Metaphors Make Brains Touchy Feely – ScienceNOW

I’m home.

I’m ill.

Not allowed to ride horses or bikes, doc says I have to rest. So I’m getting caught up on my reading.

There are truly some things I wish I could unread – like Ron Paul’s idiotic thought process. Why are people voting for him? He’s a moron.

There are other things I’ve read that truly have me fascinated like the article linked below. I’ve never given much thought really to the connection between poetry and science or how the brain responds to poetic verse.

Either my left brain is jonesing for some action and is thrilled to get it, or this is really a good article. Enjoy.

Metaphors Make Brains Touchy Feely – ScienceNOW.

Poetry: Chasing The Sun


Though cattle low while birds sing
And the owl calls out its mourning song
The sun waits.

The gifted hours of evening’s slumber
Silently give way to morning’s heed.
Nature stirs with a half opened eye,
Waiting for the sound of the sun upon still waters.

Nature knows what I do not.
Try as I might,I cannot chase a sunrise.

A Really Cheesey Poem from 1982

Drinking from dry wells is a waste of time and energy. Poetic interpretation is as much about the state of mind of the reader as it is the writer. Huge shakers full of salt grains really do come in handy when laying your heart on the line. I remember sitting in the school library on October 27, 1982 writing the following poem. Moved by the beauty of the frost outside the window as well as the reality that my old life, high school, was ending and having spent the previous year in Sweden I was more than ready to get on with living. My heart and my mind traveled ahead while my body endured one last winter. — contrary to my mother’s belief that this was a poem about suicide (she almost put me in therapy), it is really about coming of age and the importance of waiting.

And I Wait for Spring

Morning frost covers the ground,

remnants of the night’s cold.

The crimson sun shines brightly, illuminating the morning.

Leaves shed their disguise of green and take on colors

which are better seen silhouetted again the pale blue sky of day.

The sun shines on the parade of wonderous colors

preparing for time of painted sleep.

The bubbling brook once fast and full of life

slows its course to better carry

winters burden.

A joining of life and placid rest

A time of time of celebration and endings

waiting for a new beginning.


Just Breathe

He (sic My father) used to hold his breath and pass out on the streets of Tokyo where his parents were Presbyterian Missionaries. I think he was a little angry: Held breath is the ultimate withholding; you’re not taking anything in, you’re not putting anything out. – Anne Lamott, Plan B Futher Thoughts on Faith.

Has it really come to this?

Freud will have a field day.

I’m having a field day.

Every year I pray and meditate and choose a new word, or scripture verse or phrase for the coming year. After two weeks of semi-fasting from the internet, prayer, retreat, and journaling THE word that resounds in my deepest of spirit for 2012 is “Breathe.”

It’s not that I’m disappointed really , okay maybe a little, it’s just that most years my phrases have been, well I’ll just say it, more encouraging than something as simple as “breathe.”

Here is an example of what I mean:

  • 2003 when I just began working in a church -– Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
  • 2004 (Isaiah 41:9) – “I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, ‘You are my servant’: I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
  • 2005 – My word was forgiveness and letting go. It was truthfully a year spent grieving the loss of friends through death and learning how to forgive others. It was a dark night of the soul kind of year for me. I deleted all my writings and former blogs and got about the busy work of recovering from severe depression.
  • 2006 – “Baptize me, oh Lord, to the criticism of man, that I might one day become immune to it.” – Beth Moore
  • 2007 – Hebrews 10:35-36 – “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded, you need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.”
  • 2008 – Romans 31-39 – “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
  • January 1, 2009 – Ephesians 3:17-19. “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” – that was a year of exploring what it meant to LIVE with Intention. A year of celebration. It was also the year that I started doing stand up comedy and intentionally studying and growing my gifts/abilities as a speaker.
  • 2010 –  “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” – I spent a year studying ancient liturgy under the auspices of a local pastor and reading authors such as St Augustine.
  • 2011 – Live with Intention which for me translated to Love/Laughter Inspiration Volunteering Encouragement/excercise. – okay notsomuch on the exercise thing, but the rest – I totally nailed that.
  • 2012 – I get one word. Breathe.

 I’m not really amused. My ego wants something grander or more grand whichever than breathe. I want something that will make people stand on their heads and listen to me as if I were EF Hutton himself. “Breathe.” feels so bourgeois really. So ordinary. I’m an artist and a poet, I don’t want to be ordinary I want to be captivating. Shooting a loving smile at my artsy fartsy neurotically insecure yet comical self – Grown up me responds – Yeah well suck it up baby girl — you get to be real this year. Welcome to planet earth. – Grown up me can be a real downer sometimes can’t she?

When I think about it though, it’s actually pretty deep. Held breath IS the ultimate withholding just like Anne writes. I can’t help but wonder, how often do you or I forget to breathe in the moments of life? I hold my breath a lot. Beauty can capture my breath, so can anger and fear. All last week I dreamt nightly of people trying to hug me and my holding my breath. I would write it off as just a silly little dream (or three) but then last night someone I hadn’t seen in a few years grabbed me in a spontaneous hug and — you guessed it – I held my breath until they let go.

I really forgotten how to breathe. No wonder my gut is a mess and my shoulders are in my ears. I will have you know that this doesn’t come as some great and welcomed epiphany. This self-knowledge comes to me with bits and spurts of denial and a great deal of fighting back. While I know how I feel about this new word that landed in my heart, I’m not sure what to think yet – and so I simply offer some thoughts by some of my favorite poets on this whole “breathe” business.

To one who has been long in city pent,
‘Tis very sweet to look into the fair
And open face of heaven, – to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
~John Keats, Sonnet XIV

He lives most life whoever breathes most air.  ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

You know that our breathing is the inhaling and exhaling of air.  The organ that serves for this is the lungs that lie round the heart, so that the air passing through them thereby envelops the heart.  Thus breathing is a natural way to the heart.  And so, having collected your mind within you, lead it into the channel of breathing through which air reaches the heart and, together with this inhaled air, force your mind to descend into the heart and to remain there.  ~Nicephorus the Solitary

 Now — tell me, how was your Christmas? What did you do? Did you have a good New Years? Do you make resolutions or do you pick words or phrases for the year? Please drop a comment and let me know. Thanks.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved. January 1, 2012. No goods or services were given in exchange for quoting Anne Lamott — I just totally dig her vibe as an author – thought you might too. — and yes son, I really used the words “dig’ and “Vibe” in a blog post. HA!

Poetry: The Brag, I Live

I Live

A brag poem, written for Poetry Boot Camp.

I’m not supposed to be here.
I’m only 15 and an average student.
Broken Home
Missing Father
Alcoholic mother
Working to pay my way.
Kids like me
don’t get scholarships over seas.
Until now.
I’m in the middle of nowhere,
Grimslov College in Sweden.
Which is somewhere really
When I think about it.
A holding place with 50 others
from around the world.
I’m in orientation
Waiting to be set free and
chomping at the bit.
The scent of Polo Cologne
And expensive cigars
Sends me over an edge
That I never recover.
I can close my eyes
And still drink deeply
The scent of a man.
Leather, Wood
Tobacco and moss
Mingled with sweat,
fills every waking pour
And I believe I’m finally alive.
I haven’t forgotten her
Half woman
Half child.
I remember him.
Eyes so blue they melt the soul
A countenance so kind
That girls swoon.
Yale Boy: A sheep among wolves.
He is wise beyond his years
He satisfies nothing immediate
And points me rather to life.
There will always be boys.
This year is a gift.
Live it.
The fact that I am only 15
And he is 18
May be aiding his wisdom.
Oh, what a year to live.
I live a year of museums and art
Of the pomp and circumstance of the Nobel Awards
And meeting the king
Even if I do accidentally call him short.
I live and swim in the Baltic Sea
Tumbling backwards down a hill
When I my host family strips nude
In front of me.
I live trying wine and Italian food
In Stockholm with friends
Only to throw it up while
Watching The French Lieutenants’ Woman
Because I’m too young to live so quickly.
With no money or cell

I live hitchhiking

Back to my town.
Picked up by Iranians,
I live and lie like a rug
convincing them I’m from Australia
and not an American.
I live beneath the Northern lights
wearing only baby doll jammies and ski boots,
because at 16
on top of the tallest mountain I’ve ever seen,
that seemed the appropriate attire.
I live to face down a drunken lumberjack
who doesn’t yet know he’s in drag and tries to kiss me,
by kicking him in the shins with those same ski boots.
I live to see the boys
who weren’t supposed to be in our cabin
jump out of the second story window
like lemmings off a cliff when I run to be rescued.
I live to see Duffy
foolishly stay behind
and receive a black eye
defending my honor.
I live to come home again and chomp at the bit.
I live many years
Through careers
Through marriage
Through sickness and health.
I live in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma
which is somewhere really.
Raising a family
That’s almost grown.
I live and I wonder what’s next for me.
I remember the scent of a man,
wise beyond his years,
and it does nothing to satisfy the immediate.
It just points me to life.
 There will always be boys.
This life is a gift.
Live it.
This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved.

Poetry Walking

If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.  ~David Carradine


Johnny Depp refers to Angelina Jolie as “poetry walking” during a post production interview while filming The Tourist and I love that image. Is he speaking of her body, her eyes, her scent? Maybe it’s the way she carries herself or how she speaks. Poetry walking has an understated sexuality to it as well as sensual imagery.

As a woman this makes me weak in the knees.

As a poet this inspires me.

What *is* poetry walking? I’ll spend a good part of November exploring that.

Writing prompt for my nablopomo sisters – if you are so inclined – what is poetry walking to you?



Poetry: I Believe

I’m studying voice right now and writing a lot more poetry.  I’ll admit this isn’t the voice I’m used to hearing from myself. It’s raw and unedited. I usually reserve those pieces for my journal.  November is the whole national write a novel month. Rather than write a novel, I’m going to gather, edit, and write my first poetry book.  It’s time.

I Believe

I believe that if our eyes meet across a crowded room and my heart flutters you either have a flask in your pocket or a criminal record.
I believe  that love is a choice and not always an easy one. I believe in skinny dipping, the beauty of the human form, the healing power of creating art, and that laughter is a gift. I believe that green tea is a lousy alternative to a good cup of coffee, that God is real, that I have a purpose even if I don’t always know what it is. I believe that life can only be lived in the now. What was, was. Don’t look back. Trust should be earned and blind trust is detrimental to the soul, that gossip can ruin lives, there are no accidents, there is no such thing as a do-over button, but there are second chances, being able to say goodbye is just as important as saying hello, and I believe that while some fear is healthy
I don’t have to be it’s bitch. Deana O’Hara

Written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All Rights Reserved. 10/23/11