I did it once.
Went through the dark night of the soul in a little row boat
And didn’t sink.
So I did it once.
Then again and again
I have been called to attend to separation
Suffer the stark, dark gritty agony of loneliness –
There is no cure for being human
I am almost sixty now
My hair is silver and gray
My eyes betray my years
As do the fine lines around my mouth
Smile and grimace both
I don’t much like getting back in the boat
To ride out the night
Or say hello to the now familiar darkness
Out from which I will emerge
Glad to be alive.
But I will do it.
After all, I have a lot of practice.
Opening and closing
Systole and diastole
How lucky we are!
We do not have to command our heart to beat
or control the expansion or contraction
Lungs fill, lungs empty
Organs, physical and spiritual together
We live without effort.
If only that were true when the heart is pierced by pain
Or our bellies drop with fear
When the throat parches
And the tongue sticks to the roof of the mouth
Then we need effort and the courage to risk
and standing still
Even when the winds blow
and the inner admonitions sound true but are not
That is when we command our heart to stay strong
We swallow the fear
We stand and unglue our tongues
We say, No
Or we say Yes.
Systole and diastole.
Dr. Silvia Behrend is a Certified Pattern Analyst, educator and mentor