“Chautauqua”-: Today, it is “experiencing a renaissance. People are discovering that lifelong learning is one of the keys to living a happy, fulfilling life.” I am so grateful this word, and this experience entered my life!
So this summer, I had been struggling a little with identity as I quit my long term career path as a teacher.
I had wanted to be a teacher since I was a little girl. I had the courage to go back to school as a young mom in my late twenties and began teaching as my second career. Ah…I loved it! But the demands as a teacher were more than I could do and still pursue my other dreams of writer and writing coaching, so I didn’t renew my contract.
Enter, new phase in my life. I’ve ALWAYS worked, and now I got to trust what came next. Granted, I was lost. I felt I had lost my tribe and that I didn’t belong anywhere and that I was alone on my journey. Enter, my friend, who is a counselor. He was EXCITED about my new journey and said I was RIPE for discovery and he couldn’t believe all that was out there for me. You should have seen his face, grinning ear to ear, as if he knew a secret that I didn’t know. Then, add in to the conversation, I’m about to take a trip across America with my husband for two and half weeks, and I thought he would vault out of the chair, and the grin that I didn’t think could get bigger, took up his whole face.
That’s when he let me in on the secret of “Chautauqua. The way he introduced it to me was that I go into my travels without any expectations. Be open. Be honest. Enjoy. Also, not to hold on to any specific outcomes. I took all this to mean ABSORB. My great mantra of #ILivePoetry was my first thought….treat each day as a poetic experience. What do I see? really see? What if I stop and notice more? What if I take pictures from the under sides of things? What do I hear? Songs of the cicada? Ocean waves? What do I taste? Are there new tastes? New food? Old favorites in a new way? Experience it all.
Being open to an experience and drinking….no GULPING it in is way different than just doing it. I LIVED it. I truly “lived poetry.” My take on poetry is that it’s the best words, in the best order, in the tiniest of packages but the most explosive of moments. I truly got to live my live. Then suddenly, the worries diminish, life’s blessings show up in the most unusual ways. I noticed things in ways and places I hadn’t before.
In the next couple of weeks, I will randomly post my experiences. I thought I might go by towns and stops along the way…not sure how it will look, just sharing. It will be poetry unfolding. And as I showcase my experiences, you’ll see my definition of a Chautauqua. Namaste my friends.