The sunlight streams through the window as she holds her pencil and looks into the distance. An 11-year old girl sits, quiet and contemplative at the dining room table. The paper in front of her receives her feelings and the ideas that flow through her. Each word a creation and the collection of them a story about what’s inside speaking to her.
Since I was a young girl, I’ve wanted to be a writer. In part inspired by my adopted grandfather Garber, who was an author, and consistently encouraged and affirmed my writing. I’ve had many opportunities to write through my education and work; however, only in the past dozen years have I found my way back to the girl at the table, opening my heart and allowing my experience, so rich with emotion, to melt into words.
I remember the day this book started, back in 2005, when I sat at a table and wrote down a word to capture how I felt in the present moment. That led to capturing words that inspired me and made me feel alive, and I found myself creating little word pairs and triads that spoke to me. Connecting my feelings with words allowed me to understand and express my experience – and to powerfully shape and create my experience.
This poem describes how I felt when empowered on a project at work. It’s about inspired action and the beautiful things we can create when we follow our heart’s intentions.
Beauty in Motion
Like a butterfly
Spreading her wings
Engaged in a graceful dance
Moving gently forward
Lifted by gentle breezes
Weightless as air
Beauty in motion
* This photo was taken from Mount Pantokrator, Corfu, Greece.
it is hard to hear.
In silent moments
I feel its breath
Its voice is clear:
Be who you are
This poem is about what happens when I make time to just be, to just sit still with myself, to just let whatever comes up be what’s needed.
These quiet times with myself are not always magical. In fact, they can be downright difficult. I’m sometimes challenged by my thoughts running around like a kid on a sugar high, and just can’t shut them off. I’m sometimes overwhelmed with all that my life seems to demand of me. I’m sometimes gripped by fear of something, be it failure or success, knowing or not knowing, having or not having.
By coming back to the quiet space, time and time again, I’m sometimes gifted with the truth. A partial reinforcement effect that invites me to return with some consistency. Sometimes it speaks loudly and unquestioningly – but mostly it whispers. Mostly it entices me to listen more deeply. I’m invited to not only hear the words in my head but also to feel my experience.
As a runner, I know what it feels like to challenge my body, but to listen to it share secrets about what’s happening when I’m sitting quietly, that’s a skill I’m still building. Yoga helps. Guided mindfulness practices help.
This is the title poem of the first chapter of And Then Opens Possibility. The chapter is a collection of 10 poems about the way possibility opens when we are vulnerable enough to be seen and courageous enough to live in integrity. I first posted a version of it on my Mostly My Heart Sings blog, which you’ll find here.
* I took the photograph at the beach in Fenore, County Clare, Ireland in 2016.