In 2005, I was a 19-year-old college freshman. I was enrolled in the honors program at my school, and as such, was required to take a series of honors humanities courses to fulfill a university requirement. Two of the courses were on the Western tradition of thinking, with the third course being one of several courses on non-Western traditions. I chose Humanities of China.
I discovered that Chinese poetry was especially intriguing for me. We were reading poetry (translated, of course) by Li Bo, and it struck me as very bare yet elegant, and incredibly earth-bound. The words were simple; the meaning was profound.
If I hadn’t known any better, I would have mistaken the texts for James Wright poetry. James Wright is my favorite poet. When I learned about his writing in 2004, I was fascinated. His style is, again, very real, very simple, and yet it reaches me on a profound level. I love writing Wright’s poetry down on paper, channeling the messages. The other day I was copying down one of his works, and I reached one stanza that caused me to dig into the paper. My writing got hectic, slanted, and the energy flowed from my hand to the pen to the paper. It was more therapeutic than a yoga session. Something about Wright and Li Bo resonates with me.
I’m discovering that resonance is a huge part in my life; things resonate with me when they feel right. There is not one, tidy description I could use to talk about how resonance feels, either. It’s a very settled feeling, peaceful and invigorating, all at once. Even if what I’m dealing with seems tempestuous, like depressing poetry or a work-intensive graduate program, it can still cause that settling within me.
As I get older, I am learning to “listen” to that resonance as I am faced with new situations and decisions. More on that, next time.