Gently Do What Is Right For You

Wordsmith for Hire in NOLA

“So how does this work?” I asked.

“You give me a word, a subject, or phrase and I write a poem.” He replied.

He was sitting in the middle of the street in downtown New Orleans. I couldn’t resist the whole concept. And I was drawn to this young man. He seemed a little down on his luck, tired, resigned to something.

“Okay. Let’s do this! Here’s the phrase. Gently do what is right for you.” I told him.

“Gently do what is right for you?” He repeated back as he scribbled it on the notepad sitting beside him.

“Yes. It’s become my new mantra!” I said.

“Ok.” he said as he continued to softly repeat the phrase to himself.

Then he started typing.





In September 2016, I began a 9 month Life Coach training course with the  Martha Beck Institute. On one of her lesson calls, she was talking about a client’s specific situation and told her that she needed to “gently do what is right for you.”

Something about that phrase set off alarm bells for me. I felt it so deeply in my soul that I immediately realized that those 7 simple words would heal me. Those 7 simple words would make me whole. 

But. And that’s a HUGE but! I quickly discovered that although the words sound simple, they can be so hard to put into practice in your every day life. At least they are for me. That phrase has changed my entire way of thinking about every choice I face… large, small, mundane, epic… and I believe I am sincerely a better human soul because of it.  It is teaching me patience, love and trust in myself and for others. Slowly, “gently do what is right for you” IS healing me.

So when I found my Wordsmith on the streets of New Orleans, that was the phrase that immediately came to mind.


Wordsmith in action

He worked on the poem for about 15-20 minutes. He’d type, pause, type, frown, type, lean back, type and type some more. The whole time ignoring me taking his picture.

And then, he was finished. He sat back in his chair, took out a pen and began to read it. He stopped to make a few corrections. Scribble out a word, change a word… making sure it was “right for him.”

Then he handed it to me to read. 


Proofing his poem


It was perfect. It was written for me but it was about him. 

“Do you like it?” he asked.

“I love it!” I truthfully answered.

And then we began to talk. He told me about his current living situation, things going on his life. Not a lot of details, but enough for me to feel what he was feeling. I very tenderly offered him some advice. “It sounds like you need to gently do what is right for you.” He agreed.  And for the first time during our whole encounter, he smiled. 

I looked around and noticed people were waiting. It was time for me to move on.

It was time for him to write another poem.

Poem my Street Wordsmith wrote for me 🙂



Interested in more of my stories? Go here to read my most popular blog post. Curious about the post that started it all? You can find it here. Want to read them all? Start at the top right here and work your way down.



  1. Hello friend! In this time of upheaval, hand wringing, and struggle with the reality that a persons life here on earth is not infinite, that the body wears down, and that each person must bear their own burden in this process of aging… I thank you for sharing the very concept that has caused me guilt. Gently continuing on with the beauty of living while helping loved ones who are walking through difficult times of limited life and body. I needed this today. Thank you for sharing your truth.

    1. Aw Michelle. I’m so sorry for what you are going through with your precious grandmother. And I’m so touched that you found some comfort in my words. Life is so precious. Please allow yourself to not feel guilt for continuing to live. Sending you love as you gently do what is right for you… because in the end that is how you will be best able to give to others.

  2. I love his poem, so fitting in ways for all of us… and of course, during this season of my life, my heart jumps to thoughts of our fostering journey. Many are encouraging, many don’t understand… and yet I must ” gently do what is right for you”.

    Thanks for your post! Loved it and you!

    1. Sharon thank you for your kind and and gentle words. And you are so right. Many are encouraging and many don’t understand. His simple 15 minute poem captured it all. I am so thankful for you. Sending love to you 🙂

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