April is one of my favorite months, seeing as it is when we celebrate National Poetry month. There can never be too much celebration of poetry in my opinion.
But I’m also celebrating something additional this month. That poetry has led me to a new favorite word.
Oh it’s true – I admittedly have lots of favorite words, but seriously, how can this one not be part of the ranks?
From Greek, meaning “beautiful thinking” or “well mind.”
It is also the shortest word in English that contains all five vowels.
I get shivers of delight running that word over my tongue; letting it percolate in my brain; imaging all the ways it’s possible to practice the state of it. And I swear the next time someone asks me what my core values are, eunoia is totally going on the list. My utopian world contains lots of poetry and a whole lot of eunoia.
I was introduced to the word thanks to Christian Bok’s book of poetry by the same name.
It’s an odd little book, and probably not most people’s cup of tea, so I’m not recommending it unless you’re particularly interested in the seeing the well-crafted discipline of writing poetry within extreme constraints. Each “chapter” consisting of a number of poems is dedicated to a particular vowel. So in the A chapter, every single word in each poem contains the letter a in it. That in itself is a pretty amazing feat, but Bok also wrote within an even more specifically defined container. “All chapters must allude to the art of writing; must describe a culinary banquet, a prurient debauch, a pastoral tableau and a nautical voyage. All sentences must accent internal rhyme through the use of syntactical parallelism. The text must exhaust the lexicon for each vowel, citing at least 98% of the available repertoire; and the text must minimize repetition of substantive vocabulary, so that ideally no word appears more than once.” Wow – that’s an amazing set of restrictions to craft around! And the fact that he did it seems worthy of celebration to me.
But what I really want to celebrate is the concept of eunoia itself. I can’t help but imagine of my mind as a garden filled with beautiful thoughts. And knowing my mind, it’s not a tidy little formal garden with straight geometric rows. Welcome to the wildflowers-spilling-over-the-cottage-roses-tumbling-through-the-hollyhocks eclectic expanses of my brain.
Today I’m celebrating the beautiful thoughts of how April showers bring May flowers; of sitting down later this rainy afternoon with a delightful-looking children’s book to read while trying a new coconut mango green tea; and then later writing a love note to someone as part of my daily practice this month. This is my brain on eunoia.
What about you? Do you have a tidy garden kind of brain? Do you have a collection of favorite words? Are you celebrating National Poetry month? Do tell – you know I love to hear.
The image perfectly fits your post. I did NOT know this word, so thank you for adding to my vocabulary in such a fun way. 🙂
It IS a wonderful word isn’t it Amy?!
Lovely post Deborah. As for my mind’s garden there would be a lot of busy-ness, some parts tidy and organized but other areas in need of quite a bit of weeding. 🙂
LOL – ah those pesky weeds! Nevertheless you have a very lovely mind garden Suzanne. 🙂
I did not know about national poetry month, OOps I am an Ausssie it is probably not our national poetry month it is yours. I do not know about the disciplines of poetry and the structures, I do know recently I have been writing what i call poems and I love it. As with any art form nothing we do is everyones cup of tea, this happens to be mine. Thrilled I found you and also that I too have a new word.
Hi Karin. I’m so glad you found your way here! You’ll have to let us know when your national poetry month is so we can celebrate it with you. Or else we can just take the approach I like best, and consider every month a poetry month. 🙂
Yay to writing poetry and loving it! I totally celebrate that.
What a magical word. The act/art of simply letting it roll off my tongue leads me to imagine the beauty of manifesting spring!
Here’s to eunoia! Beautiful thinking and well mind–I aspire to those. The garden in my mind? A few tidy patches and lots of overflow . . . thanks for your post!
Here here — may we all have beautiful thinking and well minds!
I love this new word! I will have to learn how to pronounce it so that I can use it with pride! I love this idea of beautiful thoughts filling my mind!
Perfect Amy. I think we should all become eunoia addicts. 🙂