I never thought of being a poet. I was creative. I had a successful career as a brand strategist and designer. I had the “right” college degrees for the “right” job – the “right” clients, the “right” car, fabulous clothes for all the “right” parties. Life seemed good on the outside, and it was. But I was empty. I was living a life that I thought I was supposed to living – a life I thought others expected of me.
It went something like this: get up, rush out the door with coffee and breakfast in hand, commute, honk-honk, a little road rage, rush through the day, one conversation to the next, one appointment to the next, hundreds of emails and texts, wait… did I eat lunch? All an endless cycle of paying bills, keeping it together, long days, everyday, for the promise of a future – that it turned out I didn’t even really want.
Sound familiar? I was on an hamster wheel and I was running out of steam. Yes, I was contributing, I was achieving. I was working with purpose and drive. But I was a slave. Imprisoned by a myth that I bought into. If only I had more, I could relax. If I just had a little more, then life would be easier. If I could just achieve more, I would feel better in my skin. Always in pursuit of something external to make up for what did not feel right on the inside.
Then, things fell apart on the outside. My business was failing. I lost clients and a lot of money. A relationship ended. I was exhausted, fighting with the people I loved and I felt very lonely. I lost track of who I was and hated what I’d become. And I didn’t have certainty or security I was chasing. What was the point of being so busy?
I just stopped. I decided that for one year, I would only do the things that felt right in my heart to do. Even if what my heart needed wasn’t rational. I would do it. I would create space to feel and listen. I would Brave the Unknown.
I slept on some couches. Lived simply. And I recovered. I recovered parts of myself that I lost trying to “keep up”
Here is what I learned in that year. I didn’t recognize poetry at first as the stirring of my heart. With all the noise, I had forgotten how to listen to my heart. But I did feel drawn to nature. So I started there. I spent every day of that year, sometimes all day in nature. I am talking true tree-hugging!
And as I did so, poems started to come. I would dream about and see animals –owls, whales, stags – and lots and lots of elephants! They were very kind to me. After each encounter a poem would follow. Every time I looked up the symbolism of that animal, the meaning would always match the meaning in the poems.
These synchronicities reminded me of what I believed in and that I wasn’t alone. The beauty and wonder of nature humbled me. I softened and became more in touch with who I was and wanted to be. In nature, I could easily feel. I could listen. And then, I could converse with my heart and trust that voice.
For so long, I drove myself nuts trying to matter, to have some “epic” impact. Being a poet wasn’t the dream. It was because of the poetry that I started to dream again and my dreams became true. When I decided to have a better relationship with myself, to be completely honest with myself, the poetry started flowing and in that space I could forgive, heal and experience compassion – first for myself and then others. The poems were an external expression of an inner triumph and that’s why they naturally comfort and inspire others.
We all have a gift – something that flows through us. Sometimes we search the entire world looking for it. Sometimes we exchange it for a sense of security and safety. Sometimes we ignore it or don’t believe we have it.
If you are going through a similar struggle. If you feel lost, alone or stuck. If you feel uncertain, like your failing and don’t know what’s next, …here’s what I’ve experienced that I want to share with you:
- First, you are not alone. No one has it completely figured out. (Not even Beyonce)
- What we are looking for is closer than we think. It’s right here. You are what you are looking for. When you choose yourself, your gift will choose you. And that choice demands a personal exploration and self-confrontation that will give you back to you. But it’s work. Do the personal work and the first note will come. The first words will come. The most amazing chocolates that have yet to be created are waiting for you to do the personal work. If you want to fund a project, do the personal work and your money will flow true.
Let’s do the work.
That’s what I’ve learned by writing poetry. That I matter. We matter. You matter.
How many sleeping dreams are in the room right now? Wake them up.
Your photography will open minds. Your symphony will uplift and comfort grieving hearts. Your financial model will grow economies and help people to prosper. Your technology will give voice to the voiceless and allow the blind to see. The farmer will give his gift and all will eat.
When we choose to deeper relationship with ourselves, our gift chooses us. Then our life becomes a gift for others too. In the collective and unified offering of our gifts, there will be will be a great and positive future.
There will be freedom. Incredible freedom. A freed voice. The freedom to create any reality you want. The freedom to be you.