I have a personal story to share. In 2015, my son Doug reminded me that I used to write poems about his class at the end of every elementary school year. I had forgotten about that side of myself, but the recovery began almost instantaneously—and I started writing poetry again.
I would write a poem a day about anything and everything. Summertime, tea, hands, friendship, the blind man down the street, Doug’s bike accident, you name it. He’d knocked something loose with this reminder and—the next thing I knew—a well of simple, grateful poems emerged from within, which culminated in my first book Sage Words.
Then Sage Spirit followed a year later.
When I met Kristen Alden in my early search for a graphic designer, I remember thinking—smart and calm—just what the Universe ordered. She instantly got me and knew what I wanted to say. We learned that we both love Lisa Congdon, have high standards, and strive for discovering passion and joy in every day. That’s when Kristen introduced me to artist Kimberly Kuniko of Lacelit.
Turns out Kimberly was the one who introduced Lisa’s work to Kristen and also shares the same work ethic and the desire for finding ikigai in all that we do.
Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means your reason for being. ‘Iki’ in Japanese means ‘life,’ and ‘gai’ describes value or worth. So your ikigai is your life purpose or your bliss. It’s what brings you joy and inspires you to get out of bed every day.
And that’s what writing poetry did for me. It allowed me to find my purpose to live a happier, more fulfilling life filled with purpose, love and connection.
Now 8 years and 3 books later, we decided to neatly wrap up all of our efforts with the final accompaniment to the Sage Books with Sage Smiles. It felt right. We said it when we were all working together on the first book: Three’s a Charm.
All throughout Covid we kept at it. The dream was alive even when there was no place we could go. Jotting down poems, thinking through creative ideas—this wasn’t new to us. We started our remote partnership long before the pandemic changed the way we work.
This book has taken much longer than the first two with all the changes that have taken place in our lives since our initial book launch. But teamwork makes the dream work and it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you go. What matters to is to keep showing up every day with a full heart and strong shoulders.
Some days you’ll wake up feeling happy and energized, and other times you might not feel so inspired. We all have our ups and downs. That’s life. Maybe you need a soft hike in nature or to feel the heat from a cup of hot tea so you can clear some space for yourself and regroup. Perhaps give yourself a pep talk with some sunshine in the mix—
A preach speech on the beach
A vacation or trip, a small sip
Of destination inspiration
So you don’t slip!
When you allow yourself some space for reflection and nourishment, you’re reminded of your lust for life and the humble beauty that surrounds you.
Then you can come back renewed and refreshed with everlasting gratitude and remembering why you wanted to show up in the first place.
Author Elizabeth Gilbert says living a creative life requires courage. That being afraid and choosing to do the thing that scares us anyway is what separates who we are now from the version of ourselves we hope most to become.
It’s all a journey. You open the window of your mind to an idea, then follow the light to where it leads you—embracing the things that allow you to uncover a certain beauty and transcendence in your life that you can’t access any other way.
I truly believe the Universe is at my side every day lending her hand and helping me in big loving spoonfuls. It’s a beautiful thing. And that’s how I found Kristen, Kimberly, the Sage Books, and a passion that gives value and joy to life.
I loved this experience and am grateful for the words and spirit behind it all. The whole entire project warms my heart and makes me smile—endlessly.
Whether you’re starting a new chapter of your own story, or simply searching for ways to live with more intention, curiosity and joy, Sage Smiles will inspire you to connect with the present and appreciate the sizable importance of small, simple things. From Zen koans that encourage meditation on a given topic, to simple pithy and joyful truths, Jet Widick and Kimberly Kuniko’s beautiful illustrated poetry books are the perfect gift for any creative inspiration seeker, poetry lover, or fan of meaningful connection.