General Interest

Collecting Small Stones

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I’m in love with small stones. Here’s one I found last week:

Vivid pinks and purple

of my crepe myrtles

rejoice in rain-cleansed morning air

A small stone, coined by writer Fiona Robyn, is simply another name for a micro poem. Writing small stones helps me meet my goal to balance the time I spend in the electronic world and the real world. Being on the lookout for small stones throughout the day slows me down so I forget to be stressed. They also help me:

  • Live in the moment
  •  Pay Attention

I’m forever trying to be “present” because psychology tells us that people who regularly practice the art of now are happier and healthier. What’s more, keenly observing one’s surroundings is a characteristic of highly creative people.

Writing a small stone certainly makes me feel creative, and it’s not because my micropoetry would win a prize:

new baby sleeping on my chest
wrapped like a burrito in a blanket   
of pink and green circles

There are no rules for what makes a piece of writing a small stone as there are for haiku and other form poetry. The process is much more important than the finished product. “Finding small stones will encourage you to keep your eyes (and ears, nose, mouth, fingers, feelings and mind) open,” declares Fiona.

There are only two steps involved, but they seem simpler than they actually are:

  • First, notice them.
  • Second, write them down.

What makes this difficult? For one thing, paying attention is hard. We’re self-focused much of the time, or in a great hurry to get to our next stop. Who can be bothered with paying attention?  But to enter the higher state of mindfulness, we must pay attention to our immediate experience. And because paying attention is other-centered, it slows us down, calms us, and often become spiritual.

Collecting small stones is a good practice because in writing them down, they become an expression of praise. Something poetic is created without tons of effort, and more important to me, the practice takes me away from my electronic world of email, group discussions, blog stats and Facebook. Small stones keep me balanced because they’re a different and satisfying way to connect with the world.

I have a folder in Dropbox labeled Candi’s Small Stones. The template is an index card – the perfect size for a micro poem. No, I don’t add to the notebook every day; some days I don’t even find small stones much less record them. But I am getting better, and my collection is growing.

Six proud crows

Military bearing

Strutting the street

cross onto my lawn

What’s up?

Although small stones are often nature-based, they don’t have to be. They can reflect emotion as these do:

uninvited ex-friend
ringing my doorbell,
I don’t want to do this.

cool, September morn
cries for gas logs to knock off the chill.
“Wasteful,” my dad whispers, from the great beyond.
I light them anyway.

Small stones are all around. We only have to enter the moment by paying attention and tossing a few words around. Collecting small stones brings me to a place of serenity and peace. How about you? Go on and share a small stone in the comment section. It’ll make you feel good.
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Editor's Notes:  Candyce Deal has written for publications such as Working Mother, 1,001 Home Ideas, Georgia Backroads, Mothers Today, Baby Talk, Home Life, Living, Reflections, Marriage & Family, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Vibrant Life, and others. She's contributed curriculum and teaching ideas to Lifeway, The Education Center, Mailbox Magazine, Early Years, Momentum, and Good Apple.

Connect with Candyce on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/1qBBVgv or follow her on Twitter @CandyceDeal

 

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