(From Within My Illusions &
Artwise Poetry Roulette Cards)
Possibility came to visit me
In an early morning dream.
She was cloaked in all potential
And veiled in mystery.
I almost didn’t answer
When she roused me from the deep,
Urged me to pick up the pen
‘Stead of going back to sleep.
Her message was quite simple,
And I know it to be true.
So I quickly jotted down these words
To share them here with you.
While “anything is possible”
Is said time and time again,
The trick to finding rainbows is
Remembering to look for them
I was recently invited to speak via Zoom with a group of eighth graders at a Chicago public school. The students are part of an arts and civics club, and they'd decided that their service project for the year would be to create a wisdom tree, an art installation that would inspire strength, community, and hope.
The teacher asked me if I would guide the students through the tree meditation that I often share at my events. She thought it might give them a new perspective on the wisdom of trees and the students' own wisdom. The teacher and I met on Wednesday to discuss the flow of the class. I told her I’d love to open by singing “Possibility” and then talk a little bit about the power and mystery of imagination.
That night, I was awakened at 4:00 am with a thought that I knew I needed to write down for these eighth graders. Here’s what I shared with the students on Friday:
What does being an artist, poet, or musician have in common with community service? An artist takes in the world in detail—the sights, sounds, tastes, smells, textures, and feelings. Oh, the feelings! We feel the angst and the awe to our core. We pay attention to our world as it is. And, through our imagination, we envision the world in other ways: the hopes and fears, the best and worst case scenarios, the dreams and nightmares. We imagine the possibilities and create through them. Our art becomes a bridge that transports us and our communities to a future that is beyond the possibility of what exists now. And, to a now that is beyond the possibility of what we experience with our five senses. You are the dreamers of the world. You are the wisdom keepers for the future. Your imagination is your superpower that creates a bridge to possibility. And, as you start looking for "hidden rainbows," you'll begin to see the ways that your dream for the future is already taking seed now. Your vision, your dream, your wisdom are the seeds for the future.
Tend them, water them, nourish them, and share them with others.
At the end of my talk and the guided visualization, students said that the stillness and the quiet of the practice gave them a chance to daydream and sparked ideas they might not have come up with otherwise. I asked if they would share one word each to represent what had been inspired. They used words like "potential," "happiness," "connection," "respect," "family," "mystery," and "love." And, they asked if they could share the "Possibility" song with their music teacher and teach it to families at the school's fine arts night next month. I'm excited to see what they will create!
There is so much happening all the time. The world can feel overwhelming, especially when we're confronted with wave after wave of personal and global challenge. My time with the eighth graders reminded me that even now, in this moment, we are planting the seeds of what will become.
Imagination is not just for artists and mystics. It's for all of us. If you can dream, you can imagine. And if you can imagine, you can create. Even if it's just one seed. Even if it's for just one heart.
Wishing you a week of possibility and hidden rainbows.
p.s. - If you'd like to treat yourself to three minutes of soulful serenity, listen to Orlando Villarraga's innato flute record, "Hope for the Future." I played this piece for the eighth graders while they wrote in their journals after the meditation. Orlando is a brilliant musician and composer and I'm thrilled to be collaborating with him on a spoken word album that combines my poetry with his magnificent soundscapes.