Feature Article: Writing the Prayer of Your Life advice column for February...
A poem a day keeps the doctor away!
Some days are like this for me: not much works. My brain,
especially, seems to not be able to figure out really basic
things, like what to do, and what to do next. I stumble
around like a walking study in frustration.

Do you ever have days like that? If so, how do you deal
with it?

All sorts of factors might contribute to this state of
being. ADHD might be one of them. Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia,
or Chronic Lyme Disease might be part of it.

Seasonal Affective Disorder might be a factor. (Yes
it’s winter and has been grey for a week.)

Or, insomnia and sleep deprivation. ( It’s true I was up
till past midnight and awake at 6:30, of course I am

All of that is worth something. But, how much?
It does help to understand the various factors that contribute to mood,
energy, and effective brain functioning. But it also helps to
keep all those things in perspective.

Sometimes what you need most is a nap and a good meal with enough protein. Sometimes, though, it's your soul that's really hungry.

Does it ever occur to you to turn to poetry in those moments?
When was the last time, in a moment of stress, you took
five minutes to read a poem? Or write one?

I didn’t say you had to write a good poem, a Pulitzer Prize
winning poem, just, a poem.

Some true, precise words about this moment.

Maybe today is a really hard day for you. Okay. Let it be hard.
Then, look at it with the eyes of a poet. What do you

“Poetry,” says poet Galway Kinnell, “is somebody
standing up, so to speak, and saying what it is like for
them to be on this earth, at this moment.”

He doesn’t say, if you notice, “Write a poem and you
will feel better, live longer, lose ten pounds and never
suffer from despair in your life ever again.”

He says, poetry is when you stand up and tell it like
it is. You tell the truth. About your own life. It’s that simple.
And, that simple, elegant, act, will save you.
Mostly, I think, what we need to be saved from is our own
negative minds telling us we’re not good enough and we
should be doing something different or better than we are.

This is not to say that we may not want to change something
in our lives. Or that brain chemistry and being affected by
lack of sunlight in February in New England are not real.
These things are real, and I take them very seriously,
because I do have a pretty sensitive brain.

But here is what I’ve learned: If I don’t also, talk
to, and listen to, my own soul, the exercise and light
therapy only take me so far. Some days, I do the writing
after the light therapy and exercise and meditation. Some
days I do it before.

But I do it. Every day. Write something. Especially on
the days it doesn’t seem to matter. The days I get too
many rejection slips in the mail or the end of the book
feels like it will never come, and the mess in my house
seems totally unmanageable, I take the time to write.

Maybe I’ll never get anything but rejection slips for
this poem that I loved so much when I wrote it. Maybe
I’ll never finish the book, never have a neat and orderly
house. So what? Those things don’t matter so much after
I’ve written something real.

Why is that? It’s because I’ve remembered who I am.
Not who I think I should be, not what this editor wants or
doesn’t want for the latest edition of her magazine, not
what the dirty dishes tell me when I look at them from
somewhere outside of myself.

When you write, you get yourself back. And you find out
something new, because this moment, after all, is a place
you’ve never been before. And if you do your job well,
pay attention to what’s in front of you, you come home, to this moment.
You start to see it and yourself, more clearly.

Your poems, the ones you write and the ones you read, keep you
honest. Honesty keeps you healthy.

I encourage to remember that your own words, when you write from an authentic place inside you, might be the best medicine you can find.
Try this:
Find a poem that you love today. Read it to yourself, out loud. Then, take the first line and let that be the jumping off point for your own writing. Write for ten minutes. That's all you have to do, sometimes, to turn your day around, and come back home to you.

And here’s a reminder, for all of you who are working on
finishing your novel, or revising your poems. Even if you
publish your book and win the Pulitzer Prize, (and I hope
you do, if that’s your goal) your work is still pretty
much the same as it is today. Show up. Tell the truth.
Listen to what you hear.

You write. On the good days, when the world is in love
with what you are doing. And you write, on the days when
nobody seems to care. You write when you’re sure it’s
only for you, and you write when you think maybe….just
maybe, somebody else might be interested in what you’re

You write because your soul depends on it. And what else,
really, do we have, when it comes down to it???

Blessings on all the workings of your soul.

Author's Bio: 

Debora Seidman is an award winning poet and playwright, and founder of Writing the Prayer of Your Life. She leads writing workshops and offers private coaching to writers who need help finishing their projects as well as guidance on listening to the wisdom within.