I wrote a poem a couple of months ago during a particularly trying time. I was reading different things for inspiration and found some helpful words from Anne Lamott and Pema Chodron. They are both great writers with a directness and honesty that is so healing because we can all relate to the way they describe suffering. And they do it with humility and humor which I adore. At about the same time I had heard about an app called WeCroak from my friend Emmeline and immediately started using it. The app sends several reminders to your phone that you will die someday. How awesome is that?! Sure, not for everybody, but definitely helps to keep denial to a healthy minimum.
I see my writing poems as a sort of mindfulness practice. Doing it requires a level of attention to moment and an engagement with an immediate focus, like counting syllables or thinking of rhyming words. It’s fun and also ironic that I both lose myself in the process and at the same time find myself right here in the now. I’m learning that practicing mindfulness sometimes looks like sitting with eyes closed and trying to stayed focused on breathing. And other times it is remembering to be kind to myself by letting fearful thoughts move on or catching my judging mind and then inviting a softening and allowing attitude instead.
Here is my poem.
For Anne and Pema
About suffering, Pema says to me
be curious, look closely and you'll see
it's not reality but reaction
to experience that is unpleasant.
Anne teaches me how jealousy is but
an emotion secondary to our
feeling excluded and also deprived.
When my heart was pierced unexpectedly
I searched for a cure for this misery
which brought their enlightened wisdom to me.
I invite my mind repeatedly, to
rest in this moment right now with my breath.
To safeguard against sleepwalking through life
my app shares five quotes a day about death.