​© 2017 by Holly Shaw.

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Photos by In Her Image Photography

Performers & Creators Lab

Oakland, CA  (415) 870-7082


Consider that You Are A Creature Made for Reaching

December 30, 2018








I know that in 2019 I will do things and some of them will fail.  Some of them will flourish too.  But more often things will take longer than I want, will need more work than I anticipate.  And this is ok.


Today, I lie on my bed in an overstretched comfy cotton dress I never wear outside my house, my face free of makeup, a box of chocolates half eaten at my left, a pile of books on my bed. I feel content drifting in the crevasse that is the time period between Christmas and New Year's enjoying the break from trying to tick things off a to do list. 


Nevertheless, I feel the excitement of a new year of new possibilities, heck! of kissing someone I haven't met yet on NYE - looming right around the corner and I'm thinking I want to share with you this sense of peacefulness, this feeling of real ease with the process of wanting and doing. Desiring and becoming. Making and resting. Trying and failing.


Because the worst thing you can do is stop wanting. Stop trying. Stop reaching. .  . If only for the pure pleasure of reaching itself.


And so rather, than implore you with the urge to PLAN! to PREPARE! to MAKE GOALS! or become a NEW YOU!  (Not that you shouldn't do that if it feels pleasurable to you) I'd rather share with you what I wrote the other day when I considered what it means to reach and try. To fly and also to flop:





You Are A Creature Made for Reaching

When you reach for something high you’re not always going to reach your goal.

But you can be left with the satisfaction of having reached in the first place, having stretched yourself into a bigger shape.

But this other thing can happen . . .
This other thing can happen where you let yourself
Feel like a failure

You feel like because you didn’t reach the benchmark that you set for yourself

That you may as well not have tried at all

You become nostalgic for your past success

All the while forgetting that at the time you had been reaching even higher and that success that you are nostalgic for now actually felt like a failure at the time.

You are hungry for a ghost of a happier self
That never even existed!

Now your urge might be to shrink, to give up to feel embarrassed or shameful

And you can try to stop reaching
You can let your arms hang at your sides
You can be sad and complacent

Until one day, you’re reaching for something in the back seat of your car
And you pull a muscle

And you realize your job in life is not to shrink
It is to continue to reaching
It is to learn how to reach without pulling your muscles
And without measuring yourself with a yardstick

Because you are a creature who is made for reaching.

Eagles don’t ask if they’re higher now than they were yesterday
But they just enjoy the flight


PS.  I made a video of this poem recently.  The production quality of it displeases me but you may dig the spirit of it anyway.  Check it out here:





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