Curve Your Straight

Curve your straight

Widen your narrow

Don’t crouch in a gully

Sample the peaks

Down in the dumps

your doom is secure

Resuscitate your ardor

Heat up your pizzazz

Put roller skates

on your pussy feet

Welcome the peril

of passionate dismay

     Have you ever felt that your life is small? Have you allowed yourself to be defined by your roles and responsibilities in a way that is confining? Have you wondered what it would be like to be more free and alive? My guess is that poet James Broughton has felt all of those things at times, and that he penned the above to encourage himself and to invite us to live with a greater sense of joy, vitality, and at least a touch of pizzazz.

     It is no easy task to remain young-at-heart as we assume the responsibilities that come with adulthood; earning a living, paying our bills, caring for those in our charge, providing for unexpected setbacks and for our inevitable decline. But the familiarity and repetition that often come with the territory of being accountable and dependable in our work and personal lives, can cause us to lose touch with the fact that human beings are spiritual beings, and that being spiritual is about being fully alive.

    It’s been said that the difference between a rut and a grave are the dimensions! When Broughton claims that “down in the dumps your doom is secure,” he is naming the truth that there can be a deadly sense of comfort when our daily routines become patterns that devolve into ruts. The proverbial “straight and narrow” is not a bad way to live, but its predictability can have a deadening effect on our soul.

     What to do if we’ve lost our taste for “passionate dismay?” How can we resuscitate our ardor? What might it mean to put on roller skates? A more vibrant life is not necessarily a different life, but a different way to live life. It is about giving ourselves permission to try something new, to take risks, to think and to live “outside the box,” to have the courage, in the words of Henry David Thoreau, to “step to the music of a different drummer,” one whose cadence is the tempo of the Spirit.  

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