09 September 2011

In Search of Self

I sit here on my balcony. It's 82 degrees and the breeze flaps the awning. I listen to Sarah Brightman on the iPod as she sings "Nella Fantasia" in her high, clear voice that lingers on those lilting Italian words. In front of me the Majella Mountains are dimmed by the heat haze to a blue outline jutting into the sky. The clouds, too, are indistinct, a white gauze against the lightened sky. The Adriatic has lost its two toned aqua/turquoise summer coloring and is a single shade of blue more intense than today's sky. Next to me, new stalks of lavender shoot up in defiance of September's date and sweeten the air with their characteristic scent. I feel a vague restless yearning that I want to put into words to better understand it. And so I write.

I retired two years ago. At that time I thought I would provide some kind of grand service to humanity, then undefined but important none-the-less. I presumed it would appear, this new vocation, and I would grab hold of it, dig in and never look back. Only it didn't and I haven't. Instead, I sometimes feel uneasy that I don't do enough or don't do that thing that I'm meant to do at this life stage.

These days, I read and study Italian daily, write most days, run three times a week, travel with my husband to explore Europe, talk with him and foster our relationship in new ways, currently by exploring some different ways to enjoy sex at our age. I stay in touch with my daughter, my grandchildren and close friends and plan for the yearly gathering of the young women in our family with me and my sister-in-law. I used to write poetry but the inspiration for poems that I had years ago seems gone. It leaves me bereft.

Well, that popped up unexpectedly! Like my hand knew something my mind didn't. Bereft at losing poetry? Hmmm. But wait, I read "A Year With Rilke" every day. I'm eager for new poems by Ruth at "Synch-ro-ni-zng" and read them again and again to feel her words in my mouth and hear them as she (online) or I read them out loud and they sing around the room while I melt in admiration. I haven't told her that. I'm so envious. I haven't told myself that. Writing poetry is so elusive now. I feel inadequate to the task of crafting such exact descriptions that I say: "Yes, yes, that's how it is; that's what I want to say."

Poetry, where are you? I miss you. You make my heart beat faster. I invite you back. I will listen.



22 comments:

  1. What a beautiful soliloquy. I do hope the muse of poetry comes back to you, but your words are just right, elegant. You will find the next step, because you are looking. Lovely word meditation.

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  2. DJan, Your Sunday soliloquies inspire me. Plus I had to do something about this funky mood.

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  3. I feel the same way. I should be doing more for humanity - but what? I don't even feel like writing these days. I'm into reading, dehydrating beautiful summer produce, and feeling blessed. Is that enough??

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  4. Perhaps you are doing exactly what you should be doing, right here, with your blog, reaching out to others. :)

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  5. I have a strong feeling that you help humanity by just living. I mean that, you are an inspiration and I find your posts very poetic!

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  6. Nancy, I just read: "being and appreciating is enough". Think it's so? My Catholic, New England Puritan, over-responsible, controlling self has trouble with that. But let's subscribe to that and support each other subscribing. Wouldn't that feel good?!

    Theresa, Bless you, your words are balm. Are you from "The Chocolate Chip Cookie"? I wanted to reference you in my post since I had been reading your poetry, too, but your blog is gone. I was enchanted and wish you well. And feel grateful.

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  7. Nanny, From a deep place I thank you.

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  8. Life is cyclical, or maybe just random. What I mean is that you are doing plenty right now, and other things will come in time. The things you do with your own family are a major long-term investment in making the world a better place.

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  9. Nancy, Thank you for sharing your wisdom. The family piece is so close to my heart and so important. I tell my grands that they have value apart from what they do (as I'm sure you do) but I didn't grow up that way and the worry gnaws.

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  10. I loved this, probably because I can relate to what you are saying. On the other hand, I think you don't realized the sphere of influence you have through your blog, nor do you realize how much others are touched by your poetry postings.

    I agree with Blissed-out Grandma. Life is cyclical. You are in a place that you could not anticipate when you retired. You think deeply. You touch others deeply also. We, your readers, are enriched by all that you share with us.

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  11. Sally, That certainly goes both ways and it's what I like about blogging. Maybe the important life lesson is to just keep sharing right here, right now and let the poetry come as it will.

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  12. Oh, Mary!

    Forgive me for being absent the last few days, since I planned to read your mushroom post (still haven't). Our son took a bad fall (he fainted) and broke his jaw in three places. He'll have reconstructive surgery Monday. He's far away in L.A. :( Anyway, that's what has occupied me for a few days.

    And I come here and read your amazing post. Do you know, the first paragraph alone is so poetic. Your life is poetic. You inspire me constantly! I tell my husband about you and your life, your choices, your enjoyment of what is, now. You're healthy, fit, living in an extraordinary place.

    I have a couple of responses to your thoughts here. One is that if we are true to our souls, what we do and express will be what we want, and it will be individual and unique . . . no comparisons. Rilke, more than anyone . . . well maybe Rumi too, has helped me appreciate this. Two is that I had given up on poetry myself after taking classes for my degree. But then suddenly I was inspired by Terresa of the Chocolate Chip Waffle (her blog is gone, alas! due to an abusive anonymous blog attacker), Lorenzo, and other poets to get back into it. Then this year suddenly I couldn't seem to write in prose anymore!

    This is all to say that I think if you follow your soul's desire, what comes out will be just what should, whether in writing, photos, running a race, spending time with your grandkids, or whatever it is.

    You're terrific. Abundant thanks for your kindness here.

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  13. This post is a poem. You are wonderful just as you are.

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  14. Ruth, Your son's fall sounds dreadful and that's just where your attention should be, of course. As for your wise words- thank you. Cherish what I have, no comparisons, read more poets (I'm so sad about Theresa- does she know they're filtering out spam now?), speak my truth, follow my heart's desire and let go of the outcome. Grazie mille.

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  15. Lauren, I feel full and grateful.

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  16. I think you're plenty busy, and that if there's a grand contribution to make, you'll know it when you see it.

    For myself, I've found ways to be of service - currently mediation training - but I would love to have your courage. I can't imagine moving to a foreign country. I visit there, but it's all so different from what I'm accustomed to, I doubt I could live there. If I'd lived in the pioneering times in the States, I would probably have stayed on the East Coast!

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  17. Linda, It calls for an attitude of trust, doesn't it? And a focus on what I have rather than what I don't have; what I've done not what I haven't done. All these thoughtful responses have helped me shift my perception. Thanks.

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  18. Every September, a feeling similar to the one you describe comes over me. I chalk it up to so many years of programming. September is the time of beginning. Back then, it was school. Ever since, the month has me looking around looking for something that seems to be missing.

    Mary, you write poetry all the time. It make not take the form of verse, but that doesn't diminish it all. Do an Internet search on "prose poetry" and read some examples. You'll discover you have been creating poetry all along. I'm certainly no poet, but every now and then something bubbles up that even I consider poetic. And like everyone, I am my own worst critic. Most of the time, my inspiration comes from reading the work of others, combined with an emotional reaction to something. Interestingly, that "something" is often anger.

    If this non-poet can offer a suggestion, I would say "unclench" and simply react.

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  19. This entire post—the last line in particular—is poetry in and of itself.

    I hope your poetry finds you...or you find it. Good luck.

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  20. I LOVE YOU!!!!! thank you for sharing (so poetically) what is in your heart. all your blogging friends have said it perfectly and i would highly recommend the book we discussed (loving what is) because she addresses this exact issue towards the end and her approach really resonated with me and helps me to breathe a huge sigh and relax.....we are doing EXACTLY what we are supposed to be doing, what we are meant to be doing - all of us and you especially! i love you, love you, love you!!

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  21. Patti, I hadn't thought of a couple of things you mentioned- Sept. starts and prose poetry - good perspective from a good friend. I'm unclenching! Grazie.

    Lisa, Thanks for your support. I hope so too.

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  22. Kelly, Dear One, I'll read it. And I'll remember again that I'm doing exactly what I'm meant to be doing. How do the self-doubts creep in? The fear and worry? I love my life. I love your Dad. I love you! Deepest thanks, Sweetheart.

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