September 24, 2017

Owning the Exiled Shadow

My dear ones, I am sharing this with you in deep trust that you will know it for what it is, a scouring of the deepest dark reaches, it speaks to a part of me, not the whole, an exiled voice, and I share it in the trust that you will know that I don't need saving, that you will understand the death as metaphorical. Sometimes this shadow that asks to be expressed through me, feels like it carries a medicine for me, just in the sharing, just to be less alone with the experience. Sometimes writing can be like the lancing of a wound, the enlightening of the darkness, an advocacy for the split off parts that are shrouded in shame.  I see how I have exiled my own darkness, made it wrong, when really all it needs is a space to speak of its experience and an opportunity to be loved. I have felt a sweet sort of restitution in sharing this poem in a treasured private group. There was something about seeing this part of myself with new eyes, seeing also the very punitive quality that I carry in regard to my own brokenness, and the question arising from this seeing of can I bring it all to be loved? Offer it all up to love, the wounded child and the punitive parent, the barren and the broken, the raw and the transmuting, the weak and the undone. So I felt in the wake of this enlivening awakening to my own shadow self, to share it with you all, perchance there might be some dear soul who might benefit from the shedding of light on the broken voice, so marginalized in our world of bright and shiny surfaces. It always seems that everyone else is coping so very well, with all the mayhem of the world, and many are, but maybe there are some of us who like me, feel afraid to love the parts that do not cope, that sometimes feel broken and undone by the ask of this modern world in which we live. Blessings to you, in trust and love, a poem. 

I feel that I am not fully alive. 
I have felt for such a long time 
that I am running away from myself, 
hiding from my own health and vitality 
in some compulsive way
that I long to heal 
but cannot find my way towards. 
There is a fierce engine within me 
that overrides my good intentions 
and compels me to disassociate, 
I eat foods that exacerbate symptoms
atrophying tender tissue, 
and this I choose again and again 
over health, over healing.
The sweet fix, the temporary relief,
the intoxicating oblivion.
I compulsively browse my phone, 
scrolling, scrolling, scrolling,
seeking momentary gratification, 
seeking a sense of being seen and loved. 
I believe there is a deep unresolved trauma, 
like a Neolith dwelling within me, 
and after so many years of struggle 
to unveil, or dismantle, or heal 
this mechanism within me 
I feel defeated. 
I cannot find my way into the core 
of my own wounding, 
it eludes and evades me, 
I am exiled to my own experience,
and its symptoms leave me in despair. 
I do not truly know myself, 
I question and doubt myself 
in compulsive and annihilating ways. 
I cannot commit to anything 
in the wake of this undercurrent 
of despair and hunger 
to belong more deeply to myself, 
to unearth my own capacity 
from beneath this numbing witholding.  
I read books on trauma, 
I shake, I weep, I feel, I beseech, 
I pray, I speak, I write, I hunger, 
I hunger, and yearn and ache 
to know myself, to be love,
for wholeness, aliveness, becoming.
I feel trapped in the fear of my childhood, 
as though a part of me has never grown up, 
never evolved, she keeps me hostage, 
I hunger for  my liberation 
from her dissociative imperatives 
but I do not know how to reach her. 
I have tried, a million different ways, 
with all my might and I have failed. 
I no longer know how to move forward.
It is as though there were a great 
black-hole-shaped parasite, 
taken residence in my womb,
ravenously suckling from my life force, 
dependent, uninitiated, 
self-exiled and so unreachable.
Sometimes when I look down at my body 
I am surprised to see just a body, 
flawed and humble as it is, 
but just a body, simple, 
and not half as ugly and grotesque 
as she sometimes feels to me. 
How do I choose life over death, 
the living death of feeding addiction, 
of escaping the body, 
of isolating my shame 
from other humans? 
How do I keep turning up and choosing 
to heal and to give and to create, 
when a part of me is always longing 
for death and oblivion, 
when all around me people 
are singing of the light, 
while I am walking in a shadow 
whose source I cannot find, 
or when I find her I cannot heal her?
I have sought help so many times, 
taken food from the mouths of my babes,
to feel less alone in the searching, 
longing for witness,
for salvation to come 
from outside myself. 
Everything I offer of myself to life 
is so full of this dark shadow 
that it is heard and seen 
by the seldom few 
and then falls mute and deaf. 
The instincts of the world 
can smell my deceit, 
is repulsed by the rabid wound 
at the heart of my offerings. 
I do not trust myself, 
I am afraid that if I give of myself 
I will do harm to others, 
and so I am turned to stone, 
lives to support but no means 
by which to do it. 
Paralyzed by the parts of me 
I cannot reach that keep me their hostage. 
I am stuck, wedged tight 
between the boulders 
of my own becoming 
and of my insurmountable separation. 
Is it time to start severing limbs? 
There seem to be these bedrock beliefs
that I cannot dig beneath, 
of my own wrongness, 
of my own badness,
that I am dangerous 
and that I cause pain. 
How can I wholeheartedly give of this self,
if it will do damage to others, 
to those I love and am in service to. 
How can I take another step 
down the path of believing 
I can find another way, 
that I can scoop up that little child 
and heal her pain, 
when all the other times have failed.
I am so very tired, 
so very sick and undone, 
and still my psyche spirals in, 
deeper in, 
further and further away from the world 
of human and culture. 
I know there is a death awaiting me. 
I hunger for it and I resist it 
in equal measure, 
so that I dwell in a perpetual
centrifugal inertia.
I have watched others heal, 
grow their wings and fly, 
as I stay rooted in my pain. 
Hungry and ancient and old. 
Is it cowardice, is it fear? 
Is it just that the roots are so very deep, 
dark and twisted,
and the compulsion to leave 
so intoxicatingly relieving?
I am an addict, I am weak, 
I run and I hide.
After so much seeking, I am still so lost. 
There is so much I do not know.
I long to let go,
to give up,
to surrender,
to stop trying to prove to you 
that I am something I am not.
I am not healed.
I am not whole.
I do not belong.
I am afraid.
I am alone.
I am hungry. 
I have been annihilated 
by my own darkness,
and yet I still live 
and breath. 
I have tried so hard 
to lean into the light,
with my word and image 
and heartfull prayers, 
but the truth is the darkness 
swallows me whole
every time. 

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