Tag Archives : make it beautiful

Free Friday: Live so the poems can find you

On Monday I posted the poem “A Valentine for Ernest Mann” and soon realized the words had a strong connection to the meaning behind this blog…”to live in the moment and make it beautiful.”

If beauty can be found in two skunks, it can be found anywhere, right?
As Ernest said, “Nothing was ugly just because the world said so.”
The message behind the poem is the message I hope to convey in what I write in this very spot.

Beauty isn’t going to fall out of the sky and hit us across the head every day. 
Sometimes we have to go and find it. 
Sometimes “what we have to do is live in a way that lets us find (it)” as Naomi Shihab Nye writes.

Just as I have to mentally re-invent cleaning, and other mundane chores to make myself “want” to do them, “Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us we find poems” (Nye).
“Making it beautiful” is all about taking what we have and finding a poem. 
Taking a commonplace job and making it a nut farm.

Taking a scratched up, dilapidated door and making it a pretty shade of green

Taking a moment full of tears, fear, and doubt and turning it into a moment of recognition, hope and LOVE. 
 AJH loves most everything she comes in contact with
…Even skunks.
 (that’s a baby skunk she’s “loving” from her forest friends collection!)
In beautiful, serendipitous fashion, today I came across this post called “Live so the poems can find you” (guest post by Joanna Paterson) on Patti Digh’s blog, 37 Days.
I love it when that happens.
Here is how the author puts the phrase “live so the poems can find you” into practice:
“Spending as much time as possible outside
Taking photos.  I mean rather: taking photos with a mindset of wonder.

Making room for writing practice

Allowing what flows to be practice. Not perfect, not wholly formed.  Just practice

Sharing at least some of what comes out.  Poems do not like to be kept in boxes.

Letting the words tumble, and find their own rhythm

Noticing patterns, looking for connections

Listening to what people are saying (social media provides clue after clue)

Embracing beginner’s mind

Paying attention to the everyday.  There’s so much wonder to be

found there.Writing as part of the act of grieving

Listening to what the land, the water, the trees, the hills…are saying.

Listening to what my heart is saying: tears, laughter, whispers, songs, prayers, fire, softness

Passing it on: not being scared to share my work, not being scared to declare how beautiful the world is, passing on what I’ve learned about how it is possible to live, so the poems can find you.”

Happy Friday.
This weekend try to live so the poems can find you.
And don’t forget to LOVE.

Make it Beautiful Monday: Find your poem 1

I can’t let today go by without sharing some Valentine love. First, this poem will make you smile and see skunks in a new light. The poem, journal prompts (and skunk) were all found in the “Poem of the Month” section of The Center for Journal Therapy website. I studied journal therapy with Kay Adams from the Center in Denver and recommend the training for those interested in using writing as healing.

A Valentine for Ernest Mann

You can’t order a poem like you order a taco.
Walk up to the counter, say, “I’ll take two”
and expect it to be handed back to you
on a shiny plate.
Still, I like your spirit.
Anyone who says, “Here’s my address,
write me a poem,” deserves something in reply.
So I’ll tell you a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.
Once I knew a man who gave his wife
two skunks for a valentine.
He couldn’t understand why she was crying.
“I thought they had such beautiful eyes.”
And he was serious. He was a serious man
who lived in a serious way. Nothing was ugly
just because the world said so. He really
liked those skunks. So, he re-invented them
as valentines and they became beautiful.
At least, to him. And the poems that had been hiding
in the eyes of skunks for centuries
crawled out and curled up at his feet.
Maybe if we re-invent whatever our lives give us
we find poems. Check your garage, the odd sock
in your drawer, the person you almost like, but not quite.
And let me know.
–Naomi Shihab Nye
in The Red Suitcase, Brockport, NY: BOA Editions, 1994. 

Journal prompts:
  • Write about a memorable Valentine’s Day.
  • Write about an unusual gift you’ve given, or received.
  • Write about a time you reinvented something your life gave you.
  • Where do your poems hide?
Next, my Valentines and I shared a nice meal out on the town Friday night. 

AJ was a little preoccupied with the chips.

On the food front, I got a VEGAN burrito and it was actually quite tasty. The only things I missed  were the cheese and sour cream. I don’t think I’m quite ready to give up dairy yet unless I am completely convinced it is connected to the stomach pains I often get after eating. There were no stomach pains after the vegan burrito which leads me to believe that dairy may be part of the culprit. In that case, I’ve been reading Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook and hear there are some really AWFUL imitations, as well as some not some AWFUL ones I may want to consider. As annoying as the title is, the Skinny Bitch books are not really about how to achieve your own skinny bitchiness. If you’ve read any of them you know they are more about why one would consider being a vegetarian/vegan and the new one features what look to be some great recipes. I’ll let ya know how it goes…
Friday night BRH wore his old cologne from college which sent us into reminisce mode  on those early moments when we met and fell in love. He remembered walking me home in the rain from the famous “Coach B’s,” and I rememberd him giving me his red L.L. Bean fleece. I still remember what I was wearing on the nervous drive to return the jacket a few days later (borrowed lilac colored shirt, light jeans and brown boots with freshly cut, perfectly blow dried hair, and  a fake tan). The funniest part of the story is when I got there and held out the fleece, it was about four sizes too small. I promised him I hadn’t shrunk it and soon realized my 5’2, 100 pound hallmate also owned a red, L.L. Bean fleece. Ooops. It was just another reason for us to meet again. And again, and again.

 our first date
Today marks our 6 1/2 year wedding anniversary and over 10 years of being together. He gave AJH and me the sweetest cards this morning which pretty much reiterated the feeling that all of our college dreams of white farmhouses and blond babies… 
…have come true.
For now my poems can be found in these faces…
…these moments of complete peace.
Happy Valentine’s Day!