Be a poet for a day. I dare you. Let the world in and watch as it tumbles out from your fingertips onto the page, revealing shades of the day you would otherwise surely have missed.
Before having kids, I meditated daily. And I loved it. While it occasionally took cajoling to get me to my cushion, once there I inevitably found myself flooded with relief at the opportunity to drop the doing. To just sit with my thoughts as they came and went, not following my usual propensity to analyze each one. To be present.
But then came motherhood, and I lost my willingness to commit to anything extra. I felt so pinched for time that I refused even some things I knew would make me feel better/less frustrated/more calm. I became a bit of a rebel, and along with giving up the meditation practice I’d held dear, I felt I needed to give up the delicious gift of being present.
This was an unfortunate and unnecessary move.
A wise teacher friend saw what I was doing and gently reminded me that cultivating presence is not reserved for those seated on cushions. It’s available to all of us, all of the time. We just need to be aware of the invitation to do just that; to find a way to be present right now, in this moment.
So while I rarely plunk myself down cross-legged these days, I do ask myself regularly to notice what’s around me. I focus on what I see, and hear, and smell. I pay attention to my world and gently remind myself to come back when I’ve drifted off into my thoughts yet again.
Samantha Reynolds found a lovely way to honor her intention to be present. She committed to writing a poem a day. As she says, “… the real goal was to train me to see the world constantly with the eyes of a poet, which means to slow down, savour, take delight in, and note the very essence of the world around me.”
Lucky for us, she’s a gifted poet who shares her poems with the online community every day at her website. I imagine others are like me, drawn like bees to honeysuckle, unable to stay away from the daily post. I cherish her observations and the way she uses wit and tenderness to describe the intersection of life and art.
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Samantha, what’s unfurling in you right now?
I’m about to write a poem, which means I am in the epicentre of a typhoon of words, all of them clamouring in my head for immortality on the page. It sounds chaotic but it’s actually a remarkably tender place to stand. I am at my most buzzy and alive when a poem is unfurling inside of me. My experience of using this daily poetry practice to get more present has inspired me to write a book about the intersection of creativity and mindfulness.
Who or what are showing up as your allies in this unfurling?
Goji berries, Danielle Laporte, my trusty thesaurus, and CBC radio.
How do you get out of your own way?
I walk around the lake outside our house. The stomping of my own feet and the scrub of the fresh air does wonders for re-calibrating my energy.
What’s the soundtrack?
My husband is downstairs playing guitar and writing songs. Though he makes his living as a director in the film world, he is constantly composing music. I love this, that our house thumps with song. Once they’re recorded, he puts them all up on his website for free downloading: http://petemccormack.com/
Who are you becoming?
A braver version of myself, bit by bit, every day.
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In 2011, Samantha Reynolds pledged to write one poem a day to try to “be present” and not miss the fleeting first year of her son’s life. Now she wouldn’t know how to stop even if she wanted to. Her popular poetry blog, www.bentlily.com, has sparked a movement of people around the world to slow down and savour their lives. When not racking up reams of poetry, she runs Echo Memoirs, a publishing company specializing in personal memoirs and company histories. She counts her blessings as a mom and wife to two of the loveliest men in the world. She lives in Vancouver, BC.
Others in the Unfurling Series
- Jennifer Verharen
- Jamie Ridler
- Lindsey Mead
- Bridget Pilloud
- Tara Gentile
- Lynn Baldwin-Rhoades
- Amy Oscar
- Anna Guest-Jelley
- Molly Mahar
- Tanya Geisler
- Rachel Cole
- Amanda Farough
- Dyana Valentine
- Andrea Olson
- Julie Daley
- Ronna Detrick
- Jennifer Louden
- Kate Courageous
What’s unfurling in you?
Stay tuned for the opportunity to join a brand new group, launching this fall, where you will explore and deepen your relationship with what’s coming alive for you right now. It might be in the realm of career, relationship, creativity … no matter the topic, we’ll dive in and work on the obstacles in your way as well as the strategies for navigating what’s ahead. Sign up here for information and early bird registration.