Growth – a poem

A false sense of safety fills me as I peek out from the walls of my imaginary box.

For now, I will lay down in the corner of this space and wrap myself up in my warm comfort blanket.

Then, comes the time, that I will step forth out into the infinite unknown.

My breath will be taken for a minute, for my lungs only know expansion through a well defined space.

The familiar will become foreign and all sense of knowing will dissolve.

I will turn inward, then, to search for answers.

My heart will flutter as it scurries to make sense of what is happening.

I will try to crawl back into my box, but it will not fit and the sight of it will make me sick.

The feel of its cramped walls will make me scream as if it is suffocating me.

I will look around at everyone else in their boxes and feelings of envy will wash through me.

Look at how comfortable they are, sleeping so soundly.

Can I crawl in with you for a minute? Can I escape my new sense of uncertainty?

It feels good for a moment to have an escape and I welcome it.

But, as time passes, I recognize this is not my space, and I must leave in search of my own.

I hang on to something inside of me, a voice, a knowing that has always been there.

I hang on to the sound of unbridled childhood laughter.

I hang on to the sound of the ocean and the vantage point at the top of my favorite mountain.

I hang on to the wisdom of the great elephant and of my dream of the rhythmic river.

I hang on.

I hang on to cherish the mystery and to dance with the unknown.

I ask if the great mystery can be my new home.

I step out into widest deepest parts of myself and I take a deep breath.

I just keep breathing.

A Dance of Sorts…

You dance with me as your words flow from your heart.

We embrace in a way that is so profoundly familiar.

Your hand on mine through conversation.

I can sense you here and now at this moment because I know you.

Other people might never understand.

Maybe I don’t understand either.

Isn’t it nice sometimes to put aside reason and flow with the moment?

Although a definition is forming, you offer none to me.

Nor do I ask for any, as this might change the perfect moment.

In this time you are you, and I am me..and somewhere somehow our worlds are colliding in a dance.

We dance because there is a rhythm. We dance because there is life.

We dance because the music guides us to our place.

When the last note is played we realize the music plays on.

And then we start the dance all over again.

And your hand touches mine but still I have not seen you.

Appearances

I breathed in and out.

My breath an expression of a thousand moments of intimacy exchanged between us.

Of a thousand moments within myself.

A relief passes over me and through me as if letting go…or hanging on.

You draw conclusions from what you see and from what you hear.

Which will make the most impact?

Will it be the silent moments in between words unsaid?

I worry about people’s thoughts of me still. (Sometimes)

Not that they will appear to know me through their first impressions…

but that they will fail to know me through their judgements.

Will we both miss out, then, on this experience like coming to a river and failing to feel the water between our toes?

Will you know my heart?

Will my soul speak to you in the moments that it speaks its truth?

Will my truth ring loudly in your ears?

What do you see beyond my outward manifestation?

Do you see me…Do you see who I am?

I am still here.

When I stand by the ocean, I feel at home: a reflection on the challenges of communication

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I have always felt at home by the ocean. Being there, I know that I am a part of something much larger than myself and much larger than any difficult situation I might be facing. As I watch the waves roll over and over the shore, I think about how it tosses and smooths out rock. I think about how glass becomes sea glass. Once, a sharp dangerous piece of glass that can cut, now a piece of smooth colorful stone. This all happens with repetition and time. The ocean is beautiful and strong. Under the ocean, exists a whole world bigger than the world we live on upon land. I walked for hours today on the shore. The time melted by and I was simply enjoying every passing moment as the sound of the waves became my song. I began to think about avoidance as the ocean’s waves continually lapped the shore line. The waves do not stop. The ocean does not press pause and retreat. This is not the ocean’s way.  Personally, I have gotten better at not avoiding challenging or sad emotions. But, sometimes, interpersonal things feel too hard to talk about with others, or the fear of hurting someone’s feelings surfaces. Sometimes, life can be challenging and people can hurt you. Whether, they mean to or not does not change the emotions you feel inside. Sometimes, you can hurt people, whether you mean to or not does not change the emotions they feel inside. 

However, avoiding the situation all together does not usually make the issue go away. Instead, the emotions or the pain seem to get sharper like the piece of broken glass on the beach. But I think, perhaps if things were discussed and smoothed over, they would become less sharp like the sea glass. So often it is about the fear of the unknown of what lies on the other side of discussing or admitting our feelings to each other. What will happen then? Will we be able to withstand the pain, vulnerability, or other emotions that might surface? I do believe we can. I now know that regardless of how much the emotional pain or discomfort feels like it will physically split you into two pieces, it won’t. I now know that you, me, and everyone is infinitely stronger and more resilient than we usually give ourself credit for. However, it is still challenging at times to have difficult conversations with loved ones, but often necessary. I often think that, if it becomes natural and normal to discuss our feelings with each other, perhaps it just becomes part of the whole process of living and experiencing life together. Just as, each wave is the ocean and the ocean each wave. Challenges just are.

This is the power of the ocean, with its rhythmic repetition. Would I say the ocean is perfect? No, but what is perfection really? And does the ocean even want to be perfect? It probably just wants to be, because it knows it is so much more than perfect. 

The ocean is beautiful, calming, refreshing, and soothing. But also, like life, the ocean can be scary, dangerous, unknown, and unpredictable. Knowing that the ocean can be all these things, but still magnificent, makes me realize that life is not meant to be black and white, perfect, or always predictable.  The ocean is exactly how it is, and how it will be. The ocean just is. It is constant, but forever changing. It is wise, but humble.

I have to say, however, that for me today, everything about being by the ocean was perfect. I went without expectations. I allowed the ocean to tell me it’s story and sing me it’s song, and I got an unexpected outcome. I got peace.  

I should not be surprised by this, since I always feel this as I stand with my feet in the sand and stare out at the endless horizon. But, I think I forget just how beautiful it is. I guess with some experiences that are as inspiring as the ocean, each time, is like facing a new part of myself. Each time is different. Each time, I fail to find words to describe what I have experienced. 

Dear Avoidance, I Bought you Flowers.

Avoidance: A Theme a Trigger

Avoidance: A Theme a Trigger

Dear Avoidance,

I bought you flowers today. First, I bought them for myself to lighten up my house. Then, I thought of you and how I have used you for so long, and how you have done your best to help me. Thank you avoidance, for some things have seemed far too challenging to deal with. Avoidance. I feel you sneaking up when confrontation seems too hard or when I am afraid of failing myself or others. I see you there ready to help me, when I want to hide myself from the world so that they do not know the pain I am in. However, look avoidance, the more I have used you, the less I have been able to rely on myself. The less I have been able to handle rejection or disappointment or real feelings. Don’t get me wrong, I do not always seek you out. For, I know I do not always need you. Sometimes my own strengths and abilities overwhelm me and I cannot believe what I am truly capable of. But today avoidance, I did not use you. I did not seek you out. I stood in the face of discomfort and said “bring it on”. Bring on whatever may come. For this all is just a part of life, as is avoidance. But, today I bought you flowers as a thank you ,but also as a way to say, “I might not need you as much as I thought I did and that you will be seeing less of me.”

Yours Truly,

ED