Written in a John Fox workshop

Wounds

It’s never just about death
or cancer, or surgery
it’s
what the doctor said when
Anne asked
What will I look like?
wanting his compassion before
they removed her bandages
from where the breasts had been.
You will look like a man, he said.
He said I will look like a man!
she repeated.
I felt assaulted, betrayed, she said.
He checked his work,
the clean seams pleased him
and he left the room.
I was grateful, she said,
but now she wept, for the girl in her,
for her breasts, for her woman’s heart,
for the way we all want the healer
to sing to us.

Roslyn Strohl

One Word

Are you stuch asking “Why?” over and over, imponderables and unsolvables besetting your thoughts? Try changing “why” to “how ” or “what”.
How might I do that differently?
What might I chose to change first?
Who would I like to include on this change?

Daydream the possible, even when the thoughts want to interrupt and rein you in.
That way lies discovery.

New Horizons

I am delighted to begin a part time position at Hospice of SLO (http://www.hospiceslo.org). I see this as a way to extend my service in the community in which I have lived so long and happily and also to participate in the community of therapists, since part of the position will involve supervising interns putting to good use that 30 hr AAMFT training.
Hospice of SLO has a wonderful group of staff and volunteers providing counseling, support groups, and in home assistance since 1977.

There will still be plenty of time to see my private clients in Avila Village, my
beloved tiny respite by the Bob Jones Trail. (441 3918)

Am I Grieving, Sad or Depressed?

An Andrew Solomon TED talk

Andrew Solomon discusses his own experience and his research into what happens when genetic predisposition to anxiety and depression collides with triggering life events.

As he says, ” The opposite of depression is vitality.”. And if you are depressed, thoughts can lie.

If this mirrors your own condition or you have questions ,seek help. Sometimes the one life you should save is your own.

Hello sadness
I notice you are here today.
You want to wrap my heart in foil
or waxed paper like a burrito take-out

You want me to sit and warm the couch
to be still
to not let anything move
forward or back.
Yet fear grabs at my chest
sends my heart into overdrive
tightens my throat.
I am so tired.

I hear the little birds
and know it is Spring outside
and I imagine how I might venture out
and unwrap my heart and give it an airing.

And after that?
I dont know.
Lie down on the warm earth.
Let it support my body
Breathe for me.

One thing
at a time…
one.

RAS

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A Season of Comfort

Many of us have come through a rough year. In this experience we discover how to stay awake, be aware we are still here, acknowledge we HAVE come through, and comfort ourselves. Comfort is always a personal activity made up of childhood, family memories and deeply personal and interior connections. The person who has wronged or harmed you cannot be your comforter but you can learn to comfort yourself. Sometimes it’s better to make new ways to parent ourselves through to kindness. And practice interrupting the negative and ruminating thoughts with lovingkindness however that looks.

Comfort.

Comfort wears something soft
you saved from the goodwill bag,
with a bit of raggedy velvet at the wrist.
Comfort sings a lullaby
or the blues. Maybe she lived
in New Orleans before she came here.
Comfort turns you into a one-note crooning
Southern woman with a voice
full of rain and dirt.
Comfort IS dirt. Good dirt.
Things grow here.
Comfort is rain so hard
you can’t hear your thoughts.
The air blows in fresh
and riverlets happen up
all through the yard
washing everything downhill.
Comfort is seeing 5:00 a.m. on the clock
and knowing you’ve slept all night.
Comfort is dog fur,dog breath, dog warmth
and dog smell. How they connect you
to the Earth they never left
just when your heart is taking off on bat wings
into the darkest part of the cave.
Comfort reminds you there are
people who are saner, kinder, simpler, funnier
who love you and who still come around.
Comfort is reading Rumi and Hafiz,
the old Avila Hotsprings
soaking out weary joints since 1907.
Comfort is Monday coffees by the beach,
and dolphin sightings. Comfort is
breathing together
and seeing your face
again and again, my friend.
If you are chilled
with unkindness
there is a quilt here for your knees.
See, I have laid us a carpet
of poppies and mountain sage.
Shall we see what compassion has hidden
in the pantry?
Please, my friend,come on in.

This poem was published in an earlier version in If &When Vol. 1. 2013. I wrote it at one of the Veteran writing workshops.
Please let me know if you would like to come to a Writing and Stillness workshop in January..
Roslyn Strohl 2-10-2013 copyright.

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