Below is a my interview with Susan Frybort, poet and author of Hope is a Traveler.
1. Why did you write Hope is a Traveler and what is it about?
I wrote Hope is a Traveler as a response to the Elephant Journal publication of the poem, Empathy. http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/03/empathy-susan-frybort-poem/
The collection of poems are a mix of topics that intend to offer a healing element or pose the common questions we often ask in this life: Will I be enough? What mysteries rest within me? What connects us as people? What holds me back, and do I possess the courage to live true to my being? Ultimately, I felt a sincerity to share my soul in lines that would make others not feel alone in this world. I intentionally refrain from writing to impress or to be clever, but to express the state of my heart. I try to write poetry that does not ignore people. To convey our soul’s location at any given time through written word, to me, is poetry.
2. What did you learn about yourself as you wrote it?
The more I wrote of hope, the more I came to see hope exemplified in so many instances in so many people. The greatest is love, no doubt, yet it is hope that appears as a shining birthright handed down through the ages from one human being to the next like a resilient light of confidence. I became moved and motivated by the human spirit and the great inner-strength that even I possess. I learned of my courageous heart, my infinite capacity to love, during which the miraculous ability to heal became graciously evident . I discovered a new desire to give purely being born from the gift of self- compassion. All of this is inspiration. I became aware,
while musing within the walls of this writing process, that I am a modern spiritual poet.
3. In one of your poems, Empathy, you write:
I felt a particular sadness,
as though I were, somehow, not enough.
Then suddenly I remembered everything is well within me.
What advice would you give to people who can not or do not remember that everything is well within them? Or, how can we better remember that all is within us when we are faced with such doubts about our future, insecurities about ourself, or loneliness?
See and recognize the secret godsend that is in every second- the perfect shining moment realized, because the most favorable of all blessings are contained within you and within me, being here. Whether doing our personal best or exceeding our foremost efforts, we all share the same valuable time, space and worth. We are in this, right here and now, together. Who we are, what we do and will become, shines through each one of our remarkable steps on this earth.
4. It seems like one of the themes you write about is feelings of inadequacy or dissastisfaction with yourself, and also overcoming or coping with those feelings. What would you say to someone who is struggling with feelings of inadequacy?
We live in a culture of high expectations in a world not entirely of our own making. Along with the challenges to go beyond what has been set, or to surpass our own individual accomplishments, it can be overwhelming to remain in such a demanding mindset. So it proves to remind ourselves that when we truly do our finest with what we are able to grasp hold of, that in and of itself becomes a point of pure excellence. I would not hesitate to remind anyone who is struggling with the feelings of inadequacy to hold fast and stand true; whatever the world may say or do, just as you are you are unique, you are rare, and you are complete. Celebrate! There is only one you.
5. How have your writings and themes in your writing affected your beliefs about your romantic relationships and ways you experience yourself and your partner in your romantic relationship?
I think the poem, Aligned says it best for me. That, as it turns out, it was never really about making another person happy, needing to be attractive by society’s given standards, or being seduced by materialism that will inevitably fade away. It is about coming together to share the gentle discovery of another soul’s honesty as you uncover the truth in your own. And when both souls clasp arms and decide share a common purpose to commit to live a life of authenticity and love, that is a bond formed and held in sacred trust. Storms will come. But we can ride them out ’til the dawn breaks light and keep believing in one another’s dreams.
6. Anything Else?
I’m genuinely grateful for the opportunity to share and thank the people who have read and felt encouraged by my poetry collection. Hope is my first gift and I feel, still to this day, such an honor to have been invited into the hearts of people all around the world.
You are a soul
and you have a right to shine
in all those places
you long to venture.
To be witnessed,
to be heard,
and be seen.You belong.
Carve out your shining moon
and place it high among the stars
to gleam forever.
From time to time, I reinforce my belief that we are lights who are rightly placed and created to shine. I do not say this in a way that diminishes humility, but in a spirit that uplifts humanity. This light is not meant to be seen as an imposing one. It is a remarkable presence that is the essence of human dignity and the true power of humility—not held higher or lower but placed among to understand the presence of another. For it is each one’s divinity to belong and while we are here together, we must continue to practice and share empathy.