An Artifact of the Heart

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Creative

I remember falling in love with Bucky Fuller’s use of the word artifact the first time I ran across it– the way the modern world, seen through his eyes, was an assemblage of present day artifacts.  These were not clay bowls and petrified implements unearthed from a Sumerian archaeological dig, but mass-produced silverware, jet engine airplanes, and home heating furnaces.  An artifact in this sense is the embodiment of a particular era’s state of thought.  Thus, an enameled cast iron stew pot is a tangible recording of countless facets of our culture, philosophy and technology– the culmination of our ability to refine metals and coat them with ceramics, of our relationship to food, to the land, to the way we gather together, and to time.  For Bucky, artifacts were also metrics of our efficiency– testaments to our global relationship to matter and energy.

I like to think of the act of putting together a book as being an artifact as well, but of a different sort.  A book is tangible evidence of an author’s journey, preserved in a form that others can carry with them.  A book is a portal to the spaces a person has explored, a record of the journey and of what was encountered, and a means of conveying the intangible from one to the next.  A book is an artifact of the heart– a map and a memory of the spaces inside of us.

I think the truest form of sharing is the act of giving what we find alive within us to one another, and in this sense a book is obviously but one way that we do so.  This giving is the essential act of human existence and unfolding, and though it occurs in countless forms– a book being but one of them– if we are not engaged in the act of giving away whatever grace has found its way to us, we walk this world bereft of the true power of human life.  I’m inclined to think the contents of our hearts, ennobled and empowered through the acts of sharing and receiving, have the power to put this world aright, and so I wrote a book.

Header_Background_CannonBook

Click the image to visit a brief Author Site I have created.

The book contains the fullness of my heart, as best I could capture it, over a relatively recent period of time.  But like one of Bucky’s artifacts, it is the culmination of countless previous encounters and relationships both within and without.  We become the uniquenesses we are by touching events, by touching ideas, by touching the world, and by encountering our own landscapes of inadequacy and desire.  So, the book I have written contains the first meditative breath I ever took, the first doubts and pains that wedged into me and stuck, and the surgical procedures by which they were unearthed and held to the light.  When you look closely, you discover those arrowheads were all diamonds.  Always diamonds.  They rode in on carefully hewn shafts of compassionate wood, guided precisely by the feathers of high-flying birds, and the vision of saints.

I had the good fortune once of being able to participate in Native American ceremony.  The way it worked was that you were set out in the open, out upon the land, alone with the day and the night, so the arrows could find you easier.  Afterwards, exhausted but gleaming, cleaned out of who you once were and that much closer to who you’ve always been, with eyes now intimate with the distance, you thanked those who helped made it possible.  You gave something away– an artifact of your healing.  The first year, I gave away a small paper bound book with a story I wrote.  My friend helped me paint watercolor swatches that I pasted onto the cover.  That same friend put together the cover of the book I am offering now, and as I write, finding words here I didn’t have at the beginning of this piece, I marvel at the spiral of it all– the holy circle of it.

This book wouldn’t exist without the interactions and friendships I’ve made here, in this virtual realm, and I’ve come to realize that all of life is a stepping into the open.  All of life is this stepping forward so we can be found by the arrows that burrow into falsehood, and set the truth within us free.  So, in gratitude, I am giving this book away to you, at least for the time being.

You can click the Contact page or the plus sign at the top of the page if the Contact link isn’t visible.  E-mail me at the address you find with your name and address and let me know you would like a copy, and it will be my pleasure to send you one.  If you are inclined to give something in return, I propose you order a copy from Lulu where it is currently available for sale, and give it to someone you love who may enjoy it.  There is also an e-book format available at Lulu.

Many of the pieces in the book have already appeared here, but I’ve managed to include a number that have not as well.

Thank you…

55 Comments

  1. Wow is this exciting Michael. While I do not always comment on your poetry ( I often find myself awestruck and tongue-tied), I marvel at how your imagination and “real” experiences dovetail so cleverly and intricately.
    The cover is perfect, very “you” or how I see you!
    Congratulations! woo to the hoo!

    So grateful to have you in my circle Michael,

    love, Linda

    Liked by 6 people

    • Hi Linda,

      Thank you so much for sharing in my enthusiasm and lending the vote of your light to this development. I’m grateful to have you in my circle as well…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Here it is!!!! I am so excited for you, Michael 🙂 I am grinning from ear to ear!! Your words to introduce this most fine work of art are a work of art themselves!!! I love the idea of a book being an artifact to our journey…oh yes…I like it a lot! I simply can not wait to hold it in my hands as I know the energy of love that will emanate from it! Congratulations my very dear friend! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hi Lorrie,

      Thank you so much for your support and your thoughts here. They both mean a lot to me. I’m excited, too, and it’s great to share the enthusiasm with others… Your artifact is in the mail…!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your timing is impeccable Michael, for reasons I need not go into here, and your title shall be savoured, in restrained measures, alongside the undoubtedly complementary poetry translations of Thomas Merton’s The Way of Chuang Tzu, which happens to be my latest acquisition – the two shall work marvellously well read side by side, of that I have no doubt.

    Many congratulations my friend; this is a wonderful achievement, and I wish you every success in your work reaching a wider audience, which it so surely deserves. How lovely it is to see you gifting your unique gift in this manner, not solely as a token of friendship, but as a symbol of the spirit in which you write – freely, self-effacingly, and always with the opening of a pure heart.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Hello Hariod,

      I love your wording here, as always… Savoured… in restrained measures… So perfect. I’m not sure there is any justification for setting this work on the shelf next to Merton’s, though we both have last names starting with the letter, ‘M’, and perhaps we can build on that as I continue to develop in the craft of being alive.

      Thank you so much for your congratulations, and for your support along the way, which has meant a great deal. Your artifact, too, has now taken wing, though I fear it may be a long flight.

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations Michael. This is a wonderful step for you and your readers. I’m excited for you and grateful that you’re giving the book away. I look forward to mining it for treasures of the heart. Thanks for sharing your gifts so freely. I’m happy to share the journey with you, though often stumped at your creative wanderings. Maybe you’ll start offering cliff notes. 🙂 blessings to you and yours…

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Brad,

      Thank you, Brad. Much appreciated. Now you can at least have a physical reason you can point to for being stumped…! I do hope you enjoy it, and I don’t think you need any cliff notes… If there was something to get, it is only what you have already got… 😉

      Blessings to you also,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t wait! Was just praying for a new read/resource… And since I don’t believe in accidents… Well, hopefully you get me!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m in the process of self-publishing a book on meditations with Lulu for the first time. As is often the case, I have doubts and worries that float in and out around my excitement as I go through the process. Reading this piece lit my heart with such excitement for you and blew my worry out the windows. I shall buy your book. May it have a long and prosperous life.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Noelle,

      If I had written about the doubts and anxieties I felt prior to writing this post, it would have taken three or four posts… I don’t know why. Some things are easily imagined, I think, but we realize in living them they involve a sort of stepping forward. There’s a risk involved we didn’t acknowledge when we set out, a way that creating nudges us from the old to the new, and there’s no way back… It’s not just an idea in the silence of our own heart, but something others can also see. What if… what if…? I very much look forward to reading your book as well… and I feel a grace-filled connection in knowing that my words here were in some way helpful. Thank you for your support… Sharing enthusiasm with you for your own project…

      Peace,
      Michael

      Like

    • Ha! Thank you, Lanessa!

      I finally figured out today what an Evernote was, so I’ll be reading your piece tonight… High fives back at you!

      Much Love,
      Michael

      Like

  7. Congratulations, Michael. This is awesome!
    Creating a book is a huge step foward.

    You wrote ” I’ve come to realize that all of life is a stepping into the open. All of life is this stepping forward so we can be found by the arrows that burrow into falsehood, and set the truth within us free.”
    That resonates with me. A part of the journey seems to be being pushed out in the open. And , as usual, resistance to that gentle nudge or not-so-gentle push of the universe is futile.
    Love,
    Karin

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Karin,

      Thank you for your enthusiasm and support! It does feel like a step, though I wasn’t sure how it would feel when I began. I think it is that the act of creating something tangible is somehow a commitment, and its fulfillment in some way an incarnation. Yes, we can’t hide ourselves away– the Universe will always draw us back to our fullest, truest expression…

      Love to you also–
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kim. I’m savoring the warmth of your response… which is much appreciated.

      Wishing you fair winds and following seas on that cleansing ocean of self belief you wrote about so eloquently today…
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haha, thanks Michael, your words always give me the warmth I crave….and again, I am so happy for you. It is my wish to someday be self published, have only been in an anthology to date…although the grammar police will have a field day with me😀 peace and blessings dear friend and have an amazing day too. Kim

        Liked by 1 person

        • Grammar police!? Who are they??? Grammar means nothing without the feelings inside of it, set freeeee….!

          I look forward to your book!

          Peace
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my dear beautiful friend Michael , you have my heart soaring with flocks of birds that travel across lands and touch down on the mountaintops ! Your sentiments , a wealthy message of love and generosity of spirit …thankyou , thankyou for giving your glorious unfolding …they all matter so deeply …I love you , megxxx ( your word “artifact ” flew into my own paragraph late last night as if in a dream )

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hello Meg,

      Thank you for your heartfelt resonance here, which always adds to the breadth of the experience. I much appreciate your beautiful and poetic response. I need to return and read your piece again, as I was traveling yesterday, but managed to see where “artifact” flew in on falcon wings and landed… I will be back. I love you, too…

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

      • Oh goodness! I missed your reply. I’m so sorry for the late response.

        I’d love to write a really eloquent response but I am always awed but your writing when I visit your blog. I don’t know how to write like that and I have immense gratitude and love that you are able to put into words so beautifully the experience of being human, at least that’s how I experience your writing.

        I’m so glad that you understand my excitement is heartfelt. Words elude me often so I am grateful. You are a shining star in my life and I want you to know that. Congratulations!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Sarah,

          Thank you so much. I’m at the loss for words now… Just know your presence alone is the gift, and I always enjoy our exchanges as well. Your own flag flies highly in the spaces of my heart…

          Hope you are well.
          Peace
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

  9. I am completely melted by your description of a book.
    And this sentence “engaged in the act of giving away whatever grace has found its way to us” shows me a map of my journey. As grace finds it’s way to us we can’t help but give it away, but the teaching is so strong that we have to *do* something, and that *being* is not enough. Don has a copy of your book from Lulu. I look forward to melting some more as I read it.
    ❤ ❤ ❤
    Alison

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Alison,

      Don is a smart man. I had envisioned cutting a copy of the book into tiny scrolls and sending out a fleet of homing pigeons or something to get you guys a copy…! But his way is far easier… I can see why he does most of the bookings… 🙂

      Thank you for your lovely response. We’ve been melting for a while now… and I do hope you enjoy the next piece…

      Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  10. How utterly wonderful Michael, this is a great achievement, and I shall be purchasing a copy as soon as the Cloud coffers permit it. I echo all of Hariod’s words. Well done that man!!

    – sonmi letting off party poppers upon the Cloud

    Liked by 1 person

  11. footloosedon says

    Just before Alison and I set off on our nomadic travels four years ago I wrote that we’d have written at least one book by the time we’d been travelling for two years. Well, it hasn’t happened yet, though we have reams of notes, hundreds of blog posts, and thousands of photos from which to draw. Just too many doubts and anxieties got in the way. But now we plan to stop travelling for a few months at the beginning of 2016 and just get a book completed. Reading this post of yours has inspired both Alison and I even more. I was particularly struck by your lines “if we are not engaged in the act of giving away whatever grace has found its way to us, we walk this world bereft of the true power of human life. I’m inclined to think the contents of our hearts, ennobled and empowered through the acts of sharing and receiving, have the power to put this world aright, . . .”

    As always, many thanks for your inspiring words Michael.

    Much love,

    Don

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Don,

      Thank you very much for your thoughts here. If I’ve inspired you guys in any way to complete your book, that is deeply satisfying to me. That will be such a fun project, and full of great images and sharing I know. And of course, I know what you mean about doubts and anxieties. Fifteen years ago I tried to write something, and would open my laptop and go through the motions, but always stall on dry land… Then I put it on the shelf and got on with things… Then it reaches the point where you simply can’t not do it, but the reality is it’s all perfect, right? The books don’t matter… they are just artifacts of the process of heart-opening… It feels important to keep those in the right order… If writing a book isn’t a journey of it’s own, I don’t know what is… I can’t wait for yours… No pressure of course… 🙂

      Much Love
      Michael

      Like

    • Your words are such a gift, M… Thank you doesn’t capture the feeling adequately, but thank you… I’m not sure this would quite exist the way it does had I not chanced across your blog one night after doing a search on– of course!– “Hafiz”… And then writing something like “Hafiz Hafiz’d my Hafiz in Cadiz” or something equally ridiculous. It went from there… This feels like something that exists because of many people and influences… for which I am truly grateful.

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Well damn. You are just so beautiful.

    Such wisdom and grace, humility and humor; I am so glad my wandering mouse clicks led me to you. I know I’ve been absent as of late, as is my curious style (or crazy schedule,maybe both…) But every time I come back, I wonder why I’ve left.

    You have really held a space for me in my own little world, clearing the cobwebs or adding some sunlight, and I am so so thrilled to have a tangible MM artifact emenating in my home. Your book will like it here, lots of curious page turning, chuckles, and musings are sure to be afoot…

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, my book will love it there very much, A. I know this to be true.

      Your coming and your going is perfect, and your responses to life always so inspiring. Your opening salvo here bowled me over. You are beautiful, too– and rampant. We’ve exchanged cobweb clearing moments then, for which I am wholly grateful, and it is an honor to be sending you a token-artifact-portal of appreciation. I rather like when our world fills with the exchange of these tiny renderings of our invisible powers… these unities that make eternity blossom from the wood of our day-to-day.

      Thank you, too.

      Like

  13. HI M.
    Many Many congrats. Of course I’m giving something in return. I will buy a copy at Lulu, as soon as I figure out where it’s going. I have more tablets than any person needs or could ever use (plus laptops and phones). its a techno blur… but i embrace it.

    But… I wanted to let you know that you’ve sold another copy!!!
    And I wish you tremendous success on this.
    I’ve read a lot of poetry by a lot of people. For me, yours stands out as the perfect combination of :
    moving, changing, esoteric, mysterious, visionary, inspiring, and emotional (elements) encased in crystalline clarity of colors.

    Needless to say, I’m a big fan. And so will many more people be upon the reading of your work.

    Also, thank you for your encouraging words for my project which I hope to share outtakes/extracts from at some point. My letter writing continues.

    How did you go about publishing your tome? I read that you had the native ceremony. There you found some guidance, and a cover artist = serendipity.

    hugs,
    o and om

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear O,

      Thank you for such a warm and heartfelt reply. You’ve already given much with your support and encouragement, so thank you… I used Lulu to publish this little volume of poems, and the ceremonial experience was now close to ten years ago, so I’v stitched a few swatches of time together in arriving at this piece… There are familiar feelings that run through the whole length of it. Each time we open ourselves, it seems to be the culmination of something, but also the beginning of a new movement altogether, so in a way this book is the culmination of the journey to this point– and also the first step into something new…

      Thanks for being a part of it!
      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, O. You are, too, my friend. I think one of the most inspiring things in this world, is people reaching for something they love. It’s not easy. It draws us out from ourselves. It forces us to take a risk. It leads us to realize– no one has ever accomplished anything truly on their own… And in that spirit, thank you for being here…

          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

          • We aren’t alone. I do know that in one of my comments, i referred to not having a team of people a la grisham, or king. But you are completely right. None of us is an island.

            I don’t have anything to share with you yet, via email.

            I am still hard at work trying to hammer down the different versions of the query i have into one I prefer. Right now I have 5… and tomm. that number may grow. Just depends on what my brain does when I wake up.

            THanks in advance for your advice. The fuse still waits to be lit with a specific match.

            hugs,
            o and oM.

            Liked by 1 person

  14. Dear Michael,
    I flagged this post: ‘too long to be read over the phone’ a few days ago when I first saw it, meaning to come back to it later.
    I’m returning today to discover that it was really about the architecture of the heart, the opening of domes, spaces and shelters within; Bucky Fuller, I realized could mislead sometimes 🙂
    So very happy for you Michael; the gift of yourself is the highest gift of all and you offer it very generously here so often. Congratulations!! I hope your book finds a shelter in every home. I know it will help bring light to the corners that may need the fresh and honest touch of your beautiful words/works for they have left my corners brighter every time.
    Many thanks and blessings to you my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, PR! I appreciate your response here– the kind words offered and your enthusiasm. I can see how my opening my have been misleading, particularly over the cell phone. So, I’m glad you came back! Bucky wrote once that he did his best work when he was trying to serve the maximum number of beings, and when we put ourselves in position to follow our own callings, that is what it feels like I think. Something simple, but joyous at the same time. Thank you for being a part of it here with me…

      Much Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

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