a new year for poetry and creation

It’s a new year everyone. Time to shake off the dust from the keyboard and wipe away the accumulated dry tears from the eyes. It’s time for a revival of sorts, an awakening of the creative spirit. Being an artist, even a part-time artist, can be overwhelming with a surge of mixed emotions. Ups and downs. Ins and outs. Lots of self-doubt, self-sabotage, fear, and depression. And I am no stranger to this at all.

This year, I hope it will be different. There’s hope on the horizon as it opens to sheer will and a silver lining will appear. At times, I have to dig deep and pull myself up from the smoldering embers like the legendary phoenix. With the welcoming of a new year so comes the promise that things will change.

When I start this process, I have to remind myself to be grateful for all the opportunities given to me. In 2015, I’ve had the honour to read my poetry at the AB Series, and Tree Reading Series. It was a pleasure to be asked to write a poem for my friends Christopher and Renuka’s wedding in August. I was also thrilled to have my first poetry commission for Desire Lines for Nuit Blanche in September, which turned into having a poem on a tote bag (there are still some left and you can order yours today). I also had the privilege to do a writer’s talk in a graduate class at Carleton University. What a great year for exposure. Each event was quite the feat as I stamped out the darkness for brief moments.

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During the past year, I struggled with my shadow self that was always lurking about and coaxing me into the darkness. It’s a day-to-day fight. I want to call it a war because this depression is relentless with its ability to tear me down and keep on kicking me. As I write this, I am unsure if I should publish this and let it be known. Although, I feel alone in this battle, I know there are more artists out there who suffer just like me.

There’s this part of me that doesn’t want sympathy because it always sounds fake. Although I recognize this as part of ego that doesn’t want to appear vulnerable. Previous experience has shown me that loved ones can do more harm than good when they learn of a weakness. When I reflect on this I cringe at the times where my weaknesses were saved as a tool to use against me many times before. Our homes, families, and communities are not always healthy and can be another obstacle to overcome to reach some form of sanity. One of things that I explore in my writing, and in myself, is the impact of generational trauma from residential schools and colonization. It’s not a pretty story but what’s a miracle of all of this is the resiliency of the intergenerational survivors of these violent impacts. It’s inspiring to see older generations who suffered the most telling stories, joking, and leading by example. So maybe one day I will be okay to accept sympathy and consoling from others. And one day I will be okay to be vulnerable and just be. I also know that I can’t be held captive from past experiences, I need to let that shit go.Chill-Homie.-You-need-to-let-that-shit-go.

I’ve been doing some research. The internet is filled with resources for self-help methods. There’s a fine line though, which needs to be addressed. It’s okay to seek out professional help. Sometimes we can’t do it by ourselves. Please google therapists and counsellors in your area to get a list who can help get through the stickiest parts.

There’s also some things we can do for ourselves every day. These are some of the practices that I’ve learned along the way, which I adapt into a daily routine:

  • honour yourself
  • be kind to yourself
  • accept yourself wherever you’re at
  • the sun will always rise and offer new beginnings
  • get into a daily routine that involves physical activity
  • drink lots of water
  • get a good night sleep
  • be mindful of eating healthy
  • try meditation, yoga, mindfulness, sing, and dance
  • laugh, laugh, laugh
  • learn what gratitude means
  • unplug from all the technology and connect to the natural world

There’s lots of other things we can do to help us feel better and it should be up to each of us to figure out what works best. What I’ve learned is that there are many pathways to acceptance, forgiveness, compassion, love, and spirituality. There is no one way. When you open up your favourite search engine you’ll see there’s lots of help out there for you to choose from.  And don’t be hard on yourself. We’re not perfect humans. We will make mistakes. What’s important is that we learn and integrate these new teachings into our lives so that we don’t keep on repeating the same patterns. We need to evolve into better humans. That’s my ultimate hope.

It’s a good day and a good time to start fresh. I’m learning to accept where I am at today and to celebrate who I am. Poetry and creativity has been a gift that I honour everyday. It helps me connect with being human and fully aware of this human experience.

My wishes for all my fellow bloggers and fellow human beings are to experience a life full of compassion, peace, laughter, creativity, love, and acceptance. Happy New Year and I wish you all the best to reach your full potential.

Gchi miigwech!

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10 thoughts on “a new year for poetry and creation

  1. Oh, Vera, I missed this post. We are rare, each unique and important. Yet, I awoke yesterday feeling sad and hopeless, and imagining myself old. Actually, that does not require much imagination as I approach 70. Still, I have been followed around for the past two days by a sense of failure and futility that is persistent and determined. Perhaps this is the inevitable turn of the year accounting, perhaps something else. Irregardless, it is painful.

    I have read your blog for quite some time, and know you are committed to the good of the community, that you do your very best to bring conscious, awareness, joy, and compassion to the world. You also have a wicked sense of humor.

    So as we move deeper into this first month of the new year, I hope you find the poems speaking to you, and the world soothing your suffering, and that you report back to us about both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • miigwech minwaa / thanks again for the kind words and encouragement. we all keep processing our lives and our impact in the worlds/communities that we help create and recreate. and you sir, are doing a hell of a job with helping with the healing of many! miigwech to you and your wife for all that you do! i really enjoy reading your blog posts as well as they resonate with me and this shared human and indigenous experience. miigwech!

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  2. Hi Vera,

    I enjoyed seeing the video of you presenting some of your work, and I wish you a great and confident 2016. I read a few of my poems last year for the first time at an open mic event, and it was a shaky-legged moment for me. But so good to experience. I think most all creative people experience these ups and downs… Wishing you many moments this year that stamp out the darkness.

    Peace
    Michael

    Liked by 1 person

    • miigwech Michael! i do love reading my poetry in public. yes, it’s nerve-wracking so worth it to let it out. i’m glad that you’ve read in public too. it gets easier each time so do more! wishing you wellness and creativity in the new year! rock on 😀

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  3. the gem that you are… Vera, i always see you smiling, in every memory of you it’s your buoyant spirit that’s most clear. but i guess that’s what it is to be… people see us gliding like swans, not paddling as hard as we can under the surface. glad you are finding your way through the darkness, glad to have connected to your writing again, glad you’re still bringing your voice to this world. i often think of you when i am working on language (with esl learners, with efforts to learn and write in other languages, etc), and what you taught me about indigenizing English. i guess i’m not surprised you have to walk through the darkness, because, Vera, you are a light!

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    • Anna, Anna, Anna!! it’s so lovely to reconnect through wordpress! gchi miigwech for your kind words and stopping by to leave a comment. i remember the time you had poem in your pinky finger and had to pull on it so that it will be released from body/cell memory. at that moment, i believed in the magic and the mystery that you carry. those en’owkin days are treasured! to friendship! cheers 😀

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  4. As a fellow poet and writer I often feel alienated. Sometimes I sit in this alienation and then after awhile I birth something new. It could be a new self care method, poem, or project. What I write about is different than what you write about but is similar. We are Anishinaabe and already alienated. Talking about generational trauma, lateral violence, and Two-Spirit identity and are everyday subjects. Still we go forward. We have stories and poetry to share. I know in the United States my identity as an Ojibway/Metis/European is 0.5% of the population as a whole. I am rare. You are rare. Being a poet is rare. What we write about is even more rare. So we are rare. We shouldn’t feel alienated but we do. Mixed our own life experiences in there and it gets tricky. We have to strike a balance. Sometimes we are alone in doing so.

    Here’s to the new year and new poems being birthed! YAY!

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s weird how we can go this alienation feeling so alone, and we’re not alone. At times, I felt consumed by the darkness and felt comfort in it. It was like something that I had to experience and move through it so that I could let go. I like that you wrote that “we are rare” and I totally agree. Gchi miigwech for that insight. Here’s to honouring the gem that you are!

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