I found a poem I wrote 11 years ago. And like most things, this poem was saved in a perfectly labeled digital folder because the fourteen-year-old me was just as organized as I am now. I stumbled across it by chance, frustrated at myself for not knowing exactly what I wanted to write about and feeling pressured by a self-imposed timeline to keep myself on track for the rest of the day.
“Emotion,” the title read, pretty straight and to the point. Dated February 19, 2007.
I tried to imagine where I was eleven years ago, halfway through puberty, barely surviving the eighth grade. I saw myself at my little bedroom desk, a glass top covering a wooden surface and multi-colored C.D.s lining the interior—blues and greens colored in Sharpie marker to match my bedroom walls. I imagined my old computer, thick and heavy and sitting in the middle of my desk. I imagined the winter snow outside my window and how I would have been longing for summer, for the weather I experience every single day now.
I opened the file, let the words wash over me, so reminiscent of the way I speak even now.
“Run. Run until the world flashes by you like hope,
flitting in the breeze.
Scream. Scream until you ache with pain and your wind fails you, but inside you are calm.
Cry. Cry until the tears leave permanent streaks on your cheeks and your heart feels empty, but complete.
Listen. Listen until the sounds of the world fade away, and all is left is the peacefulness of your heart.
Slow your mind, relax your soul.
Quiet your head to the sounds of the world.
Listen instead to the wonders speaking to you,
The wonders you don’t hear because you have chosen to push them away.
Close your eyes, hear the voices of the birds,
singing a melody in the brightness of summer.
Hear the crispness of the snow,
falling to the ground, to a world of wonder you cease to see.
Whatever you have hoped for, whatever you dream.
Close your eyes and see it now.
Close your eyes and imagine.”
Perhaps fourteen-year-old me knew something about nature’s energy that I’m still trying to discover and remind myself of. Perhaps I was young, yes, but naturally seeking the answers even then. Perhaps I was connected to the earth in a way I wouldn’t understand until later, until I wandered along the ocean with bare feet, touching shells and sand and breathing salty air.
Perhaps there is something to be said about listening to your inner child, about trusting your voice—for me, a voice that has been shouting since I was young.
Perhaps there is something to be said about not speaking at all. But listening to your heart, to the earth, to the answers that come to you when you stop trying so desperately to seek them.
Perhaps stumbling across this poem is the universe’s way of simply saying, slow down.
Featured Image Credit: Tom Holmes