Change begins with recognition

As our inner dysfunctions become clear

Resisting the urge to deflect or escape

We instead turn our focus inward

Breathing through the pain of soul-searching

As we break down our defenses brick by brick

To understand our role in our own discord.

We are always on a trajectory of evolution

Refining like pearls trapped in transformation

Until finally dawn breaks through the night

And we understand, we finally understand,

Where to find our healing light.

There is no bitterness in this process

We feel what we must feel to overcome

We change what we must change to transform

We cry the tears in need of bittersweet release

Falling apart to be put together piece by piece,

Saved only by our slowly dissolving belief

That on the other side of suffering

We may find relief.

We Are Not Exempt

At first, peace feels like an illusion

After numberless days treading water

Our soul muscles desensitized to strain

Stamina built by force of continuous trauma

As we rise and fall and rise again.

Dear soul, do you feel the subtle pull of peace?

The quiet hope waiting just around the next bend?

The safety net ready to catch your fall,

After the relief of survival settles in?

Peace tiptoes through the back door of our suffering

Encircles us unexpectedly, catches us off-guard

Breaking down our defenses with soft reassurances

That we are safe to breathe, we are still alive,

And it takes time to begin to earnestly believe

That in a world of shadows and downpours

There are also strands of lights shining with peace

And we are not exempt from light, dear soul,

We are not exempt,

Turning Inward

There is nothing to fear in turning inward

We are meant to dissect the fibers of our souls

To reassess our motives, our patterns, our worth

Seeing with painful clarity what we must do

To remove the barriers standing in the way

Of awakened perspective

Of movement forward

Of certainty.

Perhaps there will be some discomfort

In sharpening the lenses of our colored glasses

As our surroundings become jaggedly clear,

This is when the flaws of our distorted thoughts surface

When we see the cycle of our own dysfunctions

When we finally begin to prioritize our own healing

By recognizing the ways we inadvertently hurt ourselves

Through self-defeatism

Inner criticism

Sanctioned dissociation

Reckless over-giving

And we choose to take the path of self-reflection instead

To heal the wounds at the root of our behaviors

Helping ourselves so that we may wholesomely help others

Without expectation, without fear, with love unfeigned

The way we do when our souls are renewed.

A Breaking Place

There is a breaking place

Safe and set aside, patiently awaiting

Those who stagger in with bleeding wounds

Heavy hearts aching from the upheaval of life

Downcast eyes that have witnessed traumas

Hands too weak to keep grasping onto straws

Unable to bear the weight of silent suffering

For another strained breath.

In this place, there is healing

In the form of arms that encircle tired shoulders

Ears that listen without judgment or bias

Words that soothe the abrasiveness of pain

And a heart that loves without conditions

Allowing light to replace the clinging shadows

Of our human experience.

There is a breaking place

Accessible always, but never enforced

With a door that is open and a lamp softly glowing

For the soul-searchers, the wandering travelers

Who need a resting place for aching feet

And reassurance that everything will be alright

On this journey we all must take

In this strange phenomenon called life.

Find Our Way Home

Maybe there is no definitive destination

And we have already arrived

At a series of milestones waiting for us

Stretched out along a personalized path

Where we can pause and catch our breaths

To peer up at the brilliance of the stars

Marveling at how we came to exist

On this wondrous path of life.

I know, dear soul, that each step is heavy

On this never-ending perilous road

But there are small moments of beauty

Little breaths of relief from the upward climb

Made up of perspective, hope, and peace

Reminding us that we are beloved humans

On a path of searching, discovery, and healing

Trying, always trying, to find our way home.

Persevering and Breaking

There is an unsettling interval

Between persevering and breaking,

In which we must consciously choose

To continue to fight with all our might

Setting aside feelings for fortitude

Or to allow ourselves to crack open

Letting the feelings seep through.

There is no right or wrong decision;

At times it is wiser to hold our shields close

Keeping a level head through the chaos

Turning inward to draw the last of our strength

To withstand the battles ahead.

And at other times, we must fall apart

In safe spaces, where our hearts are cradled

To release enough pain from inside

That we can piece ourselves back together.

Dear soul, I am comfortably numb

Hidden behind a fortress of protection

I am strong, independent, mindful,

Aware of the defense mechanisms in my mind,

How they toughen up before a storm

Yet when the last of the rain has passed

I will need to quietly fall apart

Again and again, softly and calmly,

The way we do when there is finally relief.

Healing Shows Up

Healing shows up for us, dear soul,

Without hidden costs or fine print

Despite our stubborn inner resistance

Even when it feels as if there is no escape

From our self-imposed prisons.

Healing finds us in our destitute places

Requiring only an open and willing heart

To take the first step down an unknown path

To walk away from doors long closed

To make the difficult, pivotal decisions

To follow our deepest intuitions.

We do not need to leap out into oblivion

Completing metamorphosis to earn the next clue,

We only need to listen carefully to our souls

And with hope, take the first step forward

No matter how illogical

No matter the timing

No matter what we must let go

Toward what will allow us to truly grow.

I Choose Hope

I choose hope

And if the stars begin to fall

We will wish on them, dear soul

Until the very last ones remain

Still gleaming, still clinging,

Against the rise of night

The way they always do.

I choose hope

In this unpredictably brutal world

Full of harshness and hidden softness too

Seeking out the tender moments

Until the very last ones remain

Like treasure chests glowing

In bleak, unlikely places

The way they always do.

Magnificently You

Who was it that first whispered in your ears

That to be loved, you must be without flaw?

You are marvelous as you truly are,

Worthy by birthright, perfectly imperfect

Fueling movement forward with learned experience

Refusing to wallow in the mire of old grievances

Always, always turning your eyes toward hope.

Dearest soul, there is no need to linger

On the perceived failures of a past long past

They are tiny specks in a lifetime of upward climbing

And you are here now, standing with honest intention

Trying, learning, building, discerning,

As stunning as the stars

Beautifully refined, magnificently you.