I am learning a lot from the reader reactions to my book of poems “a window for a home without walls.” Since the book’s release on June 14th, 2020 I have been following a steady trickle of reader reactions on Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn and through the emails received from friends, family and strangers. It seems that the poems are creating opportunities for me to have conversations and through those conversations to gain insights about my path ahead. This blog was written in reaction to a zoom dialogue I had with the father of the editor of my book- Molly.
From the first glimpse of Peter on Zoom I realized that he is an energy ball and good at participating in a conversation without an agenda. He also has a knack for drawing people into a safe space from where we could exchange deep thoughts without fear of being judged. An hour-long dialogue between us produced a continuous flow of delightful insights and epiphanies.
He started the conversation with, “Right from the first inscription in the book I am fascinated by all the poems ”. Peter’s genuine curiosity and childlike enthusiasm was infectious. He asked me what prompted me to write these poems. I replied, “I don’t know, the first one just came to me in the middle of the night and the rest kept flowing for eight whole months and have not stopped to date.” He seemed satisfied with my answer. I wondered if instead of answering “I don’t know” I had given him a more confident and a well rehearsed answer, would the rest of the conversation have been as curious, open and authentic as it turned into? He encouraged me to think about why poems may have just appeared in my consciousness. I said to him, “I guess poems are not a product of my intent but more of an outcome of a curious and open mind continuously absorbing the subtle signals in the surroundings and insights gained from chance encounters with interesting people”.
Later in our conversation I mentioned to Peter that though I had content for three books- a book of poems, a book of blogs on various aspects of life, and a third book on my professional practice, I decided to first published a book of poems because they seemed to come straight from the heart and affected humanity. He asked me what I meant by a book about my professional practice. I replied- a book about “co-creation”. He asked - “Why is a book on co-creation a professional book and not a book about life? Why do you see co-creation only in professional context? Do you think a husband and wife co-create their life? Do you think co-creation can help a couple co-imagine a better life together from a more mutually respectful place?” That question dissolved the boundaries in my mind between my professional work and my curiosities and concerns for societal issues. He provoked me to not differentiate between co-creation for a company and for a community.
He had already read various reader reactions to my book of poems on Amazon. He particularly found the one posted yesterday interesting,
“Uday’s poems feel like a warm embrace during a challenging time, while encouraging us to bask in the Mother Earth, acknowledge our innate capacity for creativity and adaptability, summon strength through vulnerability, and remember to dream of hornets yet to come” (kimmykobo on Amazon)
I pointed out to him that several other readers have described their experience of reading the poems as “a gentle and soothing voice from within me that helps me heal and create hope in these difficult times”
Peter seemed curious to trace the connection between my curiosities and my work. We talked about a recent corporate social responsibility project. During this project we had to study the treatment experience of patients with chronic, terminal and acute diseases. I pointed out to him that I was particularly fascinated by how co-creation process helped patients with terminal illnesses imagine how they could live the rest of their life meaningfully and purposefully.
Peter asked me, “How would you help someone who is suffering from early stages of Parkinson’s disease?”
I told him about a conversation I had recently had with a friend. She requested me for a copy of my book for her sister- who is suffering from a Narcissistic personality disorder. She hopes that the poems “will speak to her sister from inside and help her listen to the voices of wisdom and open a crack in the door through which the family could communicate with her.”
Peter was fascinated by my friend’s creative response to the poems. We wondered if my book would be able to help his friend who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease as well .
I said to him, I am aware that Parkinson’s doesn’t always affect how long you live. But it can change your quality of life in a major way. After about 10 years, most people will have at least one major issue, like dementia or a physical disability.
I suggested to peter that we could give this book of poems to his friend while he was still communicating and in touch with the people in his life. Wouldn’t it be nice if when his disease progresses and he develops dementia, the poems could continue a dialogue with him and save him from regressing into loneliness? Peter liked the idea and said he might try it out with his friend.
I loved the dialogue with peter. Just as we were about to say good bye to each other, I had a sudden epiphany. I asked him “Are you a counselor by any chance? My intuition tells me that you are either a counselor or an actor.”
Peter replied, “yes I am a counselor and I studied acting when I was in college.”
I googled peter’s name after the call. I discovered that he and his wife specialize in ‘coaching couples who desire to become a strong team to realize their professional and relationship goals’. I also learned that he is a well known author who has featured on numerous radio and TV shows including the “Today” show and the “CBS Morning Show.”.
Thank you Peter for a wonderful conversation that led me to so many insights and epiphanies.