I recently went on my first meditation retreat – it was intense! Very emotionally difficult, but so healing. I decided to write a poem to document what I went through there, so I could remember what I had learnt there. Hope you enjoy! x
There are so many stars in the sky!
I am a long way from home.
My mind, just as busy.
Leaving old habits behind
Nowhere to hide
From feelings that haunt.
Alone at last,
I let my stress overwhelm me
I feel it entirely
For some moments it is everything
And then, just an echo
Feeling angry, different
And alone in a silent crowd
Of compassionate strangers.
My compass, broken.
I wonder if I’m in the right place.
First feel of heart’s centre –
A blinding fear
I sympathise with myself, perhaps for the first time.
It is agony.
Second feel of heart’s centre
So badly neglected that it holds
A hoard of pain.
Tears flow, slow, silent.
of the lashing rain outside.
I promise myself it will never happen again.
But these glimpses are safe, contained.
I hover outside my room
But the darkness calls me.
I walk into it
Without knowing where I am going
Or what will happen next.
At least I know blood flow is real
I can feel it
Like these endless tears
Sparked by stories of hope and redemption
Awakening my grieving heart.
I opened myself up tonight, just a crack
To let someone see inside
Only a little of my inner self.
And although he was kind,
And my details, few –
It was agonising, worse than my own heart-tending,
Like putting your numb, frozen feet
Into steaming hot water –
It’s what is needed,
But oh, how it burns!
Turns out I am not the first
To watch my life burn to the ground
And start again.
Are just a story
I tell myself to stay safe from others
To justify my fear.
The rules I grew up with
And needed to survive
No longer apply.
I must learn a new way of being
A simple body ache
Allows me to see
I am free now.
My mind just tricks me.
Leave a bird in a cage all its life
Then open the door.
The bird won’t move –
It won’t even see that the door is open.
But I see it’s wide open now.
A new way
To keep me safe;
Know my mind heart and body every day.
But I need to be free to make this choice
To realise that it is a choice.
But I keep trying.
Struck by the beauty of the morning mist, clearing
I have changed.
Tears of relief,
The last day
I leave with new hope.
My mind, clearer.
My heart, thawing.
By Andrea Twist, January 2014
As part of the work I’m doing from my Self-Esteem Guided Journal I put together a positive self-portrait. It’s a combination of the best of my physical, mental and interpersonal attributes, as well as compliments received from others. I used Wordle to turn it into a pretty word-cloud.
Starting to feel better about myself already! So often I am obsessed with what’s wrong with me, and completely ignore all the things that are right with me. Will try to keep these things in mind.
- I shouldn’t have shouted at you
- I shouldn’t have sworn at you
- I’m sorry for treating you like that, there is no excuse
- You are so beautiful
- I think you are amazing
- I am going to go get real help
- I’m so sorry I made you feel afraid of me
- You should be able to feel safe and secure in a relationship
- How can I make it up to you?
- I understand if you need some space
- I screwed up, I’m an idiot
- Can you forgive me?
I don’t believe I’m strong, capable, confident, lovable, kind or valuable. But a nice lady told me that if I just say these things to myself repeatedly each day, I will grow into them, and become them. I hope so.
The way I see it, years of abuse from my family and ex-partner was like growing up in a cult, and you were brainwashed to believe that you were worthless, always to blame, invisible, stupid, incapable, nothing.
So now I need to enter a re-education camp, brainwash myself the right way. It helps that there is no one around to abuse me anymore…though a large part of that is just that there is nobody around.
I will keep reading (good) self-help books, attending workshops, going to therapy, exercising, meditating and being around good people, and hopefully I will emerge fully free from the cult of abuse.
Do you have an affirmation? Comment or tweet @andrea_twist
At my lowest, when all I could think about was killing myself 24/7, I would drown out the thoughts by repeating this poem over and over in my mind, like a prayer. It is the only poem I know by heart. It was the only thing that made sense to me at the time. It saved my life.