I’m currently reading Meredith Heller’s book Write a Poem, Save Your Life. It wasn’t on my library list, which is also known as my to-be-read list, also known as a TBR list.
I discovered this book as I was meandering the aisles of my local library. Meandering the aisles of my local library has become a post-pandemic-lockdown hobby of mine. This new hobby of mine means so much to me because it was during the lockdown that I used my library and its interlibrary loan system the most. During the lockdown, my library saved both my sanity and my soul.
I didn’t realize how much I missed browsing through the aisles of the library until it was taken away during the lockdown. But now that it’s back, it feels like a guilty pleasure. Stuffing book after book into my rainbow book bag. Inhaling the scent of paper and old book leather. This act has become one of the ways I take care of myself. It is how I show myself compassion.
The author of the poetry book I discovered gives prompts to urge the reader to write; mostly poems but my poetry is blog posts, so here we are. In one of her prompts, she mentions writing an instruction manual if someone were to take care of you. Consider yourself to be a new car or a plant on the nursery shelf.
These are the things that are required to help me grow. To nurture me. So I can thrive. This is the care and keeping of me.
Creativity in the form of writing
I become irritable if I don’t write in some manner every day. This is most noticeable when I am sick or on vacation. I require writing like I require oxygen or water.
Be directly in touch with nature
I am not myself unless I touch the grass, a tree, or spend at least 15 minutes a day in nature. So if you’re in charge of me, make sure you take me outside.
Reading and learning
I am learning on a daily basis through my daily reading, and I don’t feel well if I don’t get the time to do so. I’ll be will be cranky, irritated, tired, and negative. Every day, I need to “water and feed” myself with my reading time.
I spend at least six hours a day listening to music in some manner. In my car, on my television, and on my phone. Music makes me joyful and allows me to be productive while also feeling good on the inside.
When I spend time with my plants, I feel as if I am serving something other than myself. They are beneficial to my home, and their presence eases my anxiety.
Family and friends
I used to believe I required a great number of friends and family. Since the pandemic, I have tightened my circle a bit, and it has changed my life. I wish I could explain it better than that, but it’s been beautiful. It’s less about quantity and outside appearances and more about quality and involvement, if that makes any sense.
I would have animals in every square inch of my house if I could. Animals are essential for my survival and well-being on this journey.
What would your instruction manual look like?