Blogging – My Pecan Tree
just because……by Celestine…..”the plight of the world” and “personal hurt”
A twinkling star was my sage when I started to write this post. It was as if the star was shining right into my window speaking only to me; although I know that there were others that saw it. The star depicted strength; a lone warrior. And if the world ended tomorrow, it would still be shining bright, beaming hope. But the imagery gets deeper. I had this thought. We are inhabitants of earth and we live as the individuals that we are. What makes us uniquely the same is the fact that we feel……we hurt……we anguish…and we get into mental and emotional overload. We strike out, or people capitalize on our personal sorrows; for whatever reason. What if we carved a hole into the core of the earth and everyone that felt pain just poured their feelings into this cavity. Can you imagine the weight of this collective pain? Where would the world be? What would be the impact of this weight?
The reality is that these experiences take place everyday; ongoing issues of the weight of the world; our individual and collective repository of life experiences. This is what happens to our individual souls when we hold onto pain. The manifestations can create an onslaught against us personally and against our fellow man.
The headlines of current media speak to this every day. Social issues are telling “us a story”; stories contrived in cultural differences; stories contrived in just living; stories contrived in being in the wrong place at the wrong time, stories that may have nothing to do with personal karma, and stories contrived in the name of personal survival; whatever that means. There are stories of youth dying because of a perceived idea of being where they are not supposed to be. There are stories of people that hurt others because of cultural differences. There are stories of abuse. There are stories of babies slain. There are stories of elderly slain. There are stories of rape, robbery, and gang wars to validate some personal stance in life that speaks to an inhumane way of being a person in our society. Are these negative instances meant to lament on the misery of mankind, or should we take these messages and say shame on us for capitalizing on the misery of someone; regardless of a personal bias or whether personal biases dictate a position of harm to others. Or should we embrace these biases and admit to being wrong.
The weight of the world of human existence shall always be an issue for us. We should all strive to overcome a position of harming others to save self or to validate an unwarranted position of “self-survival”. It is the perspective of life that we chose that will be the factor that will drown us in our personal fears or which will save us from our “personal” ignorance.
Emotions are just as much a part of us as is our skin, ears, eyes, and each breath that we take. Emotions create our heart song. Going deep within, they create a foundation for us to embrace life and love. And with this song, we express our individuality; we create synergy in life. This scenario is the epitome. But sometimes, we get out of synch with this powerful force. Sometimes, the rain falls. This is another way of saying that all in life is not about smiles and joy. Sometimes, there is pain. Instead of embracing life and all that comes with it, we block it. Instead of living through the pain, which is also a manifestation of emotion, we lash out. When we lash out, there is the potential to harm self and to harm others that we love and love us. Being out of synch drains us. It affects our lifestyle, the choices we make, and ultimately, our capacity to give and receive love.
But if we go with the river song, we understand that those things that cause us pain will subside. Understanding this gives us strength. We can’t discount them as if it never existed just as we can’t dismiss the tumultuous waves of the water. If we flow like the river song, it is easy for us understand the crests and relish in the fact that there will be calm waters again.
….soul open, the world is my oyster
…..soul open, my soul is receptive
…..soul open to the universal messages of life
I am in that place of “receptivity”. In other words, I am embracing “fated moments”. Fated moments come into our lives now in many ways. What does that mean to you? For me, in conjunction with my recent blog posts, it is another level of being “soul open”, exposed, and receptive to the blessings that come my way. It can take the form of a message of inspiration, a phone call, an unexpected introduction with someone, or just being in the right place at the right time. On the other hand, it could be that you are placed in someone’s life that may need to hear your message. In this case, you may end up touching their lives in ways that you may never know.
There are several words that come to me as I write this post – communication and connection. These two words are powerful, for you never know who you meet, why you meet them, the places that you find yourself in, and the potential bounty of acknowledging relationships that you establish with people just by the sheer act of meeting or connecting with them. Call it what you may – kindred spirits, spirit sisters or brothers, vibes, being comfortable with someone, and “gut feelings” – these connections are real.
Our methods of communication and connection are more varied. Communication venues are beyond one-on-one face time. What once was telephone, telegraph, snail mail, and tell a friend, we have technology that has allowed us to connect with people that we would have never met otherwise. This communication extends to the various forms of social media platforms like Face Book, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, chat rooms, and other platforms. We connect with people in phenomenal ways and feel their spirit and character, if we are discerning. And within these venues, there may be a “fated moment”. The messages could be as small as a “mustard seed”, so we have to pay attention. Most importantly, these “fated moments” could be the key to “your path” in life.
To share the vulnerability of the soul is to expose yourself, especially to yourself - be “soul open”. The following poem reflects my sentiments of what this post is about:
Curtains open…..appreciating the rain…..ears discerning…..listening to the thunder…..soul open…….soul open……soul open………embracing life………
Curtains still open….it is the early morn…..grass dazzling in her dampness ……more fertile……overcast skies…….awaiting another nurturing from the source of the sun…….piercing through natural patterns of life……soul open.
These lines were written amid a backdrop of a heavy rain, figuratively and literally. And as is typical, I get a lot of inspiration from nature and the natural cycles of life. This night was no exception, nor the following morning. The rain, projected to be severe, only ended up being a hard rain – strong, but not torrential. My mindset was reeling with the events of the day – Whitney’s funeral and how I was personally affected. This post is not about Whitney’s funeral or any specifics about her death. This post is about how I was personally affected with her loss and her death placing me in a position to reflect.
During the course of the day, the evening and in the wee hours of the morning, I was reminded of a quote:
“We only have one life to live, so how do we chose to live it?”
This quote has been a part of me for years as I formed, framed, and orchestrated my life. After life-altering circumstances reared their presence in my path, these words took on a different meaning. So to this day, I search deep…….“soul open”.
Nature speaks to me. It has always been a part of who I am as a person – the water, the trees, the wind, the sun, and life; all of which were inspiration for my collection of poetry, Voice From the Soul of Trees. The collection represents a life perspective; my perspective, and my “path”. I was reminded of this as it rained this night. The rain provided another opportunity to be vulnerable to me and to God – “soul open”. Typically, rain can make one feel depressed – lack of sunshine, having a case of the blues or melancholy. Not in this case. The rain was soothing, it was nurturing, and served to replenish my spirit.
I lay awake most of the night with the rain still pouring. I chose to leave the curtains open all night. I didn’t have to worry about who saw me. Yet, as I went to sleep, I knew that I was being “exposed” in a very special way. In my communion with God, I was being reminded of “my perspective” – “soul open“.
…”soul open” is another way to express my willingness to embrace messages from God; …ears discerning. With that being said, I heard the inspiration for these words. I listened. If there are messages for me, I embrace them. If there are messages I feel compelled to share; I share them either through my poetry or through avenues such as this new segment of my blog.
I received my confirmation to continue on my path. And yet, the message gleaned from this beautiful rainy night also had a message that speaks to the overall nature of man; a universal message.
Sometimes, we position ourselves to be so closely guarded. Sometimes we close ourselves off for fear of being vulnerable – “exposed“. We block our hearts from enjoying the best blessing in life; that of love and that of having an open heart and soul to truly receive the blessings of life. Thus, inhibiting our capacity to love self and others.
It is easy to shut it down. All it takes is one hurt, one trial or one broken heart. Negative consequences rear their ugly head. We shut ourselves off from the realities of life. We shut ourselves off from friends. We shut ourselves from the capacity to love others and our selves. We shut ourselves off from life. We miss our blessings because we chose to fix the problem ourselves, instead of “letting go, and letting God”.
The seeds of life are given to us in so many ways. Being discerning is the only way for them to infiltrate our being, as God intended. To be discerning is to be aware……and this awareness leads us to our responsibility to be attuned. Being attuned means having “discerning ears” and “soul open”.
As in life, most of us have adapted the ability to be flexible. Such a critical trait. Flexibility means that we can bounce back from despair, that we can move beyond “issues” of life, and that we can maintain a presence that defines us. The ability to do this is based on our strength, our inner fortitude, our perseverance, and how we juggle the variables of life. The ultimate is to flow like a ship in the most turbulent waters, and once upon solid ground, we rejoice in the deliverance from this journey…..awaiting the next tidal wave.
…..like rock and sand, crystal clear becomes the dreams of man….
This is a very appropriate quote for this blog post. Yes, I wrote the quote. It is a stanza from one of my poems, ”Serenity and Dream of Light“. This quote is suggestive of how life equates to understanding our own frailty, like a fragile piece of glass.
Do you know what the process is to make glass? It is actually amazing. Heat, rock, and sand; tempered and forged to make exquisite bottles and containers for our daily use. Heat – overcoming issues of living – rock, our foundation, and the sand, life’s circumstances. And for me, this is the epitome of life – the fusing of these natural elements to become a resource that can be idealized, that can be seen through, that which can be reflected upon; and that which can be broken down as in the frailty of life – just like rock and sand.
I was really unsure as to where this post would go. It first began as a poem. Then I realized that I just wanted to write…..Then I realized that I really wanted to create a venue for just sharing. Sharing is a good thing……sharing is about being vulnerable to exposing the soul…..sharing is about embracing and “speaking” to our mutual life existences that make us the individuals that we are.
…a journey into the soul has far more worth than a life time of reflections. The reflections are the images that you recall…..the soul journey is one that you live…
For these words are about sharing. And what a more private place…..that of vulnerability……There is nothing negative about this. For you the reader, for me the writer, for anyone that lives.
Share….. leave a post……share the vulnerabilities of your soul…Celestine
Here is an eclectic combination of dishes that my taste buds have been screaming for. One of the dishes is a medley of brocoli,carrots, mushrooms, purple onions, black olives and chicken served over fettucine with a cream sauce. And remember, my taste buds do not like bland.
Another dish that I prepared was focused on an angus sirloin roast. Roasts were a meat of choice as I was growing up, and wanted to find a way to put a different spin to it. The roast presented is wrapped in bacon, cooked on a low oven, and then unveiled to brown the succulent dish. It was served with fried green beans and cabbage, believe it or not; but by the time I blended the flavors, they worked together. I should have made some roasted potatoes. Alas, next time.
Another dish I want to present is barbequed chicken breast. This dish exceeded my expectations because it was moist, seasoned well, and the sauce which stuck to the chicken was truly finger-licking good.
New Blog Series – Under My Pecan Tree – The Total Sum
I have had my blog now for two years. This site, My Pecan Tree Poetry Blog was launched in conjunction with the publishing of my first book of poetry – Voice From the Soul of Trees. The site consists of promotional posts about my book, poems, and interviews, reviews of my book and/or poetry, and informative links. I have now begun to add more content regarding the poetic world and commentaries on life and living it, hope, and the pursuit of happiness. I have also decided to start my first of many blogging series.
The first series is called Total Sum. The posts will embrace all of my god-given “me” as they manifest in my life –my love for God, my love for people, my love for nature, my love for writing, my love for music, my love for dance, my love for photography, and my love for good food and the joy I feel in my heart as I prepare dishes for my family and friends. All of these aspects combine to make the total sum of me and provide inspiration for my writing.
I have eclectic taste and interests. This blogging series allows me to express myself comprehensively, as does my poetry. This blogging project also allows me to bring back a long lost interest in writing essays. My writing style may not be the most prolific, but I do aspire to that goal as I continue to hone my craft. My writing style and my emotional connection to the various aspects of my heart-string and that which I hold near and dear will make for some interesting insights. I am more than happy to share as we sit together under My Pecan Tree - you know the one with hovering branches, knotty limbs, and deep roots. My Pecan Tree and My Total Sum run parallel – for it is in both of these places that I know and understand me.
My Pecan Tree and My Total Sum run parallel – for it is in both of these places that I know and understand me.
When I first started this blogging series, the intent was to share specific experiences, beliefs, and sentiments that I draw upon to define my actions, that make me smile, and that help me to understand the embrace of life. The foundation is a beautiful palette of hues, colors, and flavors that prevail in living as represented in the picture of this beautiful dish of spaghetti.
For those of you that know me, eating food is akin to experiencing this cataclysmic explosion of flavors that dance across my taste buds. With the right food combinations, my taste buds sing in harmony with the spices, textures, perfectly seasoned meats, and other provisions that makes the entree, the sandwich, the salad, the soup, or the stew perfect. Eating for me is not just for sustenance, it is to truly experience the combined food flavors. If the restaurant allows, I always ask for a special little tweak to the dish to make it uniquely for me. I am sure that I embarrass the guests in my party when this happens. But they know it is to be expected.
When I have guests at my home for dinner, my kitchen is my kitchen. I will allow company to do prep work – chopping onions, slicing and/or chopping bell peppers, and other tasks as these. But when it comes to putting it all together, that is my job. You see, I always have a plan. I know how I want the food items seasoned, I know how I want them to complement each other as I work through the different phases of the process, and I know what I want the end product to look and taste like – a beautiful presentation with layer upon layer of flavors that ”when combined, make me shout and sigh with glee“; one of those culinary taste bud experiences that the table gets quiet, and the next sounds that you hear are “uhmmm”, forks and knives gathering perfect portions, and the body language equates to children in a rocking chair while the taste buds are singing.
My culinary skills represent a part of my “My Total Sum”. I remember the days of my youth when as a child, our family kitchen was special. Our parents had a lot of specialties which included the best fried chicken marinated in, well, don’t want to share that secret, oyster stew, homemade hamburgers, pot roasts, SOS, and freshly grown vegetables. During slaughter season, our father prepared the best (hog headcheese – souse meat; me; I didn’t eat that), Brunswick stew, pork tenderloins, and the most perfectly seasoned patty sausage. I would be remiss if I failed to mention “our” potato salad. We only ate freshly ground chuck, round and sirloin for our hamburger. I am sure that I can speak on behalf of my siblings when I say that we took for granted that vegetable garden in our back yard consisting of okra, tomatoes, corn, peas,and beans that we laboriously picked from the garden and canned. To this day, one of my brothers and I fight to prepare meals and we have two generations of that delectable potato salad. He and I are also working together to recreate Dads’ Brunswick stew. We still have some work to do.
So with food preparation now, I have culinary delights from my childhood to pull from as I create food that I like to eat. Now, all of the dishes mentioned above are mostly southern, but my taste in foods have expanded to incorporate foods from numerous ethnic backgrounds – with Southern, Greek, Indian, and Italian being my favorite. When I go to the grocery store, my favorite isles to visit are the ethnic food section and the spice section. I have garnered a wide variety of spices. When I get ready to prepare a dish, I open the cupboard, think about the meat, envision the dish, pull my spices, and create an explosion of flavors that make my taste buds sing.
My total sum with food – letting all of my taste buds work together, as I did with a pot of spaghetti sauce that I recently made. Yes, everyone makes good spaghetti. But, my version is a little different. The dish is a hearty blending of green pepper, ground beef, onion, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, black olives, capers, blanketed with another level of toppings which also include marinated artichoke hearts. The dish was adorned with Italian sausages. Here are pictures of what I call Celeste’s Spaghetti.
The stages of preparation are represented. The first picture (upper left of the collage), represents the base for the sauce. It is a hearty combination of ground beef, onions, peppers, mushrooms, black olives, capers, tomatoes, basil, and other spices. The second picture shows the addition of the sauce once the stock has simmered. My preference for an additional meat for spaghetti are succulent Italian sausages that perfectly complement this hearty dish. With my spaghetti, I love an abundance of vegetables to top off the dish. I have used vegetables that are included in the stock – two different types of onion – yellow and purple, mushrooms, and peppers, and artichoke hearts, seasoned with a balsamic vinegar to create a contrast with other flavors of the dish.
The dish represents a harvest bounty. The dish represents a perfect blending of flavors reminiscent of the total sum of me.
A New Page, A New Post, A New Life Chapter, Embracing The Total Sum
Fifty two days prior and fifty two days after; I have read somewhere that these are the most powerful days surrounding a birthday. For me, fifty two happens to be my magical age this year. Fifty two equals seven in numerology. I am the seventh of seven siblings…..And on the seventh day, we know what God intended for us.
Notwithstanding, the year of 52 is a part of the definition of my existence. It reflects a position of ’from whence I have arrived”. Years added to my calendar indicates another level of wisdom. In addition, it represents another level of life, and the full appreciation thereof. My appreciation extends to my mere existence, one afforded me by my parents; an existence that is uniquely mines. My appreciation extends to my loved ones; family, friends, my babies, and others who share my path.
My appreciation extends to sharing the total sum of me and my life experiences. The total sum of me includes my love for life, my love for good food, my love for writing, my love for my family and friends, my love for music, my love for nature, and my love for people; all sharing the circumference of my Pecan Tree.
The Total Sum
Take the total sum of your existence
Take the total sum of your life experiences
Measure them against a blue sky
Measure them against an ocean wide
Measure them against your principles
Measure them against the weight of the world
In this vast equation
Find the breakeven point
Solve for the algebraic solution
Substitute x for y
Which has full reign, x or y
How do you solve for apples and oranges
Is there ever a fair solution
For sometimes we like apples
Sometimes we prefer an orange
Sometimes, we have no choice
Sometimes, it is fine to seek balance
In the realms of the unknown
Sometimes, forced outcomes
Equate to living in a cage
Of numbers and endless possibilities
Will the equation ever be equal
Is there equilibrium
In a total sum
We solve for our true self
We have many variables
Experiences that define
The side of the equation
We want and may need to be on
Is defined by letting God
Manipulate the numbers to fit you
Both sides of the equation
Equate to life
My total sum is me.
I embrace the whole.
Celestine McMullen Allen