This is an excerpt from a book called "The Book Of Awakening" by Mark Nepo. It is a book of inspirational essays for every day of the year. My poem, "Unopened" (see below) is about my confusion at sometimes feeling rejected and even disrespected for the ways that I am compelled to express myself. I have experienced the desire for self-expression to be a blessing and a curse. People react with anything from encouragement and support to indifference and bitterness. I am always taken aback by the range of reactions since I consider what I share with the world from my heart and soul - with no other agenda but to do what God has given me to do.
One of my favorite quotes is from Stephen King, who says - "If God gives you something to do, why in the world wouldn't you do it?"
Another is from Mark Twain:
"Keep away from small people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you can become great."
A recent discouraging experience was in extreme contrast to my friend, Gail, who is a writer and poet, who took the time the other day to call me just to encourage me to continue promoting my new book. She had put a great deal of thought into ways that I could market it and assured me that she found the book worth every bit of effort I could give it. Amazing generosity.
What is Not Expressed
It seems the more we express, that is, bring out what is in, the more alive we are. The more we give voice to our pain in living, the less build-up we have between our soul and our way in the world. However, the more we depress, the more we push down and keep in , the smaller we become. The more we stuff between our heart and our daily experience, the more we have to work through to feel life directly. Our expressed life can become a callus we carry around and manicure, but never remove. Experience can in effect lose its essential tenderness and poignancy, as we mistakenly conclude that life is losing its meaning. To a man unaware of the cataracts filming his eyes, the world seems dimmer, not his seeing. How often do we find the world less stimulating, unaware our heart is diminished because its encasement in all that remains unexpressed?