Ah, the ebb and flow…


The current is pulling me elsewhere darling.

Oh, but how happy was I to touch against your shore again.

More than you know perhaps.

So familiar, my kindred. Did you feel it?

That rush through veins like rapids.

That storm of pulse at heart-center.

They call it love, you know.

I do, at least.

And always will……..even as the tide calls.

Words: ©2014, Jen Payne
ImageL In the Waves, Paul Gaugin

Book Review: Look Up!

Jen Payne:

Check out what fellow blogger C.B. Wentworth had to say about my new book LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness. If you have never read her blog, be sure to check it out – she’s a creative wonder! (http://cbwentworth.wordpress.com/)

Originally posted on C.B. Wentworth:

lookup-ccIn a fast-paced world that often makes us forget our humanity, we need to be reminded that life is more than work and paying the bills. Life is about breathing and soaking in the magic that comes with being alive. Jennifer A. Payne’s book, Look Up! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness, offers both an exploration and reminder of how nature can save us from ourselves.

A simple walk through the woods is all it takes. Payne’s meditative journey begins on a wooded path surrounded by trees and with a question, “And how have I missed this before?” The wind through the trees and the crunch of leaves beneath her feet suddenly became the missing pieces she craved.

Look Up! is unique in that it combines quotations from the likes of Emily Dickinson and Henry David Thoreau with spiritual thinkers such as the Dalai Lama and Krishnamurti. In between lines…

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For Want of a Loose Garment


I must confess, I’m feeling like a bit of a hypocrite these days. My new book Look Up! touts “musings on the nature of mindfulness,” and the closest I’ve come to being mindful lately was the hour and a half wait at my doctor’s office this week.

I have nightmares of speaking at one of my book signings in breathless, supersonic speed, shoulders so tense they look like earrings.

This is not mindful. [ shaking head ]

How I would love for some time to reflect on everything that has transpired in the past six months. It’s been lightning pace since I got back from Texas in April, with barely time to consider what’s been happening.

There is a book! For heaven’s sake! A book!

There have been some amazing connections and conversations since April, too. Intense partnerships, fodder for poetry, milestones and amends-making that would make your head spin!

Quite frankly, it’s making me dizzy — so literally I was at the doctor’s office this week. Turns out shoulders affixed to ears is not only a bad fashion statement, it’s also a pretty unhealthy way to move about in the world!

It never ceases to amaze me how our bodies speak so clearly to us. If one’s brain is full of spinning thoughts, one gets dizzy. If one is carrying a burden of regret and lets it go, back pain eases. If one cannot let go, one begins to hold on — to weight, to pain, to illness.

At a gathering recently, a man I know made mention of the following quote: “Wear the world as a loose garment, which touches us in a few places and there lightly.” Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, I push those words around in my head often these days.

How can I get “all of this” to fit just a little less snugly?

How can I let go of “all of this” just enough to breathe?

How can I be mindful of all that has transpired, but allow it to flow freely, touch me but lightly?

Forest Fellow


A 100-Word Story

I saw an elf bent over, studying the bark of a tree just up the path. “What are you looking at?” I asked, feeling curiouser and curiouser. “Mushrooms,” he told me, “these.” Then he bowed and plucked a bouquet from the log at my feet. Edible, he explained with a smile, so I asked “What are you making?” and he replied “Oyster mushrooms with a sherry cream sauce.” Mouths watering, we talked a bit about wild woods and food fare before we parted ways. Darn, I keep thinking, I forgot to drop my shoe. How will he ever find me?

WORDS + IMAGE: ©2014, Jen Payne

In Love with Ghosts


Surely it is no secret —

I am in love with ghosts.

Just this morning I awoke with one

folded naked against my spine

on the sheets I bought just for you.

In those short-film dreams before dawn,

we were there again

so easy and transparent —

as ghosts are known to be.

But life is never that see-through, is it?

Rarely that ethereal.

For here we are bound —

so bound —

to the day-to-day-to-day,

dreams tucked away in linen closets,

square corners and pedestrian piles.


©2014, Jen Payne

Love Come Circling


When we are done
and the tether is again released…
When our words are silent
but still full-meter in my heart…
When you are gone,
but the flush on my face lingers…
I swear I could open my mouth
and birds in red regalia would emerge…..I am so consumed with you.

And then so empty.

This ever flow and ebb ebb ebb —
ever climax and release —
is it romance, or reason prostrate desire?

Intesi ch’a così fatto tormento
enno dannati i peccator carnali,
che la ragion sommettono al talento.

Dante’s Inferno, 5.37-5.39

WORDS: ©2014, Jen Payne
IMAGE: Detail, The Garden of Earthly Delight, Hieronymus Bosch