I need to forgive.
I need to believe.
I want to live.
But I want relief.
These feelings are too much.
They will swallow me whole.
I want to escape my mind,
but I cannot.
Caught in the trance of unworthiness*
Wondering what to do, where to go,
what to say and to whom,
which book to read,
what action to take,
how to stand, how to sit,
how to walk,
what to eat,
what to drink,
what to wear,
who will understand
all these questions, these doubts,
There is a darkness,
an unspeakable horror in me,
clawing to get out.
It visits me in my dreams at night
and wakes me up.
I feel exhausted by these nightly hauntings.
I want release, relief, respite
from being tossed around on these huge waves
in the infinite ocean of consciousness,
the surface of which
has been stormy for quite some time.
I’m tired of the turbulence,
tired of this endless transition
from what was familiar
into a new life that I cannot see or fathom.
They say I’m at the helm.
They say I have the power.
They say I can change my narrative, my perception,
They tell me I’m better off without him.
This is just talk,
and I am tired of being thrown about endlessly
on enormous waves out in the middle of nowhere,
no land in sight,
on a flimsy vessel that is sinking fast.
I have nearly drowned a thousand times
in the dark waters of my psyche.
Why do I keep thrashing my way to the surface?
I want a safe harbor, a home,
a place of belonging,
a tribe who knows and loves me.
Why in the moment when I most need connection
does it seem that no one is there?
Why with all of this love around
does it not show up in the way I’m wanting?
More questions than answers,
and afraid to go to sleep
because I know what waits for me in the darkness:
than any human should bear.
*Spiritual teacher Tara Brach talks about the trance of unworthiness in her book Radical Acceptance.
Today I experienced an emotional trigger—like the sting before tears fall—as the first words of the poem immediately leapt in my mind upon reading the prompt. I’m feeling raw today. Low and lonely, without a safe harbor in the world. God help me.
Thinks too much.
Don’t get too close.
May share opinion without being asked.
May care too much.
May fall in love with you immediately.
May get too attached.
May think there is a future with you.
May believe her own dream.
May waste away to nothing
when the dream falls apart.
Run in the opposite direction
if you see her coming.
Today’s prompt asked us to take a familiar phrase and upend it. I had trouble with that, most probably because I began the poem when it was so late, and I am tired in every fiber of my being. But then the phrase, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” came to me. So maybe I can upend that.
When the stopping gets easy, the easy stop.
Yes, that about sums up the end of my marriage.
Today, it is easy to leave a marriage,
it’s easy to give up, to just stop.
It’s so common now, so normal,
that no one is ever really surprised by it.
But I was surprised.
I was surprised when he came to me
and announced he was done.
I wonder how many people
have gotten sick of hearing this story,
and I feel ashamed for telling it…again.
He wanted things to be easy,
he identified with easy.
So it was easy for him to stop, to just leave.
Meanwhile he stayed in our house
and I was a puddle on the floor.
I’m wondering how I’ll support my children.
There is nothing easy about the feelings I have
as I write about my fears,
but I guess that means I won’t stop.
I won’t give up.
I’m not an easy woman;
maybe that’s why he had to leave me.
And now that the going has gotten tough,
I suppose it’s time to get going.
It sneaked up on me again.
The grief took me by surprise,
and then it took my breath away.
And I found myself,
just minutes before teaching
a class on self-love,
And I was humbled by the irony.
And I was reminded
of my humanity.
And I felt flattened
by the massive flood
threatening to carry me away…
And I taught anyway.
as students thanked me
for a beautiful class,
I was thankful for their beauty.
Can I be thankful for my
big emotions too?
Can I be grateful
for feeling this deeply?
And can I even thank the one
who hurt me?
The one who left me?
The one who said I do
and then eight years later
said, I won’t anymore?
Maybe growing up
is the process of
asking hard questions
and living the answers.
Let’s see what tomorrow brings.
Grief, then joy.
Exhaustion, then motivation.
Emptiness, then fulfillment.
For so long I thought the goal
was never-ending bliss.
Then I grew up (a little).
Now I see that to be fully human
means to experience
the full range of human emotions.
Each one has a story to tell,
a lesson to impart.
And we are meant to learn
our whole lives.
We will never be done.
When you are stuck
in doubt and fear
don’t stay there!
Take a deep breath
and reach out to your teachers.
You have them,
Reach out to the ones
who remind you who you really are,
the ones who hold you in the space
of lovingkindness, acceptance, compassion.
If you can’t think of anyone
who can do that for you right now,
then it’s time to do it for yourself.
Reach in to the teacher inside,
the one who remembers
that you have a purpose to live out
in this world of changing weather.
Reach in to the one
who knows how to breathe deeply,
to the one who gives you permission
to be exactly who you are right now,
and who knows how worthy you are
of loving and being loved.
Whether we reach out or we reach in
we will find rest and peace
in the space
of silent, clear awareness.