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Krina’s Poetry Adventure: #NPM17 The End

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Amazing how quickly the month has come to a close, perhaps not soon enough for some of you but it has evaporated quickly before my eyes and I am left looking now at only the rapidly disappearing remnants of the day.  At its closing, I am mindful of primarily two things.

One – I am grateful for those in my daily sphere who don’t once blink an eye at my declarations of “I am going to start a Poetry Revolution” and never point a finger when I fail – to fully realize my goal.  But rather, they join in to help me decorate for Poetry Tea Parties and make Rice Krispie squares for me and come over despite misgivings about poetry and my sanity.  They join me in my “chasing after rainbows” and never look back. Thank you my beautiful family – thank you my wonderful friends.

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Two – I am grateful that I have a passion. It may not make sense sometimes to other people, or even to myself.  You would think that I eat, sleep, and drink poetry – I really don’t … in fact I can go month and months without thinking about it.  I am not an expert, I am not overly talented in” the making of the words going togetherness” of poetry. But it sparks a light inside which makes me smile and dance about and want to share it with the world.  Having such a strange attachment to something, solidifies something within.  It helps to define the person I am – reveals to even me something … given. For whatever purpose – it is mine to have and to share.

Thank you for following along and graciously allowing me to share with you my passion. The notion that other people were even somewhat interested in my strange adventure bolstered my journey … a journey which does not end at midnight tonight despite the completion of National Poetry Month.

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Krina’s Poetry Adventure: #NPM17 – Task #5

I am not sure where the last week has gone … I have been traveling all sorts of poetical lands … painting up some favourites … some for keeps, some for giving away.

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For a beloved daughter … whose little blonde head was forever hopping about my knees … whose eyes peer directly into mine now, even from a slight downward slant.

Poem-in-your-Pocket day is still a week away and I am very eager to mail you one. Simply email me  and I will make and send you one. That easy – everyone gets a poem – well … up until May 1, 2017.  No poetry participation required.

I have discovered so many lovely poems this week – I confess I may have overindulged … poetry was nearly spilling out of my eyes. My brain – an overfilled vessel, sloshing with imagery, metaphor, similes, and all sorts of delicious literary devices.  It was gluttonous … and delightful … but I have had to pull myself away for a bit to digest.

Task #5:  Writing in metaphor and similes.

(Oh, my goodness, did she just bust out some English class terms?) Yes, yes she did.

As a refresher – metaphors and similes are literary comparisons between two seemingly unlike things.

Metaphor is a direct comparison:  “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Sonnet 18  William Shakespeare

Similes are comparisons using “like” or “as”:  “I wandered lonely as a cloud.” Thank you  William Wordsworth.

That is as close to English class as I hope to get with this — as I do recall the “finding” of metaphors and similes was at times … like being beaten with a wet rag.

But it is fun to write them or rather … I believe it is fun to write them and I am hoping you might find writing them more enjoyable than eating over-cooked broccoli.

This task once again requires a little time, pencil/pen, and paper.  But it can be done anywhere, at anytime. It can be a shared activity – which can be humorous with children and grown up children :).

Helpful hints from Poemcrazy, by Susan Goldsmith Woolridge

“Metaphor is a bridge bring things together. The world is a stage. Life is a dream. The navel is a belly button. … In Greek metaphor literally means to bear or carry over.”

“Look around you. Does your lampshade look like a ballerina’s illuminated pink pleated slipper? Not exactly, but it’s a start. Let yourself go for the farfetched and the ridiculous when you make comparisons.”

Some examples from things I observed while sitting in my messy bedroom:

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“My embroidery hoops look like orbits around the lampshade.”

“The Tums bottle looks like a hungry fish trying to drink up the ocean.”

“The books on the bookshelf look like a row of tenement houses butting up against one another, no spaces in between.”

“The pencils rise out of the jar like spears jabbing the sky. BEWARE!”

“His shirts hang down from the closet door like moths, wings pulled back.”

Your turn … what do you see … what does it bring to mind? 

Please share 🙂

Krina’s Poetry Adventure: Task #4 #NPM17 Preparing for Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 27th

First of all … I learned yesterday that I share a birthday with … SHEL SILVERSTEIN (who unfortunately is no longer alive – but we are still birthday twins born only 42 year apart)

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Shel Silverstein – my birthday twin – NOT wearing socks … enough said

Second … Did you know in Canada we have our very own …. League of Canadian Poets?  I feel very safe knowing we are protected by such an organization …

Nerds with various job of lesser importance by day and

SuperNerdy poet types … ALL  … of … the time. YAH!

Third … and the point of this post – I want to let you know about:

Poem in Your Pocket Day:  April 27th, 2017

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Poem in Your Pocket Day is an annual initiative organized by the Academy of American Poets to celebrate National Poetry Month. The League is very excited to be have joined this initiative for the first time in 2016, adding some of our favourite Canadian poems and poets to the mix! Poem in Your Pocket Day 2017 will be held on Thursday, April 27.

(photo and blurb borrowed from the League of Canadian Poet’s Website)

I am telling you this now because … I want you to have time to prepare for Poem in your Pocket Day … because I will not accept excuses such as

…  “Oh, but Krina, I didn’t know.” or “ Oh, but Krina, I didn’t have time.”

Nope … that will not cut the mustard with me – so listen up and get busy.

You need to prepare for “Poem in Your Pocket Day” … please.

(It always works when you say, “Please.” … right?)

Task #4 

 READ SOME POETRY and prepare to share it on “Poem in Your Pocket Day” April 27th.

Step one:  Start reading/listening to poetry

I am confident that many of you had to read poetry in school at one time or another – maybe you loved it – maybe you didn’t. Maybe you weren’t the poetry geek who jumped for glee when Dead Poet’s Society came out in theatres (I mean if you were that …old … like me.)  Regardless of your experience with poetry up to today – I am fairly confident there are poems and poets in the world (past, present, future) whom you might discover to be … understandable if not enjoyable.

Where to start:

For the very busy:  I recommend subscribing to a Poem-a-day either from The Poetry Foundation   or  Academy of American Poets (look way down at the bottom of the pages for a little tick box).  Then the poems appear in your email and away you go – you can wake up in the morning and eat poetry for breakfast :).

For the busy but have a little time to go on-line:

Again the Poetry Foundation is a great site with heaps of poems to read.  I recommend finding a poet you like and reading through some of their poems – slowly – poems are not popcorn. Try just one or two at a time – and if you are especially brave (which I am not most of the time) read them out loud to “hear” the poem as it is designed to be heard.

The Literary Maven:  30 poems to read to Middle and High Schoolers  a very nice selection of poems.  Remember slowly – read them a few times – see which ones appeal to you.

The Poetry Archive and (our favourite) the Children’s Poetry Archive – here you find poems to read but also you have the option of hearing the poet read them which is very helpful if you are timid (like me) and are not brave enough to burst out some poetry spur of the moment.  Also this is a British poetry site so the accents are awesome.

Oh I almost forgot – especially for Poem in your Pocket day – the Academy of American Poets and the League of Canadian Poets have created a PDF of poetry by their members. It includes ideas on how to share your poems on the day as well.  Poem in your Pocket Day Resource package.

If you love physical books but don’t have any poetry – you have the choice of buying or borrowing.  The library is a great place for books … or so I hear 😉  But if you would like your own but don’t know where to start – I suggest going to a local thrift shop – because you can find some great (cheap) anthologies there.  It is funny how many “used” university textbooks end up in thrift stores.

For some kid friendly (or kid at heart friendly)  sources check out my blog post: Poetry Resources worth exploring with Kids

There are many, many, many more online sites with poetry – if you have a favourite poet – it is likely there are multiple websites devoted to said poet.  Look and you shall find.

Step Two:  Decide how to participate in Poem in your Pocket Day – April 27th (just in case you forgot)

The ideas are endless.  But here are some resources to help out 🙂

Ways to participate in Poem in Your Pocket Day (courtesy of our League of Canadian Poets)

It’s easy to carry a poem, share a poem, or start your own Poem in Your Pocket Day event. Visit the Academy’s website for a full history of the program and other materials. Here are some ideas of how you might get involved:

  • Start a “poems for pockets” giveaway in your school or workplace
  • Urge local businesses to offer discounts for those carrying poems
  • Post pocket-sized verses in public places
  • Memorize a poem
  • Start a street team to pass out poems in your community
  • Distribute bookmarks with your favorite lines of poetry
  • Add a poem to your email footer
  • Post lines from your favorite poem on your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr
  • Send a poem to a friend

Awesome free printable from none other than Martha Stewart Inc. 

Write Shop: Poem in your Pocket day ideas and freebies

Teachers-Pay Teachers:  Search for Poem in your Pocket and be overwhelmed with free printable poems for sharing.  One example here:  More than a Worksheet

How Krina is participating in Poem in your Pocket Day

If you have read this whole long list of links and you are still awake and paying attention – you deserve a gift. So here is what I propose – you send me your address (your physical at home one) which I promise I will not sell … because that is not a poetical thing to do.  I, in return, will send you a handwritten poetry card  – which may or may not be covered in watercolour splotches …  I can’t promise beautiful but I can promise it will be made with love and imperfection. It might help if you tell me what kind of poem you would like  – something hopeful, something funny, something strange … but it will have to be short … because the cards are only ‘yay’ big … you know … pocket sized.

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Offer expired May 1, 2017

Krina’s Poetry Adventure: #NPM17 Task #3

9174ea58321cc1a8240ec5d6543c0bd8I love this quote and try to pull it out as often as possible.  It reminds me that I need not be somewhere “special” – to be alive – or to be astonished by what is and what isn’t.

That my life,

all round cornered safety and hues in neutral

(on the outside)

can be astonishing to my eye, my ear, my tongue, my touch

It needn’t be obvious to anyone else – because I can “tell about it” from the inside.

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Task #3

My challenge this time may prove harder than expected but it is worth the effort – and it requires only a pencil and paper and 10 minutes (or more if you have it). It is worth repeating, often.

The task is to sit somewhere, stop (that may be the hard bit) – and “Pay attention” (may prove harder still) –

Listen to the world around you with all your senses – see it, touch it, taste it, smell it, listen to it all.

Look all around – not just at the distance, look close – look down at the near,

Listen to every sound – your breath – the cars on the road – the roaring buses – the sneaky magpie … the clock on the wall …

Take a deep breath – what do you smell? Laundry soap, rain in the air, coffee going cold

Reach out – what do you feel? Grass (if you are lucky), sand (if you are even luckier), the pleather couch which squeaks against bare skin, the scratched up surface of a table turned desk turned cluttered catch-all/desk, the rug under your feet … hardwood floor … keep going

Where you are says something perhaps about you which I believe is astonishing.

This can be done anywhere – it may be easier if you go outside – away from other people, or bring them along but ask them to do the same thing – as quietly as possible.

Write down what you “hear” –  try to show the inside of the moment – does anything remind you of something else – write that – write anything – this isn’t for anyone else –

What astonished you? 

It is hard for me to see astonishment in the state of my desk/table/catch-all other than how I seem so capable of making it look such a mess … but I can also see it as a reflection of my days – or more precisely … of me.

“Clay monster faces look out at me across the table – filled to full with the implements of my days, scissors, pencils, pens, markers, rulers, paint brushes – bits and bobs. A broken zipper, a misplaced wooden block, a Christmas bell leftover, a skein of yarn wrapped round a French loom given to me by my mother-in-law. It was hers as a child, made by her father – I was teaching my son, her grandson, his great-grandchild to weave.”

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These things I see … as I am sitting here writing to you.

What did you find in your extraordinary moment? 

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
William Blake From Auguries of Innocence

 

 The grass so little has to do, —
A sphere of simple green,
With only butterflies to brood,
And bees to entertain,

And stir all day to pretty tunes
The breezes fetch along,
And hold the sunshine in its lap
And bow to everything;

And thread the dews all night, like pearls,
And make itself so fine, —
A duchess were too common
For such a noticing.

And even when it dies, to pass
In odors so divine,
As lowly spices gone to sleep,
Or amulets of pine.

And then to dwell in sovereign barns,
And dream the days away, —
The grass so little has to do,
I wish I were the hay!

-Emily Dickinson

For more poems by Emily Dickinson (audio available)

Leaves and Blossoms along the way – Mary Oliver

 

Krina’s Poetry Adventure: NPM17 – Poetry Resources worth exploring with kids

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In addition to my adventures in poetry – I wanted to share some resources for those who are looking to add more poetry into the lives of their children – be if for homeschooling, or personal enjoyment and edification.

#1 Reading Poetry:WP_20170406_11_25_45_Pro

Yup – do it.  I joke but I am also serious.  More importantly – read it aloud!  To yourself – to your kids – to the cat.  Poetry is constructed to be listened to and heard more than it is written to be read …silently.

Some of my favourite poets (and the kids like them too): Shel Silverstein, A.A. Milne, Dennis Lee, Dr. Seuss, Robert Louis Stevenson, Christine Rossetti, Rudyard Kipling, Edward Lear, Jack Pretutsky

Where to find poetry books:  The library is a great place to go for books but I bet you have some Dr. Seuss lying around or some other book full of rhymes and language which seems to dance in your mouth as you read it aloud.  Start there …

WP_20170406_11_27_28_ProI love treasuries and anthologies which bring a wide range of poets together but … I do recommend reading just one poet at a time – it helps to get to know their unique way of writing, the lens through which they see the world.

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Dennis Lee is a great Canadian poet – also a warning – “Lizzy’s Lion” is not for the faint of heart but it is sooooo good
Immersion is good – immersion is fun – try it, try it, everyone!

Online resources:

StoryLit: Classsic Poetry

Giggle Poetry

Jack Pretutsky

#2 Listening to  Poetry:

I believe your kids will love hearing you read poetry despite any misgivings you have about it. However here are some great resources to help you out if the need should arise:

Poetry Out Loud

The Children’s Poetry Archive (British site)  – some of our favourites include “Walking with my Iguana”, “The Bone Yard Rap”, anything by Michael Rosen (deep subjects handled via poetry …good stuff)

The Poetry Foundation: videos of poems from in A Children’s Garden of Verse

Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends” – available on Spotify, Apple Music, etc

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#3 Jumping into Poetry:

DO IT!  Don’t wait – dive in – swim out and don’t turn back. You are never too old or too young to begin – every master started as a beginner.

 

All things Shel Silverstein

Guyku: by Peter Reynolds (the author of The Dot etc) This site is targeted to capture the imagination and interest of boys (primarily) but “gal” poets are welcome.

Scholastics

If you want more instruction on writing specific poetry forms – Pinterest is your best friend – there are too many sources to pick from but trust me there are plenty of free printables, crafts, activities to keep you busy for months.

Although I loved this Interactive Poetry Notebook by Lovin Lit on Teachers Pay Teachers for my older kids.

Final Words:  Our first inclination as children learning to talk is to translate the world into language which communicate our thoughts – I think that is poetry’s very nature.  I know I love poetry more than the average person – I am not an expert or a scholar in it – but I do believe that it is found in all of us from our very genesis. Now go find it — 🙂

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Books written in verse by Sheree Fitch, another Canadian poet/writer

 

Krina’s Poetry Adventure #NPM 2017: Task #2

Where My Books Go
By William Butler Yeats

All the words that I utter,
And all the words that I write,
Must spread out their wings untiring,
And never rest in their flight,
Till they come where your sad, sad heart is,
And sing to you in the night,
Beyond where the waters are moving,
Storm-darken’d or starry bright.
(From the Oxford Book of English Verse, 1919)

I have confessed to many of you already that I have developed a concerning addiction … to words. 

I… am word nerd.  

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I have decided … that I can live with this.

“It takes courage to be who you really are.” e.e. cummings

However, I dearly hope that my obsession will not discourage those with a balanced and healthy relationship with words from this adventure.  I don’t want to be that person … You know the one … This isn’t a contest – it is a quest – an adventure and not an opportunity to get a hero biscuit. 

That all said – I want to check in and find out how the word collection is going: expediently, ponderously, joyously, miserably?

Regardless of your progress – the next task is still achievable.  And word collecting should be an ongoing, continuous, ceaseless, open-ended process … words flow past in a current, catch them as you go, keep going …

It is time to start playing with the words we have –

Official task #2: 

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The words we have collected – are words which (hopefully) invoke or spark something within us or represent something symbolic so, ultimately, they meet up with some “thing” within us – be it heart, mind, soul …

I fell in love with new words like: jejune, orthography, tautology because they surprised me with new definitions – made me laugh, made me think about my David, who loves accuracy in language.  So in the jar they went …

I found myself saying certain words over and over because they roll out of my mouth like music … deciduous, tempestuous, yearn, flow, collywobbles,

Or when I read other words I could hear myself adding flare to the sounds:  in-cog- NI-to (I feel sneaky merely thinking the word), or META-MOR-phosis (I hear the Praying Mantis from “A Bug’s Life” emphasizing the “MOR-phosis”)

Regardless – the words all brought something to me – they spoke, they speak … individually.

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But where there are words together something new starts to happen – I started to see these individual words playing next to each other – and the solitary meanings change – they began to shed light on other words and grow into a community of words – words from all different “neighbourhoods,” different contexts brought together in new and unexpected ways. They began to redefine each other, enliven one other, subdue others, or to turn out plain silly combinations which made me laugh … this jumbling up is the edge of poetry, it is the point at which words are free to meet our understanding – and create something …else.

Your task then is to play with these new combinations – new pairings, greet these mewling new word combos with tenderness – they can be tenuous or bang on,  some may not really work, but try anyway. Like the word collecting this should be organic – let the silly happen, let the melodrama see the light, and keep going …

Some examples:

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vermillion storm candy – melodic dust green shoes – slimy love confetti – divine din – joust shame parachutes – joy trek rhythm – grow festooned – curious song akimbo dream – flummoxed murmuration – hum eclipse whimsy –

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I encourage you to “not think” too hard about the process.  Most of these combos came from looking over groups of words laid out randomly.  Let the words speak to each other … this is play … If you have words in a list – try writing them out in different combinations, you don’t need the words to be on cards – or print off some of my words from the previous post – and let your kids try making combinations –

Do I sound like a loon yet?  Good … being foolish only helps with poetry.

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Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge – recommends using your word pool or word soup as I have come to call my collection,  to label things around your house, in your space, even yourself or others –  I have yet to do this much but I will share my results. 

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Are you with me?  Still game for this adventure?  I hope so… I have “tender cerulean pipedreams.”

Krina’s Poetry Adventure #NPM 2017: Task 1

PoetTree_1600x1200.jpg.1024x960_q85Are you ready to join me for Poetry Month?

I admit – I’m a little nervous

I spilled out all my excitement before thinking all this through

But that is okay

Right? Because … poetry. 

Poetry is what happens when I let slip the usual confines of prose, when I shake out the words and look at them anew/ askance/ askew

Tricksy words – all blacks and whites on a page, so strictly spelled out or so I was told but

look more closely —  notice how the structures of language pins words down to keep them under … thumb, under ….ground, under … pressure

and those sneaking slipping words leak out, seep into our psyche

despite grammar and rule and punctuation

words remain wild– adapting … all willy-nilly and such.  Suddenly speaking new meaning, new feeling … making poetry … happen  

So although I will be seeking direction from some inspirational books and poets and sites … I will be following my way through this experiment with arms wide and jaunty and all akimbo because I want to amble along and listen and learn and lean into the way words lead, grow, and sneak out

If you are willing, and if you don’t mind such a fumbling journey led by this person then I have your

First task:

Collect Words

Yup, that is it.  For the next few days your task is to pick up words and lay them in your basket – any words – for whatever reason –

listen for them,

pull them off the pages you read,

out of magazines, off cereal boxes,

or out of the mouths of those around you …

look high, look low.

And write them down – together in a big messy mess on a page or four – I challenge you to let your children write them down … let them misspell them … this isn’t spelling class – this is word hunting, word scavenging, word hoarding … no minimalism allowed here.  WP_20170328_17_12_11_Pro 1

(Jazz and I collecting words … and absorbing sunshine.)

This assignment comes from Poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge

She recommends reading through identification books – birds, bugs, places, plants, persons … write down the words which capture your attention.

No word is wrong … (perhaps inappropriate depending on who is participating)

Be silly – be serious – pick words you like to say – feel how they move in your mouth.  Keep going … sensory words, onomatopoeia words (drip, splash, oink), long words, short words, action verbs, interesting nouns, everyday words …

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Krina’s wordlist NPM 2017 

(click the link above for a PDF of my wordlist)

Here is my collection  … my wordpool as Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge, (whose name needs to be said all together as one long poem itself), names it.   I include it to inspire you but also as a crutch if you are feeling unsure … go ahead and print a page or all 9 … there are 600+ words  to get you off the ground … and a page full of blank spaces for you fill in. 

(p.s. Poiema is the greek word used in the bible to describe God’s workmanship … as in “You are God’s Poiema” Ephesians 2:10…. I love that! Also, I misspelled it in my list …it is Poiema not Poeima)

Optional task #2

Write your words out on bits of paper – or print some of mine and cut them out. Collect up the words and leave them in a bowl or jar or basket … or write them out in coloured pens … or on painted watercolour paper like I did … and watch it grow …literally …

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Jazz “helping” again

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I am very curious about your word collections … will you share some words with me?  I want to grow my wordpool too … and I know you have some fantastic words…

Were there words you didn’t like when you found them … words you put back, left where they were?  …yah, me too … leave them behind.

Were there words you repeated … me too!  Like love, swell, joy, abandon, and tapioca (I don’t even like tapioca) … I did leave the word love on my list twice … we could all use a double portion. 

And that is it … for now. I will be back with further assignments and adventures in poetry.

But also poems are important so here are two great poems about poetry …  

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

~ Billy Collins 

A Poem is a Little Path

A poem is a little path
That leads you through the trees.
It takes you to the cliffs and shores,
To anywhere you please.

Follow it and trust your way
With mind and heart as one,
And when the journey’s over,
You’ll find you’ve just begun.

~ Charles Ghigna

 

Transitions

Realizing that…

The making of a life

Can sometimes look like remnants of daily happenings piled together beside me on the couch

warmth seeping into my skin on a cold day

His hand reaching for mine

Rivulets of water running down the street in search of broad rivers after being frozen in winter

It is mud, earth, and seeds.

Regardless, it is hope on the breeze despite a destination. 

Personal Growth: it’s personal

wp_20170106_14_56_01_proPersonal growth – it kind of sounds like something I should have checked at the Doctor’s office doesn’t it? It checks the right boxes – it is mostly uncomfortable, it concerns warty things I would rather not discuss with others, and I would feel best if it could be done and over with as soon as possible.

Maturation – “Is there a pill for that?”

Regardless – I find myself stuck in a rather sticky, murky, vastly uncomfortable season of “personal growth” and despite my homeopathic attempts to “eat it, sleep it, ignore it” away – I think I am going to have to accept that I will be “in it” for the foreseeable future. 

Much of the “struggle” has to do with learning that I – Krina – am valuable …regardless …  This is difficult for me.  It sounds simple – and the world of encouraging quotes and posters seems to suggest I just need to “believe” – in myself, in my power, in my spirit, in my creativity.  JUST believe … there is that terrible word – “just” – it slips in there insidious and small, implying all that is “just” so easy.  But there is nothing small or easy about standing within yourself – unashamedly accepting despite all the evidence of brokenness and awkwardness and ignorance – that I am perfectly, unequivocally valuable because I – Krina – am loved.

Grasping this will take time to take root and firmly handle but already the implications are trickling out – setting off other “personal growth” dominoes in my life – encouraging me to take braver steps within my own relationships, my own understanding of who I am, in what I need to set my hand to during this “next” phase in my life.

Today’s brave step – was sending out a letter to a person of great importance in my life.  There is no guarantee I will ever know if the letter is received or read.  There is even less of a chance that anything in my life will change because I sent this letter despite the hope I carry.  I have to accept I don’t have any say over the outcome – because as I am slowly learning – outcomes are not the goal, the goal is to love more deeply, and that extends to myself.  That is the thing about “personal growth” – it is personal.

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