Life as Poetry: Finding Meaning and Satisfaction

Busy much? I thought so. Is your to-do list so long that it needs to be indexed? Yep. Me too. As a person who eventually came to writing prose after beginning with poetry, I don’t find much poetry these days in the modern pace of our world. Working nonstop with an emphasis on getting more and more often results in a life that feels empty, devoid of meaning and connection.

Enter the “slow” movement. Slow food, slow gatherings, becoming makers rather than consumers—it’s been around for a while now. People from all walks of life are consciously focusing on the beauty of the process, of making things from scratch, of sharing meals with family and friends. A few have elevated this lifestyle to an art form, to life as poetry.

A bamboo boat drifts in a green, plant-filled pond surrounded by bamboo walkways inside a bamboo forest in the Sichuan province of China.

I recently discovered Li Ziqi, a Chinese vlogger who represents the highest form of life as poetry I know. To say that she captures the essence of peaceful, meaningful coexistence with the natural world is wildly understating her appeal. Deep in the Sichuan Mountains of China, Li Ziqi forages, harvests, builds, and makes everything a person could need in the remote, humble abode she shares with her grandmother. A child from an abusive home, she left at a young age and was raised by her grandparents. They taught her the old ways, the traditional ways of self-sufficiency, and a respect for the natural world. Watch any video and you’ll see a woman at peace, skilled and graceful, living a life of satisfaction rather than scrambling for survival in an urban setting. Here is one of her videos.

I’m not saying we need to move to a place where there’s no Amazon Prime, Instacart, or Uber, but just think about this: could we each spend a little more time making, sharing, and enjoying the beauty around us? What a glorious thing to do, especially if we share these experiences with the young people in our lives. The result: pure poetry!

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