I discovered something recently that I’d like to share. It starts with me admitting that I like poetry. Although I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea I read it sporadically, I even write a little. I’m not sure mine is very good but it pleases me. One day I may even come clean and show it to someone.
In most areas of our lives we can be creatures of habit, liking the comfort of familiarity. Hands up, I do too. In my poetry choices I tend to turn to poems I know well and perhaps have loved for a long time, because they evoke an expected reaction, a response that I recognise and find pleasing or comforting depending on what I need that day.
Just after the turn of the New Year I unearthed a book called “Poem for the Day” (1) which offers me a new poem for each day of the year. As a challenge I have decided that for the full year I will read each poem on its allotted day, as it is offered to me. Each day may give me something that I already know and would choose to read or it may be something really different or by a poet I wouldn’t normally go to. I am determined to persevere until I reach that last poem on 31st December. As a concession to myself, I have also decided that I won’t beat myself up if I miss a day here and there because I can always catch up - the poems will be there quietly waiting for me. The results so far have been interesting and I have read some unexpected gems from poets that I have not met before. Who knows what I will have found by the end of the year?
So here is my discovery. A small and apparently harmless decision to step slightly out of my comfort zone in one part of my life is having some unforeseen consequences. Not only am I adding to the stock of poems that I know and like but this exercise in perseverance has demonstrated with clarity something which the marketing and positivity pundits talk about at length – taking a risk and grabbing opportunities. My final admission is that I can be very creative but I am also something of a perfectionist and I know that this can inhibit my spontaneity. So many potentially great ideas end up without an audience because I can’t release them until they are fully formed. What I now have to admit is that you only have to give something a very little energy and attention for it to offer the potential to change you or what you are able to deliver. In a very short space of time this very empowering discovery has led to some initiatives that might not otherwise have seen the light of day. That would have been a great pity.
So, as we slowly edge out of winter and have the nerve to hope that Spring is just around the corner, there is always the possibility of something fresh, something new that we haven’t done before or have, perhaps, been too intimidated to try. It may even just be about looking at something familiar with new eyes or picking up the phone and asking for help. My advice is to give it a shot. Try it now because you have nothing to lose but potentially everything to gain. It may fly or it may not work - just don’t worry about it. You could always try again and perhaps enjoy success with something else that you hadn’t been expecting or wouldn’t have given voice to before.
It will be good to look back on 31st December and see just how far we have all gone.
(1) “Poem for the Day” Nicholas Albery (ed), 1994, ISBN: 185619499X