December

As daylight hours wane

The evening streams blue shadows

Across glittering, freshly-fallen snow

And I watch in reverent awe

As the scene outside my front window

Transforms into a mesmorizing spectacle

Of tiny colored lights scattered on the foothills

Against majestic snowcapped mountains.

I nestle in the warmth of a blanket

Peering up at a tree filled with baubles and bows

A decade of memories both bitter and sweet

Reminding me that life is to be savored.

There is a paradox to December:

That in the midst of the darkest weather

Colors, lights, festivities, and joy emerge;

Yet in this childlike bliss of the season

There are those who quietly grieve.

Thanksgiving

Come, gather round this rustic table

I’ll light a candle for a centerpiece

We’ll bask in the fading light of day

And let our hearts begin to speak

Of deepest wishes, never spoken

Dreams still in their infancy

The bitter taste of our misfortunes

Finding gold within debris.

We’ll raise a glass to all our triumphs

Whether minuscule or profound

Wiping tears away for losses

Lifting shoulders stooping down.

There is no need for formalities

On this day of thanks and giving

When all we need are warm, accepting souls

To restore our reasons for living.

Overthinker

I am an overthinker

The sheriff of Anxiety Town

Predicting futures of death and devastation

Without the help of a crystal ball.

I am a worrying insomniac

A file cabinet turned upside-down

Littered with a thousand urgent memos

To which I may never respond.

I am a broken record of negative self-talk

Shaming myself for blinking too much

Demanding perfection from this faulty soul

While embracing everyone else.

Healing

Healing is a glorified concept

Of quick solutions, magical regeneration

Rainbows arching over flower meadows

Using words like letting go, moving on

As a guise for our breaking hearts.

What if we saw healing in its true form?

Messy, labile, excruciatingly painful

A mirror reflecting harsh reality

Coming face-to-face with our distortions

As well as our resilience.

Healing travels like a time machine

Huge leaps forward, free-falling backward

Learning to savor the present moment.

Healing generates instability

Pushing us out of safe enclosures

Teaching us, by force, to adapt, survive

Building mental endurance over miles and miles

Of emotional pandemonium,

Realizing only later in hindsight

How far we have come.

Sinking Depression

It began subtly, sleep prolonged

An innocent attempt to balance the deficit

That persisted despite the lack of tiredness

Dreaming to escape.

For a time, I ignored the heavy pull

Of thoughts, long stifled, to stop trying

But they flooded my mind, circling hope

Like vultures to prey

Consistent, persistent, calculating.

It was the blandness of food

The invisible weighted blanket

Of hopelessness, emptiness

That I carried around unwillingly

Growing heavier day-by-day.

It was the building evidence

Of failure, despite the opposite proof,

Tears channeled from seeing happiness

Without the ability to partake,

Flowing down cheeks like a geyser, erupted

Then the aftermath of anhedonia

When staring at walls, feeling nothing at all

Seemed as normal as breathing.

Depression is sinking on dry land

A hollowed-out version of existence

And those who survive

Will never truly believe their resilience

Until joy begins to thaw them out.

Running Away from the Cure

I see the itch in your twitching feet

The instant the pain sets in

Stirring up feelings you cannot ignore

So, let the damage control begin!

Fleeing is not the answer

To dispose of unwanted sensations

They will cling to recesses of your soul

No matter the speed of abdication.

Take a breath and invite in the aching

Radically accept what you strive not to feel

Ask the curious observer question:

“What can I learn so that I can heal?”

You can choose emotional repression

You can avoid like a connoisseur

But when numbing wins over awareness

You are running away from the cure.

To Live Is to Be Brave

In a world of nonstop doing

Where worth is measured by accomplishment

Clocking in and out of consciousness

Half-awake in a monotonous trench,

We berate ourselves for dragging our feet

Rising up in the wake of a million defeats

Putting smiles on a hollow and weary face

Giving energy despite the inner displace.

No amount of promotion, recognition, or fame

Compares to the victory of daily breathing

When despair is the foe, and life is to save

To fight is to live, and to live is to be brave.

Riding the Wave of Grief

Such a minuscule reprieve

A blink of relief

Before the wave of grief rises again

Blindsiding, capsizing, crushing from within

Dissolving our freshly-paved resolve

To finally be rid of the pain.

While you catch your stolen breath

While you release those captive tears

Remember the pattern of waves:

To rise, to impact, to retreat.

It is a passing catastrophe

A momentary disaster

The ebb and flow of healing loss

Opening vaults once sealed by despair

Where unresolved hurts can find release.

So dig your toes deep into the sand

Clench your fists as you raise your chin

Ride this wave as it floods through your breaking soul

Let it purge the sadness left in your veins.