I don’t know about you, but I tend to go through phases of reading. I might ruffle pages that contain positive psychology tips, the next might be a fantasy, the next particle physics, the next a rom-com and on it goes.
I rarely ever buy, pick-up, read a book of poetry in this way.
Maybe because there’s something spiritual about poetry (for me,) and when I’m bogged down with the thoughts and stresses and worries of everyday I don’t really want to bring all that ‘stuff’ to my ‘special place.’ It would feel a bit like dragging mud through a ‘just hoovered, just mopped, just dusted’ house.
It did strike me as odd the other evening though. When have I ever needed to be in the mood to read or write, well, anything? I’ve gotten used to forcing myself into it, I suppose. The timelessness of each activity helps, too. I’m not on anyone else’s clock. I’m described as a resource, or an income generating entity. I simply am, when reading or writing. Often, even when I’ve not been feeling the urge to be around anything ‘arts’ based, it comes and finds me anyway. The great artists, poets, the modern fledgling creatives speak to me though exhibitions I happen upon. Or, through second-hand bookshops, that I really only visit because the aesthetic is cute, and, okay, the remarkably cheap penguins or Edding’s fantasy.
I was lying in bed the other night, reading a book about self-love (apparently I need a few more than a few guides on the topic…) and I thought ‘I just want something that gives me peace.’
A little while ago, I wrote about Mary Oliver’s poem ‘Wild Geese’ – and it hit me! I searched her name on my Kindle (bless the Gods of tech and instant gratification.) As Christmas is coming up, and I have a rather decent list of people to buy things for, I chose a cheaper volume of her poetry, titled ‘A Thousand Mornings.‘
While I’m writing this, I’m scurrying to the content page to find my favourites. Then, something more important jumps to mind. Like Adrienne Rich, Oliver has a way of speaking about life, such ordinary moments of life, that give peace. Her words take a little of that loneliness, the type I imagine we’re all feeling, away.
With that said, I won’t quite list my favourites today. Instead here’s Oliver’s poem, ‘Poem of the One World,’ that made me feel quite enamoured with life – and I hope you feel something similar when you read it, too.
the beautiful white heron
was floating along above the water
and then into the sky of this
the one world
we all belong to
sooner or later
is a part of everything else
which thought made me feel
for a little while
quite beautiful myself.
I know, right? It was literally the perfect book, the perfect poem, the perfect moment of peace (through words) that I was searching for that night. Or maybe, the peace that I opened myself up to having that night. Letting inspired action lead the way to search for something different, something that I allowed me to come into contact with my own sense of spirit, peace – and ultimately, joy.
It made me think of how often self-denial, even to the idea that we can think of the possibility of more, difference, change, influences moments where we feel lonely, angry, unsure –
For me, I often try to find reasons to validate myself, or a creative project. It wasn’t long before I was meditating on this idea of needing a reason to create. I forget that creativity is as part of being human as our shape, thoughts, souls. You name it.
That’s why I also thought of Ethan Hawke’s TED Talk on giving yourself permission to be creative. I urge you to take 10 minutes to listen to him, it is, quite frankly, a talk that reminds me that being creative is not something that needs to be tied to validation.
Being creative, is a part of the everything, the “One World” that Oliver speaks about. I forget that so often…and just in case you have to, I hope that you know that being creative is something you need no-one else’s permission for – but your own.
Give yourself a moment to let the loneliness, pain and anger, rest on the shelf, while you indulge in poetry and listen to a voice that speaks about creativity.
Take time tonight to just be you,