My yoga instructor shared a thoughtful poem with us during our Yin yoga session the other night, and I thought it would be wonderful to share it with you all:
Missing the Boat
It is not so much that the boat passed
and you failed to notice it.
It is more like the boat stopping
directly outside your bedroom window,
the captain blowing the signal-horn,
the band playing a rousing march.
The boat shouted, waving bright flags,
its silver hull blinding in the sunlight.
But you had this idea you were going by train.
You kept checking the time-table,
digging for tracks.
And the boat got tired of you,
so tired it pulled up the anchor
and raised the ramp.
The boat bobbed into the distance,
shrinking like a toy—
at which point you probably realized
you had always loved the sea.
Naomi Shihab-Nye. Wow. Something about her poem spoke to me inside and made me think back to all the times I felt stubborn about “the right things.” How I envisioned my future career, partner, and other life plans. I had it all mapped out and set to go. Nothing was going to deter me from my plans. The way life unfolds, though, is usually without your grand plans in mind. I’ve been particularly reminded of how much tiresome it was to fight against myself on what I thought was the only marker of success. It was to either get this prestigious job or be a failure. It was the promise that if I followed through on my step-by-step 5-point plan, I can finally ease up and give myself the deserving acknowledgment I worked hard for.
Then I faltered. I stumbled. I fell. I saw that nothing was holding me down but myself. I grew too impatient and tunnel-visioned that I lost sight of other things that meanwhile kept growing in vivid color all around me. How I found my recent and growing art patrons and budding art career a “lucky streak” or “too easy, it must not be good.” How I used to complain so much about how difficult it was to meet new friends as an adult that I took for granted the new faces that I’ve gotten to know at work, in my art studios, and friends of friends that I’ve connected with. And that I have found an emotional connection with a partner that is able to intimately share multi-faceted feelings and thoughts about the world that we all live in, which I forgot was the deal-breaking thing that was lacking my previous relationship.
Sometimes things don’t work out no matter how hard we try. Sometimes it’s just not in the stars. But I hope to always have the ability to be able to step back and see life for what it is and not miss the little things that make the big picture grand.
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Find more of Naomi Shihab-Nye’s mellifluous poetry here: