Episode Description: Becca reads the first poem she ever wrote as an adult. It encapsulates all the most important lessons she learned over the course of her 12 year teaching career.
Today's episode is very short, and very sweet.
I wrote this poem on March 9th, 2017, and read it to an audience on March 10th. I read it in the common room of the barn you see in the photo for this post.
It touched some folks and I thought it may also touch you. (In that good consensual way!)
I fucking love you!
My name is Becca, and this is From the Ashes, Episode 3: I am NOT a poet.
In today’s episode, I’m going to share my very first poem I wrote as adult. Probably my very last poem (with the exception of Haikus. I fucking love haikus.)
At the farm I volunteered at for two months in Southern Chile, there was a tradition where one person would read a poem to the entire group every morning during a ritual called “Morning Circle”
When I arrived, the expectation was clearly explained to me that each and every individual would, at some point, read a poem. The poem could be one that you wrote yourself, or it could just be a poem that you really liked.
I am not a poetry person. I don’t read poetry. I don’t write poetry. (Again, with the exception of Haikus)
But I am definitely a person that respects and lives up to traditions. So, I signed up to read poetry in the morning circle that I thought would be my last one.
I have done like 10,000 presentations, performed in front of stadiums of 70,000 people, and I taught people about fucking for like 12 years.
I think this was the most nervous I’ve ever been speaking in front a group.
I was definitely way outside of my comfort zone, and I remember my voice was shaking as I began to read it, and my eyes were just fixed on my computer screen because I was afraid to look up and see people’s reactions.
As I went through and I read I got a little bit looser, and when I looked up, I got a pretty good response from it. The feedback I got was pretty positive, and a few people even thanked me for how much it had touched them.
So, I thought I’d share this “poem” with you all as well.
So, here it is, the first and last poem I will probably ever write as an adult.
I am not a poet.
I am not a poet, but I do know this.
The ratio of happy interactions to unhappy interactions in any relationship is 3:1. If for every 1 shitty interaction, you have 3 or more that bring you joy, that’s a sign of something healthy and positive.
I am definitely not a poet, but I do know this.
The more the groups of which we are a part thrive, the more likely it is that each individual within the group can thrive. Therefore, making the thriving of the group your goal is actually making your own thriving a central goal.
I am not even close to being a poet, but I do know this.
Serving others creates a sense of happiness that lasts longer than any other material possession. The value of something material depreciates immediately upon purchase. Service to others, on the other hand, is an experience that you can draw upon for happiness for an entire lifetime.
I can’t imagine being a poet, but I do know this.
You become the 5 people closest to you. Choose those who wish to bask in your innate, unique, inner light. If anyone close to you wishes to control your light for selfish purposes - cut them out of your life immediately. They’re not worthy of you.
I straight up am not a poet, but I do know this.
Leaders go first. If you are unwilling to be the example in regard to what you expect in the actions of others, you are not a leader. People will not follow you.
I don’t have the skills to be a poet, but I do know this.
A meaningful life is not always happy. Purpose can be painful, but purpose also enables you to be strong and resilient in the face of that pain.
I tried to be poet and totally failed, but I do know this.
Gossip isn’t inherently bad. In fact, true gossip is the sophisticated mechanism by which humans have evolved to limit someone’s influence. If you are being gossiped about, it means you have done something that the community considers to be antithetical to the greater good.
I lack the imagination to be a poet, but I do know this.
Power is not taken by the powerful, but rather given freely as a gift to those who work toward the greater good. Power, however, is fickle. Once bestowed, humans feel the rush of power and can fall into the trap of using it selfishly and impulsively. If you use the power you’ve been given for selfish means, the gift will be revoked.
I can’t even poetry right now, but I do know this.
There is an emotion that is the opposite of jealousy. It’s called Compersion. Instead of experiencing envy at someone else’s joy or accomplishment, you experience joy for their joy. Compersion. Joy for another’s joy. Try it sometime.
Poetry is obviously not my thing, but I do know this.
Love is not enduring, it is something that needs to be constantly maintained. In fact, love is a fleeting chemical response that only lasts for moments to minutes. In these moments, your nuerochemistry connects with another human, you begin to mimic their body language, and you feel as if you are one with them. In order to sustain long term love you must repeat these moments over and over and over again, in person, until you form a bond that lives in your emotional memory.
I don’t understand how to write poetry, but I do know this.
One of the great ironies of learning is that our best learning happens in moments of discomfort AND in order to learn there must be some measure of safety and security. This simply means that if you ever hope to succeed in teaching another, you must work to get them to love you and those they are around first. It is only through love that they will allow you to push them into the discomfort necessary for learning.
I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m not a poet. However, I do know this:
Falling in love is equivalent to being on opiates. The drug rush of love only lasts anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. After that, the experience of love moves to a different part of your brain. It’s why nothing feels quite as good as the beginning of a romantic relationship.
I am not a fucking poet y’all, but I do know this:
Attention is the most valuable capital of the individual. You are what you pay attention to. What do you spend your attention on?
The truth is, I didn’t try to be a poet, but I do know this:
If a teacher tells you your dream is impossible, find a new teacher. If a friend tells you that you are not perfect just the way you are, find a new friend. If a lover tells you that no one else but them will love you, find a new lover. If a job tells you that you are not good enough to work there, find a new job. If the path that you’re on feels like you are following in the footsteps of millions of people who you don’t want to become, find a new path.
If you’ve made it to the end, you get some bonus information!
All of what I just read, minus the exception of the very last stanza, is based on research. I didn’t make any of this up, it’s all just things I’ve learned over the course of my career before my time at the farm.
I think when I wrote this, I was looking for a way to encapsulate everything that I had known from before. I wanted to capture all the most important stuff in a way that was short, concise, and would help me to remember.
Even though I was really nervous when I initially read this, I’m so glad I was able to touch a few people with my words. I hope there a few more of you out there that find some hope or some healing in what I wrote.
So that’s it for Episode 3 of From the Ashes.
If you enjoyed the poem, subscribe, send it along to someone else, or just listen to it again!
Also! If you’re listening on iTunes, you should know that full transcripts of the podcasts and some added commentary are often available on my blog at SmartHotFun.Com. That’s s-m-a-r-t-h-o-t-f-u-n.com.
Thanks again for listening. I fucking love all of you.