Be Not Contained Between Your Hat and Boots
By Tzivia Gover, MFA, Certified Dreamwork Professional
It happens all the time, someone tells me they write—maybe even every day—but then hurry to make sure I don’t think they’re a writer. They tell me they love poetry—reading it and writing it—but alas, I should not by any means think they are being so presumptuous as to be claiming to be a poet.
This denial of what’s true inside of us extends to dreaming, too. People treat me (at best) as a charming curiosity or (at worst) as a kook, because I talk about my dreams and ask them about theirs.
For me it’s not about titles: Poet. Writer. Dreamworker.
It’s about a way of looking at the world – rather than claiming a field of expertise or even excellence.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed…
—from “The Summer Day” by Mary Oliver
You don’t need a degree in literature or an understanding of iambic pentameter to enjoy poetry and to learn to experience the world as a poet does. All that’s really necessary is the willingness to drop into the present moment, pay attention, explore, and celebrate life in new and richer ways
I have observed poetry’s power for non-poets’ firsthand. For two decades I have taught poetry to adults in literacy classes. In this work I have seen how the simple act of reading and writing poems can create confidence, joy, and exuberance in teen mothers or young men on parole who had never before read a book. This experience is available to anyone who is willing to put down past assumptions about poetry — and pick up a pen.
In fact, when I teach writing I find that my students think to be a poet or novelist you need to have perfect penmanship, a knack for spelling, an MFA, or all of the above. But Walt Whitman mentioned nothing about any of that when he outlined what a poet must do: According to Whitman a poet must: “… love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,…”
What should a poet do (besides write poetry)? Are you a writer even when you don’t have your fingers on the keyboard or a pen in your hand? Can you honor yourself as a dreamer, even when you haven’t remembered a dream in months?
To me, it’s all part of Dreaming on (and off) The Page. For me, Dreaming on the Page means observing your environment, being open to inspiration, and tuning into the sounds and rhythms of your life.
Like a child, the poet sees the world anew each day. They’re not afraid to ask, as does the child in Whitman’s “Song of Myself”: “What is the grass?” – and be surprised by the answer.
Tzivia Gover, MFA, is a Certified Dreamwork Professional, a certified Proprioceptive Writing teacher, Reiki Master, and founder of 350 Dreamers, a global network of people dreaming together for global healing in the face of climate change. She leads workshops and trainings on dreamwork, writing, and mindfulness at Sivananda Yoga Ashram and Retreat, the International Association for the Study of Dreams conferences, the Dreaming and Healing conference, and at yoga centers and retreats throughout the world. She also leads dream workshops and trainings online through the Institute for Dream Studies, which she directs. A devoted practitioner of mindfulness, Tzivia is the author of The Mindful Way to a Good Night’s Sleep and Joy in Every Moment, among others.
Dreaming on the Page: Creative Empowerment through Writing & Dream Analysis
A Weekly Class by Tzivia Gover
(5 Sessions) Mondays, June 22 – July 20, 8:00 – 10:00 pm EST
To learn more and register, click here.