Thursday, April 21, 2011

Emerging from Our Own Definitions

One of the first poems I wrote began:

I am a practical person ... I don’t write poetry.

     Several years of torrential poetry writing followed the writing of that line.

A few weeks ago, I began writing more definitions of myself that I had outlived, beginning again with that line about poetry.

I am a practical person ... I don’t write poetry.
I am an accountant ... I don’t do art.
I am a business person ... I don’t experience miracles.

By this writing, I was no longer an accountant and my own art was on every wall in my house and in two galleries.  I still considered myself a business person and was in the process of creating a new business venture, but I had also experienced miracles that amazed, baffled and delighted me.

Sitting on a cruise ship on our last leg back to Los Angeles, I decided to continue with more current beliefs about myself.  I had outlived other definitions, maybe there were more definitions running around in my psyche that I needed to let go of and grow beyond.

I am a practical person ... I don’t have spiritual experiences.
I was born a poor person ... I will never have great abundance.
I am a widow ... I will never again have the joy of intimacy and unconditional love.
I am a senior widow ... I don’t matter.
I am going to die ... how I live doesn’t matter.
I am not talented musically ... I can’t play the hammered dulcimer.
I don’t have much money ... I can’t afford to do everything I want.

As I ended this session, a little voice welled up within me and shouted, “Oh, yeah?!”  

And I smiled as I realized that w
e define ourselves too narrowly.  I’ve seen my own definitions of myself come and go.  It starts to make me wonder if I … or any of us … truly understand our potential.  How many layers can we uncover in the time we are given in this life?  Probably fewer than are actually there.  We are always emerging.


  1. Thinking of every one of those negatives as shells cracking to reveal the essence, the potential, the possibility rising and taking new form.