Creativity Information

Mindfulness and Poetry: Delicious Word Awareness

Everyone's a poet.

Of course, everyone's a critic, too! This means that there are plenty of opportunities to heighten our awareness of words and how we use them.

Words create pictures, and just as a painter uses a combination of colors and strokes to express a concept, we offer an artistic rendering of thoughts through carefully chosen words.

Our linguistic intelligence is what allows us to both recognize and generate vivid word vignettes. Whether you enjoy novels, biographies, mysteries, sonnets, haiku, song lyrics, conversations, soliloquies, or newspaper stories, you can develop greater word awareness by focusing on descriptive phrases.

In our everyday speech, we tend to speak in phrases and punctuate these with expressions, pauses, gestures, or laughter. Although the words themselves convey meaning, the total picture we create is a combination of inflection, context, juxtaposition, and even eye contact.

Don't think you have your own personal poetry style? Think again. You use words in your own way, and it's likely that, given an assignment to express a particular concept, your version would have recognizable elements.

Try this test: describe a birthday cake.

There's a good chance that you would use words to express the shape, flavor, color, decoration, ingredients, size, and presentation of a cake, and that the precise way you do that would be unique when compared to others' descriptions. In addition, you're likely to come up with a different description if asked to do so a month from now.

You can easily and enjoyably boost your word awareness by

1) selecting a particular cue word as a trigger for mindfulness, or

2) focusing on phrases used in specific settings.

Better yet, try both!

By using a particular word as a mindfulness trigger, you can watch how others create poetic representations of the same element.

Ready for your secret food awareness word? Here it is: morsel.

Listening for a specific word will develop your ability to make distinctions in the way it is used and allow you to watch for subtle variations. Does "morsel" refer to something creamy or chewy? Is it savory or sweet?

To play with poetry and mindfulness at the same time, notice phrases used to describe food. Listen to them with an ear for rhythm, and picture them as lines of a poem.

Read menu descriptions, food articles or cookbooks and be aware of the adjectives most likely to get your mouth watering. Sensual words like "succulent" and "luscious" elicit physiological responses. Pay attention to those, and listen for the phrases you hear that create especially vivid sense experiences.

Linking word pictures with taste helps us anchor our linguistic intelligence with our bodily intelligence, and this makes our mouths very happy indeed.

Delectable words,

Delicious poetry. Mmmm--

True taste sensation.

Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse in Portland, Oregon. Through her company, Real-World Mindfulness Training, she teaches fun and effective eyes-wide-open alternatives to meditation. To subscribe to her free weekly ezine, the Friday Mind Massage, please visit

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