Poetry Dowsing Week One: Uncovering a Sense of Optimism

Poetry Dowsing Week One: Uncovering a Sense of Optimism


This is a weekly exercise for a 12 week program for creative exploration and self care. A new exercise will be posted each week for the duration of the program. Please read Poetry Dowsing: A Path to Your Creative Well for more information.

Week One Intentions

This week we are beginners. We are focused on opening our minds and hearts to possibilities. Whatever might be weighing from the dregs of last year can be carefully set aside as you think about embarking on this new journey. Children are excellent examples of optimism. It is a sad fact of life that sometimes as we grow older, as responsibilities weigh heavy and as we become more aware of realities the sense of wonder and play vanishes from our lives. This journey requires that we look with eyes that we have set aside for too long, in many cases.

A personal note about optimism

Optimism is not an easy concept for me. I was always told that even as a child, I was serious by nature. Although that may have been true on the outside, my inner life was rich with imagination. That always came out in the stories I wrote and I remember immersing myself in those worlds where anything was possible. I only had to imagine it.

As an adult, I’ve been through my fair share of trauma. I know I am not unique in this. The effects of that trauma have caused me to be wary and rarely optimistic. I often have an ‘expect the worst’ attitude and expect that will shield me from disappointment. It may very well do that. But, it also closes me off from joy. And who couldn’t use a little more joy?

However, I’m not suggesting that during this week I will become a singing and dancing poster child for optimism. In fact, if you’d ever seen or heard me do either one of those things, you’d thank me. What I am committed to doing is not drowning in my ‘realistic’ negative self. I recognize she is there and I’m asking her to take a back seat this week. I want to hear from and encourage my optimism.

This week’s dowsing exercise

This exercise comes from Julia Cameron’s “Finding Water“, page 40. It is about choosing to focus on the positive and making a concerted effort to train ourselves to see with optimistic eyes. Sometimes I go about my everyday life without noticing the small bits of beauty that surround me. It is so easy to get caught up in the rush of each day. When I do stop to observe and think about where I am, even the most mundane detail can become magical. It can open my eyes to something inspiring and start to fill my creative well.

  • Make a list of five beautiful things that you spot this week. They don’t need to be large or overblown. These can be small details. For example, it might be the way the sun shines through one of my green glass apothecary bottles in my studio window. It could be the way frost clings to the tips of my roof tiles. The important thing is that you look for and see these things. Commit them to paper or to a list on your phone. These could become poems, but more than that, they will enrich your sense of surrounding.

This week’s quote:

“An artist is someone who turns his coat inside out and falls in love with the colour of the lining.”

Jeanne Tardiveau

Important reminders

  • This process centres on recovery and self care in regard to your creative self. Be gentle!
  • Make adjustments as needed, you know yourself best and your positive mental health is paramount.
  • Commit to using your basic tools of Morning Pages, Artist Dates and Walks.
  • Sharing is not mandatory, but we’d love to share the journey with you! Tag all posts regarding these exercises as #PoetryDowsing so we can support you within the Twitter community.