Being human! Whew, it’s a lot. There is the sorrow that leveled you. The desire that drew you. The anger that flared like a fire in your chest. There is the fear that warned you. The pleasure that moved you. The shame that hollowed you right out. There are moments of true peace strung across the days of your life among the deep grief and vast joy. If you have breath moving through your lungs I know you are intimate with emotion. Sometimes the heart is a flower and sometimes it is a stone. Life is like this. Every one of us is brimming with emotion as the currents of our lives continue on. What do you do with it all?
Our world moves so fast that we can hardly process the emotions we are feeling. Yet, feeling our emotions and allowing them to move through is essential to our wellbeing. Poetry can help you with this. When we can acknowledge a difficult feeling or truly embody a joyous one, we are allowing ourselves to integrate these emotions into our very being, which in turn helps us to understand who we are. In a life full of emails, reports, texts, tweets, and to-do lists, poetry is here for your nourishment. It doesn’t want to burden you, rather it wants you to lay your burdens down. Poetry wants to help you move emotions through your body so that they don’t get stuck. So that you too can move forward and live your life. Poetry also wants to relish the moment with you. Some of my favorite poems were written when I was first falling in love with my partner. Many of my favorite poems are from days when I couldn’t understand the complexity of my emotions. Poetry helped me see myself clearer. It has helped me make sense of the world and my place in it.
You don’t need to write much. Just feel whatever you are feeling in this moment. Let yourself write a sentence about this moment. Just one sentence. And then another. All poetry is asking you to do is to be truthful. Take your pain and your pleasure and throw it on the page. Alchemize it into art. When we get the emotion out it has room to breathe and when we share it with others, those human beings can breathe a little bit easier as well.
This is a gift.