The past several mornings have found me keeping a commitment to myself to spend 15 minutes daily writing poetry. I need my commitments to be specific, and I’ve learned it’s best not to ask too much of myself at the outset.
Mary Oliver points out that if Romeo and Juliet had made appointments to meet and failed to keep them, there would have been no romance. She says poetry writing is the same. But it’s bigger than poetry writing of course. This is anything you want to do. If you were in love, you’d arrange your schedule to see that person as often as possible, and you’d never want to miss an opportunity to be together. Remember what that’s like?
What if we were that in love with our own selves? What if we couldn’t help ourselves—what if we just had to keep the appointment to paint…to write a song or a book…to exercise…to develop a business plan?
Why is it so challenging to be fiercely committed to ourselves? What if our dreams made us swoon?
The appointment and the commitment make way for magic. That’s how love happens. That’s how poetry happens. That’s how anything we want to birth in this world happens.
A few months ago my youngest expressed frustration with his drawing skills. “If you want to be good at something,” I explained, “first you have to be willing to be bad at it.” I've written some really terrible lines of poetry in the past week, but I keep showing up. Eventually the magic will too.
Let’s all say yes to being bad at things to become good at things. To making and keeping appointments with our goals and dreams. To telling ourselves we matter and showing ourselves that's true by the way we spend our time. When are you going to fall in love with you?