Greetings Readers, Teachers, Yogis and Librarians!
Library Week and Poetry Month both fall in April and with all of the yoga classes popping up at libraries over the past few years, you will have plenty of opportunities to sit, write and move! This is the special formula from the Writing Yoga® method that can help you to live a calmer, more creative and compassionate life. Each Wednesday there is a new prompt to help you do just that. Scroll down to get right to it.
When I was a kid, the library was my favorite place to be. It was quiet and calm and I could read all day long without interruption. When was the last time you got to do ANYTHING without interruption? Mindfulness was not in the dictionary back then, but the world moved slower without the Internet. Libraries today still have one of the few quiet public places anywhere. So take time this week to sit and mindfully read in your favorite chair or at the library. Maybe even try a different library and/or thank your librarian for bringing books into eager hands all day long.
Reading and writing are mindful experiences. They are also physical and expressive. Of course we can (and should!) get lost in both experiences, but when we pay attention to the words as they flow, it can bring our perception of the world to a whole other level.
Poets have been the mystics, magicians, seers and sages throughout the ages. They track images, emotions, human experiences and sing the songs of those without voice. Poetry can be mindful, physical or even other worldly. Poetry can do it all.
This week's exercise will encourage imagination and creativity by extracting you from the physical world. Emily Dickinson traveled the world in her poems without ever leaving her home! Allow your mind to travel with you as a passenger. Don’t be a backseat driver; just enjoy the ride.
SIT: Poetry Meditation
Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit and read the poem below. Read it again. When you are ready, close your eye and breathe deeply. Let your mind journey to “lands away."
When you are done, have your paper and pen ready to write. Where did you go? What did it feel like? What did you notice?
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away,
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears a Human soul.
- Emily Dickinson (poem in public domain)
WRITE: Chariot of the Soul
Although Emily Dickinson has a point about the frugal chariot, you are in the seat of your own journey. Write down any images you remember from your meditation. Just list without stopping. What does your soul want you to know? Answer on paper without edits.
MOVE: Whisper Stretch
Traveling can be exhausting and your body can become stiff and achy. The whisper stretch is something you can do throughout the day at any time to bring you back into balance.
Stand tall. Plant your feet firmly into the ground and lean back until you feel your body perfectly aligned with your knees. Keep your knees in line with your hips, and your hips in line with your shoulders. Notice if you need to draw your head backward in space so it rests comfortably over your neck. You should maintain a sense of relaxation while holding a strong and steady stance. Notice the strength in the lower part of your body and feel lightness in the upper part of your body. Breathe.
When you feel strong and steady, after several rounds of breath, inhale your arms overhead. Interlace your fingers except for your pointer fingers which will reach toward the sky. Count in a whisper to 10. As if you were leaning over a ball on the right side of your body, lean over to the right. Whisper count to 10. Return to center, breathe, and stretch to the left. Count to 10 as you stretch to your left side. Return to center and take one more inhalation. Exhale and bring your arms back down to your side. Repeat throughout the day.
Enjoy your week of traveling through books and poetry. Write what you see. Stretch when you need too. Take time to notice the poetry and libraries in your world.
Thank you, poets and librarians and all of the readers (especially YOU) who make the world a more compassionate place.
See you next week, Stef
Looking to create a calmer, more balanced and creative life at home and at work? Book a free consultation to learn more about workplace retreats and professional development.
POETRY MONTH RESOURCES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Link to Poem in Your Pocket Info: https://poets.org/national-poetry-month/poem-your-pocket-day.
Link to kids poems from the Academy of American Poets: https://poets.org/poems-kids
Link to kids poems from the Poetry Foundation: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/children
LONG ISLAND OPPORTUNITIES
If you are a poet, please apply for the residency at Cedarmere. The deadline is Monday. Judith Baumel is the judge. https://files.constantcontact.com/73d3f196901/93486e83-b7a3-4cb4-8bd9-a05e943f7a69.pdf?rdr=true\
Link to Young Poets Event at Cedarmere: Download Flyer here.
Link to Poem in Your Pocket Day Event in Sea Cliff: https://www.seacliffartscouncil.org/