[REVIEW] The Art of Living + Loving //Here at Dawn by Beau Taplin//

I awoke – a bit sleepy, a bit dreamy. Darkness still enveloped everything – inside and out. But I could hear the birds chirping excitedly. I got up from my bed, put the duvet aside, and went to open the window. Ah, the rush of air filled me just as it filled the room. I felt renewed. Sleep went away. I was filled with a certain energy. I had to get out, out of this room, out of this house. Just go outside and marvel at the soft hours before sunrise; watch the stars rushing back to their heavenly abode.

Everything felt so remarkably new, and yet nostalgic. I have been here before, I thought, picking up a twig – twisting it about my finger. 

The grass felt damp beneath my bare feet. I could feel the droplets compressing under every step I took. There was music all around. In the sky, on the earth, on every branch of every tree. There was still an hour before sunrise and I wanted to soak in every moment of this delicious dawn before light exposed the beauty and the magic disappeared. 

I have often walked alone – in the wee hours of morning – and imagined fairies whispering to each other about how the big folk don’t know how full of magic the world really is! I agree with them. I look at the delicate bud, cusp it in my hand with a gentle stroke lest it falls before ever blooming. So beautiful. The leaves dance with the gentle air, as if mocking me, making sure I know that they revel in this magic every day while I, I am just an occasional visitor. I know. *sigh* I know.

This is what Beau Taplin’s Here at Dawn is all about.

Have you ever taken a walk in the garden at 3 am in the morning? Breathing in the magic that hangs densely about you at that time of the day? If you have then you’ll know; you’ll know EXACTLY what he is talking about.

This whole vast world in which we live our tiny, tiny lives – is brimming with miracles. You just have to be able to look for them. 

Look, there it is – in the chirping of the birds.



And there – in the smile of the little girl dancing in the garden.

And wait, WHAT IS THAT? A squirrel. Look at its tiny hands. Isn’t it adorable? Such magnificent detail. Such craftsmanship.

And the couple over there? So lost in each other’s eyes they’d hardly notice if a bomb exploded by their side. Must be such a heavenly feeling – not caring about anything else in the world other than the person in front of you.

Oh my! Look! A bookshop. Let’s go together and browse for hours and hours, lose ourselves in the countless stories. And never come out. Not so soon anyway.

Surely, surely the ability to enjoy these little things – these seemingly mundane and routine things – must be magic at its supreme? 

When you walk down the road – going to the class, grocery shopping, meeting someone, taking a bite – you pass strangers, people of all backgrounds. They don’t know you. You don’t know them. And yet a single kind smile to someone struggling to shush their crying child is a like the wave of a magic wand. If you think you don’t matter to people around you, then think again. You, dear reader, are full of life, of love, or kindness – YOU MATTER. 

Listen to me, “Here at Dawn”, we don’t take people seriously. We regard them magically.

You are a miracle. A force of nature – gentle, loving, caring. You give to others JUST BY BEING, don’t you understand that? Taplin is asking you to take a look in the mirror and see – take a hard look at the person smiling back at you.

THAT person is nature.
Nature IS that person.
YOU are nature.
So mingle with it.
Take pride in it.
Lose yourself in it – in this feeling of belonging.

Taplin’s words sent a rush of creativity through me. I felt – serene – the kind of feeling that you experience watching a sunrise. Fresh. Renewed. He made me see that the world is just waiting for me to wave the magic wand of my attention. If I could just look closely, listen attentively, close my eyes and feel keenly – it’d be plain as day to me that this whole vast universe is a reflection of me, of my inner feelings.

Here at Dawn, sitting alone with my thoughts and the poet’s, I realized how true happiness arises from deep within, knowing YOU ARE ENOUGH. I read his words and they resonated with me like a chord longing to be struck. Until you realize that everything springs from your own self, you will remain unhappy, forever. And it’s this beautiful realization that made my heart swell and jump for joy.

Taplin’s poems made me feel complete again, as I am sure they will have a same effect on you – for these are little truths wrapped inside a handful of words. The medium may change but the core message? Never. 

Sitting there, with this beautiful book in my hand, I felt a surge of gratitude rise and rise and rise within my whole body and stop – suddenly – in my heart. Why did I feel that way though? It’s just the way Taplin talks about goodbyes – the beauty they contain, the lessons. And their necessity. It’s funny really, how we forget to embrace such an inevitable thing, to cherish those last few memories forever, to make the most of them. Well, no more. Because I cannot help but take his words to heart, lock them within until they make a firm impression on it. Never to forget. Never again.

I have sown flowers
deep into the earth of your memory
to remind me that,
even in the most lightless
of places, beautiful things do grow.

The way this whole book vibrates with gentle notes of hope makes for a beautiful experience. Never a page goes by that doesn’t make you feel glad that you are reading it, that fills you with gratitude that you are here – here in this gorgeous world – alive and free and much too childlike – just as you SHOULD BE. 

When the clouds of uncertainty and bad actions reflect upon your sunny dreams, Taplin, encourages you to take responsibility where it is required. You cannot run from it. You cannot hide from it. He wants you to understand that it’s YOU – you who is cause of it all and by accepting that responsibility, you create yet another miracle – of freedom. Freedom from ignorance, from failure.

Here at Dawn, you will understand the beauty of a helping hand – given or received. As Taplin says, 

We only flourish when we lean on each other.
This is how all great things
are grown.

This collection of poetry reinstated the need of companionship, of friendship – of the importance of surrounding yourself with genuine people and giving thanks to those who accept you without any judgement. I never knew it was possible to pack such – non romantic – thoughts into lovable poetry and yet, the poet has achieved this. And I am glad that he did because it is a delight to read, to own, to cherish.

Taplin’s poems are also wise with experience. They contain a knowledge that can’t be faked. They want you to understand them, understand the meaning in between – and as you’ll do so, you will find yourself liberated from every thought and feeling that has been weighing you down.

As I said before, reading these left my heart overfilling with gratitudefor the ghosts of the past, for the candles of the present, and for the dreams of the future. It’s been such a lovely, lovely experience reading these – one that I emerged wiser from, kinder to myself and the world around.

So come, dear reader, dance with the poet in the rain. And forget all your worries. Lose yourself in the magic all around you. You are beautiful. You are your own. You are the world. 

Let him teach you the art of living and loving and living lovingly.
Rise.
Reborn.
Here – in the arms of the beautiful dawn.

Acceptance //DRAGONS & DUNGEONS//

Silver streaks of light enter the window to the left of my bed. I am lying with my back to it but I can still feel the cold rays breathing down my neck. I giggle into the phone before going silent for several minutes. 

“What do you fear the most?” I finally say, after a long and calculated thought process.

I hear him breathe deeply. My heart is pounding loudly inside my chest. It has been sixteen months today that I have been with this wonderful man but It’s still like every conversation is a magnificent door to a figment of his mind, his imagination and it’s a constant source of wonder to me.

He lets go of himself and I listen to every syllable coming out of his mouth and into my ears with utmost sincerity and awe. I am completely mesmerized by him. Every time he speaks, I feel like I am diving closer and closer into his heart and I feel a great joy filling my body.

Its been hours and I still just can’t get enough. I ask him about the littlest of fears or doubts he might have. Anything at all.

E V E R Y T H I N G

What excited him the most throughout the day? What the worst part was? Why he feels insecure? What inspires worried imaginations?

        YES.

E V E R Y   L I T T L E   T H I N G.

And I can feel the weight from his heart lifting and his body relaxing with each thought he entrusts to me. I feel satisfied. Satisfied that I was able to make him feel appreciated and adored, something I most love to do.

Another silence.

Honestly, I am waiting for him to just speak one more sentence. No, more a question really.

“And you, baby? What are your fears? Tell me. I wanna know” 

I wait.

And I wait.

And I wait some more.

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But he doesn’t say it. He starts another topic. I gladly join in, swallowing every feeling that was just bursting to be put into words. I smile and dive in into his mind once more losing myself in it. And frankly, I feel relieved too, thinking to myself, “Maybe this is isn’t the right time to open my heart anyway.”

Once again I make myself believe that the right time will come when he will sincerely want to listen to my fears, my ridiculous dreams – grand and small, my wishes, my lofty desires, my imaginations, my thoughts that have grown so loud that sometimes I go deaf to the whole world and start drowning in my own mind.  But I know that it’s probably never going to happen.

Losing yourself into someone and liking it takes a huge amount of courage and a world full of love in your heart. Not everyone can afford it and those who can usually never find anyone to return that favor, not to their heart’s desire anyway and they are just going to have to learn to deal with that. Yes, that’s the reality.

How do I deal with it?

Wait for him to fall asleep contentedly. Listening to his breaths, those sweet deep breaths and when I am sure, absolutely sure, that he is sound asleep that’s when my mind comes alive with all of its raw wild imagination.

From the window, I see a faint figure in the sky..flying towards me. I keep looking at it. It keeps growing bigger and bigger until its standing right in front of me. A dragon. My dragon. A LOT OF SMOKE and *poooooffff* it turns into a more attentive version of the very person who is peacefully asleep miles away on his bed. Lies down to my side and listens to my thoughts as I drift away into dreams, talking to an imaginary being. 

Sometimes, it’s best to empty your heart into the overflowing night and be done with it. Saves a lot of heartache and disappointment. I learned the hard way that although some people will love you a lot, sometimes, you will find to your disbelief that it’s JUST NOT ENOUGH. But that doesn’t mean that the person isn’t right for you. It’s just a testament to your TOO DEEP mind and your OVERFLOWING heart, something that is not as common in this world as you might like to imagine. What do you do then?

Well, I learned to live with it.

AND YOU?