Inspiration Mindset Part 2. Tuning the Receiver: New, Vivid Experiences

new vivid experiences

I often write a few lines of poetry at bedtime.  My mind is less able to maintain its strict linear-ness and all of life seems just a bit dreamier, as if part of me is already making that long descent into sleep.

But eventually my well of impressions starts to dry out if all I’ve been doing during my days is the same old routines, day after day. Even days on end of creating can begin to feel dull in their sameness.

So, yes, write poetry; also, give yourself new vivid experiences. Here’s an excerpt from Love Yourself Forward, which is coming out in my lifetime, as soon as it stops morphing, thank you, on the subject of “I have nothing to write about.”

Write Poetry

It’s not as hard you might think. Write snippets, descriptions, incomplete sentences, incomplete thoughts, tones, and observations. Write feelings, drop hints. Describe, luxuriate in, and adore your subject. Eavesdrop. Chop up the lines any way that pleases you.

Write a poem about your day today. Write it just for you. Make yourself happy with your poem.

Your first objection: But nothing happened today! It’s boring. What did I do? 

I’ll give you that. And I have two answers: One, write it anyway.

And two, give yourself some new, vivid experiences.

Here’s a story of how I did that, from about 2 winters ago.

Last night at 10:30 my partner happened to see a Facebook message from a friend, saying she was out of kerosene for her heater. My partner began pacing. This means she is thinking of doing something. She knew there was a gas station open all night that sells kerosene.

“But it means going all the way out to her place, picking up her containers, driving all the way over to get the kerosene, then back out to her place.”

“I’ll go with you!” I said.


Yes. I needed to. I’d been on my butt all day writing and doing web stuff. My head felt like little electrodes and cotton balls stuffed into a tired pumpkin needing sleep. But I wasn’t sleepy.

We bundled up and drove out into the night together in her pick-up. Our friend’s three little dogs came barking and twirling out her front door to greet us. The full moon shone in her yard like a hazy, white spotlight. She asked us to buy her some water, too. We picked up her containers and drove back to town, thinking and talking about no heat, no running water.

At the gas station a car pulled in blaring rap music. The guys who got out weren’t wearing coats. It was 17 degrees out. They had New York plates. After them came two local guys on a cigarette run. We got out a screwdriver and pliers and pulled the safety rings off the kerosene jugs, so our friend could open them with her crazy, zigzagged arthritic fingers. We filled them and strapped them into the back of the truck with a bungee.

We stopped back home and filled four gallon jugs with water. The cats had already settled in for the night. We drove back out to our friend’s place, checking out the new business in town, wondering about the five-car “traffic” on Route 11 going the other way, marveling at the moon. Our truck was warmer than our friend’s little house.

We got home an hour and a half later, ready for bed.

The dark streets and night life on our foray live inside me, feeding me images, feelings and moods I can add to my palette.

I’ll say it again. Feed yourself new, vivid experiences. This may seem like a trick. How will you know if it’s going to be vivid? You won’t, until you do it. And it won’t be, unless you are paying attention. Any experience can be new and vivid, but it we tend to pay attention more when it is a novel one.

This is one of the reasons we take vacations. Our minds and bodies love a change of pace. This strategy is about changing things up regularly, way before you’re flattened with monotony and definitely more than once a year. Similarly, if you normally flit and have tons of new experiences on a regular basis, give yourself some time to sift through those experiences.

Just writing a list of impressions and random memories can be a great way to see everything you’ve taken in, in a new way.

Inspiration Mindset is really a set of behaviors and attitudes that sharpen you as a receiver, appreciater and lover of this one, amazing life. You may not think of your art as your love letter to life, but at least make your living that.

You may not think of your art as your love letter to life, but at least make your living that. Click To Tweet

Greeting Things (poem)

leo-fosdal-114217 photograph roadside


Rolling the 300-plus miles south from Arlington, Massachusetts
To Franklinville, New Jersey, I noticed more than anything
The places beside the road that were green or greening
And wondered about the roadside weeds, imagined collecting samples
To identify later, then remembered a quote that said
That until our scientists stop trying to learn about things
By killing them, we will not understand life. And I remembered
A time when there were too many stars in the night sky to possibly
Identify constellations, and how, lying on my back on the gently rolling
Dock at the end of the ramp where we tied our motor boat
In the ocean, I understood that naming things is not the
Power I thought it was and started reaching out in greeting
Instead. I stopped calling in the directions by telling them
Their names. I greet them as you would anyone
and thank them for creating the circle of our physicality,
Then tell them my intention and ask for their help. And
Now I see I can do that with the weeds and the stars,
Join with them, their myriads, and feel at once my own
Multiplicity as each cell in my body and all the force
Of consciousness I possess begin to dance in recognition
And communion with my brothers, the many, the choruses,
The infinite beings of life. And I see there is nothing to be known
But only to be experienced, and as much as I can
Hold it, to be alive with each of these, and in each moment to be alive.
My intention is to know you. Please help me be alive.


aaron-burden-88770 dandelion

What is a Miracle?

Greater Burdock, Arctium lappa, (4)

What is a miracle?
Something impossible,
But our view of what is possible
is as a speck in an ocean,
a droplet evaporating,
a moment forgotten.

What is a miracle?
Something that amazes,
But wonder is constantly resolving
into having, holding
and letting go.

What is a miracle?
It’s grace, the softening
that finds a way through
the hardest realities where violence
can do nothing but ricochet.

What is a miracle?
It’s everything, everywhere,
molecules just waiting to coalesce
under the watchful eye of a lover and dreamer,
the careful ministering of skilled hands and wise ears.

It is the seeing that brings it into focus–
The listening itself–
It can be spoken into being–

What is a miracle
if not all of that?
But what of the intractable situation
that blooms like burdock
with roots that resist the sharpest shovel,
so deep they have no beginning?
We chop it down
but it springs up again
when the ground softens
during the time when everything returns,
the good, the green, the sustaining–

The painful and hard places that,
like iron wrapped handkerchiefs,
drop from our pockets
and crack the ground we are trying to build on–
What of these places seemingly immune from wonder,
never content, never resolved,
always causing unrest,
begging for attention–
the hungry, squirmy, miserable children
we wish we had left home
so that we could shop and eat and laugh–

Look!  Look here!
Here is where our wondrous world view
needs to be turned loose.
Here is where our miracle needs to take hold.
But what shall we listen for?
Where shall we focus?
How shall we caress?
What song shall we sing?

If gravity holds together electrons in a wild jig
that makes the molecules that form the thing,
what is it that holds together the circumstance
that will not yield to wonder?
What is the dance of belief
that makes us think it cannot change
when everything we have
we have created because we thought we could?

What are we willing to be, to give up being,
What are we willing to have, to let go of,
In order to give this reality
we are piping and fiddling madly away at
a chance to stop, to pause, to hang up in its orbit,
for just a moment, less than a breath,
And then resume as something changed,
The essential elements rearranged?

We do it all the time in life,
if we’re lucky.
We wake right up and say, “No. This.” or
“Yes. Yes.”

What is a miracle
if not the improbable
and the impossible
meeting the intractable
in the field of being
called “I am?”

For Going Into Winter

IMG_3036November Snow

yellow maple leaves come unpinned

fly down and scatter on early snow

carpet strewn with net of sunshine

points wagging and draped into every crease

and footstep, extravagant the multitude

of yellow star-shaped splashes, dying

I remind myself, on their way to brown,

to dry and crinkled dust, their thin bodies

displayed across an acre, grass

pile of refuse boards and discarded bicycle

covered alike in white dappled with yellow

all are on their way to dying.

Can I surrender and be strewn like this

in my dying colors?


jack-o-lantern lit from within,

grim reaper’s eerie grin escort me

to the other side of summer.

The November elections bring us closer

to the grave we fear so much,

but I am hopeful, following the maples:

Perhaps all the intrenched realities of life

are coming to their death.

The maple leaf’s public and joyful pageant

stamping every thing I see with its death logo

in this season of the thinnest veil between the worlds

is ignored at the cost of missing the beauty

of this stage of transformation as the world

prepares to travels its root to the Source.

November Snow. Photo by Phyllis Capanna

Compost Bin. Photo by Phyllis Capanna


by Phyllis Capanna © 2014 joyreport

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Thirty Days of Joy ~ Day 24 ~ Beach Day

by Phyllis Capanna © 2012 joyreport

Beach day

Sand dunes, beach grass, picket fencing, tide coming up a narrow spit

congenial gathering of blankets, umbrellas, beach chairs

tubes and boogie boards

No Lifeguard On Duty

Drum finally drum gift given perfect response, delight and “My own drum!”

Relentless wind, plastic tube rolling down the beach, caught on capsized chair

Black-backed gull interested in my bag, I run and flap till it takes off

fannies digging sand castles

clumps of hardened seaweed where we spread our towels

damp line of seaweed at the tide line

jewel green glossy seaweed gathered out of the water in the arms of an Aphrodite

Switching places in the water to give our necks a break and to even out sun exposure as we talk talk talk

The kind of feedback about your bathing suit only a friend will give

The kind of friend you can hear that kind of feedback from

Chilling salt water swelling and receding and swelling, taking all the heat out, but we can still feel our feet, so it’s not really cold, not new england cold

Black woman with Medusa curls

shocking pink dress and shawl with skull motif posing at boardwalk entrance to beach

singing for the camera, hair blown back

hair over face, hair twisted around neck, shawl escaping, singing, singing

You know what I’d like you do to sometime in the next ten years?

I see myself traveling

Kid talk, ex talk, house talk, money talk, work talk, astrology talk, veggie garden friend drive car college weight talk

I’m telling you, you know what I meant to tell you?

Ooh, let’s go, and egg salad sandwiches in the front seat, water, chocolate

Dining hall dinner: salad bar, fajita bar, dessert bar

Folk music after dinner, lousy microphone keeps slipping down, This Land Is Your Land, Blowin’ In the Wind

Sand castle awards, applause, on and on, one for every sand castle-maker, most creative use of, most easily, best, fastest, biggest, applause, dining din chatter

Guy with hair pinned up in barrette, paint on forearms, he must be the groundskeeper, you say. Doesn’t have to have a ponytail, but the spirit of a ponytail.


taking pictures across the table and emailing them to each other

Loud downpour, man eating ice cream, tweens kicking soccer ball, riding bikes in the rain

Sky pulls clouds apart to reveal faint blue, then rainbow in rockers on the porch

I’ll follow you out, fried clams on the way home

highway north is deserted, black, I call you and the Hampton tollbooth heading south has a two mile back-up

our conversation is not over, may just be getting started, may never quite be over, seems all we do is talk eat observe, listen, share, enjoy, venture, do, be, shop, for years and years and years

We hung in there, yes we did, made a couple of conscious decisions in rough times

we each had them

we took our turns and made decisions to hang in

and said that to each other today

why it came up, or for what purpose except the utter rare and lovely gift of total revelation in the safe and happy bowl of time and together that is our friendship

All content is the sole property of Phyllis Capanna and joyreport. If you are reading this content on another site, it has been reposted without the author’s permission and is in violation of the DMCA. © 2012 joyreport