The four “Why”s

There are at least four reasons for learning to create and offer Affirmative Poetry:

  1. Maybe the greatest source of human pain is not knowing who we really are.
  2. The most powerful way to be woken up from the sleep of not knowing who we really are is to have someone in front of us reflecting the full truth of how beautiful we are.
  3. Most of us are good at blowing off affirmations – even really strong ones.  They will have more chance of really landing – of having a powerful impact – if they come in some creative package: dance, song, drama, poetry/poetic expression, etc.
    dance 2
  4. In the process of creating affirmative poetry/poetic expression for others, inevitably the positivity of that act attaches to us. It may actually be impossible, as my therapist used to say, to give a genuine affirmation to someone else that is not also true about us.

Poetic expression

Many or most of us tend to blow off even wonderful affirmations we get from others.  I have always said that for me most affirmation is like water rolling off a duck’s back.  For an affirmation to really stick with us, it doesn’t need to be a fully formed poem, but some kind of poetic expression – fresh, interesting, creative, or beautiful language – can help.
In the poem that I’m delivering at Jubilee on January 27, I have the protagonist say:
Wait, i get it
You need to see me clearly
Clearer than I see myself
And you need to reflect it back to me
In ways that I can hear
That I can’t deny
But who can do that?
You need to be a pretty special person
Or rather you need to tap into a special wellspring of light
But you know what’s more?
You’re going to have a hard time getting through to me
If you’re reading me a list
I don’t want an essay, I want a poem
I want you to do an end run around my rational mind
To slip it in under the radar
I don’t want logic, I want beauty
I don’t want an argument, I want a song
I don’t want a  powerpoint presentation
I want a dance
dance
We will learn how to dance our affirmations in the Majo Affirmative Poetry course.

Jubilee Majo Affirmative Poetry class: February 6 – March 13

Affirmation – the right nice thing said at the right moment – has big power to help people wake up and see their own beauty.

Poetic expression – saying things in interesting, fresh or beautiful ways – can better get through to people.

I will be teaching you ten keys for this kind of poetry, which will make it much more concrete – and help you to really know and understand what you are doing.  We will also play a lot and have fun.lets-play_brand_logo_bid

“Ten keys for Affirmative Poetry – and for life.  Learn them in one class – practice them for life.”

The class will run Wednesday evenings 6:30-8:30: February 6, 13, and 27 and March 6 and 13 – skip February 20.  It will happen at Jubilee (46 Wall St.) and is open to all.  (Ask me about my exciting storytelling on Feb. 20.) 

Free intro session Monday, 2/4 at Jubilee – to try it out and answer your questions. 

Suggested Donation of $20 per session, but no one turned away for lack of funds.

Questions? heymajo@gmail.com or 828-582-9822 or here.

Introduction to a one-hour session

There are ten keys to Affirmative Poetry.  Today you will not learn them all.  I will say and define them all.  You will get a handout listing them all.  We will do a couple of exercises that contain a few of them.  At the end of the session, you will offer someone a poem that contains at least one of them. I guarantee it.  That poem will be an SFD – a shitty first draft.  There may be lots of it that you will find fault with.  But there will be something in there that will express one or more of the ten keys. You may know and appreciate it right then.  Or it may take a day or a week for you to see this, but eventually the fog of self-criticism will clear and you will say, “That sentence (word) was right – had authenticity, was genuinely affirming, I can stand behind it.” I guarantee it.
conversation 1
I’m going to take you through a lot of activities in this hour.  We are going to get off our duffs if we are going to have something meaningful happen in one hour – but we can do it.  Some of what I’m going to ask you to do may be embarrassing – probably will be.  Embarrassment is the glue that holds all the rest of our stuckness in place.  As long as we are afraid to be embarrassed we will remain frozen.  We will never get completely over being embarrassed, though we can get to where we can do all kinds of wild things and be embarrassed a lot less.  But embarrassment is just a feeling like any other – it comes and goes like the weather.  Don’t take it serious. jump in and do the activity even if you feel embarrassed.embarassment 1
That being said, aside from hurting yourself or somebody else there’s nothing you can do wrong in here.  If I ask you to do something that you really just don’t want to do, you can do it anyway – or you can not do it.  Do something else.  Talk about something else.  Preferably stay with your partner.  If you have had it with talking, walk around the room.  Preferably stay in the room.  If you need to leave the room, leave the room. Preferably come back.  If you need to not come back, approve of yourself for leaving.

AFFIRMATIVE POETRY for fun, art and healing

There are ten keys to Affirmative Poetry.  When you follow these keys and give someone a poem, you give them a precious gift.
“Ten keys to Affirmative Poetry – and to life.  Learn them in one class – practice them for life.”
baby goat
Anyone can give a blessing.
The ten keys are:
  1. Ground yourself in your body
  2. Breathe
  3. Get quiet
  4. Let go of expectations
  5. Don’t assume anything
  6. Be open and receptive
  7. Don’t try
  8. Affirm yourself and your subject
  9. Come from a positive frame of mind
  10. Trust

rocks

If you practice these keys, the poems you give people will often be fun, frequently beautiful and sometimes genuinely healing.
You start by having your subject give you some clues – a few words or sentences about themselves (or their dog if they want the poem about/for their dog, etc.) – so you aren’t starting from scratch.
From this kind of start, Majo landed on these 10 keys by inquiring into the sources of his own success as an affirmative poet:
  • Why do people so often cry tears of relief or gladness when they hear the poem?
  • Why do they look at you with soft eyes, like they have always been waiting for you to come along?
  • Why do they so often say things like “That was perfect!” or “You know me so well!” or “How did you know that?  I didn’t say that.”
Anybody can do this. Where does it come from?  It’s a great mystery – and lots of practice.  You have to “turn it over” – and the ten keys help that happen.
Each class will include extensive drills with one or more of the keys and a chance to get in pairs and to create actual poems – sloppy, imperfect but real poems.  You know Anne Lamott’s concept of SFD’s?  “Shitty first drafts” – we need ’em.
resist from party
Majo – What to resist? What to embrace?
Each class will end with Majo offering a poem to one or more participants in front of the group.  All participants will receive a poem from Majo by the end of the class – and take away a recording.