I’m delighted to announce that Allowing Now has won Gold Award at the Literary Titan Book Awards and honored at the kind comments of the judges who praise the collection of mindfulness poetry as a “beautifully written collection” that is “heartfelt, moves readers, spans a variety of topics [and] gives readers something others sometimes lack–hope.”
These poems are dear to me as they encompass my philosophy about life and they both grow out of, and support, my own mindfulness practice.
Mindfulness and Poetry
Though we’ve only recently started to use this word, poets—and poetry lovers—have always cultivated the truth, magic and mystery of mindfulness. When we move more deeply into the moment we’re in, we ignite our own poetic presence.
Dormant faculties waken. Insight, imagination, intuition, inspiration: all are magnified. We see more, perceive more, know more. We wake up to life and all the ways it expresses itself, including words. Reading (and writing) poetry calls for this fully-present state, and reading and writing mindfulness poetry most of all.
As I wrote this book, I wanted to do more than write about mindfulness. I wanted the reader to experience that deeper and higher state of mind.
A job I couldn't do on my own!
The great gift a reader offers a poet is their own creative presence, their willingness to stop thoughts for a time, to settle in and listen. That’s what makes poetry happen in the reading, as in the writing.
A good poet brings everything, a whole life, to the writing of the poem and a good reader brings everything, a whole life, to its reading.
The essence of poetry is a mystery that cannot be grasped at the level of logic. It begins when an experience moves a poet to perceive a deeper or higher layer of life, beyond the material surface of things. Later, the poet recalls the sense of that experience—what was seen or tasted, smelled or touched, heard or perceived. Wordsworth famously called this process the “overflow of powerful feelings…recollected in tranquility” and expressed in words, so that the sense and sound, the rhythm and rhyme, somehow transmit to the reader not just what happened in that moment, and how it felt, but what it meant.
Poetry is an re-enactment. A profound homage to the miracle of creation itself.
Reading Poetry Mindfully
People sometimes come to mindfulness seeking only beauty and ease, but that is to miss its profundity. Mindfulness, like poetry, cannot separate beauty from truth. Mindfulness and poetry are only possible only when we fully accept whatever is going on, within us and around us.
In a mindful reading, the mind holds a poem like a big, open, blue sky holds a cloud. Soft, white and light cirrus cloud, or a dark, heavy, rain-bearing cumulonimbus, the sky holds it all.
When we read mindfulness poetry, it’s not about whether we like the poem or don’t like it, whether it is “better” or “worse” than another poem.
It’s about listening.
Listening not just with the ears but with heart and gut and spirit. Listening not just for the words but also for the space between the words, where meaning resonates.
A mindfulness poem mindfully read can dissolve anxiety and confusion and distraction, can encourage clarity and focus and expansion. The words form a refuge within which you can recharge and reconnect with life, in its abundant, and variegated layers.
Instructions for Mindful Poetry Reading
• Sit. Connect to the fact that you are breathing. Don’t change your breath, just observe it. Stay connected, brain to breath, for a few moments.
• Breathe. Gradually begin to lengthen the length of your out-breath. When you get to the end of the out-breath, breathe out some more. Then relax and allow your in-breath to happen by itself.
• Repeat. Do a few more mindful breaths like this.
• Read. Now open the page and read the words of the poem, silently or aloud, to yourself. Read at a pace that allows you to fully hear the words and give them your full attention.
• Return. If your mind wanders, when you notice that has happened, just gently bring it back to the words on the page. No worries and definitely no self-criticism.
• Digest. When you’re finished the poem, sit still. No need to move away from it for a few moments. No need to rush to turn the page or read another poem. No need to analyse, assess or judge. Just let the sound and sense of its words reverberate within.
• Connect. Find your breath again. Make it longer, slower, deeper again.
• Reread. Read the poem again, in just the same way.
LITERARY TITAN AWARD: Orna Ross’s Allowing Now: A Book of Mindfulness Poetry is a prime example of verse designed to captivate readers and make them feel heard. This beautifully written collection of poetry provides readers with timely selections and gives readers tips for appreciating … mindfulness poetry.
Readers who love haiku will be excited to see that Ross has included many in this style… exquisite three-line gems.
Allowing Now is heartfelt, moves readers, and spans a variety of topics. This thought-provoking collection will appeal to any poetry fan looking to delve into a complete body of work by a single poet. It is easy to absorb Ross’s entire book in a sitting, and it is perfect for a reread.
Orna Ross gives readers something others sometimes lack–hope.
You can read the full review here.
Buy Allowing Now: A Book of Mindfulness Poetry here.