How writing poetry every day made more patient and emotionally resilient

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This post, and the thing I experienced today is a perfect opportunity for me to write about patience and emotional resilience. I actually wrote this post few days ago, but I saved it on my desktop, for further editing and my laptop crashed. Yep, and with it the first version of this post, which I liked much more, but of course, I didn’t back it up, so we are patient and writing again. I hope I’ll manage to express clearly enough what I want to say.

Life consists of many little moments like that. Situations and people we encounter on a daily basis and how we are able to deal with them makes all the difference. And talking about my self – well I’ve never been a champion in mastering those things. Actually I’m quite short-tempered. A quality that I’m not very proud of.

It’s not that I enjoy any kind of quarrel or verbal conflict, but I am very passionate person (in both good and negative way) and it has impacted my life on so many levels. When I believe that I have arguments to defend my case, people can find me too assertive and not very approachable. Especially at work, no matter how you are right (or believe you are right), you need skills to manage situation in such way not to go against your own interests, and when you are under pressure, imprisoned by deadlines and other shortcomings – diplomacy is not the first word that pops up to your mind. When you are emotionally charged up and you let yourself fall into dispute, you are not hurting only the other person, but most importantly you are hurting yourself. And it doesn’t serve you at all.

I’ve been writing poetry on daily basis now for almost three years. And people have been telling me about subtle changes they noticed in my behavior. Positive changes. And I know I worked hard in last couple of years to improve my lifestyle and habits, but this particular I do believe has a lot to do with writing poetry. My colleagues have noticed a that I deal with stressful situations more efficiently, with calm and ease. And when I think more clearly about what they imply to is that instead of reacting to situation, I’m taking my time to respond to situation. I am able to step back and analyze it from different angles. I’m not attacker and I’m not a victim. I am observer and from that vantage point, I deal with problem with much care, taking into consideration other side’s point of view. Writing is like dumping whatever emotional load I could be holding on to, which leaves the space for clarity, compassion and understanding. Or sometimes when I write poem about the situation, it turns on a humorous tone, which makes me laugh and immediately lessens the tension in my body.

And in some other instances..it’s quite interesting. I for example don’t like any type of waiting. In the supermarket, for public transport…what ever it is. I always try to find some shortcut. I might walk instead of waiting, go late in the evening to buy stuff…but you can’t predict and control everything. For New Year’s I went to Belgrade to visit my parents and of course there were many people traveling. Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is one of the largest in Europe and you can imagine how it can get crowded during the holidays. It was so congested that I waited more than hour to pass security. In previous times, it would probably freak me out, but this time I enjoyed watching people, their characters and thought of dear friends I haven’t seen in a long time.

Writing poetry teaches me to understand the world as it is, without judgment. In such way, you are more flexible to adapt to current conditions instead of trying to mold everything to fit your scenario.  And believe me, it is so liberating!

The best advice I can give you is try to use your daily writing habit to relieve stressful thoughts and feelings. Use it as tool to connect with yourself, honor your most deepest and honest feelings. It will empower your emotional preparedness, clarity, understanding of you current experience and most importantly, it will bring you moments of peace to restore you energy in the crazy and hectic world we live in.

Patience, Though I Have Not

Patience, though I have not
   The thing that I require,
I must of force, God wot,
   Forbear my most desire;
For no ways can I find
To sail against the wind.
Patience, do what they will
   To work me woe or spite,
I shall content me still
   To think both day and night,
To think and hold my peace,
Since there is no redress.
Patience, withouten blame,
   For I offended nought;
I know they know the same,
   Though they have changed their thought.
Was ever thought so moved
To hate that it hath loved?
Patience of all my harm,
   For fortune is my foe;
Patience must be the charm
   To heal me of my woe:
Patience without offence
Is a painful patience.
Sir Thomas Wyatt

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Spirituality, poetry and inner growth – how they are connected?

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Did you know that we can trace origins of word ‘spiritual’ back to the ancient times and it comes from latin word spirare which means to breath and in larger sense it can relate to life itself and living energy force? Taking from these meanings, than anything connected to the pure act of breathing has a spiritual connection, and so does poetry.

A self-actualized spirituality in the most broaden sense might be an acquired integrity, a Self that is truly aware of here and now, and takes actions with compassion and kindness.

For me personally, spirituality also means accepting life and the change that comes with it, learning to navigate with the flow and with the given resources and knowledge make the best of any given moment. It also means dropping the guards of ego-driven principles and having trust in uncertainty, unpredictability of life. Instead of I there is also we and they; there is no scarcity – only abundance for each uniqueness we represent; experience and appreciation for any moment and emotion instead of burdening myself with material stuff.

And finally it is also about connectedness, being true and open to yourself and learning to trust your own honesty.

All these integral parts can be experienced through poetry and let it be our vehicle for learning and growth. Starting from that vantage point of how life should be we work through all that is happening to us – we observe and feel, until we get to an understanding that our perceived reality is as it is.

This whole process of spiritual awakening, poetess Jane Hirshfield so finely portrayed in this essay:

The moon in Japanese poetry is always the moon; often it is also the image of Buddhist awakening.

Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.

Izumi Shikibu (Japan, 974?-1034?) [translated by Jane Hirshfield with Mariko Aratani]
This poem reminds that if a house is walled so tightly that it lets in no wind or rain, if a life is walled so tightly that it lets in no pain, grief, anger, or longing, it will also be closed to the entrance of what is most wanted.

Ant that openness to life is our first gate and allowing we give ourselves to enter the spiritual growth.

On a branch
floating downriver
a cricket, singing.

Issa (Japan, 1763-1827) [translated by Jane Hirshfield]
Issa’s singing cricket is Cavafy’s “great Yes” in action. The haiku offers a portrait of the circumstances of all our lives. Carried by capricious currents, certain to die, we nonetheless fully live.

Nature always knows the best way to express itself and in the most difficult circumstances finds a tiny sun beam and a drop of water to carry on life. We all have that knowing in ourselves, but in the process of making a living we forgot to live.

And what I most like about poetry is it reminds me, teaches me and supports me in this process of learning to live again.


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3 reasons why anything you write has value

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Probably you have encountered yourself thinking that what you wrote was not good enough, that nobody would like to read it, ext. And as writers we all have that moments. It’s so easy to let that moment overpower us – just let it flood us with self-loathing about our own skills and capabilities. But today I want to offer you a different perspective on your writing and tell that anything, any word you write has value and it’s not your waste of time.

I so immensely believe in the power of written words, our own words we spill on pages that I’m quite confident in the following statements I’m about to make:

  1. Your writing has value because it’s inevitable part of your own self-exploration and the way to know yourself better.

Each writing session is actually part of something much bigger, a pattern, a recorded reflection of you in particular moment in time. It doesn’t matter do you write a novel, an article, or purely stating your opinion and commenting on someone else’s work – it’s part of you. And anything that is coming from your own sincerity and open heart has value.

What you write at this moment doesn’t have to be perfect. Probably this exact information you are reading can be written in better style, using better words (especially concerning that English is not my mother tongue), but still you can understand the encouragement I want to give you here. And that is what counts, the message and intention behind it.

But this moment me writing this, leads to another writing moment, another blog post, another poem and inevitably we become more comfortable and confident in our writing, which reveals my second reason:

  1. Your writing has value because it’s part of the process where you improve your writing skill and you ‘calibrate’ your writing voice.

As long as you trust your authenticity your writing is original. The way you select and arrange words – especially in poetic writing which is so sophisticated, each time you write poem you are discovering your specific writing expression. It’s unique just as your finger print – you learn to use the words to best express your nature, personality, opinions, belief system and anything you stand for.

  1. Your writing has value as it teaches you to be more mindful of your thinking and stay present in the writing moment.

Each poem or paragraph you write doesn’t have to be approved by editors, experts or published in high impact journals in order to be of value. You write what is true and real for you in that exact moment. While we progress with writing, as it changes so do we. At the beginning of my writing practice I used to write long prose-poems, where I needed a lot of space and words to express myself. As mindfulness begins to dominate my writing lines, so my writing becomes simple and clear. You probably also can relate to this: compare your early works with something you recently wrote and you will see how your poems/writing is more coherent, straight to the point and purposeful.

These are my top 3 reasons why you should keep writing, each time you start to doubt and feel discouraged. There is no word, minute or paper wasted.

And probably the 4th and most obvious (and important) reason that I didn’t list above it’s because it simply brings you joy and fulfillment. Yet, I focused on another crucial elements that most people don’t recognize and easily overlook. These are my three reasons giving me that push I sometimes need to write and commit myself to get the words out there.

Trust your yourself – your writing has value.

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Derek Walcott


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INFOGRAPHIC: 9 benefits of reading poetry

As opposed to the most popular post on this blog ‘Why people don’t like poetry’, I have compiled according to my so far done research a little, simple (yet cute, you have to admit 🙂 ) infographic about beneficial aspects of reading poetry.  Many of us do like reading/writing poetry and we all know that it goes beyond pure use of certain words and language functions.

infographic_benefits_reading_poetry

I think this is especially interesting to the newcomers to this blog and how they are not that much acquainted with the previous work done, here are also links of the specific posts leading to creation of this infographic.

How poetry can stimulate creativity?

Poetry and Creativity: crucial blocks in building leadership qualities

Can poetry help you become a better strategist?

Are you a ‘deep reader’? 3 reasons why you should nurture this habit

How important is tacit knowledge for your creativity and one simple way to get more of it

Develop your own mindfulness practice for more patience and joy at work

Diversity at workplace: how to use poetry for improving communication and intercultural differences

Raise your emotional intelligence for creative entrepreneurial leadership- part I

Raise your emotional intelligence for a creative entrepreneurial leadership – part II

Are you an introvert? Poetry can help you access your inner treasures

Please, feel free to share this info as we together can inspire more people to make poetry essential part of their lives.


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15 most beautiful poems about mindfulness

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We are all aware that present moment is the place where our power lies. Not in the past or future, but in the now where we can make the most of our lives. Yet, being mindful is not that easy: we often catch ourselves dwelling on the past or worrying about distant events, thus allowing sometimes beautiful tiny moments escape our attention. In this post I share my own practice on using poetry for meditative purposes that I found to be helpful. Today I list here my 15 top poems about mindfulness, purpose in life and happiness. I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

 The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice-
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do-
determined to save
the only life you could save.

What Do We Know by Mary Oliver

The sky cleared
I was standing
under a tree.

and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment

at which moment
my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars
and the soft rain —
imagine! Imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

 When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For the time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

What We Need Is Here by Wendell Berry

 Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

You Reading This, Be Ready by William Stafford

 Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life–
What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

Enough by David Whyte

 Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now

Stand Still by David Wagoner

The trees before you and the bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is a place called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again saying Here.

No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

Happiness by Hermann Hesse

If luck you chase, you have not grown
enough for happiness to stay,
not even if you get your way.

If, what you lost, you still bemoan,
and grasp at tasks, and dash and dart,
you have not known true peace of heart.

But if no wishes are your own,
and you don’t try to win the game,
and Lady Luck is just a name,

then tides of life won’t reach your breast
and all your strife
and all your soul will rest.

Rumi

Be empty of worrying
Think of who created thought
Why do you stay in prison
When the door is so wide open
Move outside the tangle of fear thinking
Live in silence
Flow down and down
Into always widening
Rings of being

Hafiz

Now is the time
Now is the time to know
That all that you do is sacred.
Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with yourself and God?
Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child’s training wheels
To be laid aside
When you can finally live
with veracity and love.
Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.
That this is the time
For you to compute the impossibility
That there is anything
But Grace.
Now is the season to know
That everything you do
Is Sacred

Franz Kafka

You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen.
Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary.
The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice,
it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

T.S. Eliot

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope for hope
would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

Osho

There is a music which has no sound,
the soul is restless for such silent music.
There is a love in which the body is not,
the soul longs for such unembodied love.
There is a truth which has no form,
the soul longs for this formless truth.

The Way It Is by William Stafford

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

One Sand Grain Among the Others in the Winter Wind by Jane Hirshfield

I wake with my hand held over the place of grief in my body.
“Depend on nothing,” the voice advises, but even that is useless.
My ears are useless, my familiar and intimate tongue.
My protecting hand is useless, that wants to hold the single leaf to the tree
and say, Not this one, this one will be saved.


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5 tips how to use poetry for self-nurturing

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Today I want to talk about why you need to be selfish. We all need to be selfish, but in a healthy, unconditional way – not capriciously neglecting others. What I mean is that in many situations, we dedicate our time and energy to others and fulfilling other people’s needs while completely forgetting to take care of ourselves. And we can lead our lives in such manner for some time, but it’s not sustainable. Dissatisfaction, disease, stress will silently crawl into our lives and we will start to wonder: Where did I go wrong?

I do believe that we all need to have that little time in a day when we only focus on ourselves and our needs – when we practice self-nurturing. That can manifest in many forms: eating healthy, exercising, having a meaningful daily/morning routine. These little acts of self-love can recharge our whole being so we have more energy, ideas, creativity and even time to share and be of valuable service to others – being that family, our job, community, sharing our creativity through hobbies. It doesn’t matter. Being mindful of our own needs and why we want to fulfill them is what it means creating positive experience and fertile soil for desired impact. And now you might ask, what does poetry has to do with it?

Well, some time ago I wrote how poetry has that restorative power and how it can  help you in reconnecting with your own true self. It can help you in your creativity, meditation. But it does go further than that. Here I share my 5 favorite tips on how poetry can help you in your self-nurturing practice.

You know when you have a bad mood, like during those autumn raining days when you simply don’t want to get out of bed and all you can think of is sleeping ‘the rest of your life’? Well, we all have those moments. Instead of forcing yourself ‘to be normal’, take few minutes of your time and write poem:

What do I feel?

Words and rhythm you put in your poem will not only help you reinforce the healing power of poetry, but you will be able to come down to the root cause of your feelings, which is the first step in your recentering and addressing what’s been bothering you.

The second thing you can do is to simply let go of anything you think might be holding you back and write a poem about it:

I let go…

and have paper accept everything you want to release: being that negative feelings like resentment and anger, to stuff, people and relationships you believe are not beneficial to you and your self-growth. Use this writing prompt as an opportunity for self-reflection and analyse what’s the excess in your life. Once you write that down it might even spark some inspired action where you further simplify your life – by letting out what you don’t need you make room for new, constructive experiences to enter your life.

And we all know that where our focus goes, that’s where our energy flows. We can use this in a positive way and instead of dwelling on what’s wrong with our life all the time we can take a look at what we have to appreciate.

I appreciate in my life…

and continue your poem about hings you love in your life. What makes your life remarkable, different, what you are grateful for? It is such an empowering motivation that shifts your mind and actions to be rather grateful for what you have instead of complaining about what’s missing.

We also as a human beings have tendency to be our worst and hardest self-critics. We have a habit of blaming ourselves for even situations that were not in our control and beyond our influence. Well, it’s time to step back and simply allow yourself to be a human being that makes mistakes, make wrong judgments and sometimes acts unaccordingly.

I forgive myself…

is a writing  prompt where you can pour your heart out and set your self free of any guilt, past decisions, choices you made and simply accept your quirky, unstable but beautiful nature.

And the last one is a sort of a bucket list:

I want…

Start your poem with these simple words and focus your thoughts on what you would like to attract more of in your life, what to experience. Don’t contemplate on why and how, but how it feels, indulge  all your senses and let your imagination do the rest. This is similar to visualize with words exercise, I recommended sometime ago, but here don’t play around with specific goals, but more with feelings you would like to invite in your life.

This writing prompt will further help you in your future decisions to have more patience with yourself, to be kind and gentle towards what you think is right for you. It will also help you sharpen your intuition and act from that deeper knowing what’s good for you instead of what’s right thing to do (according to other people opinions).

In the long run, we all strive to achieve that peace with ourselves and listening to our inner guidance is the only sure way to reach it.

How do you practice self-care? Please share in the comments below.


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The poetic determination: Ella Wheeler Wilcox on positive thinking and how that impacts success in life

ellawilcox

On a few occasions I have used poems of Ella Wheeler Wilcox in my posts and I have always found her verse to be very empowering and inspirational. For that reason, I’ve decided to explore further her philosophy on life and how that impacted her way of thinking and writing

Ella was born in Johnstown, Wisconsin in 1850 and her writing has made significant influence on the late 19th century american poetry. She began writing her poetry very early and managed to get published by the time she graduated from high school. Her writing is remarked by plain and simple rhyme style, which made her poetry accessible across diverse generations and very popular. She was also famous for writing about everyday human problems and struggles.

Lesser known facts are that at times she faced struggle herself when her work was rejected – once even 10 times. But her continues optimism and faith in persistence gave her courage to endure. She writes:

From reincarnated sources and through prenatal causes I was born with unquenchable hope and unfaltering faith in God and guardian spirits.  I often wept myself to sleep after a day of disappointments and worries but woke in the morning singing aloud with the joy of life.

I always expected wonderful things to happen to me.

In some of my hardest days when everything went wrong with everybody at home and all my manuscripts came back for six weeks at a time without one acceptance, I recall looking out of my little north window upon the lonely road bordered with lonelier Lombardy poplars, and thinking, ‘Before night something beautiful will happen to change everything.’  There was so much I wanted.

…Once I read a sentence which became a life motto to me.  ‘If you haven’t what you like, try to like what you have.’  I bless the author for that phrase it was such a help to me.

The trust she had in her work gave her strength to go through all negative events that followed her writer’s life. Seeing the positive side in every misfortune and the way she cheered herself is timeless wisdom we all as writers can adhere. What kind of power our thoughts have she also wrote in one of her poems:

I hold it true that thoughts are things
Endowed with bodies, breath, and wings,
And that we send them forth to fill
The world with good results – or ill

The desire of wanting something so badly is the drive that goes beyond any negative opinion someone else can hold against us. And in spite all stay gentle and kind:

It is easy to be pleasant when life flows by like a song, but the man worth while is the one who will smile when everything goes dead wrong. For the test of the heart is trouble, and it always comes with years, and the smile that is worth the praises of earth is the smile that shines through the tears.”

Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox died in 1919, with poetry collections left behind her: Poems of Passion (1883), A Woman of the World (1904), Poems of Peace(1906), Poems of Experience (1910), and Poems (1919).

For this is wisdom- to love and live
To take what fate or the Gods may give,
To ask no question, to make no prayer,
To kiss the lips and caress the hair,
Speed passion’s ebb as we greet its flow,
To have and to hold, and, in time–let go.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

To further explore the topic on power of belief, I recommend:

  1. 3 reasons why we should “revisit” our core beliefs, from time to time
  2.  Removing your biggest obstacle towards success: fear of failure

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Writing poetry takes courage and a dash of craziness (and how is that good for you, as a writer)

cummings

Confronting blank page takes courage? It might sound silly to many, but if you are a writer, especially a poet, you probably know what I mean:

It takes courage to spend time with yourself and dig deep, to the darkest and scariest parts of yourself and let them shine through your poems.

Only very few are brave enough to go somewhere place quiet, shut down the noise of the outer world and start listen to themselves; to hear who they truly are, and with open heart receive what ever they encounter. All experiences full of disappointments, grief, hurts, desires and happiness live and expand in each of these verses that we can read in the poems of those brave enough to write about their feelings. And they give us opportunity to live them also.

It takes courage to accept who you are and be honest about it.

Poetry is so personal on the one hand and universal on the other, that you simply can’t fake it. In every poem, your writing is like stripping your soul to the bare bones, where you become even more vulnerable. But that doesn’t make you anything more weak – that brevity adds up to your uniqueness that world is hungry for.

It takes courage to write, despite all the negative connotation that majority of people hold against poetry and simply not to care.

Some people simply don’t like poetry. There maybe many reasons for that. But also, there are not very supportive of those who does enjoy writing poetry. And it takes courage to continue to write and share our thoughts, no matter the impressions. I love what Jesse Graves, an assistant professor of English at East Tennessee State University said on the topic in this article:

For me, poetry expresses more about what it is like to be alive in the world today than any other art form. For a poem to work, it needs to address matters of the heart and of the head in almost equal measure. Since there is no interference between the reader and the text, poetry can deal with emotions in an intellectual way, and deal with abstractions in a way that evokes feelings.

It does take courage to try writing poems, especially if you are going to share them with others. Students also have to be willing to enter an unknown territory, even if I give them an assignment to write about, or a form, like a sonnet, they still have to find their own way into the subject matter. There is no real blueprint for how to write a poem..

It takes courage to write poetry and constantly juggle between loving and hating your own writing.

There are days when writing for you is like breathing – that without it you simply couldn’t live. But there are also days when you are unsatisfied with anything you write and you simply need a break. And that’s completely O.K. Actually that distancing yourself from writing can reignite your passion and it takes courage to do that also.

And someone might just call you crazy because you see world a bit differently: you see the joy in the heavy autumn storm, the warmth in the cold winter day or beauty in your teared bag and spilled groceries on the street. For me personally, writing poetry brings the opportunity to see and embrace life’s little imperfections in humble, and sometimes humorous way: instead of dwelling on how everything is wrong and complain – just to accept it, make the best of what I can in given situation and write a great poem about it 🙂

Poetry is everywhere, it just needs editing.

is what James Tate once said, and we are not even aware how much truth there is in those words.

All these aspects, contribute to forming one, in my opinion, a divine process that happens while you write poetry. It shapes you into a person you are supposed to be, the writer you strive to be. And for that kind of growth you do need courage – to accept your weirdness and just enjoy the ride.

It is in the small things we see it.
The child’s first step,
as awesome as an earthquake.
The first time you rode a bike,
wallowing up the sidewalk.
The first spanking when your heart
went on a journey all alone.
When they called you crybaby
or poor or fatty or crazy
and made you into an alien,
you drank their acid
and concealed it.

Later,
if you have endured a great despair,
then you did it alone,
getting a transfusion from the fire,
picking the scabs off your heart,
then wringing it out like a sock.
Next, my kinsman, you powdered your sorrow,
you gave it a back rub
and then you covered it with a blanket
and after it had slept a while
it woke to the wings of the roses
and was transformed.

Anne Sexton


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How to use poetry as a self-development tool

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We all know how change can be scary, wanting from you to let go of your previous beliefs and habits and pushing you out of your comfort zone. It’s a work you have to do on your own and there is no right way on how to embrace change on your growth journey. I often like to say that we will meet success in life, once we are able to master ourselves.

What I mean by that?

Let me explain:

Becoming too much immersed and attached to our ego can transform into a real hinder and obstacle on our path of self-improvement. Once we are able to conquer our mind, the self-awareness of who we truly are begins to expand. The motivation and inspiration behind the process is unique, personal and for that purpose we can use variety of tools. Hence plain reading text-books and taking workshops will do little unless you become really motivated and inspired to take a leap towards positive change.Poetry can be noninvasive tool that in  one non-judgmental manner helps you improve your life. It can improve your creativity, decision-making and you can become even more empathetic. When you are inspired by the poetry you read, when you write your own thoughts, change occurs silently, unnoticeably removing fear, bringing maturity to personality at all levels. That’s why I think that it can be a better approach to self-development than reading self-help books and learning lessons like at school class.

Here are just few examples how you can use poetry for self-development purposes:

Find inspirational poems and read them as often as you can.

Select about 5-10 poems that you like and that really ‘speak’to your heart. They should be aligned with your personal goals and what you want to achieve in life.

Write them down in your notebook.

By writing down the words, it’s easier for words to enter your subconsciousness, you are giving them life.You are already creating new experience while connecting with the words in a meaningful way. You can also write down any new idea or comment that comes to your mind while reading the poems.

Find your own inspirational meaning.

Read your poems slowly, absorbing in every stanza. You can use those poems even for a meditation practice. Find most suitable interpretation behind the poet’s words that is motivational for you. You will be more open to what writer is trying to tell you and you will pave your own road towards achieving self-development goals.

Inspired by poems, develop your own affirmative sayings.

Affirmations are powerful way for us to take action. By repeating them we become more inclined to make a change – we will experience desired results only by taking timely inspired actions, where fear is replaced by curiosity about our own potentials and ego by desire to become a better person.

Life is like a sandwich!

Birth as one slice,
and death as the other.
What you put in-between
the slices is up to you.

Is your sandwich tasty or sour?

Allan Rufus


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Restorative power of poetry: remembering your own truth

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We can find many connections between poetry and its transformative influence on human lives – especially its healing power. Going back as far as mythology takes us, it is very well known fact that the Greek God Apollo, the son of Zeus and Titan Leto, was the God of music, poetry but also the God of healing, transferring the knowledge of medicine to humans and the God of truth.

In Chinese language, for instance the word poem is comprised of two characters  – one meaning word, the other meaning temple. So poem is something that is sacred, the ultimate truth.

In many indigenous cultures, illness is viewed as a state in which an individual is distancing himself from his true nature – both physically and emotionally. If we observe a healing as a process coming back to harmony, to wholeness, poetry can be seen as a healing tool, with a restorative component.

Traditional worship practices in many tribal structures are gatherings, accompanied with dance, rhythm, songs and trance. Sacred narratives and beliefs are deeply based in Nature and are rich with the symbolism of seasons, weather, plants, animals, earth, water, sky and fire. The mode of prayer, a poetic narrative is seen as coming back to Nature, reinforcing the feelings of love and acceptance.

Many poets, emerging in our newer history were trained physicians: John Keats, Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. and William Carlos Williams  who wrote:

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.        

Today, poetry is accepted as a proven healing method and there are many associations that train and accredit poetry therapists. In particular, the American Poetry Therapy Association has approach that they use a set of poems that their patients discuss and then those poems become a model — even a template — for individuals to write their own poems.

Poet, author and retired university professor David B. Axelrod further notes:

The process helps people get their feelings out and into words. Generally, I don’t worry about the form the writing takes at the outset. I will help someone find the poem within the words they first write. Whatever the methodology, yes, poetry, and story writing, can be a healthy outlet. The results of poetry therapy, if not forced into any specific form, can also trigger marvelously original creations.

No matter which poetry you prefer: spiritual words by Rumi, mythological expression of W. B. Yeats or modern linguistic experimentation of E. E. Cummings, words can pave a path to your own wisdom; help you find that missing puzzle inside that you need to feel whole again and hear your wakeup call for inspired action in the world.

When I am asked

how I began writing poems,

I talk about the indifference of nature.

It was soon after my mother died,

a brilliant June day,

everything blooming.

I sat on a gray stone bench

in a lovingly planted garden,

but the day lilies were as deaf

as the ears of drunken sleepers

and the roses curved inward.

Nothing was black or broken

and not a leaf fell

and the sun blared endless commercials

for summer holidays.

I sat on a gray stone bench

ringed with the ingenue faces

of pink and white impatiens

and placed my grief

in the mouth of language,

the only thing that would grieve with me.

Lisel Mueller