Poetry can be a powerful medicine to wed your inner life with your outer words and actions. Reading or speaking a poem you love can ignite tremendous healing and power. It doesn't matter if you choose a mystical poem by the 12th-century poet, Rumi—This longing / you express is the return message
—or a poem of outrage by modern poet and activist Audre Lorde—There are so many roots to the tree of anger / that sometimes the branches shatter
. The sheer ring of truth can wake you up to the present moment, fill your voice with the truth of your innermost wisdom and lead to inspired action in the world.
In the aha! moment
that occurs when the mind bursts open—at a breathtaking metaphor or an insight or a chiming among the words—all levels of being human come into alignment. You feel a sudden integration of body, mind, heart and soul. The fragmentation that many experience in the multitasking onrush of modern life cannot withstand a good poem.
For many years, I was afraid of poetry. I felt as though it was a secret language that belonged to an elitist club, which I had not been invited to join. Though I loved poetry as a child, my experience in high school had stifled my spark. Analyzing the dactylic hexameters of The Odyssey
or the rhyme scheme of a Shakespearean sonnet did not exactly seem particularly relevant as I made my first forays into puberty!
Twenty-five years later, in the midst of a suicidal depression, poetry poured back into my life, touching me in a way no spiritual or psychological teaching had been able to—literally saving me. The healing did not come through writing poems or even through reading them. It came when I discovered that taking a poem I loved deeply into my life and speaking it aloud caused a profound integration of every aspect of me—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. I felt a wholeness I had never before experienced. I felt like I was flying. I was speaking the truth, and the truth was setting me free.
For the first time, I had found the voice of my soul.How poetry can change your life too