Heartfelt Writings on the Human Spirit

Guest blogger Jo VonBargen understands that the beauty and poetry of words can only be captured deep within the confines of the human spirit. All good writers have a touch of poetry residing in their souls.

Jo VonBargen

When discussing my own work I often refer to it as “writings on human spirit”. Just what is human spirit? We might say it is a component of philosophy, psychology or religion: the spiritual or mental part of humanity. While some might give it the same meaning as human soul, it really refers to to the impersonal, universal or higher component of human nature in contrast to psyche, which can refer to the ego or lower element. Awareness, insight, understanding, judgment and other reasoning powers all work together to play a role in identifying human spirit as well.

Human spirit transcends the physical mind and belongs to the divine, to the above, to the light. Its effects on humanity when it descends include heroism, enlightenment, all kinds of divination and ecstasy … it is literally poured out. So human spirit can be seen as the higher component of a human’s non-material makeup – the part that is impersonal or universal, as opposed to the soul, which we certainly identify as a personal element of each unique individual.

All that said, I use the term broadly to identify the mechanism by which ordinary humans endure, survive and transcend extraordinary sufferings and circumstances. We see it displayed when there is a natural or man-made catastrophe of some sort…when a whole nation can come together to aid, rescue, heal and rebuild. We see it when a battered mother takes a leap of faith to escape dire home circumstances where her children are at risk. We see it in soldiers who crawl through whizzing aak-aak and explosions to pull their wounded and dying to safety.

So why do I write poetry? I write it because poetry briefly touches the divine and illuminates human spirit. Poetry is as necessary as breath, giving us a glimpse of the sublime as well as the ridiculous. Poetry looks into the ephemeral realm of the human mind; it’s like blowing on a windowpane.

Your breath leaves the imprint of your existence for only a split moment before it evaporates without a trace…like our lives. Poetry worms its way into that elusive space between shadow and soul and enlightens. I actually think in metaphors, analogies and PFA’s (plucked-from-air)! When picturing something to write about, I envision words that imply the scene, but are not necessarily the dry facts of it.

Overall, I see my role as a poet and writer as one which enlightens to the best of my ability. Being fascinated with cause and effect, my mission is to take a situation apart, look at the details and shine a spotlight where no one can ordinarily see. In It Ain’t Shakespeare, which is a collection of prose and poetry on human spirit, one of the themes is love, albeit failed love. Its importance is to illuminate the matchless power of love, even when it is love spent without return or love bestowed beyond all prudence.

This manifests as strength, resilience, wisdom and a strong determination to overcome. As such, unconditional love is its own reward in a world where millions of women are subjected to use and abuse because their naïveté or kindness is mistaken for weakness…or perhaps because cultural, religious or familial ties require that they endure it.

Some of these poems and essays exist to shine a hard light on these unfortunate and dreadful circumstances, because this is where truth often hides. The hope is that there is enough beauty, contemplation and in-your-face rant scattered throughout these shadowy places, so that the reader’s experience isn’t rife with gloom, depression and widely scattered entrails!

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