In The Middle

Life, Family, Yoga, Stuff

Advice to Beginners


Years ago (I’m only 42) I wanted to be a nurse.  So, I did what people would do.  I enrolled at SMSU and started with the nursing pre-requisite classes.  This would be my first college experience and I was married, working full-time during the day, and I was 25.  I got almost half way through those classes, when I had the opportunity to own my own business.  I worked the business and went to school, actually, I worked for FREE for two years to pay off the debt.  After a short time, I discovered that by going to school and running the business I would definitely fail at both, so I had to make a decision.  I quit the school and ran with the business.  I loved the classes that I took, I especially loved the English class.  I still have the book from that very class, and in it, is the poem below.  I have it memorized.  I love it.


Begin.  Keep on beginning.  Nibble on everything.  Take a hike.  Teach yourself to whistle.  Lie.  The older you get the more they’ll want your stories.  Make them up.  Talk to stones.  Short-out electric fences.  Swim with the sea turtle into the moon.  Learn how to die.  Eat moonshine pie.  Drink wild geranium tea.  Run naked in the rain.  Everything that happens will happen and none of us will be safe from it.  Pull up anchors.  Sit close to the god of night.  Lie still in a stream and breathe the water.  Climb to the top of the highest tree until you come to the branch where the blue heron sleeps.  Eat poems for breakfast.  Wear them on your forehead.  Lick the mountain’s bare shoulder.  Measure the color of days around your mothers’s death.  Put your hands over your face and listen to what they tell you.

Author Ellen Kort

Author: Kirsten

Student of life, mother of one kid, 2 cats, and three dogs. I take and teach yoga, enjoy reading, movies, beaches, piddling in my yard and a good glass of wine with or without company.

2 thoughts on “Advice to Beginners

  1. What a beautiful poem – I can see why you love it so much. Do you mind if I post it on my blog? And what’s the name of it?

  2. Please, borrow it all you want. I’ve handed out copies of it at yoga before. It’s called “Advice to Beginners” by Ellen Kort.

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