This is a fitting poem for a Monday. For the most part, we’re all beginning something today, whether we’re ready for the week to begin–or not.
Are you ready?
Advice to Beginners
by Ellen Kort
Begin. Keep on beginning. Nibble on everything.
Take a hike. Teach yourself to whistle. Lie.
The older you get the more they’ll want your stories.
Make them up. Talk to stones. Short-out electric fences.
Swim with the sea turtle into the moon.
Learn how to die. Eat moonshine pie. Drink wild geranium tea.
Run naked in the rain.
Everything that happens will happen and none of us will be safe from it.
Pull up anchors. Sit close to the god of night.
Lie still in a stream and breathe water.
Climb to the top of the highest tree until you come to the branch
where the blue heron sleeps.
Eat poems for breakfast.
Wear them on your forehead.
Lick the mountain’s bare shoulder.
Measure the color of days around your mother’s death.
Put your hands over your face and listen to what they tell you.
I want to taste everything, to find the perfect flavor I never stop seeking.
I want to tour faraway palaces and stroll down each quaint foreign street.
I want to look into eyes and find surprises waiting around every corner.
I don’t want to make up stories. I want to live a giant story.
I don’t want to learn how to die. I want to be consumed with living.
But what does it mean to really live?
Maybe it begins with knowing what’s important, living what you value.
See people, right where they are. Eyes wide, heart open.
Maybe it means swimming with sea turtles into the moon,
Eating poems for breakfast and chasing buckets of adventure.
What would it look like for you to really live?
What I know is that I could chase big stories for decades.
I could miss the great story I’m writing and the one I’ve been written into.
I know I could make my life about what I want or what I think I need from it.
But then, I could also miss everything it means to really live.
The truth is, I remember the flavor I’m still pursuing.
I recall some part of the beauty I run miles for and fly across oceans hoping to see.
It’s an unseen whisper, right here and found in every elsewhere.
My eternal memory connects to an enduring future.
So I begin here, and keep on beginning. This is where I drop the anchor.
This is what it means for me to live.
I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free. Psalm 119:32
For you, what does it mean to really live?