Some Solstice Haiku

Hi Everyone,

We’re at the midpoint of the year today and I’m alone at home, while my wife is in London at a symposium and my son is visiting his grandparents. It’s been an interesting year so far to say the least, and that has me thinking about what I may or may not have accomplished, and also waxing somewhat poetic on this long day of light. While I think up what to say about my own life and progress in a subsequent post, here’s some haiku to chew on, meditate on, or just plain read, digest, and pass along. I hope your year is bringing you the Light of Truth, Love, and Abundance that you both need and deserve.

Namaste,

Jason

4644
You are a hero.
Your life’s a great adventure.
You’re up to the task.

4645
When God is ready
That which He has planned for you
Will be made quite clear.

4646
I believe that God
Is both the source of all things,
And lives within us.

4652
This student’s ready.
Pray, let the master appear.
Guidance is needed.

4653
May all souls in need
Find most what they seek tonight –
Food, Rest, Peace, Joy, Love.

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Bink and I contemplating the future.

 

4654
Keep your goals in mind.
When daily problems arise
Know why you’re fighting.

4655
Do not be afraid.
The Source of All is with you,
Offering you strength.

4656
Find your still, small, place.
Search both within and outside.
Visit it often.

4663
The world’s faith in you
Means absolutely nothing
If you don’t share it.

4665
Be compassionate
Towards those less fortunate.
You could be them soon.

Stonehenge1

Happy Solstice, Everyone!!!

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Haiku in Bloom

A busy week, a trip to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D. C., and the first day of spring made for good memories and the necessity of sharing some more haiku this month. Whatever your needs are, I hope they are being met. Whatever ails you – mental, physical, spiritual – I hope it is being managed. Know that you are not alone. Know that you are loved. Know that whatever your present state, it can be bettered.

Peace, Love, Spring, and Cherry Blossoms to You,

Jason

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The Jefferson Memorial across the Tidal Basin in D.C.

4627
Your authentic voice
Is what people want to hear.
Let them hear your heart

4628
Your priorities
Must be kept in order if
You wish to succeed.

4629
When others succeed,
That doesn’t mean you have failed.
Stop comparing lives.

4630
It is your duty
To give your life to the world,
Serving its best needs.

4635
Focus heavenward.
The sun is beaming brightly
Above the storm clouds

At the Cherry Blossom Festival

Me and My Gal in the Blossoms

4637
How should you respond
To the hatred in the world?
Why, with love, of course.

4639
Give up all judgment.
Be a Citizen of Peace,
Enemy to none.

4640
You are on the verge
Of an explosion of Art,
Thought, and Abundance.

4641
Believe in yourself
And your ability to
Make a difference.

4642
Be the example
You want your children to love,
Follow, and become.

photo

Our own backyard.

March Into Haiku

It has been awhile since I’ve done a purely haiku post. But spring is around the corner, and I’m feeling like I need a real dose of inspiration to get me through the last of the winter woes.Whatever you may be struggling with, I hope you find some measure of assistance, uplift, guidance, or what have you in the next 10 poems. Hang in there, keep the faith, assist, resist, persist, and God bless.

Namaste,

Jason

4610
Whatever happens
You must never surrender
To hatred and fear.

4612
While you sit around
Complaining about the job,
Someone’s doing it.

4613
Rise with the dawn and
Offer sincere gratitude
For the day ahead.

4614
You cannot give thanks,
Too sincerely or too much,
But be one who tries.

4615
Put yourself out there.
Without risk there is no life,
Only stagnation.

4617
When you’ve been knocked down,
Look for anything to grab
That will help you up.

4618
You want my advice?
Whatever you want from life
Go out and get it!

4619
If you have a dream,
You can acquire the skill set
To make it happen.

4625
How can you improve
The lives of those around you
Just by showing up?

4626
Look for ways in which
You can make someone happy.
Seek joy for others.

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Two Contemplative Cats

Healing Haiku

I haven’t done a haiku post in more than a month. These were written earlier this year, just after midsummer. Most in this batch are like mantras/little reminders to remain calm and centered as the world swirls around you. A lot is going on in the Michael household, and there’s no question that I need them just as much as anyone else. May these poems bring you peace, centeredness, joy, or at least a way back towards the good. Until next time…

Namaste,

Jason

4598
I am perfect health.
I am ever increasing
Abundance and joy.

4599
Stand on the sidelines
And you have no one to blame
For your apathy.

4600
Don’t expect others
To make your hopes, dreams, and needs
Their priorities.

4601
Be an oasis
Of peace, love, and non-judgment.
Welcome the world in.

4602
Is life war or peace?
Is the universe hostile
Or friendly to you?

4603
There’s no assurance
That one life can change the world,
Though many succeed.

4605
There’s poop on the floor.
And there’s cat poop by the door.
No more poop, no more.

4607
The secret of life?
Find a passion for something;
Commit to its care.

4608
There will be down days,
But they don’t need to rule you
If you manage them.

4609
All good things take time:
Babies, novels, omelets,
And well-designed lives.

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First Fall at the Michael Ranch, Circa 2010

Hot, Hank, and Haiku

It’s the midpoint of August in Virginia, and it’s the hottest it’s been all year. My family and I are all mildly sick with a lingering bug, laying about the house for the weekend (to stay cool) and everything seems like a chore. Clean laundry is strewn about unfolded, meals planned have given way to the local sub shop, and naps are the best thing ever!

At this writing on Sunday morning I’m actively looking for supplementary work to compliment what I do at my church, I’m lining up premieres for new choral works I’ve written, I’m planning my next children’s book with the artist, and, above all, trying to make ends meet and pay bills. Tonight is the Virginia premiere of the new documentary Wild About Hank, the story of the cat that ran for US Senate, and my wife and I are hoping to be in attendance. If so, the night will certainly be a blog post in itself. Lots of balls in the air, lots of uncertainty, and lots of stress. It’s time for a few meditative haiku. Here’s hoping your world is filled with adventure, challenge, success, and some desired security, stability, and abundance. Till next time,

Namaste,

Jason

4585
If One Truth exists
It is Love made manifest
In all disguises.

4586
Own the reflection.
Your life mirrors your actions,
Inner and outer.

4587
We should mourn the dead,
But then leave them to their rest,
Not play with the corpse.

4588
Whatever your thoughts,
They will emerge from within,
Designing your skin.

4589
Meditate daily.
Listen to the voice within,
Soothing and guiding.

4590
Grieve for those who “know,”
For they have certainty, but
No authentic Truth.

4591
Riches are hidden
Right under your very feet,
Waiting to be mined.

4592
Stop wondering if
You’re worthy of happiness.
You were born worthy.

4593
Arrive at life’s end
Unfettered by regrets and
Armed with good mem’ries.

4594
You must not hate those
Who know no other pathway
Than what they’ve been taught.

IMG_1057 Ticket to WAH2

Nancy and I in the movie theater with our tickets to the US/Virginia premiere of Wild About Hank

The View from Haiku

I haven’t posted any haiku for several weeks, and I thought it was time for a break from essaying and for sharing some poetry. In a related update, my first book signing at England Run Library through the Central Rappahannock Regional Library System went very well (yes, I did sell something, thank you), and I’m looking forward to the next one on June 25th. Until my next blog post, here’s some inspirational haiku to get you through the week.

 4562
When you’re living life
According to your own rules
Doubt not, you’ll know it.

 4563
Muster the courage
To take your first fearful steps
Into the unknown.

4564
Have faith in yourself.
God lies within each of us.
Trust yourself, trust God.

4565
Changes always come.
They are inevitable.
Your reaction’s not.

 4566
The you you once knew
Isn’t the you you are now.
Be the you you are.

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Rainbow over Route 3 outside Fredericksburg, taken through my windshield

 4567
It’s time for changes,
Changes in outlook, manner,
And life’s direction.

 4569
Wallaby babies:
Just think about them playing.
Pure bliss, pure laughter.

 4570
You can do better.
Whatever level you’re on,
You can step it up.

 4572
What is your purpose –
Have you any sense of it?
Any directives?

 4571
There’s always a way
To make all your dreams come true.
You must just find it.

 Namaste,

Jason

Book Signing0001

See: A Viking Funeral???

fluttering
on the strand of web
a white moth wing

                                     – Soji (aka Gary B.)

A few weeks ago we buried a good man. Well, not so much buried as burned. Well, not so much burned as burned again. Gary was a member of the Unitarian Universalist church where both my wife and I work. He was kind, and fun, and beloved by his spiritual community. When he died it was his desire to have the closest thing to a Viking funeral: to be put in a ship on the water and set ablaze. His wife, and his UU community would have nothing less for him.

On Sunday evening, April 10, the day after a memorial service for Gary that included multiple moving eulogies, a tribute video presentation complete with nose-flute duet, and the singing of Gary’s favorite songs, “Blue Boat Home” and “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” many of his friends and family gathered again at the Little River boat ramp to watch Gary sail across the Rainbow Bridge into Valhalla. To the thunder of numerous percussion instruments (and guitars) Gary’s ashes – loaded into a beautiful scale model of a Viking ship – were guided via kayak out to a preselected spot on the water and set ablaze. At the moment of the ship’s final descent the instrumentalists organically fell silent, paying their final silent respects to their fallen friend. It was beautiful, unusual, sublime; and I’m glad my son was there to see it.

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The miniature Viking ship  ablaze (photo credit:Nancy Krause)

After the sinking we casually walked back to the parking lot where wishing lanterns – tissue paper balloons that one sets a fire under – were being lighted. Nancy, John Adams, and I each lit one and watched it carry its light across the evening dusk as a final silently ascendant prayer to our friend.

moonviewing —
from across the sea,
neighbor’s voices

                                    – Soji (aka Gary B.)

I write this now, not just in memory of Gary, but also as an invitation to new people to get to know the man’s work of passion. For Gary was a haiku poet of significant talent. Writing under the name Soji, Gary’s website, Haiku Poet’s Hut, http://www.haikupoetshut.com/ is a treasure trove of his poetic legacy. I strongly encourage those of you who are interested in haiku (and I know many of you are) to check out the beauty, simplicity, and elegance that Gary has left behind for us.

Namaste, Gary. May we all live a better life through your example.

Jason

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Gary aka Soji (photo credit: Nancy Krause)

Haiku – Off and Running

It’s February already, and the New Year is bringing its share of joys and challenges, not the least of which is all the snow that’s been dumped all over Virginia. I’m chipping away at my goal of 5,000 haiku before the year is out. Below is a sampling of what’s coming through so far. Judging by the almost ubiquitous theme of motivation in achievement of one’s dreams, I’d say it’s a pretty good bet that’s what’s on my mind for now. I think I need a vacation! Anyway, you judge for yourself and thanks for reading.

Namaste,

Jason

4502
At the heart of all
Personal development
Is motivation.

4506
Can you honestly
Tell me you’re not worth your dreams?
No, of course you can’t.

4507
Offer gratitude
For all that the past year was,
And all that will be.

4509
Let go of control.
Life will be what it will be.
Plan it but detach.

4510
Welcome challenges.
They’re the only way we grow:
Overcoming them

4512
Define for yourself
What you want, what you will do,
Who you want to be.

4514
Ev’rytime I think
About societal norms
I get a headache.

4518
Sometimes your purpose
Can sit inactive for years
While you deny it.

4520
Being grateful for
Things when they don’t go your way
Is awfully hard.

4525
Live your best life now.
Decide what you want from life;
Resolve to get it.

A New Year

Happy New Year, Everyone! January is here, our driveway is covered with snow, and I haven’t written anything since around Thanksgiving. Sheesh! Lots of things have been happening, and it’s just been crazy busy all around. Just to recap a few highlights – in December I wrote my 4,500th haiku. This has been a slow and steady process for a number of years now. This year, December 2016, I’m scheduled to write my 5,000th! When that happens I’m planning to take the next year or so off from regularly scheduled haiku writing. I want to grow more and I don’t want to go stale. Perhaps a few more sonnets, or a limerick or two, but no set schedule for haiku. Also, December of 2015 was a great year for me for music composition. One choral arrangement I wrote, “What Cool Child Is This?” was premiered by both my Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fredericksburg Adult Choir, and the Fredericksburg Area Young Musicians Concert Choir. It also received airplay on local holiday radio station 95.9 FM, along with another piece I arranged for hand chimes, “Christmas Don’t Be Late i.e The Chipmunk Song.”

Probably the biggest news of all artistically was the release of my second book of haiku, titled A Haiku a Day, on Amazon at midnight on New Year’s Eve. As I’ve stated before this book was drawn from my earliest mature poems, written while I was still a school teacher in North Philly between 2001 and 2004, and has been over ten years in development. It features thirty images created by artist and lifelong friend, Miss Carolyn Leshock, who took original photos, blended each one with a related haiku, embedded each photo with a corresponding Kanji character, and ultimately created beautiful little works of art that pepper the book. A Haiku a Day is available now on Amazon and has been selling. Check out Carolyn’s other work at http://www.leshockarts.com.

And just behind that, Nancy and I were both accepted to present papers at the 40th annual Comparative Drama Conference in Baltimore, MD in March. Nancy will be comparing two plays – The Pillowman and Everyman – and I will be comparing the character of “Laurey Williams” as she is written in both Green Grow the Lilacs and Oklahoma! It should be both scholarly exciting and nerdy.

Also, I am once again teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Union University, and happy to do so. At VCU I’m teaching just one section of Effective Speech this spring; at VUU I’m teaching two sections of Effective Speech plus Theatre History. We’re just through the Greeks as of this post, but I find I really do enjoy talking with students about the structure and themes of older genres of Theatre. More on that as the semester unfolds.

Beyond the above I’m happy to say that the Michael Family is healthy, happy, and “hanging in there” for another year. We’ve got lots of upcoming plans for my Unitarian Universalist Adult Choir, Hand Chimes, personal composition, and personal development, so we’ll just have to wait and see how the year makes each endeavor come to pass. In the meantime, I wish everyone caught in the snow a safe journey home, and you can be sure I’ll be talking at you in the New Year.

Namaste,

Jason

Thankfully Haiku

Happy Almost Thanksgiving, Everyone! My posting has slowed in the last couple of weeks due to the demands of the school semester and various other commitments pulling at me. Our new book of poetry, A Haiku a Day, is in the second stage of proofing and should be out after Thanksgiving, certainly by early December; Sister Act is closed for me; and the semester is just a few weeks from ending. And that means more time for writing! Yay! But until that time comes here’s a handful of haiku to take you into the holidays. Namaste, and may the times ahead be filled with light and love for you. Write to you soon, Jason

Don’t bite off too much
And wonder why you can’t chew.
Eat moderately.

Do as you are told,
And you’ll never know the joy
Of being alive.

Believe the future
Will always be brighter than
Your present moment.

Devour the words
Of the world’s master teachers.
They have spoken for you.

Is it possible
That technology impedes
Our evolution?

Be an example
How to live well for others.
Be inspiring.

Cultivate courage,
Stand up to your addictions,
Stand up for your life.

Strive to serve others,
And in so doing you’ll serve
Your own desires.

Daily make someone
Aware of their importance,
Make them feel special.

Remember to be
Thankful for everything
That you are and have.