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Mmmmm….has parent changed me?

Do you want the short answer or the long one?

Based on a gloriously harmonious day or on a –stressed out, exhausted, I feel like a rag and I want to throttle you- days? …

Parenthood has defiantly thrown me to these extremes as well as everything that falls in between. So the short answer is yes, parenting has changed me tremendously from reacting with fear to responding with love. It has been the most challenging experience I have ever undertaken as well as given me a hearty dose of humility, empathy, and resilience. It has spiritually, emotional, mentally, and physically healed me.

The long answer: I was born hardwired for fear and hyper-sensitive. Experiencing or even witnessing violence, especially during the crucial period of brain development under age of five significantly affects brain development and can make a child feel scared, anxious, worried, confused, angry, and insecure. This list of feelings sums up my battles in life to a “T” and parenting triggered every one of these vulnerabilities.

You see, even with extensive experience working with children and degrees in elementary education, psychology, human development & family studies and marriage and family therapy, I still felt inadequate and unprepared for parenthood. I even had a self-imposed rule to wait till I was married for 5 years before having children. I began joking with my partner that we needed to have kids so I could have more credentials for my practice as I specialized in children and parenting issues.

After a snowball effect of interventions and traumatic labor, my first son was born 5 months shy of my 5th wedding anniversary, yet I was too tired and hungry to hold him. The natural concoction of bonding hormones was disturbed and my predisposition lead to post-partum depression. I spent a large part of his first year just going through the motions, feeling like a failure and even resentful. Then the anxiety and shame over what I thought I should be doing kicked into overdrive and robbed much of my joy.

During this time, I also worked with families involved with Department of Family Services providing in-home, intensive family therapy. After a couple miscarriages and another pregnancy, I took part in intensive therapeutic and parenting trainings that introduced me to how trauma affects brain development and regulation abilities in children. The light bulbs went off in my head like a fireworks display. So much of my life made sense and new connections made. Then I had another traumatic labor, this time ending with a stillbirth.

WOW…talk about turning your life upside down…try holding a dead baby…your baby.

Althou1935_1079097454232_8939_ngh this was extremely painful, the perspective it gave me toward life and parenting was astounding. You can read more about my processing of the stillbirth here. It encouraged me to truly process my grief, to dig deeper, try harder, and keep learning. I took more trainings on understanding brain development and healing trauma. Having a child actually gave me more compassion and understanding for the 24/7 demands of parenting and complexities of the parent/child relationship.

I chose to put my relationship with my child first and take responsibility for getting my own and his vital needs met.  I chose not to conceive again till I had no fears about the pregnancy and accepted the reality that I may never have another live birth. I did eventually go onto to have a positive and empowering birth experience with my daughter who I had a home, water birth with. I had to consciously filter out other’s opinions and outside influences to tune into my mind/body/soul connections and innate intelligence. I was better able to parent from my heart and less from my trauma.

My relationship with my children has been a mirror to my soul. The reflection is not always pretty, yet I can easily see when my intention, thoughts, feelings, and actions do not match and align them. I am blessed to have 4 angels, 2 children, a supportive partner, and a peacefully chaotic family. As the more I focus my energy on the integrity of my relationships, the more I have of the gloriously harmonious days. Now don’t get me wrong, I am human and still have those other days yet they have shortened into moments, happen less often, and are easily remedied with a hug, silly face, or a happy song. I can truly feel how every day is a gift.

This has been more like my medium answer because honestly, I could go on and on about how evolutionary principles, attachment science, quantum physics, and a love-based paradigm shift could maximize human potential and heal the world…But I’ll just leave you with my poetic version of how parenthood changed me:

lessons from my son meme

I too have been so low

Where death appears as a friend

My body, mind, and soul molten

Rationalizing this as a favor to all

Why would I want to add more suffering?

 …wasted space…

…BREATHE…

 …feel that edge…

  …see who gave you life…

Why punish her labor of love?

Through another’s lens

I am a miracle

My body, mind, and soul awaken

Trusting my innate intelligence

A safe place for all.

 

 

How does one survive the brink of madness?

Seems impossible to describe my throes

I can touch God

but as quick as the rug is pulled form feet and the wool from my eyes

I am worthy of nothing, an “it” to despise

Longing to rid this disguise

Terrified no one will oblige

The double edge sword we all parade

The bed we’ve made

Too comfortable to escape

Trapped by delusions

My gut aches

Conditioned to swallow the pill

my voice, a diminished 7th, shrills

I betray myself convinced I am serving

I wage a war against the pacifist in me

Knowing acceptance is half the battle

I leap…

Mesmerized by faith

Cradled in waves

I surrender,

Embrace.

 

~compassiondw 5/20/16

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wish I can fall in a rabbit hole

Lose time and the 1000 worries behind

 

I observe the tension float away like bubbles,

Yet become drenched, uncomfortable as they pop

 

Exposed like a bullseye

My default is to run, hide and cry

 

I am teetering a tight rope

Where a simple “how are you” feels loaded and insincere

 

My current musing:

Is suffering necessary, man-made or all the above

 

I feel tension a mile, even generations away

I speak taboo, triggering with my inflection

 

When I eventually rise,

I know a brilliant path unfolds

I just seem perpetually stuck on this disguise

XO ~DW

 

For some reason most of my life I have had difficulty following what seemed simple directions. This usually led to people being very frustrated with me and me feeling stupid. “What’s the matter with you!?” seems imprinted in my brain. It’s like I lacked common sense. I also was considered gullible because I truly believed what people said to me. After decades of depression and anxiety, I realized that maybe I am blessed with an uncommon sense, a deep awareness, and understanding of ways not many see. We are meant to be different as we each have a gift to share. Here’ a poem of mine as I discover my gift:

I feel like I am an infinite dimensional being living in a 4D world

Like a star trying to squeeze through a peg hole

I feel forced to live one reality whilst my soul yearns for another

I’m straddled across an abyss, terrified of being torn apart or falling too deep

I know the inherent value of both sides but the pressure to pick pulls at me

I feel stuck, conflicted and intensely in tuned to the extremes

The suffering and fears

The joys and trust 

Who am I and where do I belong?

Enlighten me

Maybe I am not meant to choose, yet be a bridge…

Oh Anxiety…
You act like a friend, a guise for motivation
I want to stuff you in a bag and suffocate you
Like how I feel when you visit me

Ever changing yet hackneyed

Abandoned wants for delusional needs…

Endless substances mistaken as balms

Righteous faiths protected by psalms

Death an anathema

We seek a panacea

Congregations confound the meaning

Subordinates diffuse the beating…

When majority favors debasement

What hope is left for enlightenment:

Prayers pleading and fueled by fear or

Loving action by those who dare?

How gravely ironic that as a society we enforce more regulations

To hold us accountable

All the while sabotaging, depleting

Our own innate resources and regulatory system.

The fear and hate so ingrained

Toxins leach from lives we’ve left behind;

Like the layers of an onion,

The deeper I cut the fumes implore,

“Grieve, for goodness’ sake…

Believe!

Give yourself permission to truly be:

Let go, fear less, LOVE MORE…

                      Be the change you want to see in the world

Be present;

                    a gift to everyone, thing you see…

                                 Starting with me.”

Did you read the writing on the wall or are you the one that helped me fall?

When I smiled and listened as a friend, was it your gestures that could not make amends?

Did you help me up when I fell, or laugh and condemn me to hell?

Do you always do what you want or does a surpassing urge forever haunt?

Have you ever found yourself falling yet no one answered your calling?

Do even care to remember my name or is life just one big game?

Maybe you see my quest for peace as a delusion of mind…

Yet for me, it is the most fulfilling life that I will ever find.

…more of my journey, written 4/28/1998

My thoughts scatter and dig beyond…

When I look at anyone

I see their grandparents suffering

their parents controlling

their loved ones flailing

I hear children crying generations away

People die in my dreams

Or merely exist to pay their next fine

When I ask how you are, I want to hear the truth not the version you want me to believe

I want to plow sorrows so JOY may seed and grow

I am sick of pretending and keeping the illusion of clean while numbing our body, mind, soul with endless balms

Stress, hate, fear, intolerance kills more than germs could ever dare

I am tired of feeling I am crazy and the only one who cares

Not about stains, knots in my hair or mixed matched socks

There is more connecting us than marionette strings

Dear Tao, God, Mother Nature (or what ever your mind is open to conceive),

I surrender to the Great Flow and Unconditional Love

We will recover from fear, the delusion of control and ego

May each of our presence be known when is meant to be shown

And trust that grace and hope is always within reach…

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