Some days it feels like a foreign language
I’m asked to practice, with new words
for happiness, work, and love. I’m still learning
how to say: a cup of tea for no reason,
what to call the extra honey I drizzle in,
how to label the relentless urge to do more
and more as useless. And how to translate
the heart’s pounding message when it comes:
enough, enough. This morning, I search for words
to capture the glimmering sun as it lifts
above mountains, clouds already closing in
as fat droplets of rain darken the deck.
I’m learning to call this stillness self-care too,
just standing here, as goldfinches scatter up
from around the feeder like broken pieces
of bright yellow stained-glass, reassembling
in the sheltering arms of a maple.
Self care is a phrase I’ve no doubt you’ve heard often enough, whether you have practiced it often or not. This is a lovely, uncomplicated reminder from James Crews about its importance for all of us. It can feel like a foreign language / I’m asked to practice, learning new words for happiness, work and love. It really is a practice, something to consciously choose.
He speaks of the relentless urge to do more / and more and the need to label it ‘useless’, how to say enough, enough. It reminds me of a quote from Thomas Merton I read recently that speaks of the rush and pressure of modern life, the overwork, as violence that we do to ourselves. That shocked me into pause – why would I invite violence into my life?
So he makes his cup of tea for no reason, with an extra drizzle of honey, and stands in stillness as the rain begins. He watches as the goldfinches, those tiny magnificent birds, scatter around the feeder like broken pieces / of bright yellow stained-glass, then fly up into the arms of the maple to reassemble. This is how we can care for ourselves, honouring the moments that present themselves to us, gathering ourselves together again.