Stuck

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Sometimes, spoken things have more potency than one desires;
said “spoken” things hurting, cutting, impaling,
creating wounds and drawing blood.

Sometimes was today,
and yesterday and the day before that,
and the wounds are still bleeding red.

Unresolved, open-ended,
party to a conversation part-done:
there is no moving on or away from.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Frogging 

Gut raw.
Bleeding emotions.
Avoiding interaction, just in case.

Feeling the aftermath of a night spent
spinning and dancing,
twisting to avoid colliding

with unpleasant things
like heat and rage
and a body invested in self-destruction,

unpicking and undoing
everything
that time and love hath made.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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What I would like 

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A misunderstanding turns what should
have been special into something plain
and the associated pain hurts more
than I care to describe.

I stare at the window and will
what is real into something else,
replacing what is
with what I would like.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Learning to dance again

Opening a closed heart can be dangerous;
especially if you have not adequately prepared.
Just look at Pandora and what happened to her!
In the end though, there is no other way:
denial only prolonging what will one day find a way out.

Navigating extreme feelings –
emotions that threaten to overwhelm
the casing in which they reside –
I battle the urge to run backwards,
something external holding me to the floor.

Placing hands on parts I have for years now
happily suppressed – suffocating, starving,
ignoring… until they appeared to die –
I listen as they wake back up:
hungry, angry, needy.

Tears fall, sobs escape, screams wrench
and I keen like a mother grieving an infant: open, raw, exposed.
And while it might take a while,
for the denial runs deep:
even this small freedom is a respite.

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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Lavender, tea tree and Himalayan salt

Autumn leaves coat the pavement
like careless gems,
their silent bodies slowly rotting.

Likewise, a finger glowers and sweats,
unhappily attached to a hand so busy surviving,
it hurts more than it helps.

Days later, betrayed by Mary, Jesus, God,
lavender, tea tree and Himalayan salt,
the body interferes

insisting on manufactured
ointments, pills and plasters
to cover and protect what it cannot heal.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Autumn leaves

A table laced with mind games spans the length of the room.
Beneath, a floor of broken glass.

The walls drip with silent tears
and the windows behind are shuttered against the light.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Tiny red flowers

Repeating the same mistakes,
I find myself returning to people and places that hurt;

then, angry, hurt myself,
seeking salvation in tiny red flowers.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Quiet, small and full of grace

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My heart feels fragile and my emotions are like glass. I ache everywhere… from head to foot. Strange! I don’t know why.

Maybe I’m just tired? Every time I think I’m out of it: home free, laughing on the other side of what has been a long lonely eviction from all that’s warm and sweet; it comes crashing back, knocking until I fall to my feet. Not that I was ever arrogant about standing upright anyway: it has always been a challenge. 

Born into a mould that was different; teased about this and that; poked and prodded until my paper-thin broke: I have learned to hide rather than shout. Like the church mouse, I creep and sneak. Like her sister Cinderella, I pick up and dust. I often think I was born to serve. I do it so well. 

Perhaps my role is not to stand out, not to change in any overt external way, but, insteadto lend, lever and prop up? Maybe I am just the wingman: fixing what is broken in others; healing what hearts, bellies, minds cannot stomach, see or tolerate? Not a bad task. A task I actually rather like. After all: what comes easily and cleanly; what feels natural, an extension of self; what reaches out and into one’s own heart, bringing one into presence, demanding one turn up… is hard not to like. 

I’ve always had this desire to help others; this calling to protect, shield and heal. It’s something I’ve done ever since I grew up. Something I endeavoured to do even in childhood. I used to think: if I can’t fix me, if I can’t protect my own damaged and broken self: then at least I can apply the knowledge, the learning, the ‘advice too-hard-to-take’, to those around me.

And yet…

there’s this yearning now: to be whole, to be healed, to be Holy.

Tripping over my own misguided self; falling flat on my long-ago disowned face; finding myself alone with my mind and my body – things I hated, things I feared; nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no anything to take me: the all that I had been avoiding, the everything that I had fled, the darkness and dirt disowned… caught up. And somehow – in the eye of that nightmare, in the vortex of that storm, in the deafening noise of that aloneness, that isolation from friends and family, world and self… I found myself a miracle: quiet, small and full of grace. 

Slowly, I learn. Slowly, I see. The road is long; the horizon unclear. It is often dark and it is often wet. But there are stars 🌟 and rainbows 🍭 too. And the sunsets 🌞, when I manage to see them, are incredible. 

I live according to a routine, keeping it simple. I don’t overly tax myself. I keep interaction to a minimum and travel to where I can get to outside of rush hour on foot. I don’t expect. I don’t demand. I listen to my body and do what she wants. We draw a lot. We make things out of paper, silk, clay and wool. We listen to the radio and we read, educating ourself, ourselves, in all things spiritual, metaphysical, holistic, helpful and healthy. We sing 🎤 and we dance 💃🏼. We do yoga. We meditate – with essential oils, with crystals – hands on heart, on abdomen, on head… addressing each injured part, each softly screaming object, each rejected bit of once-upon-a-time integrated ingredient, bit by painful bit.

I begin my day in front of the mirror, greeting myself with love 💋. It is hard work and it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to do it; I want to run away 🏃🏼 and pretend like everything’s ok, like everything’s usual. But I can see how it affects my life and I am encouraged by the results.

I work on releasing anger 💥: forgiving, accepting, letting go🎈of things I have too-long been holding onto. 

I am learning to say “no” and not to beat myself up for having done so. I am not a bad person and I deserve to be loved.

I am starting to listen to myself and act from the silence and in doing so I am learning peace .

I am shining my light and allowing others to shine with me. This is incredible: I had forgotten how much, when in alignment, when balanced and grounded, when in sync with authentic self, I glow.

I am welcoming abundance and paying attention to the guidance 🔮 that I receive. I am practicing accepting 🎂 along with giving 🎁, allowing an even exchange. This really has been difficult. 

Slowly, I am letting go and learning how to surrender.

I see the shadow that stands behind me, the pain on her face and the suitcase 👜 she holds in her hand. I sit with her on quiet mornings and together we go through the contents: sifting through old clothes 👗👘👚👕, forgotten garments 👙, things I have not seen or thought about for many years. 

My wardrobe grows, accommodating things I now wear instead of hiding deep inside me. I wear my shame with pride and slowly she glows 🏮. Life is richer, brighter, more intense. I don’t dance around the permimeter of the person I want to be. I step in fully and completely. 

It’s a long journey, but daily we are getting there. Happiness 😊 is a choice I make and I am making that choice upon rising ⛅️ every day

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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Yellow rose petals


I dream of school and find myself in a classroom, attempting to recall a language I used to know. Later, I stub my toe and although it is not hard enough to break it, it is enough to turn it black.

I don’t leave the flat and spend the morning being gentle – dusting, sweeping, tidying… and in-between I get more done than I have in months of going out.

If I were a bird, I would spread my wings and fly away. Human, I try to unpack my suitcase – endeavouring, at least for now, to embrace the place where I am stuck.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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The underside of seldom-swept things

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Visiting the underside of seldom-swept things,
I discover a toy soldier and a ball of yarn.
On the opposite side of the room,
there is a doll without legs and a forgotten sock.

A drawer reveals sellotape, blue tack and glue.
A cupboard: scissors and paper.
I sketch a house with two floors;
am told to add a basement and a loft.

While a woman makes dinner in the kitchen,
a man mows the lawn out back,
and although there are no children,
there is birdsong and plant-life.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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