A Christmas Wish

Outside the world bustles in this holiday season

But there is an undertone of unrest, a somberness on faces

As we strive to incorporate traditions in a time of crisis.

We adorn our homes with warm lights and colorful garlands

Filling our quiet hallways with familiar Christmas melodies

Wrapping presents to be placed beneath a sparkling tree

Baking goodies as in the background seasonal movies play

All the while noticing that we do not feel the same.

I feel it too, dear soul, this surreal disconnection

When even glowing lights and carols cannot bolster spirits

Well-intended gifts lose their value over basic human needs

Like health, safety, wellbeing, hope, and connection.

May this be our wish this Christmas season:

To find our safe places

To connect with dearest faces

To bring nurturance to suffering friends

To cling to hope that our hearts can mend.

Giving

Giving can be the shield beneath which we protect our souls

From rejection, criticism, inadequacy, old traumas untold

But I wonder, dear soul, what it would be like

To truly see how great a treasure is your giving light

Offering only to those who can reciprocate

Preserving your caring energies for hearts that appreciate.

Help Me Figure This Phenomenon Out

My friends, I’m taking a brief pause from my usual poetry-ish writing to ask for some help solving a mystery, if you feel so inclined to chime in.

I would not be posting this if it weren’t sending my brain into mental gymnastics.

Every day, and by that I mean every. single. day. for the past three months, I glance at the clock at exactly 11:11am and 11:11pm. I check the clock more than that, but not compulsively enough to explain why 11:11 shows up twice daily. Hallucinations? Psychosis? Trust me, I worried about that too. So I did what most of us tend to do when something unusual keeps happening: I pretended like it was normal.

For the first month I sort of waved it off like it had always been happening, I just hadn’t noticed until then. Glance at the clock at 11:11am while I’m dashing to get to work? NBD. Must be connected to my brain’s innate circadian rhythm, I thought, feeling all science-y. Just happen to see 11:11pm as I’m brushing my teeth? My brain is primed like a freaking alarm to look at the clock right now, total coincidence, I’d tell myself.

Then the next month, things went from weird to extra wonky when I started to see 1:11am and 1:11pm too. I’m just looking at the clock WAAAAAY too much, apparently, I’d tell myself, this time scratching my head. So then I consciously did NOT look at the clock except when absolutely necessary (like waking up to the alarm in the morning, or to make sure I ended my therapy sessions on time).

But even when I mindfully veered away from glancing at the clock unless I HAD to, 11:11 and 1:11 still showed up during the few times I did check the clock.

It got to be kind of a hilarious joke for a bit, where I’d roll my eyes and chuckle derisively. Now it’s not funny anymore, it’s like a mystery from Scooby Doo that has gone on forever: someone just needs to pull off the mask already. Then we can have a good forced laugh about it so the episode can finally end.

My Google searching for answers about the mysterious 11:11 sightings ended abruptly when I read the caption beneath a title saying: “1111 means something significant is about to happen”. Then I sort of chickened out because I didn’t want to veer down the path of ominous thinking.

Have you ever experienced this?

And if you have, what did it mean for you?

Coincidence or not?

Clinically insane perhaps? 😉

Softly Listening

The snow is falling softly now

Leaving us in a quiet, peaceful world

Where the noise so often overpowering

Becomes more subdued, background music

And we listen with attuned hearts

To the fundamental melodies of our souls.

Sometimes the most meaningful music

Is found in the notes softly playing on repeat

Within our veins, our deeper sense of knowing,

Patiently humming the messages we need to hear

Until our minds are calm enough to listen.

If we sit in the stillness of this falling snow,

Shutting out the noise of overthinking in our minds

What will we hear?

What is your soul singing to you?

And Still We Rise

Remarkably, still we rise.

After a tearful, restless night with no foreseeable end

We rise up with the sun and press on, press on.

No physical strength left to hold up our tired heads

Yet with borrowed grit we stand again and again.

Never dreaming we would be traversing this path alone

We cry while squaring back our shoulders, walking, then running.

Surviving off of the fumes of burnt out hopes

We extinguish our expectations and with courage try and try again.

Day after day, sleepless night after sleepless night, we keep breathing

Stumbling, we dust off our hands, tend to our bruises,

And with strength beyond our own we climb up our mountains again.

Rising, then falling, then rising once more

Hearts offering, hearts breaking, keeping an open door

Losing, grieving, swimming through our deepest pain

And still, with fortitude, we rise up again.

An Unassembled Table and 42,538 Pieces of Hardware

Today I watched my almost 20-year-old kitchen table leave my home

It was old, stained, chipping, covered underneath with layers of Disney stickers

Evidence of its long and beloved history, weaved into fibers of oak.

Now it has left to continue its life with one branch of a broken family

To build more history, create new memories beneath a different roof.

I am sitting on the floor of the empty dining room, noise echoing

Around me are strewn parts of a new, unassembled kitchen table

And about 42,538 pieces of hardware carefully separated into piles.

I have never put together a table before, having never needed to learn

But these are unprecedented times – this table will not build itself.

I am squinting at an encyclopedic manual full of pictures and no words

Learning on the fly how to use a screwdriver 101, how to hammer nails,

How to assemble a table to replace the one I thought would always be here.

There is grieving in this process, but it is oddly comforting to cry while building

Viewing this hardware, these wooden boards, the way I view my heart:

Scattered in a thousand pieces but capable of reassembling.

How do you rebuild a life after so much loss?

Well, you sit on the floor of your empty dining room, weeping,

And one-by-one, you piece together the wayward, broken parts

Learning as you go the basic rules and steps for regeneration

Making far more mistakes than progress at first,

Putting together the whole entire thing only to discover you forgot several pieces

And you must tear it all down again, painfully, to be built up even stronger

Until it is, miraculously, through your determined effort,

Assembled into something sturdy, stable, just waiting for new memories.

A Balm for the Lonely of Heart

To the ones who rise up from gravity with heaviness in their chest

Souls fraying at the edges while consistently giving their best,

To the ones who care for others with shoulders stooped in pain

Hiding worlds of grief, pushing aside the rising shame,

To the ones who know within themselves they are sound and whole

Yet long for the caring presence of other likeminded souls,

To those who are afraid of the uncertain chapters ahead

Trying to muster hope out of a sense of looming dread,

To the fathers and the mothers raising children on their own

Producing optimism from thin air in the face of the unknown:

I see beneath your stoic face the mental wear and tear

How you long to share your burdens with those who truly care

I hear the deeper meaning beneath the words “I am okay”

How the feelings run so deep no words can possibly convey

What you have lived, what you have learned, what you must hide

The extent of courage needed to simply stay alive,

I know it feels like no one peers into your inner world

But I can see it, dear soul, your hidden pain is heard.

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