Feel God and Sunshine

This the seventh in a series of poems from the “Write to Recover” group I facilitate. I put them together from phrases that resonate with me while participants read. I add nothing but punctuation and the occasional conjunction. This one is comprised of the words of five participants.

desert

Big, different color swirl —

My life lost in the desert,

Living with a lie.

Already fragmented –

Mish-mash of different purposes,

Bondage of self.

~

I cried…

~

I wanted to die.

~

But I kept going.

~

Time for excuses is over,

I confront the devil for who he is.

I take care of my needs first.

Give myself hope,

I work on being safe.

~

I am calm,

Mind light as a feather.

Surrender is the key.

~

Feel god and sunshine,

Feel your grace

~

I wish I could wake up further down the road but,

I am evolving.

Keep going, don’t look back;

Live with no regrets.

~

I am a tiger in the woods,

Can you hear me roar?

 

I have survived

This the sixth in a series of poems from the “Write to Recover” group I facilitate. I put them together from phrases that resonate with me while participants read. I add nothing but punctuation and the occasional conjunction. This one is comprised of the words of three participants.

flowers

As a lost soul I was locked up inside my mind.

It was a lonely place inside my head,

Not knowing what I had known.

~
And that was not OK with my inner self,

The kind soul I know I am, the honest being.

~
I will meet the demons and say good bye,

And instead enjoy days with me in a warm glow.

I learn from me how to be kind to myself.

~
I will take a drink of courage —

I am a courageous woman with every intention of staying strong.

I am capable.

I will try harder.

~
I will not be pulled down,

I will stay grounded in sanity.

Plant my gardens,

Weed out the undesirable and plant the positives.

I will flower on!

~
Because I have survived.


I simply decided to live

This the fifth in a series of poems from the “Write to Recover” group I facilitate. I put them together from phrases that resonate with me while participants read. I add nothing but punctuation and the occasional conjunction. This one is comprised of the words of five participants.

bricks

Sometimes the way is right in front of you.

Dancing fool that I am,

Breaking down a wall

To feel OK with myself;

Scraping away the negative words

I learn my own true vision.

~
I came from another planet named womb,

A learning person

With fear of being whole.

~
But fear can motivate,

And I simply decided to live!

~
Aware of a new life, I’ve been given time

Tick tock…

Constant contact with God,

No stop signs in sight.

I feel whole now, whole when connected.

~
Yes, I can:

Make my world bright and colorful;

Elaborate my need to be on this planet;

Remove the hate.

~
Paint my life in print —

My beautiful creation,

I will see it through.

Respect me in my uniqueness

Because now it is time to rest.


Me is who I am

I put this poem together from phrases written in the “Write to Recover” group I facilitate. Writing down phrases that caught my ear (and heart) while they shared, snippets of poems just appeared. We all have a poet inside when we get out of our own way and let the words flow. This one is comprised of the words of six participants.

 

giftbox

~

I had to lie to survive.

Gift of desperation,

A box that could never be opened.

Leaving myself behind,

Demons by my side,

Colors fading to pale.

~

But I don’t want to wear a blindfold.

I must stop making excuses —

I am ready for release;

Gain control by letting go of control.

Because that’s my problem: I think.

It is a gift to clean the mess.

~

Obstacles can be fun

When energies align.

I stepped over my dilemma

Into a friendly good morning and

A better understanding of myself.

For that I’m so grateful!

The beginning of color is here —

Brought me a new love.

~

So now, I speak from my heart:

~

Me is who I am

I’m pretty damn good

I’m bat-shit crazy.

So here I am —

I’m part of the whole

I am all and all is me…

This story has yet to see its end

I put this poem together from phrases written in the “Write to Recover” group I facilitate. Writing down phrases that caught my ear (and heart) while they shared, snippets of poems just appeared. We all have a poet inside when we get out of our own way and let the words flow.

booksTrying to get out of this body — childhood prison.

No one noticed me

dreaming of ice cream and donuts, dope –-

brain food –-

kicking my spirits into space.

Uselessness of my imagination,

ideas disintegrate into dust.

Give me a break! Why am I doing this everyday?

It’s all been said before.

But!

I’m letting go of the demons in my head;

stop being who I am and become who I am supposed to be.

I am in control of me.

I feel love, it never left me — there are cracks I can get my fingers into.

This story has yet to see its end;

I’m onto the next right thing:

The best me I can be.

Step into life

I put this poem together from phrases written in the “Write to Recover” group I facilitate. Writing down phrases that caught my ear (and heart) while they shared, snippets of poems just appeared. We all have a poet inside when we get out of our own way and let the words flow.

ocean boat

I was very lost,

But I stepped into life and onto a journey of wholeness,

Seeking treasure.

 `

See God –- water to those who thirst,

radiating energy,

imagination flow,

a teddy bear to hug —

I become part of that ocean.

Total contact of the special healing touch.

 `

I am getting to like myself.

My heart feels good, so much life.

Wind blowing in my hair,

I feel so beautiful.

I am my own best friend, in this together.

`

I am a person, I break the mold

I love who I am

I want to share the joy with other people,

If only we meet for a moment.

Less hate, more kindness.

 `

I was very lost,

But I stepped into life.

I must remember my journey.

Let the river take me

I wrote this poem from phrases written in the “Write to Recover” group I facilitate. Writing down phrases that caught my ear (and heart) while they shared, snippets of poems just appeared. We all have a poet inside when we get out of our own way and let the words flow.

One of those moms

Let the river take me —

Even when it hurts, it breathes with the joy of laughter, undulating.

I choke on life, I’m really here in the world.

I keep trying. I am a survivor.

Manipulate the truth; truth to be heard.

The road to hell is as slow as molasses.

Sometimes it feels like a web of pointlessness — all shit.

I keep trying. I am a survivor.

Let the river take me, to be free.

 

When writing makes you feel crappy

In a couple of weeks I will be presenting “De-Stress, the Write Way” at my local hospital for the second year. This blog post was written in response to my experience there and was originally posted at tlan.org with the title, “When Writing To Relieve Stress Makes You Anxious.”

pen journalI made a mistake.

I recently presented a workshop at a local hospital about using writing as a stress reliever. The small  room was half full. While I am fairly comfortable speaking or facilitating with a larger group, this was a new experience for me in that I was being videoed. Unfortunately, this didn’t allow for audience participation other than quick comments or questions. My usual preference after a writing session is to give the opportunity for sharing (with no obligation) so that the participants warm up to each other and become more of a cohesive group rather than silent students being “lectured at.” This allows them to get more out of the session – to learn from each other and themselves, and not just me.

This particular group never really relaxed. I’m not sure if it was the presence of the video camera or the time of night or the starkness of the room or the lecture-setting (I usually facilitate with the participants arranged in a circle), but there weren’t many questions or comments. In my experience, this was unusual. I could tell by the smiles and head-nodding that most participants were interested in what I was saying, and during the writing prompt times almost everyone wrote until time was called. But there were a couple of women I couldn’t read.

On the anonymous evaluation forms I later received, the comments were all positive. Except for this: “I got more stressed… I left with a knot in my stomach.” Our first prompt had been “What’s going on?” This is one of Kay Adams’ prompts (author of Journal to the Self and founder for the Center for Journal Therapy), and one which I actually had the opportunity to write on in a training with her. And this is where I had messed up in my presentation.

I had forgotten to tell my story.

I had been so excited to take Kay’s class and I sat there in my seat almost busting with anticipation about what I was about to learn. She opened as I did, with the prompt “What’s going on?” I wrote frantically for the timed five minutes. But when she called time I realized I didn’t feel so good. My stomach was doing flip-flops and I was kind of shaky. When Kay asked if anyone wanted to share their feedback of the writing exercise I raised my hand and admitted I felt awful, that the writing had drastically changed my emotional state from happy to downright anxious.

“Hold on to that feeling,” she said. “We’ll work with it later.”

Later, we did another exercise where she invited us to find a word or phrase that had jumped out at us during the first writing. Using another journaling technique I was able to dig deeper into what had actually made me anxious. As a result I made an amazing discovery, which, long story short, prompted me to quit my job in a life-move that was a major steppingstone towards where I am today. The words I wrote in that second write still resonate with me today.

So, I want to say to the woman who left upset: I am sorry. I wish I had explained what Dr. Pennebaker tells us in his book Opening Up and his other works, that writing expressively can cause you to feel worse initially but in the long-run, it will help. I wish that I had been able to tell you that feeling that knot is a good thing! It means you were experiencing your body’s felt-sense (to use Eugene Gendlin’s term from his book Focusing). It meant that you had touched something, made it come alive, got it moving, so that you could move past it. This was a first step towards healing.

I made a mistake which I won’t make again. Lesson learned.

For a video of my workshop go HERE

Yes! I Will Speak

From http://sensualblissvoyager.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/throat-vishuddha-chakra/

I stumbled across this poem today that I wrote two years ago during grad school. I don’t remember writing it and it’s far from the best poetry ever written. But it’s fierce, and I like it.

Yes, I will speak my truth although you tell me it’s not true
Yes, I will cry even though it forces you to touch your own frozen tears
Yes, I will yell when my chest hurts from holding on too tight
Yes, I will breathe into my belly and find my own creation there
Yes, I will tell you how I feel even when it doesn’t fit the shape you have molded for me
Yes, I will say what I need and I will do it even if sometimes it is not best for those I love
Yes, I will allow my body to speak to me not just to yours
Yes, I will move with rhythms of the earth not your man-made march
Yes, I will love with my presence as well as my body
Yes, I will be fierce when I, or others, are wronged
Yes, I will sing when I am sad, full of joy, and searching for inner peace
No, I will not be silent to ease your dis-ease
Yes, I will release the wisdom caught in the web of your lies, told to centuries of my mothers
Yes, I will shout the words lodged in my throat
Yes, I will speak
And, yes, and you will hear.

Prompt: “Yes, I will…”

Self, Reclaimed

18 months ago I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever made myself do.

I sang in public.

What made it so hard wasn’t that I had never done this before, it was that I had. Many times.

I started performing when I was very small. I was in school musicals where I usually had a solo singing part, and at age ten I opened my school’s Christmas service in the local church singing the first verse of “Once in Royal David’s City.”  At twelve, I was given a lead role in a musical based on Cinderella — I was Prince Yohann.

Throughout high school I performed solos in each year’s choral concerts and sang a duet for our class’s graduation. In college I was the only Freshman with a solo part in that semester’s production of “Allegro.” I sang at friends’ weddings and I was given solos in many performances of the choir of which I was a member.

And then I stopped singing.

Why exactly, I’m not sure. Singing had been the very core of my identity for so many years. The fact that I became a mother right before I stopped may be part of the answer, but that’s too psychologically deep to go into here (I did investigate this in my MA thesis, however). Whatever the reason, by the time I was in graduate school at age 38 and had the chance to perform in extremely informal and fun cabaret, I could not do it. I couldn’t even remember the words of one of my most favorite songs.

I wrote my thesis about reclaiming voice, a metaphor for reclaiming self. It wasn’t until I was deep into my research that I made the — what should have been quite obvious — connection to my singing voice. My singing had been my way of expressing self for years. But I could no longer do that. Singing had become just too raw. Too vulnerable. Too in my body.

Then came my final semester of grad school. And my very last chance at Cabaret. I forced myself to sign up and then I cried. And cried. I was a nervous wreck for the entire 24 hours before the show. It felt HUGE. Like this was a turning point. I was either going to bomb completely or have a break-through.

I did neither. I got up there and I sang. And it felt like the most natural thing in the world. My body knew how to do this.

Today I am at another milestone. After a year of lessons, I am performing in my first formal recital in almost 15 years. I am learning to emote on stage, I am learning to be vulnerable. I am learning to go into body and find, then express what’s there. I am learning that I have a voice and that I have a right to be heard. I’ve never sung this type of music in public before — it is operatic, a style I denied was my true forte because it was so… so… loud. And opera-y. But I will deny no more. I have a voice. I have a talent and I will sing with joy. I will share my gift.

Yes, this is a big deal to me. I need it to go well. Because it is more than a recital; this is Me. Reclaimed.