Every day I DO want to change the world. My ‘to do’ list often starts with what everyone else should be doing because I sometimes fancy myself brighter and better able to see opportunities for improvement in others. I’ve learned…such a fool’s gambit. Instead, lead by example. Do…what’s right…demonstrate that which matters most in actions, words, and deeds.
An outreach from a former student last week reminded me of an activity that I adored that involved poetry writing. No…not in an English course – in a Psychology class, intended for personal growth and development.
What is poetry? My sweet student remembered that she was terrified when she saw a mention of “poetry writing” as an assignment on the syllabus.
Yes…I know those words looked fearsome to students who dared enough to peek ahead about course content, assignments, and expectations. She recalled expressing fears. “I don’t write well. Can I have an alternative assignment?” she asked. While I don’t remember the chat with her, specifically, I recall what I typically told students who were afraid…even from a distance…about the word “poetry”:
Poems are heart songs. What we’re feeling and thinking in the moment. That is all. That is everything.
I’ve learned that introspection IS everything. When I’m out of sorts or unsure, I’m quick to pinpoint the external “enemies” (red traffic lights in cahoots slowing my drive; bureaucratic paperwork hurdles and being ‘on hold’ endlessly; rainy days and Mondays…you get the idea).
Truth? If I can tune into my own voice…my space, my place in the world, in short order I can pinpoint malaise and burgeoning misery…reset pesky, recurrent memories. Often it’s that I need to say ‘no’…I need protein…I need to hydrate…I need to get quiet. When I avoid myself, I become unwise. Rumi understood. I’d edit the last line just a smidge: “Today I am wise so I am listening and changing myself.”
Where did the idea of writing poetry in a Psychology class come from, you might ask? Take a peek at my post on Heart of the Matter today to learn the inspiration behind the activity. A brilliant woman, a poet and scholar named George (whose parents were imaginative in naming their baby girl) led the way, inviting us to consider the limitless wisdom within.
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