Last night I went to a poetry reading in Linz, the first of its kind for me. Since I arrived here last July, I spent most of the summer in a love daze with David, being newly together; I spent the end of the year traveling throughout the Salzkammergut for my internship; and finally, spent the last 5 months frantically worrying while lounging around the house, in a mad race to send out application after application, in the hopes of finding a decent job prospect (and therefore visa prospect) in Austria. In all that time, I never had the chance to make myself at home in Linz or to properly settle down in this new city that I will eventually surely come to call my own.
I was able to get to German class every now and again; and made it to yoga two times in the year (mainly due to my negative cash flow – oh the joys of being young and unemployed!). But this was my first poetry reading. An intimate glimpse into a community of creative internationals unknown to me, but of which I was already a part. Meeting my people, I had truly come home.
In this memorable moment I had three beloved colleagues from my last workplace there to support me; and new friend from my newest ‘Arbeit’. Beyond that, so many other souls opened themselves up to me in what felt like a metaphorical embrace, brought on by my own willingness to stretch my comfort zone and read poetry to the group, sharing my creativity and vulnerability in one, tied up in the perfect package. So rarely do we glimpse this utterly irreplaceable, invaluable feeling, this energy of pure love and sharing, the brilliant poetic rhythem of experience, of thoughts come alive. Feelings put into written words put into inspired, fragile, gentle voices, whose owners are strong enough to break the silence of the space between the words.
Sorry, I’m getting off on a romantic tangent. I’m feeling playful with my sense of expression these days.
But the truth is just that, that I’m falling in love again, falling in love with life and music and the poetry falling off my lips; falling off yours; I’m falling in love with smiles on my friends’ faces and the love that radiates outward from the hearts of the people I’ve met; and with my voice; with my ability to sing, my ability to dance and read and write and love and forgive.
I am falling in love with life again.
Last night I realized towards the end of the evening that I was drunk; not on spirits but on spirit; on friendship and on good company and the ever-so-perfect-lighting. Drunk on the fact that we had come together to share words concocted by our hearts, on the fact that they had survived our self-conscious smothering to touch the light of day.
With a conscious effort I stabilized myself to try to bring my feet back to the ground, but they didn’t return, they just carried me home from open space and floating, I made it home safe.
You see, there is this JOY that comes from going within, from connecting to the source of all that you are and letting that glorious mess hail outwards; letting your truest nature rule all that you do, living in such authenticity and compassion that nothing can get in your way. When you sing your song, when you write your poem, when you make your art, when you do YOUR thing and share it with the world for the benefit of the world, you have come alive. You have discovered the most coveted and fundamental secret of life.
I believe we all have a moral obligation to nourish our soul; to give energy and attention to those parts of us which can’t be suppressed, no matter how hard we may try.
As a child I wrote poems. I would lock myself in my room, sit in the nesting place that was the bottom of my closet and fill notebook after notebook with endless poetry. I did this not out of any certain ambition to become a poet or artist; quiet the contrary- I didn’t recognize the value of those titles back then. But rather I experienced such an intense flow of emotions on a regular basis that I was compelled, out of an urgent necessity, to expel my deepest thoughts and feelings onto an empty page each day so that I might relieve myself of the burning ache for catharsis. I felt deeply and writing was my therapy.
And for years I didn’t nurture this passion. Today, finally, I am. With poetry readings and this blog, to name a few.
The Bottom line: Do what you have to do. Cook, paint, write poetry, fly airplanes, design clothes or video games or take care of people. Simply go to the bottom of your heart and find out what it is telling you to do.
From self-expression to self-actualization, I wish you the greatest luck and love on your journey.