Written By Casha Doemland
Edited By Ashley Coffey
June XX, 2019
- Need Photos -
The last couple of months have been slammed with work, learning to ride a motorcycle (which I’ve somehow managed to do successfully) and trying to maintain somewhat of a social life, which in turn, left very little brain space to write.
I know, I know! You prioritize what's important to you.
I, unfortunately, allowed myself to get lazy and spent what little free time I had binge-watching television shows in bed, or out hiking in Mother Earth to avoid my laptop in my off time.
I honestly found myself in a cycle of wake up, work out, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch tv, and repeat for five months. Then, out of nowhere, a week ago, something clicked and this fire to return wholeheartedly to the craft I've loved since I was 12 became impossible to ignore.
In seven short days, I signed up for a journalism course at UCLA, rebuilt my website as well as started building another for a passion project, and started (seriously) looking into writing groups and events.
That is what brought me to Stefanie Aguilar and Safiya Bouhouch's Poetry for Self Compassion. Because I thought, why not combine my love for words with a little bit of wellness?
The night started a little after seven, as we munched on some delicious snacks and got to know one another as we waited for everyone to arrive. Here, I discovered just how small this vast city is as I had several connections to a couple of the women in the group.
Once everyone arrived, we introduced ourselves formally, and Safiya led us through a breathework exercise – one I desperately needed to ground me and allow me to be fully present in the room and with those around me.
From there, we shared the poems and quotes that resonated with us and a brief explanation of why. Somehow, each poem read throughout the evening struck a chord with me, and I realized, we were probably more alike in this room than different.
I opted for a classic quote from one of my favorite writers, Jack Kerouac and the reason why is simple – because for as long as I can remember, I have felt like my time here on Earth, my purpose, is meant to create something great and to spark to a change in the world. I can't explain why, other than that it's a feeling.
“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
The last part of the night, my favorite actually, consisted of wild writing in response to prompts Stefanie had come up with herself. She supplied 5 options and gave us 7 minutes each to complete the three that spoke most to us at that moment. I, an avid lover of wild writing, felt right at home here as I let the words flow effortlessly on the page without judgment or edits.
I even found courage for me to read one aloud, which anyone who knows me, I am not keen to do.
Write a letter! Address is to yourself, whether it’s current self, your younger self, your older self, your self from another time that existed centuries ago, or from another universe. Choose one!
Dear Current Self,
You are okay!
You are exactly where you need to be.
Take a moment.
reflect on all that you’ve accomplished,
And what’s already underway.
You are always more than you give yourself credit for.
So why do you continuously knock yourself down?
Because you’re a little lost?
No sweat, enjoy the journey.
Because you made a mistake?
Everyone does! It’s human and how you grow.
Because you didn’t take that leap or speak up?
Because you created a boundary and disappointed a friend?
Well, sometimes you gotta prioritize yourself and your needs.
Your mental health.
You may not be exactly where you want to be,
But you are a helluva lot further than you ever imagined you could be.
You are living in LA.
You’re passionately in love.
You finally bought that motorcycle.
You travel twice a year to explore different cultures and corners of the world.
You are a DAMN WRITER!
A PUBLISHED WRITER!
And a creator of 2 dope projects.
And give yourself the time to rest.
At the end of the evening, after I said my goodbyes and I was driving home with Whitney Houston blaring through my stereo, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the experience. How wonderful is it to gather with a group of strangers and to vulnerable? To speak openly knowing that the words that leave your lips will not be met with judgment; only open hearts and minds. To find a community, even if just for a night, whose intentions meet your own and to spend a night falling in love with the power of words.