How Do You Feed Your Soul?

 
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I have been choosing to pick-up more and more poetry over the past few years as I’ve gravitated to art that makes me contemplate. To question this reality we are idly complicit in. That speaks of those very real human moments we don’t often discuss. The realness, rawness, and authenticity required is what intrigues me about poetry. It's a way of writing that I am utterly drawn to and have found myself inspired to express my deepest feelings and inner knowings through poetry.

Recently, I attended a poetry writing workshop hosted by IN-Q. He is a soul-stirring artist. If you’ve never heard him perform, give him a google. He is not an artist to read, but to listen. His written word performances are sure to reach a deeper realm within you. Ah, my favorite kind of art.

To be honest, I was expecting more of a “how-to” workshop on poetry. That was not the structure of this workshop. After a couple community building exercises to create a safe space, we were provided a prompt and space to write. Until this moment, I had usually written poetry during moments where I was already connected to something within me—whether I was transversing through an intense emotion or contemplating an intriguing thought. So when we were provided an open-ended prompt and some dedicated time to just write, I was a bit panicked. I am a notoriously slow writer so the thought of writing an entire poem in 20 minutes overwhelmed me.  Then when I saw my partner start scribbling away when he’s never written a poem in his life, I was shook.

I took a few deep breaths and leaned in. The prompt was… a moment where you learned a life lesson that you want to pass on. I spent the first 10 minutes picking and choosing life lessons, but none of them felt personal enough. And the ones that did feel personal enough to conjure those potent feelings prime for writing felt lacking. I felt like a fraud writing about significant life lessons I had yet to completely embody. I may have conceptually understood, but I was not immune to falling short.

And just like that, I had the feeling I needed to write. As I cycled through the pains of learning a lesson, and then having to learn it again (and again) in my head…. I thought, there is a lesson in that too. Often, we conceptually know something is not serving us, but we continue to do it anyways. This cycle is so characteristic of the human experience. My handwriting became nearly illegible as the poem flowed onto the paper in front me.

The rest of the workshop consisted of brave souls getting up in front of a room full of new friends to share the poems they has just written in a mere 20 minutes. I hung on their every word, enthralled at the creativity, talent, authenticity, and pure magnetic beauty of the words flowing from their pages. Each person sharing a page of their truth.

I left the experience feeling full. I didn’t even realize how hungry my soul was until I was overflowing with that pure joy and contentment that comes with being completely satisfied. A beautiful reminder of what art, creativity, and community does to ignite the flow and fire within us.

When is the last time you created to just create? Or did something that was out of your comfort zone? Immersed yourself in a new environment? Allowed yourself to fail or fall in pursuit of a new skill? Explored a new faucet of your being with no expectations? How do you feed that hungry part of you that wants to express itself? That part of you that feels alive when you step into the unknown? That part of you that is scared to been seen but longs to share its truth?

Poetry is one way I feed my soul… how do you feed yours?

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In the spirit of the workshop and sharing my own truth, here is the piece I wrote…

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you ask me, what have you learned?
i’m afraid i’ve learned nothing at all
i've begun to know what love is
than i close my heart before i fall
i've peered into my deepest desires
than i limit myself by building a wall
i begin to question this reality my faith is sparked
then i let pressures of society make the question too close to call

you ask me, what have you learned?
all i can think of is where i make progress
but come up short after all
with our evolution comes retribution
in our humanity is inherent insanity
every step forward can mean many steps back
as we cycle through the rise and fall

you ask me, what have you learned?
i guess my answer is this
the first step to change
is to admit you know nothing at all
be open to evolution
and don’t fear the inevitable fall
the lessons in life are indeed in every step forward
but more potent are the lessons in becoming aware of
where you are too scared to evolve

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