Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Shangri-La: A State of Mind

As a teenager, I was intrigued by a place called Shangri-La. It is noted on as any place of complete bliss and delight and peace. Is there a place in this life of constant change and chaos, where stories of war, weather changes, and tragedies are daily headlines that we can find to bring a sense of peaceful balance and quiet to our lives? I have one place that is a haven for peace. It is the creativity zone, a purposeful state of mind that offers delight, surprise, and a dose of bliss. Join me to explore this fascinating place for quiet contemplation and writing.

Yesterday, was the last prompt of Laura Shovan's 11th Annual February Poetry Project. I was distracted and tired. I am sure you know that feeling of just wanting to rest. Before falling asleep, I pondered Michelle Kogan's prompt: write a story poem about inspiring gardens. Of course, she provided images and links for a pre-writing activity. While I could not write anymore late at night, I carried my thoughts over to today, the 1st day of the Two Writing Teachers March Writing Challenge with Shangri-La in mind. A connection came when I found the following quote by Nita Bajoria (The Leap).

“Shangri-La is a state of mind, Vinay. If you’re happy, then everything around you will be okay and in harmony. Nothing is perfect anywhere. We must find our own paradise amidst the chaos. Just the way a beautiful lotus blooms in dirty water.    

Nothing is perfect anywhere stayed with me. Writing is not an act of perfection but a pathway to a blossoming creativity zone. Here in the zone, I can "be" - quiet, imaginative, and full of ideas, or just still waiting for my muse to support me. I have the luxury to choose each seed of a story to grow from a budding stage to a spring flower. Does it happen like clockwork each day? Certainly not, but as a gardener cares for her seeds, a writer grows thoughts in her notebook. Below is a draft of Day 28's poem on inspired gardens.

A Garden for All Seasons

Decades ago, I learned about Shangri-La,

A mythical land of beauty, calm, and peace.

I listened to the Letterman’s smooth voices

singing “Shangri-La”, longing for places of

Beauty to slow down life’s hustle-bustle pace.

Gardens became go-to spots for meditation,

Solace, and nature’s resting spots to just be.

I explored local parks, gorgeous

Sanctuaries for tranquility.

Shangri-La was found-

Birds fluttered. 

Bees buzzed.

Flowers flourished.

The weeping willow 

Bent over

Sweeping the lawn

With images of

Childhood Maypole dances.

I observed, lingered,

Fell in love with these

Welcoming places 

Of magical wonder

Where words can

Blossom, too.

©CVarsalona, 2023 Draft

I invite my writing muse to be my guide this month of daily writing as I connect with the Two Writing Teachers community of international reflective writers.

I have participated in this writing challenge since 2015.


  1. >but as a gardener cares for her seeds, a writer grows thoughts in her notebook.<

    I love this thought on the first day of the challenge! We tend to our words, weeding, nurturing, watching them grow in that place where we can just be.

    Shangri-La, some pretty heady stuff for the first day! Thank you for this slice! :)

    1. Hi, Darin. I saw you came in someone around the time I did but my granddaughters (5 & 3 walked in when I was going to stop over to your blog). There are with me for 5 days so I will most likely write after bedtime. See you soon.

  2. Carol, that elusive Shangri-La is a place we all yearn to find. It is different for each of us. When we find it, our thoughts run free. Ideas and words flow. Inner peace is found. Sounds like you have found yours.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Bob. I am Inner peace is what I need right now. With the little girls here, there seems to be no down time but I just snacked some minutes now.

  3. I love how you show that creativity can create peace in the world of chaos. This is why writing every day in March is worth the time and effort.

    1. Terje, I was on the right path to writing daily until my little grandgirls came for an extended grandparent-sitting event. Then, there was only a few minutes of self-time.