Inspired by the phrase of German romantic poet Freidrich Hölderlin ‘Man dwells poetically upon this earth’, I was moved to consider what it means to live poetically, to inhabit one’s body poetically.
Inherent in poetry is the creative abandon that gives way to wonder and awe. Receptivity, appreciation and gratitude; allowing space for the unknown, accepting the mystery of life, being in the present moment; all are qualities that spontaneously come to mind when I think of living poetically.
Being in contact with nature and her cycles is a means by which these qualities can be cultivated, and is a particularly complimentary way to access the poetry and creativity that is intrinsic to pregnancy and birth. A mother can enter into this poetic sphere by refining her awareness, cultivating her presence and at the same time connecting with the forces and beauty of nature.
Inherent in the exponential opening that accompanies pregnancy is an energetic state in which the mother perceives and registers sensual stimulus in quite a different way to that which she is accustomed. Sight, smell, taste, sound, touch, all of the senses are heightened and fine tuned, making it a perfect time to connect with nature and to appreciate its richness.
Simple things such as walking barefoot in the grass, cooking on an open fire, or lying beneath the night sky and watching the stars can render life more sacred and poetic. Appreciating the often-unnoticed details, a tiny frond unfurling from a rocky crag, glistening dewdrops on a leaf, the gentle curve of a river-carved rock, can also awaken her to the vast intelligence and wonder of life. There are infinite possibilities in nature to appreciate such details and within that, the inherent Spirit that permeates, animates and flows through all things (Prana).
When a mother does so consciously, present to her child, she unites all of these forces in her body. She can then translate them into her own inner language, using them to decode her unspoken needs, allowing them to guide and support her, to animate and dance within her. Thus, she is connected to the great sphere of Universal experience (Yoga means Union). She opens to the greater scheme of things to which she is intrinsically linked. In opening up to the elements her entire body and being become poetic, radiating out and absorbing in, like the perpetual flow of Prana.
Spirit manifests in manifold ways in nature, and it is these infinitesimal differences that make existence so rich. It can be a reminder for us that each and every pregnancy and birth is unique and different. By putting aside her desire to control and master the forces of nature a mother can allow them to pass through her, ultimately ‘getting out of the way’. In this way she becomes one with the sacred poetry of existence, abandoning herself to the mystery of life.