Category Archives: poetry

What do you want to do with your life?

I don’t know about you, but most of my life, until the revelations of my thirties, I felt that the best way to get by in life was to make as little trouble as possible – to please others, and somehow fly under the radar. Life wasn’t about doing what I wanted to; it was about taking all the opinions and clues from the outside world, crunching the numbers and coming up with the perfect formula for my life. Funny thing is, it wasn’t my life, was it? It belonged to everyone except me. Sound familiar?

I wrote a while back that life is a strange place for me to be now that I’ve realised that people-pleasing and living up to the expectations of others isn’t necessary. It was making my miserable, but it felt safe, and all of my sense of worth came from being perceived in a positive way by others. So, what to do with my life now that my people-pleasing road trip is drawing to and end?

I don’t know if you believe in the mystical and magical things that can sometimes happen in life, but I was once sat contemplating my life and where I was up to etc. I felt suddenly compelled to take a book from my bookcase (which I never do – the bookcase in question is more of an archive of books I’ve already read). Anyway, I picked up a title by Alexander McCall Smith called ‘Morality for beautiful girls’, closed my eyes, flipped through the pages and stopped at a seemingly random place. Imagine my absolute shock when I realised I was looking at a chapter heading titled: ‘What do you want to do with your life?’. Hmm, I thought to myself. Life isn’t about doing; it’s about being and experiences and joy and… It’s not about what job I do or what holidays I go on. It’s about making the most of the experiences that come my way. I was, if anything, a little annoyed with the book for asking me such a stupid question. Stupid book. What does it know?

Well, in hindsight, maybe a lot more than I do – or did at the time. What I’ve come to realise is that unless you are an active creator of the moments in your life, you don’t get to choose what they look like, and your experiences will be limited and perhaps even a little soul crushing. Because our souls need to breathe and stretch their wings, and doing what others wish for or expect of us is about as far away as we can get from living a heart-centred life. Towing the line is the emotional equivalent of throwing in the towel and giving up on everything you’ve ever wanted; whether that’s for yourself, others or the world at large.

We all have dreams, no matter who we are, or how small or unusual or impossible they may seem to someone else. Many of us won’t be aware of our dreams because we’ve forgotten them among the business and general chaos of being an adult. But if you think back to your childhood, you won’t have to look too far to remember all the things you used to dream of. Personally, I used to imagine being an acclaimed artist or a pilot. This was at the age of about 8, and my greatest joy in life was being allowed to stay up a bit later to watch the Crystal Maze and Gladiators (UK reference – my apologies to anyone who hasn’t heard of these wonderful British television programmes from the 1990s). So why I wanted to fly and paint masterpieces I’ll never know; it’s just something that used to capture my imagination. I also assumed that I would make a positive difference to the world at large, although I wasn’t sure how. I remember feeling pretty annoyed at how badly the planet was being treated and thinking that I should probably do something about it (but not before I’ve caught up with the Crystal Maze, obviously!).

It doesn’t matter that my dreams from childhood bear no resemblance to my actual life. The important thing is that I had any dreams at all, and that I was actively thinking about the things I’d like to see change in the world. I had this sense that my life mattered, and that countless opportunities and possibilities lay ahead of me. When I thought about life, it seemed like something to run towards, rather than something to run away from. Some people may call this naivety, but I think it’s adults who lose their way and forget to see things how they really are. We forget the magic, we don’t make time for day-dreams, and if we’re really unlucky, we start to equate life with drudgery and hard work. Society plays a big part in this, of course. When you look around you, especially in Western cultures, it’s no wonder we lose our way and forget what’s important.

So, what do I do now that I realise I’ve been letting life wash over me, rather than creating my own waves? Well, I’ve got some decisions to make, some dreams to dream, and a renewed sense of purpose to gain. I need to start creating meaning in my own life, instead of letting others tell me what’s meaningful. I need to start creating moments and holding space for myself and others, rather than waiting for a phone call from someone inviting me to do something (and therefore saving me from having to think of something).

Life is all about choice, freedom and expression. Love and joy are everywhere around us, just waiting for us to say yes. But we can’t do this passively; we must be bold enough to show up, let ourselves be seen, and ultimately to choose our best life.

Oh, and here’s a little poem I found myself jotting down the other evening:

Go find your joy
Go find your purpose
Go out into the world
Let it see you
And cast your eyes upon its magnificence
Don’t label yourself;
Be wild and free
Express yourself
And feel your connection to the rest of humanity
You’ve come so far;
Know that nothing is outside of your reach
And above all else, know that you are loved

Thanks for being here and reading this. I hope you found even the tiniest bit of inspiration to live life the way you want to.

Kath

p.s. Image is courtesy of Chris R. via Flickr: https://tinyurl.com/yc8rtwqy

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Another poem… (I know, who’d have thought it?!)

OK, so here’s the thing. I’ve never liked poetry. Well, certain poems I read growing up I quite liked. And I enjoyed studying Shakespeare’s sonnets when I was a young student. But I’ve always found poetry a bit baffling, and a bit inaccessible. I know it isn’t just for people with a PhD in English Literature, and that it has been enjoyed by many different groups of people across the ages. But the number of times I’ve got part way through a poem and thought: Erm, yeah I really have no clue what this is about… Well, it’s just sort of made me into a bit of a poetry hater I guess.

But oddly, I’ve found myself putting pen to paper just lately to express something that I’m going through or feeling. It feels like a release – like a counselling session, but the therapist is the pen and paper. And it can be whatever you want it to be. You don’t need to judge what you write, but rather just appreciate it for what it is, and the opportunity it has given you to express something of yourself.

So this random situation where I start writing a poem without really meaning to happened again the other evening, and I wanted to share it with you here. I’m cringing as I write this part of the blog post, because of all my fears around being judged or not being good enough. But if I really mean it when I say that it doesn’t have to be judged as either good or bad, and if I really want to encourage others to put pen to paper, then I have to be willing to share my poems with you.

So here we go. Tighten your seatbelt and enjoy the ride!

___________________________________________

The Escape

This prison of mine has no walls

I am free to escape at any time

Maybe that’s why it’s taken me so long?

This place looks friendly enough

There are many home comforts

And people whom I love very much

But a prison it most certainly is

Trapped in a place where I can’t move freely

Afraid to take a wrong step

I just want to feel safe and loved

I just want for my fellow inmates to be happy

How can I just walk away?

How can I leave them all behind?

Perhaps it’s nor for me to show them how to step from the darkness into the light

Perhaps this is a journey we each need to make

As scared as I am, and as safe as it feels to stay here

I have glimpsed freedom

A life lived wholeheartedly

I cannot turn my back on it now

I was always free

It was me who held the key to emancipation

Slowly but surely, I will step away from the family-ar and into the light

I get the feeling love is waiting for me there

_________________________________________________

I would say that I hope you like it, but I can’t say that. What I will say is that I hope it means something to some of you, and/or that it encourages you to become a poet too. We all have the potential to be poets. If we know how to read and write and hold a pen, then we’re just as qualified as the next person. So next time you’re bored on your lunch break, give it a go and see what happens. You may hate it, find it boring or feel a bit silly. Or you may discover something about yourself you never knew before.

Bye for now fellow human beings x

Mountain of fears

Hello lovely readers and fellow human beings! How’s your day going so far?

I was just flipping through an old notebook and found the following poem. I don’t often (if ever) write poetry, but in the last few years I have found myself spontaneously putting pen to paper in an attempt to express something about myself or the emotions I’m feeling at the time. As far as this poem goes, I’m still stood on the mountain of fear, but I have taken my first brave few steps towards the valley below.

Mountain of fear

I’m stood on a mountain

All on my own

I’m scared of my shadow

I’m scared I might fall

Who will be there, to catch me when I stumble?

And yet the view is magnificent from up here

I see new places for me to explore

I see sunshine and happiness and love

I see beautiful rich colours

If the mountain is my fears, the valley below is my dreams

Step by step I will descend into joy

Not prize-winning by any means! But still, I quite like it. I remember not really being in control of the words that came out. They just sort of poured out of their own accord. I like this, because it reminds me that there is such a thing as a subconscious mind to be listened to and respected. Our subconscious can teach us a lot about who we are and what we want for ourselves. If we don’t take the time to listen, we might find ourselves feeling very lost indeed. So give it a go. Just take a blank piece of paper and a pen and see what appears on the page. Don’t be afraid of what you might write, and don’t judge yourself for it. It is what it is, and you are who you are. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that!

Peace out! x