when I talk to the trees

“this is so difficult,” I say.

No, it’s not

they say,

this is simple.

Stop

over-complicating

over-thinking–

this is simple

this is simple.

I go quiet again.

Still

yet

restless–

I feel

naked

before them–

every inch

of my soul

laid bare.

I hear:

You are afraid.

I say,

“Yes, I am.”

Don’t be,

they say,

You have nothing to fear.

This is simple

this is simple.

 

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healing

Healing
(from anything)
requires humility.

It’s not about finding
the right friend, lover,
or therapist who perfectly
validates your story
of suffering—

It’s about finding people
who challenge you
and tell you things you
don’t want to hear because
they love you.

(Love sometimes requires
going against the grain
of comfort—)

Cognitive dissonance
is a guaranteed
prerequisite

as is the courage
to accept the flaws
in your thinking.

Have the utmost respect
and compassion for
yourself, yet
refuse to cast yourself
in a drama
in which you are
a victim
alone
unique
and misunderstood.

Above all, know that
no matter how hurt
you are, you have
a choice.

Your life
is in your
own hands.

There will always be
things beyond your control.

Your mind will always be
tempted to cast itself
in the perfect drama.

Stay rooted in the belief
that you can be well,
even if
(especially if)
you don’t feel like it now.

You must face
your greatest fear: accepting
your power to
become
who you truly are.

it was actually quite beautiful

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It was actually quite beautiful
around 6:30 in the morning, taking snow-covered trash bins out to the trailer
which overlooks a multitude of evergreens
bathed in the ruby and sapphire light
of early morning,
the sparkling sun just visible
between their snowy bows.


I’m doing this thing where I’m posting my non-poetry that sort of writes itself in a matter of seconds. As I said to my uncle (one of my only readers), I’m learning to be okay with pieces that don’t feel particularly profound, or polished, or dramatic.

My wish for you is an unexpected moment of beauty.

railroad tracks

I’ve always liked railroad tracks;

they’re kind of a bridge between worlds.

They’re romantic–nobody really uses them any more.

An anachronism.

Like how a rainbow is a bridge

between this world and the sky

but you almost never see where it begins and ends.

I live in New England which means everywhere I look I see trees

except for three places:

the miles and miles of cleared out space where the powerlines run,

the disappearing vertigo ends of the railroad tracks,

and the ocean.

Those are the only places

I really see the horizon.


 

Images and words © Jenna Pope 2018

 

write on

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How lucky we are to be literate! Alive on paper! Free to scrawl, scribble, ink, jot, scratch, type! Writing is freedom. Literacy is liberty. To invent, to let the mind wander, to explore the last human freedom. Does your blood flow in ink? Does your heart beat in keystrokes? Does your speech only barely do justice to the sprawling wonderland behind your eyes? Write on, fellow writer. Write on.


 

Found this short piece among some writing from a couple years ago. I thought it might resonate with other writers. It’s great to be part of an online community of people who understand how lucky we are to be able to write and freely post our thoughts online. Let’s do what we can to promote literacy worldwide, access to knowledge, and freedom on the internet. I recently donated to Wikipedia, though I know there’s more I can do. I need to research what we can do in the face of a no longer neutral internet.

What do you think about literacy, freedom of information, and the freedom to blog? Thoughts on ways to actively support these values?

Right on, write on!

Peace,

Jenna

Image courtesy free-photos, pixabay.com

the paradox of self-discipline

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My immediate association to the phrase “self discipline” is “yuck.” That sounds boring. The opposite of the joyful, spontaneous life I want to create. And yet I’ve learned that without self discipline, those wonderful things like joy, spontaneity, and creativity don’t come easily.

There’s nothing Puritan about my definition of self-discipline. It should never resemble self-punishment or self-denial. But it does mean doing things you don’t want to do. You do those things because you value the outcome. Short term pain, long term gain. And the more practice you have under your belt, the less “pain” there is in the “short term pain” stage. This quote puts it perfectly:

“Do something every day that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.” -Mark Twain

With practice, you can beat resistance. I’m all about making this easier. Break tasks up into small chunks! If you have to do dishes and you hate doing them, set a timer for ten minutes. Or five. Whatever you can stomach. If you’re dreading going to work, remember you only have to get through today. One day at a time. You’ll deal with tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

I’ve found that fulfilling responsibilities (“adulting”) and fun have a special relationship. Each feeds the other. If I don’t go to work, keep my house clean, or care for my body, I won’t be able to do what I love at all. I’ve had a couple brief periods of unemployment, and it’s amazing how little fun I had. You’d think with all that free time, I’d be living the life of Riley. But in reality, being sedentary and without direction really hinders my creativity. The momentum I build getting the adult things done helps me get the creative things done, too.

Perfection is not the goal here. There is such a thing as working too hard. My sink perpetually has dirty dishes in it, and my clean laundry is rarely folded until just before I put it away. I only have so much energy, and I prioritize creative activities over having a perfectly clean house. But I do maintain a moderate standard of cleanliness. For me, it’s about finding the middle ground.

What motivates you? How have you balanced adulting with what you love to do? Or are you one of those people that adulting and fun are one and the same? I’d be interested to hear other people’s perspectives.

Peace,

Jenna

Image courtesy of LibelSanRo, Pixabay.com

life is like a handful of water

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Time is like a handful of water slipping through your fingers. One moment your hand is full, and the next, it’s gone. Fleeting though it is, its touch is familiar, and curiosity gets the better of you. You watch it for awhile, eluding you. Feel it, cool, trickling over your skin. Listen to the tinkling of it dripping into the sink, the pond, the ocean. Only reluctantly do you turn away and return to the task of living.


As you can see, this is a short piece. I’ll probably continue the trend of posting small pieces, short thoughts. I haven’t posted on my blog in months, but I’ve been writing the whole time. The question has been: what to do with it? Post all of it? None of it? What’s “appropriate” for the stage of life I’m in right now? Let it all hang out, be conservative, or somewhere in between? These are the questions I’ve been wrestling with. For now, I’ve concluded that I want to share some of it. For what it’s worth, which may be something, or nothing. Either way is fine with me.

My apologies to those who may have reached out to me in months past that I did not reply to. We’ll see how this goes, and I am planning on replying to comments and reading others’ material and leaving feedback in return.

Best,

Jenna