• Just for writers,  Poetry,  Writing advice

    Working from home

    “Let her have a chair, her shadeless lamp, the table.” — Jane Hirshfield, “The Poet” The pandemic has changed the way most of us work. Today, “working from home” is no longer just a temporary option for parents of young kids. More than ever, we all need a safe workspace where we can be productive and creative — whether it’s the kitchen table, a home office in the guest room, or a studio in the basement. The following poem is another favorite of mine, reminding me of my early years of motherhood and the challenges of starting a writing career at home. (I scheduled my deadlines around nap time or…

  • Motivation,  Photo stories

    The right tools?

    “Do not wait; the time will never be ‘just right.’ Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command, and better tools will be found as you go along.” ~George Herbert Procrastination is so easy to justify. We convince ourselves that we can’t begin (or finish) a project until we’ve acquired the right workspace, a totally clear calendar, or a special set of tools or equipment … Or until the stars align perfectly in our personal universe. That’s when the tools we need the most are motivation, a can-do attitude, and the sheer will to start or finish the project. What have you been…

  • Motivation,  Personal growth,  Photo stories

    Take a risk

    “A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” ~John Assaraf Talk about taking a risk … This scrappy little pansy found its way between two brick pavers on our patio and managed to bloom on a chilly spring morning. As soon as I spotted it, I got the message: When we push past our so-called limitations, we can accomplish anything. Photo by Cindy La Ferle

  • approval seeking,  David Whyte,  Poetry

    “Sweet Darkness”

    “You must learn one thing. The world was made to be free in.” — David Whyte Sometimes the right poem can work life-changing magic. And sometimes it all depends on what you’re going through when you read it. David Whyte’s “Sweet Darkness” is one such poem for me. Revisiting it today, I am struck this time by the sheer power of its last three lines. This heart-stopping poem is an invitation to stop wasting our time on futile distractions — and a clarion call to discover the real work that we were meant to do…. SWEET DARKNESSBy David Whyte When your eyes are tiredthe world is tired also. When your vision has…

  • Just for writers,  Poetry,  the challenges of being original

    How to find your voice: “The Journey”

    “And there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own.” — Mary Oliver In my workshops, we often discuss the importance of finding or developing our own creative voices. It’s never easy. Every day, we are bombarded by a cacophony of inner critics, cultural norms, and religious and political pundits — not to mention all the mindless white noise generated by social media. We have to pull back and listen deeply to hear our own truth. Otherwise, we’re simply mimicking others when we speak, write, or design our lives.   Mary Oliver’s “The Journey” gives us a new map. It’s one of my favorite poems about living…