The roles we embody stem from our core identity. Many people have developed a finely cultivated mixture of their personality traits, values, and beliefs in order to fit in to their desired role at any given time: employee, family member, colleague, friend, professional, etc. One of the finest balances involves structure and nurture, logic and love, discipline and flexibility. The former enhances our ability to fit into social norms and adhere to rules and regulations of daily life. The latter allows us to express our individual personalities and experience social benefits from creativity and connection. In the following poem, I explore this dynamic through the lens of a monarch.
Rise ye protectors, for we need your strength of force,
Strike at the source, give our enemies no foothold, no recourse
Rise ye healers, for we need your strength of will
Mend our wounds, give illness no foothold, never mind the bill
Rise ye philosophers, for we need your strength of mind
Feed our souls, give aimlessness no foothold, for the sake of all humankind
Traveling is its own reward. For the obvious reasons such as experiencing new cultures, new foods, and new ways of thinking, but also for the not so obvious. The small, subtle shifts and changes in how we interact with other people, the feeling of being immersed in a different language, the way that our internal clock acclimates to a different time zone. All of these experiences and more ranging from experiencing constant and heavy snow for the first time, to the first haggling experience in a foreign market, to enjoying an afternoon in a carefully cultivated bamboo forest add up to something sublime and somewhat paradoxical in both its abstract nature and its tangibility to those who’ve lived there far longer than we have. The following poem is an attempt to capture a single fond moment of many from one of my trips.
Salmon and orange slices, who knew?
Off to the market, with my gaze askew
Still in doubt, but curious too
Onions and garlic, the familiar fixings
As the ingredients gather and meld, so do we
The cooking three
But now, brothers from far shores
We all experience reality differently. Each living organism on earth has a different understanding of reality, whether it be through the sonar abilities of dolphins, plant photosynthesis, or the extrasensory detection of pollen that bees are capable of. As humans, we’ve developed efficient ways to easily respond and react to the wide variety of data presented to us via convenient shortcuts. Essentially, a large part of our conscious reality comes from our ability to comprehend the past and use categorical information to determine our present. Our world comes alive in the interactions between these individual realities. The following is a haiku highlighting the brilliance of our shared realities and a throwback to one of my favorite books, 1984, by George Orwell.
2 + 2 is 4
But what if we all agreed
2 + 2 is 5?
Often, when we speak of nature, the notion of primal forces come to mind. Wind. Water. Fire. Earth. Chief among them is water, the only one that can exist in all forms of matter as a solid, a liquid, and a gas. Wind also plays a vital role. Similarly, we all embody different roles in our lives as we move about our day. Naturally, these roles share characteristics with one another, but have specific utility for specific experiences. They each have their part to play in the way that we interact within our relationships. The following poem draws similarities between us and nature.
Water, ice, rain, snow, nourishment, fluidity
Mother, cashier, caretaker, chef, cherishing, home
Wind, energy, propulsion, melodious, connection, calming
Father, housekeeper, repairer, worker, protection, safety