Yesterday I went to the reference library… it’s been so long since I’ve spent hours there, it felt like a homecoming. At Balzac’s I met a girl who has the best life – part-time model and part-time head of a charity called Bea-You-tiful, whose mission is to build the next generation of confident women. They’re having a free conference in Toronto this weekend called Inspired by Her, for girls ages 9-12 that features local female leaders speaking on self-compassion and mental wellness topics.
This conference reminds me of the She Can Do It conference that my team envisioned in our project management course – we dreamed up a one-day conference for girls ages 14-18, that features local female leaders and a follow-up mentorship program. It’s amazing to see that this type of conference actually exists now!! Our slogan was An Empowered Girl leads to a Better World. “Coincidentally”, this morning’s Anita Chat (a podcast by my friend Anita Rombough), was about combating self-defeating beliefs and how one empowering message led her to shake off her doubts and believe that she can accomplish anything.
As for the continuous onslaught of bad news in the world, it’s a tragedy to witness preventable death, murder, and senseless violence due to a chronic inability to stand up for what’s right. As many are feeling and many have voiced a million times, how many deaths will it take to change the law? Why doesn’t the president of the free world have the power to just sign a bill and make it so – why would something of utter and complete common sense require votes and committees and bills and tears and fights? Miles and miles of red tape, while the colour red bleeds from the innocent. And the rest of us have to just watch, feel the pain, and also try to ignore it so we can go on with our day, and experience the joy that is the very purpose of being here in the first place.
As the deadline for the CBC poetry contest approaches, I’m wondering which poems I should submit. I haven’t written anything new in quite some time, but have a few potential good ones from the last few years. I have to admit that even though I like writing it, I don’t understand most poetry – and I find that the ones that mostly win the contests are all about pain, trauma, and heartache (which I can certainly do!).
I tried reading a few and gave up, seeking a classic – I wanted to read a poem that was like the perfect cup of English breakfast tea, satisfying and hits the spot every time. One of the greatest poets that ever lived was Rabindranath Tagore, born in 1861 in Kolkata, West Bengal. He was also a composer, philosopher, playwright, and social reformer.
His poem, Playthings, describes the innate joy of revelling in your child-like curiosity. Oftentimes lost as an adult, we set out to accomplish things and forget to enjoy the simple beauty of the moment. It reminded me of my niece and how she is enamoured by bees and flowers and squirrels (“shockos”), and also how my friend Daisy said that I’m the same way (what a compliment!).
by Rabindranath Tagore
Child, how happy you are sitting in the dust,
playing with a broken twig all the morning.
I smile at your play with that little bit of a broken twig.
I am busy with my accounts, adding up figures by the hour.
Perhaps you glance at me and think, “What a stupid game to spoil your morning with!”
Child, I have forgotten the art of being absorbed in sticks and mud-pies.
I seek out costly playthings, and gather lumps of gold and silver.
With whatever you find you create your glad games, I spend both my time and my strength over things I never can obtain.
In my frail canoe I struggle to cross the sea of desire, and forget that I too am playing a game.