some potential to connect with local folks who are really against what the timber companies are doing. And they actually ended up collaborating and setting all of this land aside to never cut this old growth forest. So it became this example of what happens when you find a way to connect with someone who seems like they could be your enemy or seems like someone who is not human and what happens with the conversations that you develop with that person and what kind of potential outcomes occur.

Jacqueline: Now all these trees are there and that was sort of a unique experience. I think after all these years of being friends with him and his family and living up here and connecting with all the people who do protect the forest and who try to keep the timber companies from cutting all the old growth. There's this balance of understanding the individual versus the collective and like how sometimes individual connections and patience that they require will actually create some really impressive change.

Jacqueline: And then a lot of times there are not outlets for that. It's hard to reach the people who are in positions of power. So if you ever can, trying to figure out the poetry of that moment, or the place of connection is just so powerful, and so much can come from that.

Jeff: Yeah, that's a beautiful thought. And I suppose the currency that you used is poetry, that currency for connection is poetry. And it doesn't have to be kind of this very literal understanding of poetry, of like, I'm going to sit down and write myself some verse. Where I think you're saying it's almost finding a poetry in the moment, in the essence of it, that can create some sort of connection where it's not just like yelling at someone in a Facebook comment or whatever.

Jeff:  I guess this is one thing that I've been thinking lately, is that we tend to blame a lot of the ills of society on personal wrongdoings or personal kinds of flaws. Like, "Oh, that person is anti-environment or that person is racist or that person doesn't care about gay rights," or whatever it happens to be at that moment. 

Jeff: But oftentimes, it can be the systems and structures in which those people exist. For example, this gentleman, Neil, who you met who seems like actually a quite beautiful and tender human being, at least you accessed a particular part of him, but is in a structure that does not have great tenderness for the earth and people have the ability to change structures because we've created them. But you need a way in.

Jacqueline: Yeah, that way in, I'm really interested in that and like the power of the artistry of that and how much patience and care it takes. And I always say that you can use compassion as a tactic. Like you can have a goal in mind, something that you want to show someone, and if you use compassion to teach that or illuminate that it works. Not always, but it often works in such great ways because it softens the person first and then they can be more open.

Jacqueline: Because a lot of these issues that are so systemic and so brutal, really the root of it a lot of times is this folks have not had access to this knowledge that there is another way, or that there is a broken system that they're a part of. And so now I see this moment as a person who was radicalized at a very young age and has been studying and paying attention to all of these radical ideas, and then now watching so many people wake up to them, and I feel this sense of "Yeah, this is a shift where people are now finally turning towards these concepts that they probably just didn't ever understand how to access or even know that they needed to."

Jacqueline: And I saw that happen a lot with Neil. He would never have accessed these concepts unless I were there to use my compassion as a tactic and get him to kind of open up and then read all these books and have all these conversations with me and kind of put himself out on a limb. In his company that doesn't think the way that necessarily he does or I do, but he found a way to do the same thing within that world and create change in this weird system of the timber industry that still has a long way to go.

Jeff: I'd love to talk a little bit about awe, and cultivating awe, because it's something that you talk about, as I think part of your just general living, but also as it informs your poetry. So, can you talk a little bit about what awe means, and then how you harness it for your work?

Jacqueline: Yeah, I don't know how that came into my life. But years ago, it started to be the focal point of my understanding of how I get through life. As I have this ability to connect with all these people through my work, I feel this sort of duty or responsibility to express how I exist in the world. How I can have this ability to hold such space with poetry and otherwise and how can I like teach that to people and awe sort of became the root of my understanding of how I get through my days, and how I write.

Jacqueline: And so I started to look at that word. And it's this excessive state of wonderment sometimes. And then sometimes there's this underlying depth and even fear is mentioned in the actual dictionary definition of awe, which I like, because it's sort of like this recognition that everything is very impermanent and it is here just for us to be in awe of. And that there is this sense that if you can tap into that in any moment, it doesn't matter whether or not you're looking at something really, truly beautiful, or if you're trying to understand how to feel about something really, truly awful.

Jacqueline: You can find this sense of awe around it, which is just even to be like, how is this happening? How are we experiencing all of this, like the sensation of being alive? All of your senses connected to it. And then just kind of training yourself to carry that lens of awe and I find for my life that's what will shift me out of despair or that's what will shift me back into an energized moment where I'm like actually excited to face something that maybe would normally be exhausting or just to celebrate my life in a more consistent way.

Jacqueline: I wrote a book a while back about writing lists of things that you like as sort of a mindset practice and it's definitely connected to that. It's like how do you train yourself to see the world with eyes of awe instead of missing... The detail is countless, it's endless. So, that seems to me like just this practice of training oneself to see that in the world. And then there's your infinite plenty of writing material, your endless bounty of, you're never going to have a dry spell if you're always in awe because you'll be able to write about anything, because then anything can kind of draw you in. And I like to task people with that.

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Jeff:  I wonder if you'd read a poem. There was one that we talked about before that I felt kind of really directly connects with this notion of awe. A poem that you wrote called Future, would you read that?

Jacqueline: Yeah. Future. I can't see my future clearly, it's a wash of color and light. Maybe a glimpse of a house with wood floors, the death of a parent, a dog, a cat, a love, but nothing certain. I like its fog. Inevitably something will happen, pieces will fall into place if I keep breathing, and I'll eat, I'll work, I'll learn and know and forget. There'll be another bowl full of berries, a hot cup of tea, additional travel and sorrow. There'll be a clean pair of pants, the sun's good glow, a cut and blood, a hole to dig, a bath to take, a mistake to mend.

Jacqueline: What lies ahead is a promise standing in shadow. One second pasted to the next. I don't need to call it by name. A riddle ensues, a song of guessing, a vow of risk. The road becomes itself single stone after single stone made of limitless possibility. Endless all awe.

Jeff: Thank you. First time I read this I was immediately taken by it, because you seem to embrace in it a certain kind of surrender to the uncertainty and that feels awesome, and the real meaning of that word. Did you write this around any particular time in your life or maybe just talk about it a little?

Jacqueline: Well, this is from my book, Help in the Dark Season, which kind of explores childhood trauma, moving into adult relationship and then moving into a great period of healing. And to me, this poem is the culmination. I think it's the last poem in the book. It's just this sense of, listen, we don't really know what will happen, but we do know that it will keep happening. And I love the part that it's like this vow of risk that you take by just loving it and giving into life itself and knowing that there isn't really anything promised that's clear.

Jacqueline: But just knowing that it's worth the risk of kind of putting one foot in front of the other and just experiencing the whole of it. I mean, I think in this moment I'm remembering this really powerful time in my life where I must have been writing this book at this time. But just kind of talking to someone about why do we stay alive? Why do we keep doing this? It is so hard to be alive. It is so challenging, it's exhausting, it's painful. It's brutal in so many ways. And of course, it's also like so incredible in so many ways.

Jacqueline: But my answer to that is just I'm far too curious to give up. I have no idea what will happen. That is just amazing. To me it could be anything. We can think of things and try to visualize and manifest our futures, but really what happens is this surprise, it's this incredible gift of the unknown and instead of letting that be a drag I'm always just like that's where I choose to put my awe, just letting it be this great unknown that could turn out any way that we can't even imagine how it'll turn out.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah, I mean, for me, this really sort of scratches my Buddhist itch to some degree which is, sort of seeing consciousness or being or your life or what it is like to be you, as a kind of experience of transitory phenomena, kind of happening moment by moment or in this case stone by stone. The conceptual mind is so connected to certainty to the past and projecting the past into the future, that we can be lost in that thought, or that pattern of thoughts, sleepwalking most of our life, and trying to always control, which is potentially more of a patriarchal or male concept.

Jeff: But always following that need to control and that causes so much stress and anxiety to be in that conceptual mind that needs to know all the time. Because we live in that place a lot of the time, that I think our actions end up being very misguided and sometimes very destructive, versus really trying to be in the awesome of that moment. Anyway, so I really enjoyed this one quite a bit.

Jacqueline: I love the way that you just talked about it. I mean, I think that that circles back to what you're saying about all of these systems and I mean really all these systems of oppression are all based on this concept of control and exactness and that the fact that people are placed in such a limited place of thought around what life can be because of these systems, I so often think about what greatness is actually possible.

Jacqueline: I mean, the human condition is this expansive, wild thing that just gets put in horrible, horrible limiting places and what would happen if you know each person could open to the limitlessness that actually is possible for them. And I think about that with poetry a lot because often a poem is a thing that gives this key or a doorway, or will spark something in someone that's like, "Wow, that is a whole truth that is possible for me to touch and understand, and it's very different than what I usually think about."

Jeff: Yeah, absolutely. And also poetry for me doesn't always register with my conceptual mind. It registers often with my heart mind if that makes any sense. Or you could explain empirically or clinically some sort of conceptual component, or you can translate that last poem into sort of empirical prose, and I would have sort of an understanding and an appreciation for it. But it is the magic of the words that find a comfortable seat in my heart, which shifts me in a way that no textbook could ever shift me. And I don't know what that is, but there is a magic there.

Jacqueline: Yeah, I think that pays tribute to that concept of yours that words are these vessels for emotions. And if you really think about the emotive world that is maybe one of our most confusing, most unknown, most secretive aspects of being human is this emotional realm. We do so much work in the healing and wellness community to try to tap into what that is, but really like the truth of it is, is it's a great mystery.

Jacqueline: Lots of it can be tied to biological reaction and then a lot of it can't, there's just this missing link there, and I think poetry often... This holds that, it's like a cup for it all.

Jeff: Yeah, it's what science cannot explain, the hard problem of consciousness. I mean science is absolutely brilliant and flexible and [inaudible 00:30:17] in so many ways to explain so much of what happens in... It can offer clues into objective reality or at least into subjective reality. But it can offer no clue into why we feel the way we feel, or it certainly has thus far, so we need to find other means for it and I think you found it.

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Jeff: I want to ask you, about your connection to the earth which is obviously in your work kind of very apparent. But maybe you could talk about kind of how that relationship formed and grew? And a little bit more with what that harmony is?

Jacqueline: Yeah. My earth worship has evolved over the years. I mean, I always kind of say everything I do is for the earth. Like seeing the way that I impact people and how I can heal and connect with people through poetry. That really what I'm doing is trying to help people transform, become better, like wake up, however you want to put it and that then they'll treat the earth better. Because I just see this planet as this perfect gift.

Jacqueline: I mean, this incredible system that just gave us everything we needed and then we proceeded to do our best to destroy it, we still are. But I always have this little prayer that just is may I get exactly what I need so that I can give the earth exactly what it needs. And this sort of reciprocity between the nonhuman world and how I just feel the earth as an entity and this great cyclical gift that exists between all the creatures that get to live here. I mean, I think I've just been connected to the wholeness of that.

Jacqueline: Since I was a little kid I wrote a poem about this a while back, but my first memory that I can access is of lifting up this flagstone in my yard and there being all these giant night crawler worms under there, and sort of having this little tiny person moment of understanding that there was so much more going on than I could even possibly comprehend.

Jacqueline: And I kind of have carried that built off of that and that's my greatest source of awe and to communicate with plants and place and not create an otherness between myself and nature has just always felt like the most natural way for me to exist. And I see the way that the earth is being hurt, but I understand my role in it, and I take that role pretty seriously.

Jeff: Yeah. Could you read a poem?

Jacqueline: Yeah.

Jeff: I have Earth Speaks in front of me.

Jacqueline: Yeah. Earth Speaks. As I sat down to start writing this poem, I heard a hot call. I pulled the curtains to see four wide wingspans circling above my house. I had to run outside. I had to lie down and look up. They went higher and higher into brightness. My eyes watered for their redness, for the white clouds, for the brilliant sun. A few years ago, I was lying on the ground in the backyard. I was weeping again, about lost species, careless use of land, trash, negligence, oil, and plastic.

Jacqueline: I asked the earth if I could help and it said, "You are helping, you are, you are." One time I walked the plum orchards on the side of I-5 barefoot and ready to feel the pain of that dried out acreage. How could this field feel joyous with its sad repetitive crop, with its thirst and poisoned history? When I could no longer see the interstate, the earth announced a clarification. "I'll be fine. I'll be fine. I'll survive all of you." I stayed on my back until the hawks disappeared. Yes, let my voice move through you. We are one and the same.

Jeff: Thank you. Yeah, it is odd that we often think of environmentalism or sustainability as a human, anthropomorphic issue, problem. And I suppose that's how we do things often. But that addressing our behavior as it pertains to the earth and climate is really more about our ability to exist on this planet and that the earth will survive us all. Which seems obvious but I don't think we think about it that way a lot of the time.

Jacqueline: Yeah, it's like a balance of the equation of understanding that, yes, the earth will be just fine and remembering this moment that this poem was inspired by really deeply understanding that and connecting to that, but then also over the years, finding a way to understand that my concept of the earth and wilderness and nature has actually shifted greatly because I see now how significant... There's so much indigenous wisdom just that explains if you have a positive relationship with place, with land, if you tend to land, it's healthy for both of you and the facilitation of that and holding space for that kind of transforms and turns itself into my work also as a poet.

Jacqueline: Because although maybe my poem isn't directly affecting the landscape, it's shifting someone's mindset about how they can connect with it. And then there's a full layer peeled back there to reveal this infinite number of possibilities for each person to connect with the place where they live. And a lot of my poetry is just about that. I have this whole series of books about living in California, and that that poem is from my book about Los Angeles and what living in a city was like for someone like me and how much I learned about just what I believe in and what I trust in the human day-to-day lifestyle and what I just think is absolutely off course, and how do you help people see that in themselves.

Jeff: Yeah. Well, I mean, I suppose our relationship with the earth is all about storytelling. I was reading Yuval Harari, who has been very influential in how I think about the world. And he was talking about animism, which was basically when we were on the Serengeti as hunters and gatherers. That forage or communities really looked kind of spiritually as being absolutely one with animals and nature. And it wasn't really until kind of the agricultural revolution that then we started to tell ourselves different stories that gave us dominance over the earth.

Jeff: And of course, many of those stories are codified in Abrahamic religions and even before that theism. That in some ways gave us permission to use nature for our own benefit and those are just stories. And these stories told cooperatively that create our identities really, if you believe in structuralism, which is sort of says the world shapes the south, the south doesn't shape the world. So if we can create new stories, it really shifts our entire relationship with how we see the world.

Jacqueline: Yeah, yeah, I see that happening a lot right now. Just a moment where people are becoming receptive to the fact that there are all of these black and indigenous leaders, people who are visionaries, who have already come up with the plans. And I think our human condition is to get caught up in the moment of fear and think that we have to reinvent the wheel and I see this as a moment that's actually the opposite of that, where there are all of these people who have been oppressed and silenced for so long, who are absolute geniuses and they have all the answers.

Jacqueline: They've written books, they've talked the talks, they have been screaming these things, but not been heard. And now to see this shift happening in our culture, where it's actually like, this stuff is going to come to the forefront now and we just step aside and make space for that instead of swallowing our own pride and whatever, becoming terrified that there's nothing we can do. There is plenty of action, there's plenty of concept, there's plenty to pull from.

Jacqueline: The stories are kind of waiting now to be told in this different way, and I see it happening, which is I think one of the most inspiring parts of this moment in time for me is this ability for all of us to come together and listen to these people who have not been listened to, and find what incredible space they're holding for a future that is much brighter than what the past has been.

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Jacqueline:  Together. Come over to my house, the front door is ajar. Enter and find me on my knees limp and weeping. Kneel with me, let us build our harmonies here. Wallow with me and bite into grief. After we have drenched our clothes, after all is touched by the taste of our uncontrollable salt, we cradle one another. We rise up, interlocked, nearly ready to feel ready. And then morning turns tactile like ripe peaches in our mouths. Words drop heavy from our lips and suddenly we find the sweetness.

Jacqueline: We hum, we sing, we lock eyes and taste our singular breath. Inhale, exhale, sob harder and praise that cracks at our chests. Joyous in our being, for if we are alive, and we are, we can conjure up some spell of change to split the seams of darkness, to call in a new light as we do again and again and again and again together.

Jeff: Thank you. This one paints such a vivid portrait for me visually. Which I'm sure is just personal to me and I suppose that's the really beautiful thing about poetry is that it is so protein and appeals to humanism in the sense that it can really be understood by the beholder. But I'm curious really what this meant to you, and why did you write it and what the inspiration was? And I suppose also just really kind of what it means because this particular poem, I think, has a lot of representational value.

Jacqueline: Yeah, this came from the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement, many, many years ago. And I was living in L.A. and living in my tiny apartment and watching this movement take hold and listening to people have conversations, whether it be on the internet or in public about something that had been so unspoken, and I saw this light being shined on this pain and this brutality. And my process with poetry is often to click into the macro, the collective experience, to let myself sit in that and meditate in that and then usually something will just come through me and that's what this poem was.

Jacqueline: I felt like this great understanding of some process that maybe needed to happen between people or possibly was happening between people all around the country. And this sense of us giving into the grief and moving through the grief and the sadness. And then that line that's nearly ready to feel ready. I feel like that that's like... And now we're ready. We've been processing and pushing for years to try to come together in this sense of where we can really meet each other.

Jacqueline: And I revisit this poem a lot and it's sort of a prayer for me. I can kind of envision doing this with people and people doing this together and this grief process, this mourning process. And then the ending is just this understanding that we are alive and this is what we do as humans. We come together, we conjure up change, we conjure up newness and we do it side by side. And I've been thinking about this poem a lot during the pandemic, because of how hard it is for us to actually be connected.

Jacqueline: And how it's not possible for us to cry together in a lot of ways and then seeing the opposite of that of people being like, "Our lives are on the line anyway, so we are going to come together and we are going to grieve and we are going to move into the next phase." Because our lives are already threatened, so we're not going to let the pandemic stop us from making this change that we have to make. So I've been returning to this poem a lot and just kind of, like I said, envisioning people being able to have this space together.

Jeff: Yeah, I mean, I find it particularly poignant. And I would say this just about your work more as a general comment too, that it takes a big, complicated, thorny, massive, societal issue and turns it into something so intimate and personal, that almost as if it exists between two people. Kind of double helixing around each other in the sunlight. And I think when you can understand some of these issues in very personal and intimate terms, they become way more real and kind of tangible, like a ripe peach, you know what I mean?

Jeff: Versus just something that's happening out there that can be paralyzing in its enormity. Yeah, this one feels just so intimate is the word that I just keep coming back to.

Jacqueline: Yeah, yeah. I think that's the gift of what poetry can do for folks right now always, but right now especially there is a lot of... I like that you've used that like paralyzing feeling. Because I often talk about how the trick to being able to be present and stay engaged is to recognize how it's the macro and the micro all at once. It's looking at the great picture of things and then being able to tie that to intimacy to personal choice to each section of your life that's very intimate and poetry is always doing that.

Jacqueline: It's your specific personal lens that then opens up to the greater feeling of the world and what kind of bridge that makes and I keep returning to this concept right now. That really is what's been grounding me in my ability to stay fully active and energized and to continue learning and to continue having conversations, is this sense of holding hope and hopelessness at the same time, and being like, you don't have to always be hopeful and you don't have to always be hopeless.

Jacqueline: It's best to be both all at once. To understand that it is entirely possible for newness to occur, for progress to happen, and at the same time everything awful can still exist. And we are trying to keep those scales in balance instead of lending ourselves to only one side of the spectrum. And I've been applying that a lot to my work and a lot to the way I feel about what's happening in the world is, there are great things that are coming out of this.

Jacqueline: It is working. People are being illuminated, they're thinking of things that they have never thought of before and that's incredible. And at the same time, you can't just fully celebrate that and live in the world of optimistic hope, you also have to be like and, still, systems of oppression, racism, this is not done. It's not just over because we're all shining a light on it. Now we have to do all the work to change it. But you can hold that hopefulness and the hopelessness all at once, then you're really doing it.

Jeff: Yeah, yeah. And I have been in my own kind of personal inventory, trying to discard notions of looking at the world in such a binary fashion all the time. And to Stephen and kind of my own soul searching and understanding in what ways I have benefited or been complicit in systems and structures that have perpetuated great inequality, to come to terms with the fact that I'm generally a very good hearted, compassionate person, and have also been complicit in structures that are inherently evil.

Jeff: And to live in that and it's hard. And it doesn't feel normal. I have also been thinking about hope and despair, hope and hopelessness and I had this visual of... I think a lot of the way people deal with those notions of kind of pulling both edges of a frayed shoelace in opposite directions and watching that kind of unravel in both directions of hope and hopelessness. Like I think a word that I've heard a lot of people use on all sides of all equations right now is exhaustion, and when you pull at both edges of hope and despair it can exhaust you, it can wring you out.

Jeff: And I've been trying to just sort of just hold that shoelace, that frayed shoelace in the palm of my hand tightly and still trying to pull the edges of it so intently and sitting with that with a little bit more peace and equanimity. I think if you're okay to close with our episode today, and I feel like we could have many, many more, and maybe you could set it up a little bit because you'd set it up better than I would because you really know the genesis of it.

Jeff: But you wrote something called My Poetic Purpose, it almost feels like a call to action to yourself on some level. But maybe you could talk about it a little bit and then read it for us.

Jacqueline: Yeah. This poem, it comes from this place in me that is always checking in with why I'm doing what I'm doing, no matter what that is. But I feel really dedicated to that practice of always... Just really making sure I know what my intention is, what my purpose is behind what I'm doing. And specifically, I make sure I look to that with poetry. And while I was just meditating on that one day and went to bed and woke up at three in the morning and turned my light on and wrote this word for word, that doesn't happen very often, usually I edit things.

Jacqueline: But this is something that just poured out and I felt like it was... There are these really beautiful moments that happen sometimes where I feel like whatever it is, is speaking directly through me. And the words are I'm channeling something or however you want to put it, and this is just one of those poems, and I feel like it just kind of encompasses everything that I believe in. So, it is a good place to kind of wrap up my poetic purpose.

Jacqueline: To create relief, to offer support, to give alternatives, to conjure compassion, to reveal clarity, to be selfless, in service, to show acceptance, to assume responsibility, to be an endless well, a mirror and an outlet. To hold space for healing, to remain present and remember the wide reach of our shared suffering, to consider my duty, to make and remake meaning. To take care, to provide deep connection, to see the common link, to shine a light on similarities, to let our story show us how.

Jacqueline: To hand over my voice, to steer us all toward awe, to sacrifice my agenda when new truth is made known. To bring the depths to surface, to do the worthy work with grace, to question and develop my intentions. To honor life in any form, to renew forgiveness, to try and be kind, to try and be gentle, to let my fire loose when it needs to be let loose. To believe that rebirth is constant, to revere, collect and display the details, to define beauty again and again.

Jacqueline: To point out solutions, to suggest the highest power, to refine our definitions, to present pure purpose, to craft answers and lyric, to remain humble and willing. To rest and revive, to expose the source, to share the wisdom, to listen and respond, to uncover our abilities, to find the bright part in every being, to rejoice openly, to witness the worst pain and find a lesson in it. To open myself wider and wider, to do the work in public, to bring forth the language of the earth, to honor my own effort, to make an example of my devotion, to let it often be dark and hard.

Jacqueline: To cast out that which is not needed, to give up many comforts in the name of logic, to stand as a steward, to weave a sturdy link between us and our place, to display the significance in any little thing. To never forget about the body or underestimate the mind or neglect the spirit. To cry and howl and break, to freely reimagine the best way to be, to delve into the fearful areas, to withstand the mistakes we keep making, to bring enthusiasm, to nurture transformation, to love limitlessness.

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