This morning I danced to a playlist I have been listening to for a few months, filled with lyrical instrumental tunes and pulsing African rhythms that put me in an especially spacious mood for movement play. Allowing my body its joy, I was filled with such glee, all I could do was smile and be grateful. And keep on dancing!

The hummingbirds were also feeling it!! At the feeder outside the window of my studio, a quartet of the dazzlers were frolicking and cavorting with just as much excitement.

Although hummingbirds may look like they are fighting for places at the feeder, in fact they are having fun and getting exercise when they wrangle with each other like that.

As an artist, I have often felt as if I was fighting for a place at the “feeder,” whether that meant performing at the best open mike events, being published by the right press, or having my poems accepted by a certain journal. It took me a while to find those places where the writing I did was welcomed, and appreciated.

I had to trust that there was an audience for my words and that, if I kept writing, and being true to myself, my audience and I would find each other. I had to listen to where my words were being received with love and acceptance, and where my voice was valued. It wasn’t easy because I had ideas of what the process “should” look like.

One of the difficulties lay in having compared myself to other writers, whom I admired. I wanted my words to be accepted and appreciated like theirs. But I couldn’t “be” them. I had to stay on track with my own expression, to keep focusing on what I had to say, and crafting how to say it.

This has been a significant part of my journey of Loving Inquiry. Learning to accept and value my own words, to honour the subjects I write about, and celebrate my voice in its quirky, original uniqueness.

I also learned that at different times, we have different audiences. That our words, like our bodies and minds, change, as we delve into new subjects, try new genres, and evolve as artists and human beings.

My journey has unfolded in its own inimitable way. I am grateful for those mentors and teachers who have encouraged me, and for the audiences and readers who have received my words with enthusiasm and generous attention. This is what we need to flourish, as writers and as artists. People who invite us to open into our authentic expression, who hold us with compassionate curiosity, and allow us to find our particular ways into print and performance and play!

It is no wonder that I do the work I do in the world. I have been lucky with mentors and teachers. I have received so much and so I give in return. It is with such honour and delight that I welcome and receive the tentative, emerging voices of others.

Just like I welcome my quirky original dance moves, and those of the hummingbirds, who never fail to astonish and inspire!