Sharing a beautiful prose poem: Finally

This piece was just shared by a colleague and really encapsulates for me the essence of the first steps on the journey home to self…

By Lisa A. McCrohan
What would you finally have to feel
one evening
after a long day
you decided
to slow down
let the dirty dishes sit there
in the sink or even on the counter
stopped busying yourself with
perfecting things that really don’t matter
turned off the TV
put down your smart phone
put down the fork or glass
stopped numbing yourself
with your addiction of choice
and you paused for a moment –
came into stillness
listening to your breath
allowing its rhythm to carry you
into your heart?
What would you finally have to feel?
the anger
the sadness
the grief, regret or rage
that has been pushed down
denied, buried
for too long now?
Maybe it’s the longing –
the longing to belong
the longing to know
you are enough
the longing to be held
the longing to say
what’s been on your heart
for decades.
Maybe you’d finally have to feel
that one tender wound
still fresh, still raw,
still too easily opened
that happened long ago.
What armors your heart, dear one?
What fear keeps you from fully living,
fully feeling,
fully loving?
What would you finally have to feel
took off
the armor
and held whatever it is
with kindness and compassion
with spaciousness and light –
yes, finally,
in the soft light
with air to breathe?
What would you finally have to see
be with
tend to
and hold,
dear one?
What would you finally have to feel?
What would you finally have to feel
against your chest
inside your belly
under your ribs?
The cries?
The moans
that you didn’t believe
any human being
could make?
Your body shaking?
Your legs kicking?
Your fists pounding?
The emptiness?
The raw rage
and utter sadness?
Maybe it’s time.
Maybe it’s finally time
to heal.
Time to feel.
Time to let your body do
what it knows it needs to do.
Time to sit
come into stillness
feel the rhythm of your breath
carrying you into your heart
to befriend
and reclaim


First Steps

First Steps on the Journey to Conscious Parenting

What I haven’t yet related in this blog is that, initially, I didn’t set out on a journey to change my parenting, rather I set out on the pre-requisite journey – that of healing and learning to love myself…

Five years ago, I was a person crippled by anxiety and fear, by self-doubt, self-loathing and despair.  My relationship with my children was poor, guilt-ridden, exhausting – I yelled at my kids a lot.  I remember my eldest daughter telling me she wished her best friend’s Mom was her Mom because there was never any screaming at her house.  Over the course of a couple of years, as I healed and learned to forgive and to love myself, I was growing in myself a state of inner resourcefulness.  And, it was from this place of inner resourcefulness (self-compassion, self-love), that I was able to take a good, honest look at my parenting behaviours and my relationship with my children.

I mention this, not only to demonstrate the distance it’s possible to travel in a few years, but mainly because if we don’t address our own pain, our own woundedness, we will be sure to unintentionally inflict those same wounds on our children – despite our best intentions to the contrary.  I also mention this because the human spirit is extremely resilient and I’m amazed, humbled and grateful for the manner in which, as I’ve healed, I have been able to create the loving space within myself and within our home for my children’s healing to occur as well.

I think the deepest, most basic wound from which most of us suffer is that of never having been truly ‘seen’ [psychologists call this ‘proximal’ abandonment] and so, having been rejected on the most basic of soul levels, we repress and even attempt to outright murder our own true and authentic self.  This is the disease of disconnect of which I’ve been speaking.  We have lost or murdered our true self because it was never welcomed, it was never honoured, it was never seen [on the contrary, it was overtly suppressed] – by our parents, by our teachers, by our community and THIS is the wound that we inflict again upon our children.  And we do it in so many ways:

  • by cribbing children instead of carrying them or sleeping with them, ignoring their deep need for psycho-emotional bonding and attachment [a need that actually takes precedence over and above the satiation of basic physical needs like the need for food or sleep]
  • by letting our children ‘cry it out’ when studies are now showing children, even up to the ages of four and five, are unable to regulate their own psycho-emotional state and require soothing from a calm adult in order to learn how to properly self-soothe
  • by shaming them for exhibiting the same violent behaviour we unconsciously perpetrate on them on a daily basis
  • by being so busy doing that there is no space for simply being present with oneself, let alone with our children
  • by keeping our children so busy doing there is no space for them to simply be present with themselves
  • by violating our children’s inherent rights to self-ownership and self-expression, leaving no space for the unfolding of their own uniqueness
  • by attempting to control and mold them according to our own idea of what a ‘good’ child is
  • and so, consequently, by continuously violating them physically, emotionally and psychologically.

And we do it because we are so shell-shocked ourselves, because we are so disconnected from the vulnerable inner self that was so violated and shamed when we were children that it went into the deepest of hiding places.  The disconnection is so extreme and it is so ‘normalized’, most of us don’t even realize there is even a healing journey to begin.

And so, of course, I encourage you to begin the journey ‘home’.  It takes immense courage, immense resolve and immense humility.   Give yourself the necessary permission to hold yourself, to dare to be seen, to slow down, breathe out, and take those necessary first steps towards healing…

This is how a better world is birthed.


Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype – Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D

Warming the Stone Child: Myths and Stories about Abandonment and the Unmothered Child – Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D {Audio Work}

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love – Dr. Sue Johnson

Wheels of Life: The Classic Guide to the Chakra System – Anodea Judith, Ph.D

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Tapping Manual Download (acupressure/tapping to aid in the freeing-up and release of repressed emotions and trauma)

Peter Levine’s Work and Healing Methodologies:  and

Survivors and Partners: healing the relationships of sexual abuse survivors – Paul A. Hansen

Belleruth Nazpartek’s guided imagery for healing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Hedonism and the ‘Disease of Disconnect’

Facebook is a great way to take the pulse of the world through monitoring the postings and repostings of what one might call philosophical ‘sound bites’.  What I’ve been noticing is a movement towards the adulation of the individualistic pursuit of pleasure  – without regard to the cost of this pursuit – and I’m very concerned that the pursuit of pleasure and of personal wealth and happiness is being (mis)represented (and consumed) as the highest moral good, as the highest expression of our ‘Being’.  This is hedonism dressed up as self-love.

There are half-truths being promulgated in the ‘New Age’ movement which, in some very big ways, give folks ‘permission’ to pursue hedonism dressed up in this manner.  These include a skewed understanding of Karmic Law and the promulgation of a philosophy known as Solipsism which, in short, is the notion that nothing is real; everything is an illusion, an artifact of our own mind.  The conclusion that logically flows from this is that nothing we do (or don’t do) really matters. To me, this is the ultimate abdication of personal and moral responsibility.

I first came across the skewed notion of Karmic Law a couple of years ago.  I was taking an Artist’s Way course and was shocked to hear someone say that we needn’t concern ourselves with the rampant immorality afoot in the world  (my words) – I think some of us were talking about what is really going on in Africa.  Her notion was that all (my emphasis) these folks had accrued some sort of Karmic debt in a past life and so we need neither be concerned nor take action to remedy the situation.  She went further in saying that it would, in fact, be morally wrong to interfere in the lesson these people were supposed to be learning in this life.

I think it might help to bring the notion close to home.  If the above were true then, if you came across your own or your neighbour’s child being raped, you would have no need, even more, you would have no right to intervene; this violation would be the child’s karmic debt and you would not have the right to interfere with their opportunity for growth and learning.  As I mentioned above, and I believe this is worth repeating, this is the ultimate abdication of moral responsibility.  If we can blame victims for their own victimization and exonerate the perpetrators of responsibility for their crimes because they are either acting out their own pain or playing a pre-determined karmic role, then there is also no need to examine how our own action (or inaction) affects others, especially those brown-coloured folk on the other side of the world.  We are free to pursue lives of hedonistic pleasure.  I do think we are here to grow our souls and ourselves and a part of that is learning and growing from difficult, even traumatic experiences (it doesn’t serve oneself to stay in a state of victimhood) but in no way is it correct to say that an innocent victim deserved their violation.

The questions is: why are people so readily ‘buying’ these pseudo spiritual philosophies?  My answer: this is another manifestation of the ‘Disease of Disconnect’ – our disconnection from our deepest nature and, therefore, from all life.  To me it also represents a loss of caring:  we don’t have enough heart, passion, compassion, empathy to care and, more importantly, to act.  And it makes sense.  If we are unable to feel and work through – let alone recognize – our own deepest pain, and if we are unable or unwilling to acknowledge and then to travel the difficult road from a place of unworthiness to place of self-worth and self-love, then we will remain deaf and blind to the pain of the life that is crying and dying around us.  (For more on the disease of disconnect, please see my blog post from a couple of years ago.)

Rather than pursuing a spiritually empty life of only personal pleasure or self-aggrandizement, I think the challenge that is upon us is figuring out how to have a rich, fulfilling and satisfying life AND to live this life in such a manner that we are in harmony with all life as a whole.  This includes an understanding of and an accepting of responsibility for how our action and inaction affect other beings.

After-thought (added August 5th):  I’m not sure if it’s pleasure that most folks are pursuing so much as thrills, a frenetic escapism.


[Hedonism is a school of thought that argues that pleasure is the only intrinsic good.[1]

I would like clarify I’m not advocating asceticism which is, essentially, the denial of the senses, the body, the complete denial of ‘earthly’ pleasure.  As a friend correctly noted in a recent Facebook discussion, this would be an expression of self-hatred or, in my words, yet another manifestation of the disease of disconnect.

More Musings on Racism

How is it that many North Americans can listen to the most horrific news, briefly think “what a shame” or “how awful”, then shrug  their shoulders and move on?  Why is it that we can so easily turn an unseeing eye to the atrocities perpetrated by our institutions of power against brown and black folk, both at home and around the world?  And what is it about our pale-coloured skin that makes us believe these same institutions of oppression, persecution, inhumanity and violence won’t be turned against us?  Earlier, I would have  pinned it solely on what I’ve come to see as a deeply imbedded but unacknowledged racism.  Lately I’ve come to realize that, of course, it is far more complicated than this.

So why is it that we remain unmoved by the violence around us?  For the entirety of my adult life I had been aware, on an intellectual level, of the many crises facing humanity: war, violence, oppression, poverty, pollution, environmental degradation – essentially the abuse of all things human and non-human, living and non-living – yet I remained, on the whole, unmoved.  Perhaps the sheer enormity and extent of this abuse is so psychologically crippling as to render one immobile, unable to act?  Perhaps, overwhelmed, there is a forceful, subconscious denial of the connection between our action (or inaction) and such matters.  Could it be the tranquilizing effect of the ‘sanitized’ language of war: “shock and awe”, “collateral damage”,  “healthy day of bombing”, “servicing a target”?  If the language of war was real, a language of hatred and blood, violence and death, pain and despair, would we then be moved?

We North Americans are a distracted and busy bunch of people; disconnected from our own humanity, we pursue hedonism and materialism to the point of self-oblivion.  This frenetic busy-ness, this empty hedonism, I think masks a very deep and unacknowledged pain.  I’ve come to believe that, despite all our privileges, we are a wounded people, disconnected and deeply wounded: disconnected from our life-giving mother, the earth; disconnected from our families, and others; disconnected from our heart, our very selves; disconnected from our deepest knowing.  This disconnect manifests as a terrifying, gaping, internal abyss – an emptiness vast and frightening.   We maintain a frantic pace to our lives so that only on the rare occasion do we catch a glimpse of this terrifying emptiness and a whiff of the scent of our own fear.

I’ve come to believe that only after this psychological, this spiritual hurt has been healed will we be able to feel the pain of the living creatures with whom we share the earth, our mother.   When we are once again able to feel deeply, emotionally, spiritually, we will be wrenched to our very core by the violence perpetrated against brown folks, against the poor, against our children, against the earth itself; we will grieve deeply and, unable to sit by, we will be moved to action.