I am a poet and many poets tune into the sad feelings most people go to a Happy Hour to avoid. We dwell in those feelings letting them bubble up in clarity to express ourselves in a poem. Living with the pain or sadness for awhile to get to the poem is worthwhile for me, like I imagine it is for most poets. Once I write the poem, the feelings clear, like a thundershower that is passing. This type of negativity often spurs and inspires creativity. Listening to the inner beast can be great therapy and amazing art.
As a poet, I scan the headlines and shake my head with the rest of the world sickened by more murders, rapes, child molestations and the price of oil. It is easy to stay focused in a nonproductive malaise that spreads over life like a dark cloud keeping me depressed and irritable. We all swim in this dirty water and can’t always see how it affects us. We live on the edge of an expectation of misery waiting for the next shoe to fall as we rail about the price of those shoes. This type of negativity can eclipse creativity. Listening to the outer beast is maddening and not so good at inspiring the best art.
It’s Not Such a Bad Bad World
Watching the video I posted called, Bad Bad World, it dawned on me that what is amazing is the good that lives in our homes and across our world. Despite all the horrific things that make the news, think about how amazing it is that 10,000 of you view this blog and want to support and get nourishment from poetry. Think about how many people smile at you in a day. How many say, “Thank You” as a matter of course? How many times has a friend said, “Let me know if there is anything I can do?” As the video points out, it really isn’t such a bad, bad world after all.
How many people plant flowers in their front yard just so you will see them when you drive by? Random act of kindness? How many people have stopped to let you enter the door or elevator? (I know this one is sliding!) People will fight with you over a parking space, but how many people will donate to help a child dying of cancer go to Disneyland?
How many people take time out of their busy day to tell you Happy Birthday! If you look around and focus on the good, it is all around us. But, the news helps us focus on what is not good so we get in the habit of not seeing the little old man making a face at the baby at the next table in the restaurant just to make her laugh. Or, the person in my neighborhood that puts up a signs around town every spring warning people to be careful driving because there are new fawns out.
Don’t Feed the Beast
The good also spurs creativity. It is just harder to see sometimes. Like dandelion seeds floating on the air, the good is quiet and easy, not calling attention to itself. While the negativity kicks and screams like a spoiled brat demanding attention. Child development experts tell us to deny the spoiled brat the attention sought to stem this behavior. Many of unwittingly give more attention to the problem by reacting to the uproar which only feeds the beast. I wonder if we all just ignored the news for awhile until they reported on the exquisite kindness in the world with at least as much frequency as they do the horrific violence if we would tame the blind rage attention the news seeks and feeds?
It is a challenge but learning to distinguish which beast is speaking may help clear the air so that we tune in to the inner beast and tune out the outer beast, clearing the way for great things to grow from our soul.