Poetic Risks

A poet is someone
Who can pour light into a cup,
Then raise it to nourish
Your beautiful parched, holy mouth.

Sometimes it’s a good thing to take a risk. I am trying something new on my blog, just for today. I’m sharing a couple of poems that I just wrote. It feels a bit daring, because my poetry comes from a quiet, shy place and isn’t used to public viewing. i

These poems grew out of an insight I received during walking meditation last night. We walked outdoors and down the hill, past the garden, through the pasture, and into a grove of pine trees. As we entered the hushed grove, it suddenly hit me. I had been struggling with trying to imagine the perfect job, and I realized that my dream job is to be a writer/teacher/spiritual advisor in residence at a retreat center. 

Thinking about the perfect job description, I realized I could teach journaling, writing, songwriting, creativity, meditation, and spiritual exploration. I could combine my love of dance, drumming, women’s circles, art, Interplay, and songwriting to help others heal and reconnect to the spiritual side of their creativity. I could lead meditation, and I could listen to those who needed someone who can be fully present, holding sacred space with wholehearted attention. And of course, I could continue my writing, growing deeper in that, and encouraging others to grow deeper in their own creativity and spirituality. I found it easy to visualize as I walked beneath the full harvest moon on the night of the autumn equinox. 

Now I don’t know if/how/when/where the full vision can become a reality, but I do know that portions of this exist in my life today. I do encourage others, and listen, and advise them on their writing, and meditate and pray and write. Visualizing the details of that dream life opened my eyes to the possibilities in my current life. It helps to look beyond today’s struggles. Such daydreaming and visioning helps me to see the larger picture. I choose to define my life by possibilities instead of limiting myself with reasons why I can’t have what I most dearly desire (though I admit, on bad days it’s far too easy to imagine dreaded disasters instead of desires fulfilled and dreams come true). 

I have returned to writing poetry again (writing for the love of it, because poetry and songs rarely fit into traditional business plans or typical job descriptions). It feels good to let that shy young playfulness come out after a long time being shunted aside for more practical matters.

I decided that today was the day to take a poetic risk, and so, instead of just squirreling the poems away in a notebook (or hiding them on the Poemflowers page, knowing it’s one of the least visited pages on my website), I’m offering two poems inspired by struggles and dreams. Perhaps you will be able to relate to these ideas and be inspired to write your own poems, to excavate buried dreams and dance once again with your childlike creative heart.

Job Description

I call it being a writer in residence
living in nature’s retreat
sharing poetry, song, dance
with true human beings
who are ready to have their inner treasures revealed. 
The day begins
with a sunrise meditation
and a moonset prayer
then a light poem for breakfast
with a sip of clear awareness
and a dash of tart wisdom
from a fine quote.
Day’s journal is written
in the work of caring for the earth
offering a helping hand
touching hearts
leading each one 
into the depths of its own silence.
Oh, and as afternoon light
slants lower and lower into dusk
the twilight gathering of memory
and the fire warmth of quiet talk
give way to the blessed rest
of a calm soul.
This to me is the perfect job
a career of the Spirit’s making.

This small poem is dedicated to poet Anna Akhmatova, who was persecuted for writing poetry, and for her son, Lev, who spent seventeen months in a Soviet prison for the crime of being the son of two poets. 

There are poets
who have been so brave
that prisoners have 
memorized their words
just to stay alive
as they kept the poems
from being destroyed by prison guards.
So if they can be 
that strong and brave
in a Soviet prison
then I can be brave enough
to add my song to the world
knowing that some prisoner
may taste freedom
in the sweet thoughts 
that liberate my own soul.

Affirmative prayer

I say “yes!” to life.
I am willing to try something different, think a new thought, and open my soul to new ideas and people I have never met before. Today I give myself permission to take a risk. It may be a simple baby step or it may feel like a giant leap. But I will take one step in the direction of my dreams. I stretch, I grow, I evolve. I give myself room to make mistakes. I embrace all that life has to offer. And I open my arms to welcome whatever comes, knowing that grace guides me and love walks with me wherever the adventure may lead.

Introducing an inspiring friend: 

I was one of the lucky people who took Chris Guillebeau’s $100 Business Forum in February 2010. It was my first time to be involved in an online forum, and I’m still absorbing and applying the lessons I learned. One of the benefits was meeting others online, and Tyler Tervoornen was one of the forum participants. Here is a portion of a post he wrote on February 4, 2010:

“I got laid off today. This is nothing more than a declaration of freedom. As much as I tend to shy away from words like "fate" and "destiny," this sort of coincidence is too convenient. Just yesterday I was complaining to myself that I was already behind on my homework here [in the $100 Business Forum], constantly busy, and too tired after work to put meaningful thought to my business planning. Well, yesterday that was fine because if I just sat and daydreamed, I'd be okay. If I gave up, I was out $100. I'd just go back to work tomorrow and more than make it up. Now there is no tomorrow. There is only today and today is only as good as I make it. The stakes just got raised and I'm all in.”

Now, six months later, Tyler has launched a successful blog. I’m already taking notes from his articles as I learn to grow my own online business. Chris Guillebeau just featured Tyler in his Emperor Spotlight emails (part of Chris G’s Empire Building Kit Package I recommended a few blogs ago). After only two months, Tyler’s site has over 1,000 subscribers, gets at least 20 comments on every article and even produces a growing stream of affiliate income.

His website, Advanced Riskology, helps you take smarter and more beneficial risks in your life. Tyler says, “Life’s most important lessons are learned from the risks we take, but we only learn when we actually take them. Advanced Riskology is not about finding the safest way to take a chance. This is not risk management. It’s risk appreciation. This site exists to say that there’s no way to know for sure that your crazy idea will work, and that’s exactly what makes it worth doing.”

I’m pleased to introduce you to someone who inspires and delights me. If you are ready to take a chance and try your wings, I recommend Tyler’s website. 



  1. September 28, 2010 2:28 AM CDT

    Yes yes yes! Just found your free book on iBooks! Thank you!

    - Anonymous