While working in New York for the summer, I had the blessing of attending a workshop and reading featuring writer/poet, Amanda Johnston.
Wedged between brownstones in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem, I sat in a courtyard garden filled with flowers of various, colors, shapes, sizes, cultures… The flowers were the women who gathered for the Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon founded and curated by Juliet P. Howard.
Amanda Johnston, Photo by Tamara J. Madison
During the Q&A session, a sister writer asked Amanda how she managed to juggle motherhood, a full time job, a husband, and her passion, poetry. Completely composed and clearly positioned on the issue, the poet responded that all of it blended together for her in an ever evolving shift of priorities, needs, and circumstance. She talked about how she did not have the luxury of leaving her family for six months or even six weeks at a time, but creatively found ways to nurture and grow her passion.
She reminded us to be mindful of the “needs” versus the “wants” of those around us. She also encouraged us to be advocates for ourselves being the examples for others to do likewise. “Treat yourself, your life as a whole. There will be plenty of others to dissect your life for you.”—Amanda Johnston.
How about adding THAT to your affirmation, confirmation, mantra, prayer collection? I have it on lock in my save file!
How many times do we try to compartmentalize ourselves and our lives into neat little pieces to meet the desires, the opinions, and the needs of those around us? Way too often! We then walk around feeling broken and empty while the weakened muse of our desires and dreams begs for our attention from beneath the rug or corner or back burner, wherever we have decided to stuff it.
We become frustrated with family, friends, and loved ones who do not respect our time, our needs, our desires. Why should they when we have been butchering and breaking off pieces of ourselves and our lives not being our own advocate?
Whether we want to admit it or not, that 6 month sabbatical and luxury grant may never appear. That “Honey, go ahead and take a week off to yourself. I’ll take care of the children…” may never happen. And yes, It sucks!
If we continually find ways to work miracles every day for those we love. We can do the same for ourselves.
The nurturing and evolution of our passions may have to be integrated into those 15 minute coffee breaks at work. That special event we dream of producing might have to be a special segment of a program already being planned on the job or in the office. That ritual writing, studying, research or even “me time” might need to be done at 1:00 am when the young ones are gone to bed once a week instead of every single morning between 5:00 am and 10:00 am like those success stories we read about in magazines.
No one else can advocate for us like we can. Only we can create that special time for ourselves and teach others to respect it by treating ourselves/our lives holistically knowing that time management for us is a day today, sometimes moment to moment exercise in flexibility, awareness, and will!
Here’s to the “whole” in us and the “whole” of us making magic and miracles in the world, one step, one breath, one poem, one passion, one day at a time. Like Nike says, “Just do it!” but do it as Marvin Gaye might say, “Holy wholly!”
I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions! Hit me up on the blog and share your ideas! You might just someone else’s key to break free!
Many hanks to poet, Amanda Johnston, for the inspiration of this week’s TamTalk!!! She is a fierce and feisty mama on a mission with poetry as her machete in tow! Her work is definitely worth checking out!
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