|Hello and Happy Spring!
We just had another Nor’easter and yet I’ve felt a perceptible surge of vernal energy this last week or so, especially in the mornings, when I’ll wake with a slightly manic combination of intense focus and gathering power. After a period of mental and physical weariness related wholly to the gray and cold, it feels good to remember that a lighter, springy-ier version of myself is coming back (although, in all honestly, part of me wants to linger in the slowness and simplicity of my winter rhythm a while longer).
In an effort to balance these conflicting urges and messages, I’m trying to take little breaks throughout the day to step outside and look at the sky; to breathe in the first, faint notes of sap, and notice any signs of snowdrops or daffodil nodes. Yesterday I even saw a giant snowy owl fly out of a maple across the street. Yes, I’m ready to spend more time outdoors. And I want to wear less clothing (and maybe even go to bed without a hot water bottle to thaw the sheets).
This winter I continued to build dedicated “off-line” time into my schedule, an outgrowth of one of my winter courses, A Secret Life, where I aim to cultivate that part of myself—and others—that benefits when given more space and more quiet to think and study and create, which is more possible when we spend less time in public and online. It felt like the right way to start off a new year, and has made everything feel more spacious, and freer still, of external pressures (and distractions).
Of course, in a very practical sense, I just don’t think as well, and my writing suffers, and I can’t be the friend/parent/partner/teacher I aspire to be, when I’m over-saturated with too much information and imagery. This is not unrelated to poet/publisher Ken Mikolowski’s injunction: You are what you art.
Are you just as sensitive to sensory overload as I am? Do you watch your media diet or wonder what these screens are doing to our brains, eyes, imaginations, and love stories? What are your tools of resistance?
The thing is, the demands of modern life lead steadily toward different forms of disconnection and disembodiment. Unless we resist, even in small ways, there’s no way we aren’t going to pay a price, whether physical, spiritual, emotional, or otherwise, and will continue to do so into the future.
Writing or even reading poetry carves space for a different quality of mind and way of being in the world.
With all of this in mind, I’m experimenting with new ways to bring more embodiment, and more spaciousness, to my writing classes this year, and I’m taking it on faith that other readers and writers will want to explore this, too. I’d be so curious to know if you share any of the same concerns.