Friday, November 19, 2010

Beauty Breathes: Poem-A-Day-phobia



Beauty Breathes: Poem-A-Day-phobia


I can always tell what time it is in the morning when my email ding goes off shortly after my first cup of coffee. First cup of coffee downed + ding = the Poem-a-Day poem has arrived in my inbox. Because this invariably occurs after only one cup of coffee, I’m still quite crabby and eager to judge, (a morning person I am not), and besides, my mind is racing around tagging all of my worries for the day…this meeting, that drive to the place I don’t know how to get to, the fear of what I have forgotten. I’m impatient and in “go”-mode. I dread the Poem -A-Day. I’m certain that it is going to be nonsense and that I will therefore resent the author for getting their poem into this mysterious, impenetrable Poem-A-Day system when obviously they are crap. Then I get afraid of feeling stupid because I might not understand the Poem-A-Day. I usually just glance at it for length, then move it to my Poem-A-Day file for further reading, or read the first several lines, decide it’s interesting enough to merit my full attention, and flag it for later reading.

I feel that this is a horrible, low-attention-spanny, consumerist attitude towards the Poem-A-Day, and I would like to change it. I would like to resolve to make reading the Poem-A-Day a calming, meditative experience, one in which I slow down, focus, concentrate, and commit fully to the three to five minutes it will take to read the poem carefully, with open-hearted attention and full mental cognition. But it arrives in my inbox at 6:50 a.m. This is about the time I have to go apply my face (which I resent), and commit to the 520 commute (which I also resent, but as not as much as having to plaster on expensive makeup in order to feel that I’m presentable.) Honestly, I don’t know if I can do it. But I’m worried that by not doing it, I might be missing something, like this amazing poem from a few mornings ago, which I just glared at and then ignored. I didn’t come back to it until tonight, when I finally read it in a relaxed state, and cried for a full ten minutes.

Then I think, so why does it have to be morning, the worst time for me to concentrate and open my heart to anything, that I put pressure on myself to do this? Then I think, it’s because morning is the worst time for me to concentrate and open my heart to anything. The Beauty Breathes project, in conjunction with Dana Guthrie-Martin’s Compassion Project, was supposed to be a way for me to begin changing some of my less-helpful patterns, not to reinforce them.

I’ll start on Monday.


--Kristen McHenry

3 comments:

Robin said...

Hi, Kristen ~

I first discovered your blog during NaNoWriMom at RWP. Then I recently rediscovered it through Dana's Compassion Project. So glad you're writing. I'm grateful to know there are others like me out there who struggle with open-heartedness in the morning. And who can cry for ten minutes after reading a poem like Grace Street. Those tears are a beautiful thing.

Robin said...

NaPoWriMo, that is. :)

Dale said...

I can't do a new poem every day by a stranger, not along with my other reading. I always wish Qarrtsiluni would publish one thing weekly -- that I could handle -- but this every day thing just overwhelms me. So it's in my reader but I usually skip it.