Art & Poem by Carmen H Gray
I wrote the poem below 25 years ago. Found it today rummaging through old things this morning and it inspired a self-portrait. Although I am quite sensitive/empathic, in all these subsequent years, but especially in the last 5 ones, I have learned how to shore up my psychic boundaries, practice self-care and self-compassion. This has created a firmer foundation for me to explore who I am and what I feel, apart from others around me. It has led me to shed the burdens that I have allowed others to place upon me. In other words, I have a better sense of me. I read this poem now and realize, I no longer feel these emotions. I absolutely can and do sense the grief and heaviness in others, especially I can tap into this during my reiki sessions with my clients. I hear the feelings/experiences that are present in their subconscious. But, there is no need for me to take on another person’s healing process now. I am there to reflect it, but not to feel it for them. For my own healing unfolded, and for this I am grateful.
To be alert and eyes wide open,
Heart exposed, vulnerable organ that it is,
Is to be both cursed and blessed.
But it is the only way to truly be
To truly live, and see and feel and die.
As I witness sad souls beat down in this world,
My heart feels heavy with the weight of their sorrows
How insignificant it may be, that in my life
I am present when your restless soul seeks
The warmth of another, reaching, hands outstretched, searching, searching…
How common that I mourn for you
When nights are long and painful
The senses are heightened
For every smell is sickening
And even silence is too loud
How simple to share moments of despair
When a blanket of nothingness surrounds you
Groping, blindly for hope
Hope, hope…this is what will save us
Returning to our human condition
Sharing our dark night of the soul