Ann Keiffer

Ditching My Outdated Map

A retreat in the mountains,
under giant redwoods
with women songs,
beautiful food,
and a tiredness,
a need to write
that made me abandon
the last singing session
for a journal,
pushing pen to paper.

What I feel is an old map.
I have been trying
to navigate my life
using an outdated map.
Going to the same places
I have always gone
for meaning, joy and
but my meaning, joy and
satisfaction don’t live
there anymore.

Where has choir gone?
I keep looking for the music,
the camaraderie, the exhilaration
of choir life as it once was,
but when I get there
the experience is empty,
doesn’t sing to me anymore,
and I wonder what’s wrong,
keep wandering around,
searching the bushes
for what is no longer there.

On the outdated map,
some of the lively, lovely,
creative, essential places
where I once lived,
are now “exclusion zones,”
like the dead zones
around Chernobyl.
one used to be called.
But where I lived full-time
at 23 or 33, even 43
is a forbidden zone now,
boarded up for the good of all,
to avoid trapdoors and pitfalls,
posted with yellow caution tape
and skull-and-crossbones signs.
If I’m stuck in the old map,
I don’t notice the warnings
and blunder my way into
disastrous, post-dated mothering.

Over the years,
the terrain and landmarks
have been changed and
rearranged all over my world.
Where I once went,
how I once lived,
is misinformation now.
Where in the world is
the screen of my internal GPS
showing up-to-date feedback
on this thing called actual reality?

What is the lay of the land now
…for loving my beloveds,
…for a life of real well-being,
…for the work I do,
…for what of myself I can give to others,
…for living a life alive in the Sacred?

GPS is what is required now.
Everything I need to know
will be fresh and refreshed
if I remember to check in
with my GPS…
the present moment.

Ann Keiffer
July, 2019


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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