The Color of Fear

I visualize fear in my body- a pale yellow space in my abdomen where my third-chakra should be. Fear is the hole through which the wind blows; the whims of others buffeting my core unapologetically as I give my power away with barely a hesitation.

I breathe into this space not to exhale my fear, but to join my breath with fear and thus transform fear into power.

The yellow acquires rich undertones and depth as it ripens and becomes full-bodied. My insecurity becomes my empowerment. My fear is my friend, not my foe.

I feel my strength take form, self-protection armed with experience, primed to use fear as fuel

Though I fail every day at saying no, I keep trying

I do not retreat from the world

Though I have not yet put words to my fear, I study it

My frozen mouth thaws around radical words like:

My feelings matter, my health matters, my time matters, my sleep matters, my sense of safety matters

I soak up the golden yellow light, burn some sage and turn the page

When the High Wears Off

You can drink and smoke and swallow

Sniff and huff and wallow
Burn it up, inject it in
But no amount of noise will silence the din
I hear the roar of your pain
I see the fire in your brain
Anxiety and depression rage
Fueling the words on this page
I’ve tried it all
I’ve had a ball
I’ve lived through hell
Just to tell
What I have learned
What I have earned
Highs are temporary
Where will I be
When my next high wears off
Highs always wear off…
After chasing many a transient high
Which only left me feeling low
I’m building upward toward the sky
Growing that inner glow
I’m creating a sense of safe space to come home to
After another long day of battling anxiety monsters and depression demons
My mental sanctuary is invisible, yet indispensable
It is my daily practice, my intention, my breath
My practice is to remind myself that I belong here
Even if I don’t believe it at first
I am worthy
Even if I don’t allow myself to receive at first
I am a person
Even though I’ve spent a lifetime of feeling lesser-than
Of feeling like I owed my life to strangers
I’ve survived so many dangers
I’m lucky
I’m ready
To start living
To feel beyond high
Cultivating a sustainable solution without bodily pollution
Emotional storms are best weathered while wearing a life vest
So I envelope my chest with positive visualizations
Letting my heart garden blossom and thrive
With this breath, I am alive
I am beyond high

Immunizations and Sun Salutations

I stand at the crossroads

Between immunizations and sun salutations
Walking the line between
East in my heart and
West in my mind
I look down at my moral compass, then up at the stars
I rest on my yoga mat
As I third-eye gaze beyond mental bars
Melting away that which keeps me confined
Letting go of that which was never mine
Opening my awareness
To the countless expressions of love
Which surround us
Including these words
Which I lovingly write for you
Immunizations and sun salutations
Are manifestations of love too
I thrive with both
I want you to know
So that you can thrive too
Because I love you

Anxiety

Anxiety, my oldest companion, always by my side

Anxiety
Ball of wirey grey string inside me
Buzzing like an agitated hornet’s nest, threatened and angry
Tangling, strangling, suffocating
Drowning me under dark metal walls rising
Closing in under the pressure of the shadow mountains of never enough
This shifting, terrifying scenery is my home
My neurobiological foundation was not built on safety or security
My mind was melded in the hellfire of anxiety
Flames of self-doubt licking at my heels
Constantly threatening to burn me to the bone
Venomous teeth bared,
My serpent of self-doubt is poised
Ready to strike
That’s how I get through the night
Jaw clenched tight, insomnia punctuated by nightmares
In a lucid dream I fly
In my many travels, I learn a thing or two
I understand now
That my anxiety is my servant,
Trying to protect me
From the many and varied perceived threats
Of my childhood and my adulthood
I breathe in deep
Let my tea steep
Beyond the dragoness serpent, the ring of fire, the charred walls, the mountains holding the howling winds of loneliness,
I see beyond all these horrors
With each breath
A bit of sunshine blue shines through
That bright and buoyant sight
That glimpse of the outside, of a new approach to life
Is all I need
To find peace
To hold hope
To savor the long years of hard suffering, mucking through mud
only to realize that my heart is a lotus blossom of healing
I am kneeling in humble gratitude
With each breath,
My serpent uncoils and I see her beauty
My flames simmer down
The earth beneath me settles and breathes with me
My walls fall, overcome by vines
Even my massive mountains of worry breathe,
Lush with Spring
Thank you for your service, anxiety
You can take a break from protecting me
This moment does not have to be a struggle
In an instant, ease breaks through
I breathe and bow to you, anxiety

Salt

My patient had hypovolemic hyponatremia

His serum sodium was low, and we all need salt in our blood to live

Overall, he was dehydrated- dry, though his blood pressure was high

I looked at his moist tongue, and didn’t see the storm clouds amassing in the sky

Until my attending physician came thundering down

Pummeling my eardrums with his voice so loud

Taking lightning strikes at my fledgeling ego

Making me feel scared, small and trapped

How dare I not approach this case the same way he would

How could I take a vast constellation of data points, and see a different image than him?

How dare I not know everything he wants me to know when he thinks I should know it.

The audacity of me!

I went into this job to help people, but who helps me when confronted with an abusive boss, the way I am all day every day?

I have grit, and that’s it.

How can I justify the harm I inflict on myself by trodding this path of not harming others? Am I not also a person worthy of non-harm?

I drag myself through another day of sheer exhaustion, violent levels of stress, junk food scavenging, flooding my veins with the same poison I encourage my patients to avoid.

I practice this art of self-abuse day after day, year after year.

I don’t have the time or personal space to cry, until many hours have passed by, and my work, imperfectly executed, is temporarily done.

Tomorrow, more work will come at a nauseating pace, in unpredictable swells and storms.

Tonight, I cling to the knot I’ve tied at the end of my rope.

At home, my partner speaks to me, but I do not hear him.

He softly reaches out to me, but I do not feel his touch.

He serves me dinner, though I do not feel hunger.

I try to breathe through my shell-shock, remind myself that I am safe, worthy, lovable.

As if concussed, I feel foggy, irritable, and want only to cry.

I close my bedroom door, and I finally let my tears fall, though I don’t know how they will ever stop.

I take stock of the things I am grateful for.

I have energy to release:

I visualize a cord of light between my attending physician and I, solar plexus to solar plexus, and I send his rageful, toxic energy back to him, riddled with his scathing judgement.

I send him back the shame he so generously tried to pile on me.

That is his energy, not mine.

I feel the sting of tears as they dry on my cheek- my personal Sahara.

For a minute there, I lost myself.

I feel raw, delicate.

I cried so much, I have lost volume and salt like my hypovolemic hyponatremic patient.

This time, I know the recommended remedy: fluid.

Keeping myself fluid, I bow in respect and gratitude to the teachers on my journey- those who still trick me into believing that I am lesser-than, who make me temporarily forget that I am a dreamer in this cosmic kaleidoscope.

I bow with respect and gratitude to water, and salt.

Nothing Wrong

Early childhood trauma pulled the carpet out from under me before I learned to stand on my own feet. I couldn’t build a sense of safety, security or self-esteem on quicksand. I was left with a perpetual sense of dread, always under threat, about to fail or not have enough food, shelter, or other basic needs to survive.

As a result, my root chakra clenched up, my sacral chakra blew up as a survival mechanism, becoming my feeler-sense to test the emotional waters, as my solar plexus bent to the slightest of breezes, bowing my power to others to preserve my life.

Heartbreak cracked my heart open, and in the middle of the darkest dark, divine light poured in.

When I saw the silver lining on the storm cloud of my life,
I saw that there was nothing wrong, and my eyes sparkled.

When I heard the melody and harmony in my sad song,
I heard that there was nothing wrong, and I sang along.

When I felt the world hold me after my love left me,
I felt that there was nothing wrong, and I feel embraced still.

When I breathed in the scent of the changing seasons,
I remembered that nothing was wrong, and I breathe it still.

When I feasted on the harvest of the earth,
I was nourished, the knowledge that nothing was wrong filled every cell of my body.

Maybe nothing was ever wrong.
Tonight, I am all right.

May I remind myself one million and one times, should I forget a million times, that I am all right.

I hope that you too may feel that there is nothing wrong with you, and nothing wrong with your life.

Earth Mama

Earth Mama

You always held me

I never left your embrace

You always loved me

Everywhere I look I see your face

I lost touch for a while

My heart broke and cracked open

Your heart kept right on beating

Slow and steady

You kept on supporting me and nourishing me

Even when I felt like I was falling and famished

You filled the cracks in my heart

With golden light

Making my heart even more beautiful than before it broke

Earth Mama, thank you for your generosity

Thank you for this life

Thank you for your love

Thank you for your patience

Thank you for believing in me

When I didn’t believe in anything

Beyond belief,

I know what I have lived

Now I know how to love

Poetry

Poetry won’t stop leaking out of me
My hands get a tingle
My mind sings a jingle
I search for paper on which to scratch
Anything within reach
Backs of receipts, napkins, old scraps
All other activity falls to the wayside
Until I see the poem before my eyes

I write about the unspoken suffering of my life
Of being brutally silenced
Since infancy I was trained not to cry when I wanted to cry
My feelings were an inconvenience to those by my side
I came to understand that my needs were not important enough to be expressed, and if I made the mistake of even showing how I felt through my face or my body, such truth was beaten out of me by those closest to me
Far worse than the violence was the mental abuse
and even worse than the mental abuse was the neglect
Sometimes I felt invisible and other times I felt like I wasn’t invisible enough
I wished that I could fly away
The shouting was so loud, where could I hide?
I locked my door but they always burst inside
No boundaries
I cried in secret silence everyday
I learned that I existed to be what others wanted me to be
I delivered what was required
Though inside me raged a fire
The primordial desire
To be free
I’d give anything to live just for me

When I became grown, I left home
But my well-trained brain followed me wherever I roamed
Autonomy is foreign to me
I met many lovers but they always chose me
Because I pleased them easily
I never returned the favor
Of serving up the criticism they so abundantly showered upon me

Joyfully, I recently discovered that the suffering of my life has a name;                                                            Narcissistic Abuse
There are healthier ways to love, ladies and gentlemen
I want more harmony and less harm done to me
I am trying to create a life that I want to live,
One where I give from my heart instead of feeling like a marionette jerked around by the malicious hands of fear

I want to tell others how I feel and what I am thinking
Speak from my heart
Release my throat chakra
Weave a tapestry with the golden thread of my truth
Relentlessly I work at this nearly impossible task
Like a seed below the soil, the only place I have to grow is toward the sun
But healing my mind feels like building a castle on quicksand
My efforts collapse, fall and fail every day

I must remember to give myself compassion, the way I try to give my abusers compassion
I have succeeded before in speaking my mind
With every break-up, no matter how clumsy my wording or how long it took me to work up the courage
I want to tell my exes that when I hurt them by finally breaking up with them, it was because I was trying to reclaim my life and honor both of us
God, have I suffered at the hands of men
When they hurt me, it was because they were trying to get a rise out of me, or hurt me out of spite
I want to tell them: Get a life, you jerks

May they stop terrorizing me and find inner peace swiftly

I feel awful about the things I’ve done that I didn’t want to do
Especially the things I’ve done with men
The sex was violent, violating, painful and humiliating
If only I could forget it, but even my body remembers
I think I will always see men as perpetrators, even though not all of them are
An overwhelming amount of the ones I’ve known are
I struggle to shake them off me when they’re ready to rape me yet they’re nowhere to be found when I’m ready to abort our unplanned pregnancies
That excruciating physical and emotional pain is just for me

The bloody landscape of no man’s land

I understand that as an adult survivor of child abuse, I attract abusers
I’m developing a repellant
By noticing patterns and breaking them
Prevent problems before they start
The best defense is a good offense

I still worry
Worry that my heart will always feel broken
Worry that the countless times I was raped will catch up with me in the form of STDs or infertility
I worry that I will always live in fear
I worry that I will always worry
I worry that I will feel sad and mad all my life
I worry that I will continue to suffer though I shouldn’t worry about that because suffering is guaranteed and worrying will do no good
Life is pain
That’s the rule of the game
I can still win the game of life even though I was born with disadvantages, for my advantages are greater still
I have hope and heart
I’m writing a happy ending to my story
I am writing with a golden pen of glory
I am writing unstoppable poetry
Until victory, always

Thank you.