Today I found out that I have been approved for NEIS funding. The government is officially helping me start my business Mindfulness Poet. It’s been a challenging process but very rewarding. Like anything, the quality of people involved makes a huge difference, and I have a wonderful mentor, Bronwyn Armstrong from Sarina Russo Maroochydore, who jollied and encouraged me through the labyrinthine world of government submission forms.
I have experience in teaching meditation, teaching yoga and I’m finishing (soon I hope) a counselling diploma. “What job title can I shove all that into?” I wondered at the start of the training. I kept dwelling on being a coach or mentor for something like meditation or wellness. Google searches confirmed that 1) these were good ideas and 2) a lot of other people had already had them.
It was my wife who kept reminding me about my passion for performing my poetry. In hindsight it was obvious but something deep in me obviously struggled with the idea of making money from my love of words.
But with my wife’s help and my insatiable appetite for performing, a shift started to happen. After becoming thoroughly depressed at the thought of starting up a yoga class (again?!?) I realised that I was focusing on the method of delivery, not the actual message itself. The message is “life tastes better with mindfulness”. What’s the easiest way I can share that? It dawned on me that the experience of listening to poetry (as well as reciting it) can be very close to the ‘non-judgemental awareness’ of classic meditation. Mindfulness experienced through performance? Why not?
We humans seem to be hard-wired for listening and telling stories. When a story starts we often let go of daily life stress. That’s a good start to becoming more mindful, coming into the present moment unencumbered by old stories. Your mind is clear, waiting for the next verse; the body is still and easy to feel into; and we can find ourselves very emotionally present. How often has a story (be it poem, song or movie) brought you to laughter or tears, made you mindful of the feelings that often go unnoticed?
So now I’m in ‘developmental’ phase, which means organising test-audiences, memorising poems and wrestling this here web site into shape. It is quite likely I’ll be writing a poem soon about “navigating wordpress; overwhelmed by CSS; at the keyboard I blink and doze; writing blogs and uploading videos.”