Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Beauty We Love

"May the beauty we love be what we do".

In 1970, aged seventeen, I sat with an atlas of the UK and randomly selected six universities to apply to. For good or ill, I received no advice from parents, teachers or a careers officer (unheard of that time). It wasn't as if my parents were uncaring or saw no value in education. Far from it. When he was fourteen my father was working down the coal mine and my mother worked as an office clerk from the age of fifteen. Both of them would have been intellectually able enough to have gone to university but both were financially disadvantaged. My academic success was a thing of great pride to them although they never said much about it.They must have been relieved that I was self-motivated and they that they could "let me get on with it".

In the last line of her poem, "Praise Song for My Mother", Grace Nichols writes , "Go to your wide futures, you said". How different might it have been if either parent or any other adult at that time had expressed that sentiment to me, as my own view of my future was too narrow. It would never have occurred to me to make the beauty I loved be what I did in relation to earning a living. I had no knowledge of or belief in those sorts of options. Sometimes it takes a long time to "only connect".

In the song "Wolves" Eddi Reader sings, "But I'm a fly in a bottle, got my own fingers on the lid". At forty nine I let myself out. I gave up full time teaching and explored my life's possibilities. At fifty two I began a three-year training programme with the National Association for Poetry Therapy to become a Certified Poetry Therapist, qualifying in 2009. Now, working with individuals and groups, using poetry, paintings, photographs - anything that has the potential to evoke a creative response, and often in a natural environment, I have come alive to the beauty of what I love.

For further information about Poetry Therapy see my "Poetry Therapy" page on this blog.

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