Poetry for me is an eye-opening experience. You step into the soles of the shoes of another but ironically enough because the human experience is mirrored through triumphs and pain, you will find some of ‘you’ in the pages of Bare Roots.
No matter whether you’ve gone through similar traumatic experiences as Hillery:
sexual assault and rape
anorexia, addictions, and self-harm
depression and suicidal thoughts
or overall just feeling like a burden to the people you love.
My favorite piece in this collection was a piece called What They Don’t Tell You In College which poignantly pens the struggle between feeding on the lies they sell you about growing up and adulthood and the reality as painful as it may be, as it is.
Bare Roots will act as new soil and help you water the roots of the trauma so you can start anew, flourish and thrive.
Did you enjoy this review? Have a book coming out and need it to SHINE?
The Smart Cookie Philes offers paid review for only $40.
Hillery’s newest poetry collection will be out this Monday April 19 and it is entitled The Medicine That Burns. Look for my review coming this Monday right here. Pre-order it now and get your copy of Bare Roots here.
I was asked to read this book of poetry and some prose for an honest review. Once received, I was unsure of what I would find under this tree of metaphorical significance but I am happy to share not only did I find myself lost in the midst of some of these poems…that share bits of truth about self-confidence, sefl-esteem, and one that cleverly tells the story of a seed of doubt.
My favorite of all Rao’s words shared within the pages of this collection is called Love is.
I also enjoyed the excerpt from Inconvenient Relations, Rao’s novel.
Coming out of the other side of trauma is the part people notice. They didn’t notice you within the trauma feeling stuck, losing the fuel to your fire, losing the best parts of you to appease those people who were absolutely blind to your worth.
They didn’t notice when you were broken and reaching out to everyone and everything to help you understand the pain that had doubled you over. That made you think that this was it. The story was over, and no one checked in or showed up for you like you did for them, you turned to a higher power and internal healing, and to be free of the pain you had to let go of what or who was holding you back.
Then, dead on arrival, the truth, the clarity washes over you and you come out strong. Like a phoenix you rise and begin to fly.
And when you rise, you help others like you heal.
For me, that is the poetry of Jacqueline Whitney. It is written from a place of severe trauma, from a place where people say something is wrong with you because you are depressed and only see darkness, and from a place where light washes over you in streams and waves until the darkness flees from you, and the place you are stuck in, becomes the place where you danced right out of the flames.
It was everything I didn’t know I needed post-trauma. And I thank her for putting her words, her heart, her story out into the world because they helped me heal even more.
You can connect with Jacqueline via Instagram and even find a link to purchase her very vital book of poetry.
Authors Dale Curd and Kimberly Alexander authors of Living Lightly were nice enough to take some time out to virtually answer these interview questions so grab a cup of espresso and enjoy!
The Smart Cookie: Hello to both of you and thank you for sharing such a lovely book with the world. How do you define living lightly?
Dale C &Kimberly A:
The title is, in and of itself, a bit of a paradox. The more I look for light, the more I must work with everything that is in the way of that, being revealed. The more I let go, the more tightly I cling to what remains, it’s importance is revealed to me. The beautiful cover design is an indicator of what Living Lightly feels like, on the inside. Our outer landscape is as individual of an experience as each reader. We encourage readers to take in a ‘simple, not easy’ philosophy to cultivating the relationship with your self and with life. Living Lightly is who we are when we are at our simplest, most content relationship with ourselves.
The Smart Cookie: In your book, you mention how you now live on a farm full-time. How has living on a farm helped teach you about life in regards to the journey and our relationship with self and others?
Dale C and Kimberly A:
Our move from the city to a historic farm is a dream come true for us both. Before we met we were both looking to move into nature. While farm life isn’t everyone’s dream come true, we highly recommend the pursuit of a bucket-list dream! It is absolutely magical to be in the flow of making a dream come true, no matter how long it takes; the synchronicity, the learning, the people, all make a process we would describe as living lightly. Being on a farm, living in a rural community, and in nature, offers a slowing down that makes it easier to see my behaviours, patterns and habits. It has been quite a revelation, and much of it we share in the book! I start to notice how I am with people, I hear the voice in my head more loudly, I become aware of my breathing. Living in rhythm with nature; sleeping when it’s dark, slowing down in winter, being higher energy in the longer light of summer. Life and death are regular experiences with farm animals, and this is strengthening our capacity to love and blurring the lines of life and death. So there are opportunities for connection every day for all of us, and living on the farm makes it easier I think to grasp them.
The Smart Cookie: Nature does have a lot to teach us if we keep our eyes, heart and minds open to it. What drew you to writing a book?
Dale C and Kimberly A:
Well, we tried writing a timeless Christmas song but that is a lot harder than it seems.
The Smart Cookie: Haha song writing sure is a whole different beast for sure. What is the hardest part of being a therapist? What is the most rewarding part of being a therapist?
Dale C and Kimberly A:
We both were introduced to therapy as clients first, experiencing the life-saving benefits firsthand. It is heartbreaking to witness another’s pain, yet that sacred space between client and therapist is one of the most beautiful, intimate experiences we can have. Hearing a client speak their truth for the first time or reach a new awareness, is incredibly humbling. Our spirit can crumble limiting beliefs, old pain and blocks and it can happen in an instant, never to be unseen again. We write often about the value of listening and witnessing in our book, and our work is dedicated to a vision that one day we will hold this intimate, healing space for each other in daily living.
The Smart Cookie: Listening and witnessing pain and trauma first hand does create a very clear intimate space. This global health crisis is effecting everyone worldwide, and creating a sense of isolation that we have not seen in such a very obvious way. What is your advice to the people of the world dealing with the COV-19 crisis?
Dale C & Kimberly A:
We would not prescribe nor advise, rather we encourage people as we do in Living Lightly; to pursue our own truths and to be kind and empathetic towards others. History and this current situation show us that the basic elements of human connection are what have us come through our greatest challenges. Kindness and caring, empathy and resilience are innate and it is only our ego that betrays us in our true time of need. If we focus on what makes us human and humane exclusively, as if it is all we have, we will be rewarded by a rich and meaningful experience of ourself and of life, beyond our imagination.
Thank you for enlightening us and sharing your insights. May we all seek to Live Lightly every single day, especially now in this time of global health crisis and social distancing epidemic.
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Naturally, I was floored when Thought Catalog reached out to me directly as someone they thought of to review Nikita Gill’s newest poetry collection. They sent me the book and from the second I opened it I had trouble putting it down. It was like slow waves that wash over you as you stand upon the ocean’s edge. Your toes sink into the sand as you step deeper and deeper into the water, wading into it until the bravest parts of you are under water and only your head is above.
The water gets rougher and you must fight against the current beneath you.
That is what this poetry book explores. The struggles we suffer within ourselves so the poetry book reads like you are taking a deep sea dive into the depths of your heart and soul.
It is complete and utter inked beauty and leaves you feeling at peace upon closing the back cover, much like a day spent upon the water does or sitting listening to the ocean waves crashing on a sandy beach. The salt air does wonders for the human heart, and this book is no exception to that notion. I recommend everyone read this much like I would recommend taking a cruise vacation or booking a weekend getaway to stay near the beach.
WHY ARE WE ALL AFRAID TO BE? A poem about how the world makes you feel less than you are or small as person.
I NAMED US GRIEF: a poem about wanting to be with someone or not being right for someone but you still wear black and mourn them as if a part of you has died.
For additional poems from Nikita Gill’s poetry book Your Heart is the Sea, please follow the Smart Cookie on Instagram and Twitter.