Sometimes poetry speaks more powerfully than any lecture. In the work of our country’s 2019 Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo, I found both recognition and strength. Are you feeding the monsters?
Do not feed the monsters.
Some are wandering thought forms, looking for a place to set up house.
Some are sent to you deliberately. They come from arrows of gossip, jealousy or envy—and inadvertently from thoughtlessness.
They feed on your attention, and feast on your fear. 1
~ Joy Harjo
This powerful poem speaks to some of the most insidious barriers to happiness in our #HeartspokenLife. The monsters include anger, jealousy, sorrow, regret, guilt, lies, greed, arrogance, resentment, self-pity, inferiority, superiority, and false pride.
We each have our own favorite monsters.
Wandering Thought Forms
It’s so true! These monsters wander in and out of our hearts and heads, “looking for a place to set up house,” looking for a way to take hold and take over.
Don’t let them do it!
Are we being tested?
“Some are sent to you deliberately.” This seems cruel, yet if Jesus and other great saints, spiritual leaders, and mystics were tested, why should we think we won’t be?
But here’s the thing…
This kind of testing is like sharpening a weapon for spiritual battle. When we resist these monsters, we strengthen the muscles of hope, love, and kindness. Watch for the random arrows these monsters throw and recognize them for what they are. Pull them out before the poison penetrates too deeply.
Starve the monsters
Just like feral cats, these monsters will keep returning if you feed them… always more ravenous than before, sapping your attention and emotional energy, fanning the flames of your own fears.
I have fed both— feral cats and the treacherous mind monsters from Harjo’s poem.
The latter are, by far, the most dangerous. The favorite food of my own monsters is my own traitorous ego and the deep desire to be good and be liked.
Protect the door to your mind
The door to the mind should only open from the heart.
An enemy who gets in risks the danger of becoming a friend.2
~ Joy Harjo
These monsters—even when they masquerade as righteousness and justice—are not your friends. By forcing them to move through your heart before they reach your mind, you’ll transform them. Love and hope will guard the door to your mind.
They can be transformed more easily, however, if you haven’t been feeding them.
Stop feeding the monsters!
1 Harjo, Joy. [No poem title]. Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2015.
2 Harjo, Joy. ” This Morning I Pray For My Enemies.” Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2015.
Joy Harjo is the 2019 Poet Laureate of the United States and an internationaly renowned and award-winning performer and writer of the Muscogee Creek Nation.