NANCY G. SHAPIRO

FINDING CALM IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE

The Vigilance of Kindness

March 20, 2009

 

 

It was a day of turbulent thoughts, mostly negative, mostly pointed at myself. I woke up the next morning still tearing myself to shreds. Speaking to a girlfriend, we shared our miserable habit and ended up laughing at how often we do this to ourselves. Later I wrote this poem as an antidote, as a reminder to be kind with my thoughts, to myself, a kindness that ripples out to others.

 

Difficult is this constant vigilance / to be kind with words to self, not / “I made a mistake” / rather ”What have I learned?” / and harder still to look yourself in the eye / in the foggy bathroom mirror, / teeth unbrushed, wet hair dangling, / and feel a faint strength rising / from that place called the heart, / fingers gripping / the cold ceramic smoothness of the sink, / your chest falling, rising, / falling, / suddenly aware of your breath / as it leaves / and comes back, / leaves / and comes back, / signaling the imperceptible letting go / save the fact of your smile, / its brilliance. 

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