Dear Men and Women of the Poem & Pen~
I hope you all are well, and honoring the human grace of your bodies daily. I had an experience two weekends ago that invited me to see where my own physical honoring was unconsciously faltering, and it inevitably reminded me of the sacredness of the stories our bodies carry.
I had a flu and a fever that led to a fall, one that left me with a black eye and a sore head. Being in the world as a black-eyed woman has been an interesting study--both internally and out--it's included my own sadness and grief over my suffering, my longing for a mother who can help hold my pain. It's been a searching for a world where people at work don't project that I was somehow in an unsafe living situation, or offer me an ink-faded print out of pages for the employee assistance program despite my explanation of the situation. It was a distancing that was unintentional, but continued that feeling of faltering in finding people who could empathically connect.
The visit to my doctor helped--her normalizing the pain, the purpled eye, the trajectory of the flu-induced problem. Her explaining the other patients she's seen who've had a similar situation. I rested more deeply into the comfort of her care, only the follow-up notes I received confused me--a mention of the "problems" associated with my visit, and the one listed as "underweight." I know it wasn't intentional, but it became another kind of "othering"---a clinical way of looking at me after the conversation and connection during my appointment felt so humanizing.
I couldn't help but feel that in all of this searching for understanding, for less compartmentalizing and objectifying, I was again being directed both inward to tend to my own needs, and to the writing and poem-making that is always, unconditionally, there for us. That eternal ability it offers us to make ourselves whole again as we honor our experiences and our visceral awareness. As we hear what our soma and psyches have to say and weave it into elevated experience through creative language.
This situation again reminded me of the larger questions we can explore and soothe with our poetry: How can our life experiences and our creative writing connect us more deeply to ourselves, each other, and something larger? What do our bodies need to say, and need us to say to them? What do our psyches need to compassionately and creatively integrate? And how can creativity and poem-making continue to nourish this being in a body in an equal parts beautiful, and broken open 21st century world? A world that so oddly in ways receives pain, difference and injury, one that needs our own deepened understanding of our wellness in healing this collective consciousness.
I can't help but recommit to the belief that in the same way the body is a vessel for experience, poetry and creative writing are our on-going vehicles for expression, connection & emotion. We can use the awareness and expanded perspective we gain in combining embodied awareness and self-compassion with our poetry to uncover our beauty, experience the innate sacredness of our humanity, and integrate the material of our lives more fully into a deepened sense of wholeness.
I am renewed with gratitude to be teaching "Poetry and the Body" next month. I found a comfort in remembering this--both for its container as a space to connect with others around our shared stories, and for the fact that in this kind of poem-building we are honoring body wisdom in ways no other medium or linear way of thinking quite seems able to do with the same depth and capacity for holding, and healing.
If this exploration into the humbling grace of the body and the diversity of experience and stories it carries speaks to you, I invite you to join me Friday, March 6 at GrubStreet for the one-day workshop "Poetry and the Body."
Spaces are limited and filling. I'm inspired by the group that is gathering, and would love to see you there. Here's the link for more information and to secure your spot:
Poetry and the Body
Friday, March 6, 10am-5pm
As always, hit "REPLY" with any workshop questions.
In Embodiment & Poetry,