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.
9 thoughts on “Self Care by James Crews”
I am reading this from here (photo). You have, once again, nailed it.
I thank you.
http://www.willaworks.com Sent from my iPhone hence it may be brief and riddled with errors✌️
Thank you Willa, glad you like this one, sorry I can’t see your photo but will use my imagination! xoxo
That poem is like a welcome outbreath. “Enough, enough”. I find I’m breathing more deeply already. Thank you, dear Jan!
ah yes, the spaciousness of room to breathe, the poem a welcome outbreath – how lovely Mary Lou. xoxo
Beautiful and great reminder, Jan. Thank you! I felt myself rise in that arc of the glimmering sun all the way to the fat darkening raindrops. I love such a strong poetic voice which gives such wisdom whilst also being masterful at showing us deeper realities, like how being with both light and dark all are part of self care.
I love the Merton insight too!
Thanks again. I didn’t know his poetry but recognize the name from that anthology of poems of kindness that he collected with Danusha Lameris.
Agreed Elizabeth, the light and the dark both necessary to our well being. And yes, James has edited several anthologies and works with Danusha as well. thanks xoxo
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I love the idea of noting stillness as self-care. I feel it now, thank you, dear Jan! xoxo
I read something recently about how self-care doesn’t always feel good while you’re doing it. When I get on my treadmill to do my daily 30 minutes, I am never charmed by the practice. But it is self-care, and I do feel great afterwards. A good reminder to me that doing an unwelcome task now will provide me with positivity later. Like shop-vaccing the cobwebs in the back of the basement yesterday. It looked so “pretty” afterwards. 😉
Good point Lianne, the after effects of a practice that we are not ‘charmed by’ 🙂 can feel so good. A reminder that self care can take many forms! thanks for this xoxo
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