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Zen Snacks: Haiku You

April 20, 2017


I’ve been carrying this blog post around in my mind, in my heart, written in the pages of a notebook and on my lips for months.


I think it is the start of a new project, one that I am not able to move forward with right now because of my book, Your Big Bold Life Plan. By now my book and I are sick of each other, like adolescent siblings trapped in the back seat on a week-long road trip with dead iphone batteries and no service.


Sadly, my mom is not willing to moderate this very real struggle between my book and me. And so, I sit and slurp cup after cup of lukewarm coffee in cafe’s and hotels who will allow me to be the brooding writer in the corner. I am eager and welcoming to any distraction, today it is a lesson on poetry and mindfulness and their intimate connection.


For years, I’ve written Haiku. I love the simplicity and accessibility of it. I mean you don’t even have to rhyme! A Haiku is a Japanese poem normally with a theme having to do with nature, although that is not a rule I adhere tightly too if at all. The also traditionally have a juxtaposition between the lines or images (again one I don’t always stick to) The structure is a simple three-line expression with the main rule being syllable count (the rule I do use!):


Line one: Five Syllables


Line Two: Seven Syllables


Line Three: Five Syllables


I first introduced the power of Haiku to the littles (my children) as a road-trip distraction when they were seven and nine years old. They embraced the game with sizzling excitement and soon our car was buzzing along; a virtual poetry lab.


Reading the poems aloud to each other I found myself so filled with joy and appreciation for the things they had chosen to write about. The scraggly pines we were driving by, the light of the sun peeking through clouds, the freezing rain that turned to snow at the tippy top of our hike.


It was a glimpse into the highlight reel of their weekend. It was magical.


Last year my mother-in-law took our family on a once in a lifetime trip to Namibia. Namibia the home of the red sand dunes that grace covers of National Geographic. Rich fodder for Haiku. We were on a road-trip to kick all road-trips ass. My family of four, my two brothers-in-law, Vyv my wonderful mom-in-law and our guide Jimmy. Bumping along in a dusty Range Rover; teeth rattling some days for over eight hour