Warriors, Toads and Poetry

Mallorcan midwife toadMallorcan Midwife Toad (photo credit Wikipedia)

I’m not generally a huge fan of poetry, but love to hear it brought alive by being spoken. One or two reminders about the Wenlock Poetry festival had come to me over the last few days, and as my husband is a lover of poetry, we made a late decision to go along. I was drawn to someone I’d not heard of, David Whyte, with a session advertised as:

Solace: The Art of Asking the Beautiful Question, which went on to say

Each one of us grows into a steadily unfolding story where the horizon gets broader and more mysterious, ………

Intriguing I thought.

We didn’t have tickets, and when we got to the box office were told that the poet my husband wanted to hear (Glyn Maxwell) was sold out, and that they only had one ticket left for David Whyte. Oh no! We could have given up and gone home, but not to be thwarted, we went back to the car to re-group and eat our sandwiches (as you do!). We knew there was another box-office in the town, so walked there to ask. We were told we could get in on the door for Glyn Maxwell, and that the other box office would have the tickets for David Whyte.

So, we were able to enjoy the story behind the ‘Mallorcan Midwife Toad‘ as told by Glyn Maxwell (an award winning British poet and writer) in a tiny Methodist Church, squashed on wooden pews with a scent of lilies in the air.

But what about David Whyte? I didn’t want to give up on the Art of Asking the Beautiful Question, so we walked the half mile back to the first box office, to ask again. (I think my husband was angling for a pint, or at least a cup of tea with a scone). We were hoping to mug someone for their tickets, but didn’t need to as a batch of tickets from the second box office had apparently just been released, and were now available in this box office. As someone who used to work in IT, the idea of juggling paper tickets between two box-offices, (in conjunction with the existence of an online booking system that didn’t appear to come into the equation), seemed quite quaint. Were carrier pigeons used to transport the tickets between box offices, we wondered?

So, was it worth it? Most definitely! An inspiring poet and philosopher with a beautiful voice, leaving you with so many ideas and questions to ponder.

And what has this to do with warriors? As we came home, my husband said that if he’d not been with me, he’d maybe have given up. I’ve been working with warrior postures this week, and am convinced they give me tenacity, determination and perseverance. I also think that through practicing yoga, I’m much more open to and aware of the messages from my intuition leading me to opportunities that enrich and enliven my life.


You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

© David Whyte: Excerpted from SWEET DARKNESS



Alternative spring cleaning

In the Wind in the Willows, Mole was spring cleaning, then said “`Bother!’ and `O blow!’ and also `Hang spring-cleaning!’ and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously,…….. So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, `Up we go! Up we go!’ till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.

……. The sunshine struck hot on his fur, soft breezes caressed his heated brow, and after the seclusion of the cellarage he had lived in so long the carol of happy birds fell on his dulled hearing almost like a shout. Jumping off all his four legs at once, in the joy of living and the delight of spring without its cleaning, he pursued his way across the meadow……..” – Kenneth Grahame

To me, this perfectly captures the exuberance of this time of year. We sometimes need to leave the ‘oughts’ and the ‘shoulds’, and do something that makes us feel truly alive. To feel the energy of the earth and to blossom with it. Yoga can give us an internal spring-clean, blowing away the cobwebs with the breath, clearing unhelpful emotions, helping us to stretch, grow and feel that tingle of being alive.

Which sort of spring-cleaning do you prefer? No points for guessing mine…….

How do you approach challenging poses?

Do you look round and compare yourself with others and want to do better? Do you push yourself into it and risk injury? Are you cautious and avoid stretching yourself too far? As in yoga, as in life. Through yoga you learn more about yourself and how you approach life. Sometimes you need to hold back and sometimes you need to move to the edge and take more risks. Enjoy exploring yourself on the safety of your mat. Know your strengths and learn where you need to develop more strength and courage.

“Our strength grows out of our weaknesses”, Ralph Waldo Emerson