by guest author Alys Titchener
I didn’t win. I kind of knew that already when they didn’t phone that day. I waited till the next day, thinking maybe; just maybe they were being disorganized, over worked, or one of those students is filling in and doesn’t really care to follow up.
See, there was a little bit of hope left over. It was still possible that I could have won that poetry competition.
The day before, I spoke with conviction to my flatmates; it doesn’t matter if I win or not. I’m just happy that my poem is being read out in front of all those people. Just imagine; whether they know it or not, they will be collectively manifesting the Tree of Life into their space, simply by hearing the words. That’s cool!
And with friendly musclings of encouragement from my friends, I postulated further. Of course I’m a finalist. The poem is beautiful. I kind of had to fake surprise when they announced I was a finalist; it’s a poem destined for grand audiences after all. I confided to my friend; you know it feels so divinely orchestrated, coming across a “Tree of Life” poetry competition, having already written a poem with the same name.
I remember writing the poem, a year ago, after a day long meditation sit at the Casa de Jose in Brooklyn. During the meditation, my inner vision started manifesting a tree in our room. The image was so tactile that I wrote my experience down as soon as I got home. It came out as a poem and my pen flowed as if being dictated to. I called the poem The Tree of Life.
This is exceptional for me, having only experienced writing a poem in this manner once before. So this poem feels special. It feels alive with spirit. Then to come across a poetry competition with the same name… well, wasn’t destiny presenting itself and asking me to step up? I’ve never entered a poetry competition before. Maybe this is my big break. I’ll be the up-start that no one’s ever heard of, who comes flying in and wins. Wow, it’s all so perfectly choreographed. God/Universe, you are amazing!
With a little flutter I check my email for confirmation of winners.
I’m feeling reasoned and somewhat unattached. I recognize I’m shouldering a shard of disappointment already, though mainly, I am feeling philosophical – it’s a good first step in getting my stuff out there.
And then the winner’s name – a name not my own – is staring back at me from my screen and damit!
Her poem is really good; I like it. A lot.
My stomach, my heart, my gut, rustle like lost leaves. Strange, I think, how the space between how I think I’m going to act and how I actually do respond, widens reality from my imaginations.
I’m not philosophical anymore. The leaves are sounding like old dying whispers, coarse words like “I’m not good enough” and “someone else can do this better than me” and the crescendo gust “what the hell am I doing living this dream called ‘poet’?”
Fears arrive unbidden. There’s no option of avoiding them, they’re blatant, exaggerated beliefs that I’m holding in my stomach. I feel sick. And I feel like confronting them. Why not? These voices come up every time I venture to show my face.
It wasn’t necessary to pummel these beliefs with the inquiry work of Byron Katie, nor even the EFT tapping I’d just learned. It seemed it was enough to hear their voice, and disassociate myself from it. Like lifting a lid off a forgotten box and freeing into the air a dank rutted smell, only to find the smell dissolve into clean air.
Yet I ponder; what about this perfect moment I was meant to have? God, what happened to your choreography? Why did you give me hope? Did the hope deny me my perfect moment?
It doesn’t take long to switch the slide show. To the real one. The show that’s actually going on in front of me. That perfect moment I was destined for looks like THIS. Me – a woman – realizing that I don’t need to smother my doubts and insecurities anymore. Whether I continue believing them or not, at least I know they exist. These are the fears that I attach to exposing and expressing my self. They’re a dead weight mostly.
This perfect moment showed me that when I pamper my imagination (in a vessel called “Hope”), I am denying the beauty of Truth. How many times have I done that? It takes no time at all for my memory bank to show where this has hurt me. Like the time an ex love of mine told me he’d met someone else. I couldn’t emotionally disentangle my self from him out of hope he’d change his mind. It wasn’t until he got married a year later that I finally stepped up in front of the truth. Why did I have to hurt my self for so long? Was it hope?
What would it look like to drop Hope? It seems the quality left is not what we call “hopeless”. There needs to be another word for it. A quality of word that expresses truth, optimism and embracing the infinite possibilities present in any given moment. That moment when I told the world on Facebook I was a finalist, and the excitement of that alone made me believe anything is possible. It’s that word I seek.
I wonder; can I call this word “Reality” or perhaps “Perfection”?