Poetry and Mandala – On Emerging

In the middle of the night
when your companion is the tick
of the second-hand
– and your heart beat

In the early morning hours
awaiting first light
so still in the house
– too quiet

In wait for the coming of storm,
be it thunder, hail, snow squall
– or a brewing wild within

Midst scheduled days or days unfettered,
in calm or angst
with joy or grief,
– take up your pen and paper

And in keen or chant, praise or lament,
in raised voice or sultry whisper,
(remember this)
– all is sacred and profane

Cast spell and benediction,
turn your words into phrases
and phrases into lines
– invite unruliness and ecstasy too

Take up your pen,
invoke madness or muse
Take up your pen and write
– then, poetry emerges.

There will be poetry and mandalas, contemplative photography and more. The Contemplative Creatives Journey begins again on December 15th. Join me?

Walking the Earth – A Miksang (Contemplative) Photography Collaboration

walk the earth – a collaborative practice © 2017 Bo Mackison

A Miksang Photography collaborative practice. We create together in the Contemplative Creatives Journey workshops. We begin again December 15th, 2017. Here’s the offer.

Contemplative Creative Practices – A Mandala

Contemplative Creative Practices – A Mandala ©2017 Bo Mackison


This is a mandala of contemplative and creative practices. Almost all of these practices show up in one way or another in Contemplative Creatives Journey.

If these are practices that call out to you, please check out Contemplative Creatives Journey Winter 2017-18. We begin December 15th and registration is now open.

DIARY WRITTEN ON AUTUMN LEAVES (a poem in six parts)

Gingko Leaves © 2017 Bo Mackison



(in six parts)

I. there are the dreams

Hold my thoughts
and dreams
as you scatter
take flight
for those of us grounded

II. there is the holding on

Holding on, hanging on.
No stranger to holding on
before letting go of the known.

Change electrifies the sky.
Freedom awaits.

III. there is the ride

It’s your turn to travel
On the winds of time
Gently, freely floating

Letting go
Riding the winds of life.

leaf dreams,
whirl and chatter,
small red and gold cyclones
grasp wind,
let go.

Brilliant leaf
please take my regrets
on the wind.
Let them fall away.

Fall away, let go, ride the air,
So a new year may begin.

IV. there is the dust

Last vestige of Summer
crumples into dust
To augment the new growth
of a new Summer,
As I will augment the growth
of a new generation.

V. there is rest

Signaling change
Ever changing skies
Preparing for rest.

tenderly landing

The leafless branches
like stitches pulling together
land and sky

A thin page of the season
Leaf of gossamer
Holds my gaze, my thoughts, my love

resting, earth to earth
connecting, heaven to earth

VI. there is the quiet

Floating, flying, propelled
into unknown adventure,
Finally to find rest,
lying softly on the earth’s litter,

Cushioned among the other
discarded gowns of summer.
I envy your deep sleep,
the safety of your blanket,
As I trudge on through winter.

there is the quiet

now be
be still in the wind
be still.

Scattering of Gingko Leaves © 2017 Bo Mackison

This poem was written with my Contemplative Creatives Journey (CCJ) online workshop/community. It is a collaborative effort. Together we imagined what diary entry we might write on an autumn leaf. Then I wove together the words of 15 members of the group – this poem is the result. These collaborations are one of my favorite parts of our group and give me such deep joy when I can weave words into one offering. It’s truly a lovely creative practice.

If this sort of thing appeals to you, I hope you’ll check out my coming offering. CCJ Winter begins December 15 and is now open for registration.

Stars in Perspective Mandala


Star Perspective ©2017 Bo Mackison

A story about my contemplative creative practice:

My thoughts were too swirly as I considered the issues before me: a friendship once full of hope and promise now drifting away like a column of smoke; complicated relationships with both my aging mother and my disabled sister; conversations with a mentor parsing the differences between relationships that take and relationships that give. And then there remained the world beyond my door, a constant thorn and source of anxiety. Complicated stuff.

As I am wont to do when my thoughts feel too wobbly, too big, I took out paper and pencils. I formed an intention, something like “I need perspective… and stars” because I needed wisdom from deep within, a glimpse of understanding, wisdom that was vast and unconstrained and beyond any sense of control I could imagine, a wisdom that I sensed to be rather like swimming in a star-sea of grace.

I know (or I don’t know.) Wisdom is a tricky thing, being both microscopic and telescopic.

I filled the large circle on my paper with dense markings. Lots of intense energy. Color upon color, a thick buildup of color. My first inclination was to add some sparkle, but I decided that wasn’t quite right.

So I turned to my second line of defense – poetry. I googled “star and perspective poetry” to see what kick start inspiration I might discover and an art teacher’s blog showed up after a dozen or so clicks.

I read: “Fourth graders have been learning about one-point perspective as a way to create the illusion of space.” An illusion of space! If it is good enough for fourth graders, it is certainly good enough for me!

So I created the Stars in Perspective Mandala and as I created the various “explosions in space” I considered various perspectives to my issues at hand and wondered how I might see the space in which I am currently adrift as gift and blessing, not as a dark hole I try repeatedly and unsuccessfully to escape.

My contemplative creative practice at work by way of mandala creation and poetry reading.

If this sort of practice speaks to you, consider checking out my online workshop/community. We begin December 15th and registrations are already coming in. Join us?