Poetry At Work
In my early twenties I worked at a 5-star hotel restaurant in Beverly Hills. When it was slow, myself and the bartender/screenwriter, Justin, would challenge each other with timed poetry contests. We’d pick a topic and then have an allotted amount of time to write. The winner was decided by our generous co-workers.
While my first entry won just barely, Justin’s writing was indeed notable: His eventual breakthrough feature film, The Bucket List, starred Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, directed by Rob Reiner. I like to think that in a way I helped keep his chops sharp during his pavement-pounding days but it isn’t much true. For me anyway, I enjoyed the game because it was a creative reminder that even while hustling as artists/worker-bees, we were still artists first.
His dedicated focus on his dream reminds me of how appreciating what you enjoy leads to more of it to enjoy. Lately a particular piece I wrote for one of our competitions has been coming to my mind since, with my recent move I am gratefully again surrounded by choruses of singing birds amidst life in the city:
In the cusp of a yesterday’s passing
And the potential of a new day’s dawn,
I lay in silent expectation to arise
With more courage than the day before.
Crisp and still the morn expands
Like my meditations on tolerance and love,
Before the awakening of city and mental din
It’s the sound of the birds I listen for.
Then with warm and peaceful crescendo
My serenade of enlightenment begins
I marvel at the beautiful clarity
And allow myself that knowing-ness within.
I listen to the birds religiously
As one would kneel and pray
For in their harmony lies universal truth –
Simplicity is the higher way.
As I envisioned what I wanted at my next home and what it would look and feel like, singing choruses of birds were included amongst many other wishes come true. I was clear about what would make me more happy in my living environment both visually (in my mind) and physically (I made lists). I often visualized being in the new space with all those particular details just because it felt really good to imagine it. That literally sends energy out to the future to allow for it – as Einstein said, “Thoughts are things.” So inevitably corresponding opportunities presented themselves and then I took action which is key.
Some people make Bucket Lists – a list of your dreams you want to fulfill before you ‘kick the bucket’. This can help you to clarify what you want by acknowledging it in writing. So once you have your list, what next? A powerful way to keep up the good vibes needed along the way is to simply say ‘thank you’ for absolutely everything you already have, and do it often. It’s really easy and something you can do right now, anytime, anywhere. Before you know it, you will be more focused on what truly rocks in your life rather than what feels like rocks in your socks!
If you are looking at your list of dreams but are discouraged by not seeing the HOW-to’s, remember this: If you don’t like something, YOU can change it. Do something different – anything – for different results! Too simple? The Greek historian Thucydides wrote: "The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage." Your courage can actually be cultivated right now by taking one tiny little step in the direction of what you want or what you think is missing from your life. With every thought you are either moving towards or away from your true self. Many people feel stuck because happiness seems too far from where they are now.
At this point we should all know that happiness is not a destination. It is not over there, it already IS meaning you allow it by choice: You allow happiness when you choose to do what makes you happy. So the gap begins to shrink as soon as you take that first step, then the next will come easier, then the next will seem obvious, then the following more effortless and so on… Nothing big is ever done quickly or without focused effort.
Before getting stuck on the hamster wheel of fruitless action motivated by something other than your bliss, why not decide: (1) WHAT would bring you bliss, (2) WHY you want it, and (3) What you are willing to GIVE in exchange for it.
Freedom is the antithesis of being victim to your circumstances – you control the wheel. To fully accept that each and every one of us is responsible for everything that has, is, and will transpire in our lives takes humility and courage; To feel free you must learn and practice detachment from ideas that don't serve you - it starts and ends in our minds - meditation is designed to help you with that.
So focus more on the good stuff, be courageous in all you think, say and do, and watch what happens. Your bucket list just might kick over before you do!