Yes, I have not been here for a while, once again. I was writing, just not prose. Last month was April, National Poetry month, so I was busily attempting to write a poem a day for the annual Napo journey. It is the journey I take, have taken yearly for at least the last ten years. And let me be very clear. It is not an easy ride, let alone accomplishment.
This year seemed far worse, for several reasons. The first one being that my birthday happens in the second week of the month. That usually doesn’t present a problem, but this year was very different than all the others. You see, I turned 75, and was in a slight state of shock the entire day because I now had to admit that I am officially “an old woman”. A divorced, mother of four and grandmother of seven, who lives alone and is definitely comfortable being a hermit, but an “old woman”, part of the “fragile” element within our society? No, thank you.
Added to that was the very real fact that I hadn’t written any poetry for about a year, and didn’t realize how rusty those skills might become over time. I had been too busy editing and finishing up the details of my “poetic” memoir. And the time just simply passed me by. But, I became very aware of that, the first week of Napo. All of a sudden, this thing that I did, with seeming ease, wasn’t at all easy anymore. The words that had always seemed so eager to join in the dance, no longer seemed even willing to stand in the dance hall within reach of this suddenly old woman.
And again, that might have been because when I finally typed up the last page of the Index for the titles in that memoir, I turned to another favorite, almost forgotten pastime: making designs to color and then coloring them. And I was still doing that when it was suddenly April. That might sound like an excuse to many, but it isn’t really. I had worked hard and long on that memoir and I really needed something else entirely to help me settle down and just relax. And the coloring seemed like a great solution. So much so, I really didn’t want to quit. Not even for Napo. So, I didn’t. My mornings were filled with attempting to write a poem to be posted the next day, but my afternoons, and most of my evenings, were spent in coloring, as well as making even more templates to which I could do the same.
Coloring is a creative activity, no matter how old you might be. And like most other creative activities, it can quickly become a form of active meditation. The hands are busy in repetitive motions, leaving the mind to explore its own landscape of memories, feelings, etc. That, in turn might lead to an “ah-huh” moment, or several of them. Some type of deeper understanding and even acceptance. In other words, healing. And because of that healing energy, the activity can be both settling and deeply satisfying. It certainly was all of those things and more for me, throughout the month of April, as I unknowingly spent some amount of time looking for, and finally finding the poet person I am.
By the end of the month, I was back inside the dance hall, seeing the words slouching as they leaned against the wall, trying to appear all nonchalant, but just this side of desperate to get my attention. Saying, without speaking, “Choose me! I want to be a part of this.” But, the coloring also led me to a memory, an important one. Perhaps even a foreshadowing of what would come to be my own totally unknown and questionable future. I’ll leave that for the next post.
Today, I want to encourage you to find that healing creative activity within your own person. It might be coloring, or something else, that others don’t see as something of deep and abiding value. Something that you simply enjoy doing because it makes you feel both good and comfortable. Something you might have stopped doing because you were too busy, bringing home the bacon, or just getting ahead in some manner.
Each of us has a Creation Story within us. How we became the unique individual that we truly are. That story is the medicine, the healing agent, we are meant to share with the world around us. But we can’t share that medicine unless we know it ourselves. And surprisingly, many, if not most of us, really don’t know the full story.