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Monday, February 15, 2016

Never Ending Poems

After the last post I wrote, two things happened.

First, I attended a lunch seminar at my job about mindfulness and the benefits. This was ironic because the woman began her presentation by asking if we had ever driven in the car, gotten home, and not been able to remember how we got there.

In my head, I screamed, "YES!" She proceeded to tell us that this was referred to as "mindlessness" and that she was going to teach us about being "mindful" and aware of our surroundings as well as our body.

Second, a friend came up to me and said she had read my post and that she had heard that technically we become hypnotized while we are driving, which is why we can't always remember how we get places.

Both of these things reiterated my concern. How many other moments are we hypnotized to the point of "mindlessness?" What effect does this have on the rest of our lives?

Though these questions are still lingering, the woman giving the presentation about mindfulness said that simply thinking "I am breathing," or "I am currently driving home and passing the grocery store," or "Wow, I am thinking about that specific topic a lot" is considered being mindful and can have an enormous benefit on our health.

As I was thinking more about the mindfulness practice, I came across a TED talk from one of my favorite poets, Sarah Kay. (Video posted here for you to enjoy!!!).

In her talk she shares (along with some of her amazing poems) that while teaching poetry one of her biggest tips is that:

" is tempting to keep writing the same poem or to keep telling the same story over and over once you have figured out it will gain you applause. It is not enough to just teach that you can express yourself. You have to grow and explore and take risks."

This advice hit home for me in a way I hadn't thought about in a while. I haven't written poetry in months and as I began thinking about why, I realized that it was because I was writing the same poems over and over and over and was never satisfied with the results.

For me, it was not because I wanted applause from an audience. It was to sort out things that I haven't realized I still need to sort out. When those poems didn't do that for me, I was left unsatisfied and found myself continuously writing about the same topic.

So, after listening to the mindfulness talk, hearing Sarah Kay's advice, and trying to break myself from the hypnosis of life, the first mindfulness task I set for myself, was to be aware of the things that I think about too often, the things I wish I could write the perfect poem for and really hone in on the "why?"

This week, be aware of the thoughts you have over and over and over that you may not even realize you are having. What poems do you find yourself writing over and over and over because you haven't sorted them out yet and why? Why that topic? Why isn't it satisfying yet? How can you get there and once you are there how can you continue to grow, explore, and take risks?

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