Life Lessons from Poetry: Shake the Dust


I took off this past weekend to go stay with a friend at her cabin on Lopez Island. It’s just a quick drive and ferry ride away from Seattle, but so peaceful and quiet compared to the city, and very much what I needed to recharge for the upcoming week.

Lately, I’ve been holding myself back for going after things that I want to do so badly. I keep telling myself that it’s not time yet, soon, but not yet. However, I’m very aware that soon could be far down the road if that’s the message I keep feeding myself.

I decided a couple of months ago that I really wanted to start a blog of my own, and though I didn’t have the slightest idea how to go about buying a domain and hosting, I wanted it badly enough that I worked to figure it out. Since then, however, I’ve come up with every excuse not to write a post. First, it was that my theme wasn’t quite right, then that I didn’t want to start writing until I could come up with something that people would surely read. So there it sits, still waiting for me to decide that the time is right.

Of course, this is me being terrified and feeling like I have not the slightest idea of what I’m doing. But that’s all part of the process and the learning curve, isn’t it?

As much as I’m trying to be gentle with myself, I’m also growing more impatient each and every day, and know that I need a nudge or a push of sorts.

The other day, I came across that nudge.  About four years ago I stumbled across the beat poet Anis Mojgani, and have been a big fan ever since.  One of my favorite poems of his is called Shake the Dust, and as I read it the other day, I couldn’t help but smile to myself.

Towards the end of the poem he states:

Because just like the days, I burn both ends and every time I write, every time I open my eyes I am cutting out a part of myself to give to you.

So shake the dust and take me with you when you do for none of this has never been for me.

All that pushes and pulls, pushes and pulls for you.

So grab this world by its clothespins and shake it out again and again and jump on top and take it for a spin and when you hop off shake it again for this is yours.

Make my words worth it, make this not just another poem that I write, not just another poem like just another night that sits heavy above us all.

Walk into it, breathe it in, let it crash through the halls of your arms at the millions of years of millions of poets coursing like blood pumping and pushing making you live, shaking the dust.

So when the world knocks at your front door, clutch the knob and open on up, running forward into its widespread greeting arms with your hands before you, fingertips trembling though they may be.

So I’ve decided that I have two choices: I can sit and wait around for the right time to present itself, or I can choose to shake the dust.

I’m thinking that not only does shaking the dust sound like more fun, but will also be more rewarding in the long run.  So I intend to shake the heck out of that dust.

How do you intend to shake the dust?

4 thoughts on “Life Lessons from Poetry: Shake the Dust

  1. I loved reading this! so inspirational! I am always holding myself back, telling myself that now is not the time yet, but I too am very aware that if I keep doing this…then the time will never come! Glad I am not the only one :) I am getting ready to make the leap and never look back!

  2. I’ve been willing to write a blog for so long now… And never had the guts to do it because I thought I didn’t have anything interesting to say!
    I realize juste recently, by reading this blog and some others, that I actually had so many things to share with the world! I just need to stop thinking too much and put it out there. I realized also how good it could be for me to express myself, actually write down my thoughts on my own website, and to see people’s reaction to it. I think it’s a great way to work on myself and keep on moving forward everyday.
    Let’s do it!

  3. Sometimes you do need that push from the outside. After all, intertia has a name for a reason. Thanks for the post today. I’ve been holding back lately, waiting for something to come to me, something to show me what’s next, where to put my energy. And I find that when I get into that place, it’s virtually impossible to shake the dust, if you will. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. This was a really great post – you have such courage for being open and honest! I would love to read your blog once you start posting.

    Actually, I just started my blog this week and it has been a bit of a roller coaster of emotions. So much excitement, but I have yet to have anyone but my husband read it, so there is doubt too. Either way it takes time to build something like this – but I say go for it, what do you have to lose?

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