recovery/heartbreak

Slowly I am shedding
pieces
of a life I dreamed about

With great effort
I walk forth
leaving behind
the arguments I never started
the quiet tears
on the other side of the phone
the storms in my
chest
when his words thundered down
I leave too
all the little ways
in which he brought me joy

I look ahead
and hope
for better days;
wiser choices.

Daily
I choose to do things
God’s way
whatever that looks like
I know it will lead me
where I am meant to be.

Letters to God- on love in the middle of pain

Beautiful post written by my friend Camilla.

She laughs without fear

You’ve been faithful, God. More faithful and more gracious than I could ever deserve.

But right now, my heart feels swamped.

There’s pain, all different kinds.

Sometimes piercing like something sharp, sometimes a shocking punch in the gut. Sometimes it’s a dull ache. I’ve known them all these last months.

It’s not all my pain – and yet, in a way, it is. Those I’ve witnessed suffering around me are not starving orphans or earthquake victims; just people experiencing injustice, heartache and the cruel hand of sickness.

These people are my flesh and blood, and the people my soul loves. How can their pain not be mine? I don’t know how to not be burdened by it. I absorb other’s pain like a sponge. I want to fix everything and I can’t.

I am tired and confused and sometimes I feel like my head is going to explode. Too many…

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Knots.

I remember a love of epic dimensions
rich, powerful, abundant love
that could carry my heart to the heights
of the tallest mountain
and plunge me into the depths
of a dark,
empty tomb.

Human love of epic proportions
epic flaws
indescribable tenderness
deep wounds
tainted beauty.

Your heart in knots
your soul aching
for another love.

Continue reading “Knots.”

Be kind to yourself.

Today a friend posted an article that sparked lots of thoughts about showing compassion and kindness to ourselves. What we say to ourselves in our minds matters a lot when going through emotional pain and even dealing with the stresses of every day life.

As a teenager and well into my early twenties I had a habit of saying awfully mean things to myself whenever I made a mistake or failed to meet my impossible standards in some way – it could be failing an exam, being late, saying the wrong thing, feeling sad about something that had happened, failing to get over things quickly enough, being too sensitive, being too shy or too loud…the list goes on! This behaviour is rooted in things that happened growing up and since nobody could look inside my head, nobody ever challenged it.

I knew that the way I thought didn’t make me feel any better, quite the contrary. But I always felt compelled to carry my thought process to the end. It was like sitting in a room with someone shouting horrible things at you for half an hour and feeling too terrified to speak up or leave.

Some might view this behaviour as a kind of self-harm even though there are no scars to show. I wonder how many people have experienced something similar. I have worked hard to make improvements in that area. I attended therapy sessions with a counsellor for a while and little by little discovered that there was something utterly unhealthy about my thoughts towards myself. The counsellor was the first person to ever really challenge the way I talked to myself; this was mainly because I’d never told anybody that I did this. She would often ask me whether I’d talk to a friend the way I did to myself. And week after week she’d remind me to think of ways of being kind towards myself – to treat myself as a friend rather than an enemy.

Even though this doesn’t happen as often as it used to, I still struggle. It’s even hard writing about it. But I think it is important to have this conversation. I think we are often told to be harder on ourselves, to get over things quickly, to be better (faster, stronger!). We are told to show compassion to others, to forgive others, to love others, to be patient with others… Very few people will tell you to be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself, forgive yourself… So I thought today it could be my turn to tell you: treat yourself like you would a friend.

My friend Cherry, who posted the article on Facebook, reminded me of this:
“‘Love your neighbour as yourself” (by Jesus Christ, Gospel of Mark, the bible)

February 16th in pictures.

I walk into town with the intention of going to church. I make it to the bus stop and then decide that I’ll go to Dane John Gardens instead. My hair feels light and it dances about my head in the soft breeze. I go up to the Dane John Mound, I am surprised by how beautiful Canterbury is. I send this photo to a friend and remain on the mound for a while.

DSC_0164Soon I am surrounded by tourists and as it’s getting chilly I decide to leave. I walk along the wall and stop to look back at Dane John Gardens.DSC_0165I cross the bridge, walk past the bus station and head towards Burgate – it’s one of my favourite streets. I really like walking down that street, especially after it rains. I walk towards the Cathedral and stop to admire a window, just because. Two children are racing each other beneath it so I wait to take my photo, I don’t want to ruin their game.

DSC_0166The way the sunlight falls on the window and the little balcony is lovely. I continue down Burgate towards the Buttermarket where I find out that the Cathedral Café is opening on February 18th! I have high expectations of that café, it used to be a Starbucks but they closed. The rooms are beautiful. I go into the Cathedral and find that there is a service going on. There are no chairs in the nave, just how I like it.

DSC_0168There are a couple of chairs near the choir, I sit down to listen to the sermon. I find it somewhat discouraging; the priest talks a lot about “holy living”, about how we must show good outward behaviour and inner integrity. But he talks as if it all depends on us. I argue with him in my head, what if you feel you can’t control your emotions? What happens when you’re depressed, suicidal, angry? I wait until the end of the sermon but sadly he doesn’t say that there’s room for messiness. I think about Jesus and how his love for me doesn’t change, even when I’m not well-behaved and when I’m angry, cynical and an emotional mess. Down in the crypt I write a prayer on one of those post-its they have and leave through the side door. I walk out through the back to admire the Roman ruins for a while…

DSC_0173I’m beginning to get hungry so I eat a banana while balancing the camera to take photos of the houses in the precincts.
DSC_0175They are so beautiful! I go out of the main gate and turn right. I walk down Sun street and left behind Debenhams. The Salvation Army is playing hymns outside Costa, whose terrace is very busy. I decide to go into the Beaney, a library and museum. I go upstairs to my favourite room…
DSC_0178where I take photos of frames…

DSC_0180DSC_0192  Because I like frames…DSC_0185

I really, really like frames.DSC_0183DSC_0179

I also think the arrangement of the paintings is nice…it must be the blue wall, I have a soft spot for blue.

DSC_0190 There is a pretty little sculpture on display.

DSC_0191After that I visit some of the other rooms and make sure I rush by the one with all the stuffed animals and dessicated butterflies – they’re torture for me!  Downstairs I stop by the room where they do itinerant exhibitions and take a peek at the sunlight coming through the window behind the white panel…

DSC_0193…only to realise that there are drawings and writing all over the panel and the window!

DSC_0194It’s hilarious. But once I’m outside I realise that one of the employees is cleaning all the writing off the windows, she must not be very amused. The Beaney from outside:
DSC_0197The sky is so beautifully blue! I continue my way towards Westgate and decide to make a detour down Stour street. But first I photograph the facade of Boho – a place that many people have recommended and I have refused to try, that’s how stubborn I am.

DSC_0201Boho is next to one of my favourite buildings in Canterbury but I keep trying to get a good photo and none of them do it justice. I think the fascinating thing about the building is letting it surprise you when you walk on Best Lane towards the High Street. There is a moment between the Olive Grove and the Oxfam shop where the building just jumps at me and I realise how beautiful it is and wish that it wasn’t home to Prezzo and Chimichanga…they just kill the mood. In Stour Street I am ambushed by a crowd of teenagers who speak German and have decided to take photos of the dirty phone booths, it makes me chuckle. I decide that it’s time to take a few last pictures and walk home. DSC_0202-cropI have loved this street lamp since the first time I saw it. It looks gorgeous against the purple sky at twilight. I stop at the bridge to look at the river.

DSC_0205I wish Greyfriars Gardens were open. I walk across the bridge and decide it’s time to go home.

DSC_0208

Along the river bank.

I miss you. Again. I am very tired of missing you.
After all, you chose to leave. You ceased to write or call
or send birthday cards.

I miss you even though you never liked my poems
or my drawings and paintings or my rants about exhibitions.

I miss you even though you didn’t like my taste in sitcoms
and thought I wouldn’t be able to appreciate your music.

I miss you even though we are so unsuitable for each other.

I miss you because you saw me. You wanted to know me,
for me.

You didn’t want my theological knowledge
or my grades. You weren’t even after my body.
You saw beyond all that.  Always.

You are incredibly beautiful. Utterly loved.
Wonderfully made.
I hope you know that now.

I miss you. And I look out the window
and walk along the river bank
hoping to see you again.

I never do. I walk on.

 

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– Yessica Dædalus, 2013