None need reminding how these are uncertain times or how culture wars could leave us frozen in our tracks. But how many take heed of a simple way to access freedom from worries by simplifying an outlook?
One such practice requires no overhead, no prescription, yet it’s proven to increase our lifespan. It is the act of writing. Let’s be beginners and try out history’s shortest form, the haiku. Here are three ways writing could change your life.
How many of us remark in frustration that time is rushing past? The quality of our attention has an impact on that experience. While we all have the same number of hours in a day, some feel luxuriously indulgent while others feel short-handed. Whoever felt like they’d wasted time after a full body massage? Getting in a haiku mind is like a massage for our senses and stabilizes the truth of our essential connection to nature.
“Writing poetry is a way to still the murky waters,” said Francesca Bell, Marin County’s poet laureate.
Discovering something up close opens a hidden mirror to its universal quality or pattern. A seashell on the shore is quite the entirety of sound, salt and sun when held to the ear, as every conch holder knows.
Engaging in creativity builds brain synapses between the left and right hemisphere … proven with MRI scans, and none does this more productively than writing. It adds problem-solving skills as each word choice heightens attention to the sublime. Take for example this haiku by local doctor and poet David Watts: this year / I need more layers / barbed wire wind
Although nature-based, any subject is fair game for the 17-syllable set. Around the Marin Art and Garden Center, there’s a large artifact of construction named The Bottle House. Although it served as the county fair’s ticket-box, over a half-century ago, it still appears like a poetic rendezvous.
Here’s to welcoming that fresh, clear mind using poetry, nature and a pen.
Jayne McPherson hosts a haiku writer’s soiree quarterly at Marin Art and Garden Center, Ross.