The Whispering Dark Shadows

Dark shadows once quiet
whisper
come with me

Tempting me
with safe corners
in darkened rooms

Shadows playing on the wind
then falling
deep into silence
tempting me to follow

I learned long ago
to listen to the shadows
to feel the yin
to acknowledge the damp, deep cold

I’ll settle in
with the softest of down
and multi-layers of love
until the whispering dark shadows
are quiet once again

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

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Reflection in the Mid-afternoon of Life

I have a habit of making three or four big goals when I reach a new decade in age. I tend to do a lot of reflecting, and anticipate what kind of adventure I can write for myself for the next ten years. I started doing this when I turned 30. I believe it is because the first twenty years of my life were controlled by others in terrible, sad, and tragic ways. When I broke free of my perpetrators, I understood that I own my life, and I get to decide who I want to be. That revelation and freedom have been an intense/unrelenting driving force for my life since the age of 22.

With this most recent birthday, I’m now (as my friend beautifully described it the other day) in the mid-afternoon of my life. So, with that mid-afternoon sun shining gently on my face, I began to reflect: Did my passion for writing, speaking and trying to destigmatize living with PTSD help others? What was the impact on myself for learning, growth, and change? How can I continue to be a support to this community of survivors as I venture down a different fork in the road?

As I was reflecting, I recalled a wonderful talk given by Arthur Brooks at the Aspen Ideas Festival, titled: Strategies for happiness in life.  In very brief summary, his four points were, “don’t rage against change, teach others what you know, take away the parts of you that aren’t really you, and surround yourself with love.”

I’ve stopped raging against change a long time ago. l respect that change is life. Everything is impermanent, including the feelings I encounter when change happens. I have taken away the parts of me that weren’t authentic, and definitely surround myself with love. My children want me to rest more; to relax, to not be so driven and hard on myself. I heard them; it landed, and I will be more mindful about the message I’m giving myself when the negative self-talk tries to sneak in.

As I hang out and look deep inside in my spirit mirror, I believe this will be a time of deep personal growth, a bit more rest, and a lot of self-acceptance. I’m looking forward to reflection in the mid-afternoon. There is a lot of daylight left, and the evening is still decades away.

photo: Alexis Rose

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph    

It’s Okay; You’re Okay!

It’s okay to just be in the moment
of love, acceptance respect, and friendship

It’s okay to let yourself feel
love, acceptance, respect, and friendship

It’s okay to give
love, acceptance, respect, and friendship

You’re okay and worthy
of being heard, being seen, being loved

The squeeze of a friend’s hand
That reassuring knowing

that whatever version of you shows up
it is okay; that you are okay

Being in the moment
Feeling the love, giving love

It’s okay, you’re okay
And the world shines brighter
Because you are in it!

©words and photo: Alexis Rose

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

Message of the Water

I listened to the message of the water
as the waves lapped and splashed on the rocks

At first, I thought it was inviting me
to dive deep
to trust the cool darkness
and the baptizing waves

For the tiniest of seconds
my mind grew dark
as the tricky light of the clouds
passed across the sun

I turned and found the place
where the rocks were both
smooth and rough all at once
full of the earth’s energy
each stone delivering a surge
in both my hands and feet

The waves splashing against
the ancient log told me to
stop ~ listen to waves
feel ~ smell the cool, clean water air
taste the humidity
sit ~ breathe

I heard what the water had to say
its message soft, but loud and clear
it brought a smile to my face
and a relaxed peace to my heart

I listened, my heart listened and I received the message of the water

©words and photo Alexis Rose

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

 

The Brand New Day

I got trapped in the shadow-side
the clouds enveloping me
oozing fingers of the past
creeping along my spine

For months I couldn’t find
the brand new day ~ I drifted
feeling so alone and lonely
grasping white-knuckled
to the real-
to the right now truth of I am not alone

I knew that I was cared-for
as I wept tears of fear, pain & despair
even through the stony darkness, I felt the love
I could hear that I was missed and needed

In the dark, before the dawn, I hear
this will pass~it always does
the voice of a brand new day reassuring me
that it isn’t extinct

Today the dark shade went up, the sun pointed the way
bursting through the tangle of weeds
I entered the garden
which grew out of friendship
trust, and tender care

The delicate petals that hold my secrets
were gently and safely urging
let go, it’s over
breathe in
the colors of peace
It’s a brand new day

©Alexis Rose, image source: Pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

Doubt

I see you standing, lurking behind the tree
I feel your presence, hear the shallow breaths
whispers that are prickly on my arm and neck hair

I smell the over-ripe coat and hat as you approach
and I think, it doesn’t seem that long ago that I last saw you
Then I hear that familiar knock on my self-esteem’s door

I would like to say that self-doubt comes uninvited
but that would not  be honest
most definitely unwanted
but I believe unconsciously invited

I open the door, and with its hat in hand
I invite doubt in for a cup of tea
and listen as it tells me what it thinks of me

Outwardly, to others, it appears ” I’m fine”
Outwardly, I look strong and determined

I am strong and determined

But as self-doubt sips its tea
it slyly presses play; spinning old tapes
that drone familiar chants of, “You’re not good enough
not worthy, not well enough, not smart enough, give up”
the smell of fear and rejection hang in the air between us
I feel a sinister dark-dread
creep up my spine trying to blacken and shred my self-esteem

The grasp of my thinly held mantra
that my inner beauty, strength, and talent
far outweigh any deficits that I have
begins to fade as self-doubt asks to extend tea time
into a meal and a nice nap

I’ve heard enough, felt enough, spiraled enough
I can’t entertain it any longer, I’m done
I clear the tea, thank it for its visit and show self-doubt the door

As soon as it’s gone the air is clear, fresh
and I take control of internal thoughts about myself
and how I’m navigating the world around me

I give myself room to breathe, change, and grow
emerging once again from the shadows of the shame of  PTSD

As this bout of self-doubt fades onto a distant shore
I understand that I may again, hear this familiar knock on my door
and when I do, I’ll invite it in for a cup of tea
and listen with a loving, compassionate ear

These days the visits are shorter, and farther between
but I know that although unwanted, self-doubt does not come uninvited

Artwork: Janet Rosauer

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph