Pause for Poetry: Inspiration & Prompts

Enjoy this guest post by Mia Robinson Mullen, Associate Director of Strategic Initiative at Leading Age. Here are Mia's reflections on the Creative Spark's 2023 Creative Aging Symposium. 

Lee Herrick, California’s Poet Laureate, was the opening speaker of this year’s Creative Aging Symposium. My first time attending, I was sure I’d find inspiration (creative aging, YES!)—what I didn’t realize is that it would be so instant. Lee lay out the welcome mat, and I eagerly stepped in. (Click here to view and listen to Lee's offering).

As Lee shared his personal story and reflections from his childhood, I felt particularly struck by his remarks on joy. He acknowledged joy for its complexity—joy is multi-dimensional. It is not always derived from feelings of celebration, triumph, and happiness. Sometimes (perhaps often) joy can emerge from a place of deep struggle, grief, and loss.

He followed with the offering of his poem, “Flight”, which felt like an invitation—to allow oneself to be suspended in the present moment, to sense where we might be in relation to our own experience of joy and purpose… and how our experience might connect with the experiences of those around us. I was drawn in. “A much-welcomed way-finder”, I thought, inspired by this beautiful lens of creativity, intergenerational dialogue, and community.

The richest paths are not laden with answers but open us up to (and with) the richest questions. The kind of questions that take time—and often require us to have many more conversations. Here are questions that arose for me, inspired by Lee Herrick's "Pause for Poetry" experience.

How do we hold our joy? What are the qualities of the joy we experience in our lives? How does it change over time—does it? Where do we most often find and experience joy—within our ourselves and in relation to those around us? And what are some ways we might cultivate more joy—particularly when navigating transitions, hardship, loss, grief?

From Creative Spark: Thank you for sharing these engaging thoughts and beautiful prompts for us to dig deeper, Heidi! Will see you at the 2024 virtual Creative Aging Symposium. 


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