April 4, 2022

My Therapist Recommended Reading this Poem—& It Healed me.

I feel fortunate to have come across my therapist over three years ago.

Starting therapy was something I instinctually felt was right at the time. I was in a bad place, suppressing despair and anger, with no way to release all those emotions. So I decided to see a psychologist to be able to process everything and sort my life out. It was life-changing, to say the least.

She put me on a certain trajectory, which I didn’t know I needed this much. Just admitting that I needed support was huge for me, coming from a family that placed high value on hyper-independence.

As we unravelled some of my life experiences, there was one conversation where I began to talk about how I had the urge to be a “warrior woman” underneath all my pursuits, that I wanted to to feel like I’m stepping into my power and reclaiming my presence, as though my identity had been slipping away from me over the last few years.

The word warrior must’ve rung a bell for my therapist, because later in the week, I received an email with a poem from her called, How I Became a Warrior by Jeff Foster.

This poem transfixed me. It made me tear up, and hold space for myself in a way I haven’t felt through a written text before.

I felt vulnerable even though it was a poem about being a warrior. Therein was the beauty of it, that we become warriors by accepting all our parts—especially the most vulnerable parts. When we accept the pain, the sorrow, the fear, and every obstacle, it opens us up to our own strength. Then we realise, actually, we were warriors all along.

how i became a warrior

Once, I ran from fear
so fear controlled me.
Until I learned to hold fear like a newborn.
Listen to it, but not give in.
Honour it, but not worship it.
Fear could not stop me anymore.
I walked with courage into the storm.
I still have fear,
but it does not have me.

Once, I was ashamed of who I was.
I invited shame into my heart.
I let it burn.
It told me, “I am only trying
to protect your vulnerability”.
I thanked shame dearly,
and stepped into life anyway,
unashamed, with shame as a lover.

Once, I had great sadness
buried deep inside.
I invited it to come out and play.
I wept oceans. My tear ducts ran dry.
And I found joy right there.
Right at the core of my sorrow.
It was heartbreak that taught me how to love.

Once, I had anxiety.
A mind that wouldn’t stop.
Thoughts that wouldn’t be silent.
So I stopped trying to silence them.
And I dropped out of the mind,
and into the Earth.
Into the mud.
Where I was held strong
like a tree, unshakeable, safe.

Once, anger burned in the depths.
I called anger into the light of myself.
I felt its shocking power.
I let my heart pound and my blood boil.

Read the rest of the poem on the author’s page, here.

 ~ written by Jeff Foster

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