For those who feel like they can never stop pushing, a reminder that you already have the knowledge to take you where you need to go. Give yourself space to listen.
I started reading I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb for my digital bookclub and wow, healthy dose of perspective there. And yet, her tale, her plight, is so easy to follow, so easy for me to call forth the feelings I expect she felt. While I can never know exactly what it was like, her words help me relate. And, I think, that's a gift of humanity, to be able to relate in many different walks of life, if we make the time.
It's a rainy Sunday here in Minnesota and my thoughts are drifting to the past again. Today I'm thinking about the numerous hours spent as a kid riding "shotgun" on the tractor wheel hub with my Dad while he drove the Allis Chalmers about doing chores.
I love being groomed. I know that sounds weird but really, having my hair shampooed or brushed, getting a massage, or even the ten minute foot rub during a pedicure - all glorious moments of relaxation and luxury. The funny thing is that as a primate communal grooming is very common and I'm certain it releases all the happy endorphins that makes you want to come back for more. From an evolutionary stand point that makes sense - most often when grooming was happening across our evolutionary history, it was probably to remove harbingers of illness - parasites. Additionally, grooming can make you look nicer which could increase the odds of attracting a mate and passing along your genes. Nowadays we don't need to sit in a line and search each other for ticks and fleas (mostly) and yet we still drop hundreds of dollars on grooming services from others. I believe it's those evolutionary responses that keep us coming back for the amazing power of touch. I really haven't researched this much and was just spit-balling so if you have any evidence-based articles you know of, feel free to send them my way.
Future-thinking today. Every now and again I like to let my imagination and optimism, some would say naivete, go wild.
For my 60th poem of the year, I thought I'd take us down the comedic path. I've often had the thought that my glasses make me a liability in emergency situations. Once, when I was a newly licensed driver, I was driving in the winter and my glasses fogged up as I traveled further down the road, my well-meaning mother snatched my glasses off my face to clear them and we nearly careened into the guard rail...I have -6.5 prescription and was trying to navigate by fuzzy colors. See? Liability. I'm like Dennis Nedry in the rainstorm in Jurassic Park or Harry Potter in the quidditch match before Hermione spells his glasses to reflect rainwater. Liability.
Tonight's poem is another personal walk down memory lane. When I set out on my poetry challenge 2018 I didn't really know what themes would reveal themselves and looking back on the 59 poems of the start of the year I'd say nostalgia is featuring heavily. I know these poems are probably not as interesting to you reading them as they are to me writing them, however, even if all their good for is inspiring you to reflect on your own fond memories - and maybe pen your own - then I'm satisfied.
Today's morning commute was quite smooth for my husband and I as he dropped me off at the transit station, compared to the discombobulated woman who was gathering her items out of her four door sedan that she had careened up a heaping mound of snow in the middle of a median and rammed into a tree. There was no ice.
Today is my birthday and I've been humbled and awed by the outpouring of love and well-wishes that have come my way from my family and friends. I know I've said this before and I'll say it again. I really do live a charmed life.
I taught my first yin yoga session open to the public last night. It was magical. I really enjoyed it and I hope my students did too! My poem today is another yoga philosophy poem about santosha, a niyama, a "positive duty" as outlined by Patanjali for recommended activities for healthy living. Santosha ultimately boils down to cultivating contentment. I believe contentment is fundamental for healthy living and I also believe that it is something you can practice and build over time. In my poem I tried to capture exactly how I construct my own contentment.
Bonus poem alert!! Evidently I have plenty to say about toenails, or really, the idea that we all have physical bodies that are going to do their own thing, which was today's theme. I was going to settle with just one but decided that each has it's own charm. Without further ado.
A nod to Brene Brown for the title to my poem. I think her interpretation of the term "wholehearted" is exactly how I felt when reflecting for today's poem. I have found that when I am living authentically, when I am saying yes only to those things that ring true for who I am and want to be, then I have a life of joy and ease.
One of my favorite mantras in yoga is Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu which means "may all beings everywhere be happy and free." My yoga instructor actually said this mantra in tonight's class - after I had written my poem - and it echoes my day's theme. I wish joy and ease for all beings everywhere and so, I'd like to share my poem, my "recipe," for wholehearted living.
We've had a glorious snowfall come through here in Minnesota. I really love winter, snow especially, so I'm happy to see the drifts piling high. I worked from home and didn't get many steps being camped at my desk all day and was ready to get moving after work. For our evening exercise, my husband and I decided to get outside with our shovel and help neighbors who'd gotten stuck in our un-plowed roads. We had plenty to do!
Drivers were getting stuck everywhere and we weren't the only people with the same idea. There were several neighbors with shovels and we gathered up and put our force to one vehicle at a time to clear the roads for the plows to come. It was FUN! I am not certain if other communities do the same thing when they face adverse conditions but I was proud that I belong somewhere that we work together to help each other. I do know folks in my state are typically called "Minnesota Nice", and well, I'm pretty sure that's what I was seeing today and I loved it.
Minnesotans were in full preparatory mode today with the oncoming winter storm warning and upcoming playoff game for the Vikings. Everywhere I went there were hustling crowds attempting to procure their goods and services before turning inside and hunkering down. In honor of the impending blizzard, I penned a little haiku.
My RYT200 training is soon coming to an end and I can't believe how these five months have flown. The experience has confirmed my belief that the world would be a kinder, more compassionate, and beautiful sanctuary if the 7.6 billion of us practiced yoga regularly. And, one of the most amazing things that has been emphatically enforced in my didactic studies is that yoga is a solo journey that ultimately amplifies an individual's connection to everything. As a teacher, I won't be doing the practice for my students, I can't do the work for them- but I can hold the space and the give the tools for their own self-study. So today's poem is about my own experience and understanding of yoga.
I was inspired by the balmy 40 degree Fahrenheit weather, and motivated by a colleague, to walk outside for my jaunt to the bus after work today. My outdoor stroll was too sensory not to write into poem form.
I don't often get political on my blog and I think it's passed time I do. It's important to speak up when things are wrong because, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "in the end we will remember, not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." Black lives matter and right now, the institutions of our country, the status quo, does not reflect that fact. We can all do better at seeing and peacefully protesting the institutionalized racism that pervades our daily living.
To my understanding, the BLM movement is not pushing for specific legislation to change, rather, their aims are for people in power to acknowledge the injustices that continue to persist, despite the laws set in place during the Civil Rights Movement, and work to eliminate the micro-aggressions and macro-aggressions hurting and killing black men and women today. At the very least, I feel my words might do something to contribute to that aim. I think there are peaceful, impactful ways that an everyday person can be a catalyst for equality. Writing our legislators, running for office, or simply voting, are all actions to take to spread the movement. MLK said "let conscience be your guide" and "love must be our regulating ideal." I hope you see both statements reflected in my poem.
Climate change is a buzzword in current topics and has been for a while and I guess I'm ready to say my piece. I firmly believe that individual households, especially in the U.S., can have a dramatic impact on whether we avert crisis. I'm the person at work who will turn off the sink you left running behind you when you walked over to the other cupboard to get a glass. I will shut the fridge door on you if you walked away to deal with your food "real quick" before putting the container back. I wonder about people who continue to buy bottled water after so many science-backed resources have campaigned to get the word out that plastic bottled water has so many ills. Have they just missed all the announcements somehow? Or are they willfully destroying the future of their children, nephews, or nieces? I know I can do my part better too, which is why today's poem is a reminder that what we do now, the imprint we make in this minute, is crafting the tomorrow of the little ones we love.
For Earth -
I got a little nostalgic for today's poem and took myself waaaaay back to summers on the farm, baling hay with my family. For those of you who have had the luck to bale hay, I hope this poem evokes some of the same joys that I found when digging up this memory.
Nine days into my year of writing a poem daily and I'm sensing a pattern about my writing. I pen my poems an awful lot like Randy Newton crafts his songs. There is a hilarious Family Guy skit about Randy Newton "singing about what he sees," that I only know because my husband has pointed quoted it to me numerous times. And yes, I do seem to write most often about things in front of my eyes. In the future, I will try to make sure I'm cognizant of this tendency and seek to expand my topics, but really, we live in such a magical world and people are so amazing, inspiring, and sometimes bewildering, that I can't help but want to capture that awesome in my writing. Or, I guess I could help it and I don't really want to stop.
I'm sure it comes without surprise that today's poem is about a person I saw on the bus ride home. This person was happily engrossed in a often-teased form of entertainment and not giving one fig about it. It really brought to mind one of my favorite phrases to use lately, "you do you." Be loud and proud for what you like even if it's not popular*. And now, I'll share my poem, about something I see because you be you and I gotta be me (whew, this poetry thing doesn't turn off).
*Note: statement does not apply to intolerance, hatred, or discrimination.
I love volunteering. I'm passionate about volunteering. You can tell from the photo above that I'm really, really happy when I volunteer. I think volunteering in our communities is one of the best things we can do for ourselves and for others.
I don't want to get all sanctimonious because why I volunteer is definitely not all altruism. First of all, I'm far, far on the extroverted spectrum, secondly, I truly believe in the ripple effect of helping within your community, and third, there is so much fun to be had when you are performing a meaningful task.
So really, my public service announcement is "volunteer to help others in your community and get payback in the form of endorphins, a stronger community, and satisfaction from a job well done." Also, here's my poem.
It's Sunday night. My stomach is pleasantly full, and I'm just enjoying some downtime resting on the couch with my husband and cat. In short, I'm feeling pretty great. So I decided to challenge myself in writing a "blank verse" poem. According to the article I read, blank verse poetry doesn't rhyme but rather uses the "da dum" pattern to make "same-length-of-syllables" lines (like doing iambic pentameter but as many syllables as you want). I think I got that right, though readers can feel free to give me direction if my interpretation was faulty. I chose to do ten syllables in each line and definitely enjoyed the challenge and maybe my brain got some exercise out of it.
The subject matter is every home improvement store. I love home improvement shopping. Home Depot, Lowes, Menard's, you-name-it, I would love to go. Appliances, curtains, electrical wiring, flooring, whatever, I want to peruse. It really does pull me in as if I'm in the "twilight-zone." Hence, the poem.
Today's poem is about one of my most favorite places in the universe. Thanks, Lucia, for making a sanctuary.
Creative enthusiast, gregarious naturalist, opinionated activist, RYT 200. Amy Kay Czechowicz is completing a poetry challenge for 2018 by posting an original poem daily to this blog!