One of the benefits of keeping a consistent yoga practice is that it opens up my creative pathways. More often than not, I feel inspired and creatively charged after an hour on the mat. Many times I have found this creative energy to be a useful tool for processing my “stuff.” By “stuff”, I’m referring to the big, beautiful, shit-storms of life we all face. You know what I’m talking about…the health scares, the aging parents, the crumbling relationships, etc. I’ve been facing a number of struggles in my life this year and while yoga is always a favorite tool for processing my stuff, this year my processing process has returned to a former love, the “pen” or more realistically the keyboard (pen just sounds sexier than keyboard, don’t you think?) to reflect on and process the tough stuff through writing.
Recently I had the opportunity to spend a week at the beach. One lazy afternoon as I sat staring out at the ocean, I started trying to make sense of some of the struggles I’ve been facing this year. As I sat there my kids were wading out into the ocean with boogie boards or body boards (about half the size of a surf board). The water was a little rough that day and they were getting knocked around by the waves and couldn’t get on their boards. Not being that familiar with the ocean and currents, etc. they were clearly intimidated and a bit fearful of being tossed about. They were about to call it quits and come out of the water when I encouraged them to not let their fear of the waves ruin their experience. I told them that once they made it past the wave break, they would be able to get on the boards without getting knocked off and then riding the waves would be fun. I encouraged them to be fearless.
The word “fearless” has been my word/theme for the year. I’m kind of a word-nerd, by the way. When I was a kid, I would actually sit and read the dictionary. There must have been a book shortage at the local library or perhaps I was just a really, REALLY, weird kid. Seriously though, instead of setting new year’s resolutions at the start of a year, I typically adopt a word or phrase that I use as a theme for the year. 2017 is supposed to be my year of being fearless. Sounds good, doesn’t it? FEARLESS! When I chose fearless as my word this year I had no idea how much I would be challenged to put that word into play. More than once this year, I’ve questioned whether I shouldn’t have chosen “margaritas on the beach” as my word/theme for the year. What was I thinking picking fearless as my word? Silly little girl.
As I sat on the beach thinking about this word “fearless” and processing through my junk, I started kicking around some thoughts and came up with the following poem. You should know that I am not a poet. I repeat…I am NOT a poet. However I go where the creative energy takes me and this time it took me into the ocean and the world of poetry. And, since April is National Poetry Month, I wanted to share it with you.
While I’m still processing through my stuff, I’m challenging myself to see these struggles more as life-gifts and less shit-storm. I’m trying to see that these challenges are really for my benefit and that they are teaching me and helping me to become the person I need to be to reach my goals in the next season of life. I wake up each day and encourage myself to be fearless in the face of these challenges. I tell myself that if I stay fearless, once I make it past the wave break, it’ll be fun.
I’ll bet that you, too, are facing challenges in 2017. What are your challenges teaching you? Are they helping you become a better version of yourself? How can your struggles help you reach your goals? What would happen if you chose to be fearless?
The Fearless Mermaid
When I close my eyes as I sit by the sea, a fearless mermaid is the me that I see.
When the sun shines bright I lay on the rocks, soaking up the heat. I am not afraid to be seen.
When my shoulders turn pink from the warm sun, I dive into the water and swim with the sharks. I am not afraid of the sharks.
When the sea turns choppy and the clouds roll in, I ride the waves of the storm. I am not afraid of the storm.
When the ships come near and the sailors shout, I smile and wave. They’re curious about me and me about them. I am not afraid of the sailors.
When the moon rises high and casts its soft glow, I survey my heart and that’s when I know that the fearless mermaid is the me I must show.