On the KCRW Life Examined podcast, poet Jane Hirshfield discusses how poetry is aptly suited to help us find peace and clarity in difficult times, such as now.

Art has always had the ability to speak to our souls on some transcendental level. There is a reason people turn to it in trying times, and now is no different. Poet Jane Hirshfield, interviewed on the May 30, 2020 episode of the KCRW podcast, Life Examined, speaks about how poetry helps her find “what is delicious [to the spirit]” each day even during this time period of uncertainty. She speaks about going to bed the night before the official stay-at-home orders went into effect and waking up feeling as if she “awoke in another’s bed.” This can resonate so deeply for us all. We remember the days of eating in groups, going to plays or movies inside, and being able to hug loved ones; and oh, how forcefully this was stripped from us in what felt like a mere 24 hours.

But Hirshfield, a practicing Buddhist herself, has a message of hope she says we can ultimately take from this time. This “pause” on our own lives has showed us that there is no pause button for the larger issues affecting the planet and us as a people. She gives the examples of climate change and social justice issues as movements that have been ever present— it’s just now we all have more time to notice them. There is a kind of “shared reality and shared fate” that we are experiencing together, and that is beautiful and humbling. She is also able to take some comfort in the fact that her words are able to help people in some way during this time. She encourages us all, even if we are not on the front lines, to think about how we can serve each other and help one another get through this ordeal.

We at CalPsychiatry hope you are caring for yourself during this time. Whether it be reading some lovely poetry or going for a walk in the fresh air, find the ways that you can restore your spirit and keep your hope alive. We will get through this time! That being said, we are here for you should you want to reach out to a mental health professional. Our convenient telehealth appointments allow you to stay safe in the comfort of your own space, and we even have weekend hours. Our physicians offer a plethora of different therapeutic modalities in addition to medication management services. We treat a variety of mental health conditions, and our clinicians are versed in techniques like mindfulness for stress reduction and yoga psychology should you want to try a more holistic approach. We understand that the best mental health treatment is one that recognizes you as a WHOLE PERSON. Reach out today and get the help you need and DESERVE.


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