Poem: A Ritual to Read Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person you are or who I am

Following the wrong God home.

Small betrayal, a shrug…shouts…horrible errors of childhood.

Elephants parade holding each other’s tale…

Awake people should be awake… Or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep.

Darkness around us is deep.

The signals…yes, no, maybe should be clear.

The breaking line that brings people back to sleep.

Awake people should be awake

What does this mean?

What does being awake mean?

That question can inspire an entire world, universe inside of me

I feel into my gut and it is tight, something holding, something wanting to explode

I want to be inspired…can I inspire me?

Touching into something deeper than the dark or the light.

I am sick of those words, dark and light.

It is so neat and clean, dark and light.

I want the dimensions, the layers, the nuances between the lines that people speak

I want the subtle facial expressions. I want the truth.

What is the truth?

When I tell my truth I cringe.

It is so vulnerable, raw, alive, breathtaking, frightening,

Wicked, cutting, and evocative.

Testing, testing to see what my truth will provoke

Awaken the mystery of not knowing.

The truth is a mystery.

Will I stop caring if people judge my truth — ever??

What is that truth?  The sight between the blink of an eye.

The way someone stares at me pretending she is listening.

The secrets that someone is silent about because they are ashamed.

The reactions, the triggers that are hidden, buried in ice

Enlightened ideas, that are tough perfectionism.

What is wrong with just merely saying it like a child?

I hate you.

I love you

I hurt

I’m excited

I see you have a pimple on your face

Look into my eyes and feel me.

I see you are fiddling around while I talk

The reasons that we exist, explode like a bullet across my cheek.

I feel my burning existence. The reason you exist and I exist.

I am in those reasons.

I am so attached to the breath of every breath

The blink of every eye

The way someone’s hand moves

The way someone shifts in their seat

I am attached to that

I feel their shifting and moving

And my body interprets that subtle energy

I am so bonded

My boundaries are quick to recede around people. Life!

I am ignited every moment

A circus of tigers, spiders, bears and ravens screams rumble through

My body and brain like an avalanche.

I can’t stop this from happening.

Like stopping a tsunami

I am a helpless to my own nature.

The truth of surrender. Powerlessness to the forces.

Are you awake? Do you see yourself in silence of betrayal?

In the heartbreak of love

In the need to be seen like the rising sun

The lining of a silver cloud.

The dark thunder of your belly ache

Are you awake? To it all?

Can you take the truth?

That maybe you aren’t divine. Maybe you

Are a mortal, a human with flaws and crazy blood?

That insanity runs through your veins?

Are you awake. To the dirty splendor of gorgeous human dirt?


You are a mouse in a corner. Thinking each corner is something new

But you repeat, and repeat and repeat your blindness

Just so you can be right and straight like a shooting star

You burst at the end and disappears

Because you deceive yourself.

Are you? Are you? Awake?

Do you pee in the forest like a wolf?

Howl until your lungs collapse?

Crawl on all fours?

Wake UP!! Wake UP!! Wake UP!!

Loose Flesh, A Woman’s Love

Holding the flesh of my thigh, known to the patriarchal world as cellulite

Get a tummy tuck, get fat reducer, diet.

A woman, learned to hate that flesh

The chunky, gooey, top of the stomach, called muffin tops.

That curvy Renaissance woman, naked across the couch

Only a woman can love the white, silk, soft flesh.

No muscles, or workout, or gyms or hundred mile races

Just her gelatin flesh, her body, the matter of body, the woman

The earth. Woman is the body

Women stopped loving themselves, too soft and cushy to fall into

Like pillows or clouds, but the strength in that hanging flesh

Is my grandmother’s iron hand and tough survival.

Loving the woman who eats Crisco and dives into the ocean off of cliffs

The light of the moon shines on her full buttocks.

Women who inject silicone to get that buttocks curve like a hill

Flat tummies, six pack, ripples across the gut, a man’s body

Only a woman can love a woman in the way a woman loves

I am only first beginning to love as a woman can love myself

I was beaten to be stiff, silent and pretty, a hard pretty, that had no lose ends or fuzzy

Ends curled, only neat and clean

A woman as a wolf, peeing, her legs open and sniffing the leaves, in the dirt

That is how a woman loves herself.

Video – Client Poem: Crash by Sonam Hajela

Crash by Sonam Hajela

Written and read by Sonam Hajela


it’s coming
like a rain
down my face
a train hurtling at tragic speeds
a hurricane gone
I whip my head
my hair floating around me in
slow motion
where is everything?
my hands reach but
I can do nothing but wait while the
tires, rails, winds, sounds
crash into me
and I can only absorb
the skin too porous
my heart gone still
waiting, gasping
for everything to still
but the stillness is dangerous
I have no cover
from silence

How Dare I Love Myself

“The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.”
Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

“The first step to the knowledge of the wonder and mystery of life is the recognition of the monstrous nature of the earthly human realm as well as its glory, the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think they know how the universe could have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without death, are unfit for illumination.”
— Joseph Campbell

“The experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. Heaven is not the place to have the experience; here is the place to have the experience.”
— Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

“I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you
Which shall be the darkness of God…
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”
— T.S. Eliot, excerpted from the poem East Coker

“Melancholy gives the soul an opportunity to express a side of its nature that is as valid as any other but is hidden out of our distaste for its darkness and bitterness.”
— Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul

“There are two very different paths of thought in spiritual awakening. There are those who believe that love is joy, God is love. That nirvana is just around the corner. And there are those who believe suffering is a path to self-awareness, wisdom and spiritual truth. For me, love and suffering are not beliefs…they are an experience. I have known both, all consuming, and as bedmates. The universality of these two emotions draws me into a deep, hot, fiery, disturbing passion to know life and know myself. My life is never lukewarm. It is hot and cold in motion. And most of the action goes on inside of me.”
– Marta Luzim

I wrote the poem How Dare I Love Myself more than ten years ago. I have posted it maybe two or three times. I am posting it again. Feedback on this poem: too intense, silence, stunned like a deer in headlights. It is hard to look pain in the face. Stand up to it woman to woman. Most don’t want to recognize pain, let alone admit to suffering. Suffering is a dirty word in our society. We are supposed say things in a positive way, find the good in everything; everything is a gift. Well, not all gifts are pretty. Not to say, if one chooses the mission, that one won’t gain wisdom from pain. But that does not mean suffering is gone. It just means you find a way to bring peace to suffering. Suffering forces us to choose life or death. Makes us look at life from all angles, a never-ending search. Makes us find value, precious moments when happiness seeps through the darkness. Revelation, according to David Whyte, is when we wake up and realize that we are mortal. That we die. “Revelation is not simply an act of receiving information. Real revelation has consequences. Revelation might orphan you from everything and everyone you know.” That we have to say goodbye to those we love. This awareness is not for the weak-hearted.
To stand in life without the frills of a heaven or hell, that there is life without knowing where the journey ends or begins is the most creative and courageous adventure we can join in on. But most of us want answers, solutions and not to feel our way through, experience our way into ourselves. Mostly, we don’t want to feel sorrow, sadness, hurt or anger. Joy is preferable. Frozen in joy, happy all the time. So when loss comes, they hide their pain. Think it’s wrong and move on. Then there some people who are afraid to feel joy. They feel safe in sadness, at home in sorrow, avoid the risk of love because there might be loss. Being human, we can never escape from any of these emotions…joy or sorrow. But we try anyway.
My suffering makes me question what forgiveness and self-love mean to me. It is a continuous process for me. A vigilante, a warrior, a wounded child searching for my own compassion and self-acceptance.
Life has challenged me every step of the way. I am sure that most of you who are on this journey of the human heart and soul have reached moments where you said, “AHHHHHHHHH I got it now,” and then BAM life offers you another hit on the head, another mountain to climb. That is why it is best to be prepared in life, present in the moment, ready to use your resources and continue to live the inexplicable and uncharted process of life.
Over the last seven years, I’ve had to recover from the tragedy of my sister’s suicide and the onset of a chronic condition called gastroparesis. This condition was a macrocosm of the microseism of my total life experience. I had to truly save my own life. It unraveled every trauma, past and present, and threw it in my face. It blew my house of cards down. It made me start at the beginning. My life raced before my eyes. Every wound that I thought was healed was ripped open and given a new layer and meaning. I was brought to my knees, humbled, and confronted with the deepest mystery of healing and loving myself. I found how human I am and how strong my spirit is. I found how fragile, sensitive, and emotional I am, which taught me a deeper meaning of self acceptance. I re-visited a deeper rage, sorrow and love. I had to reclaim my relationship with God. Rebuild trust and redesign my life. I had to stop hiding behind being a therapist and a healer and start to show and speak my own vulnerabilities; which has been through my art, writing, and intimate relationships. Being an emotional person, a human being first led by a spiritual fortitude that has always been a mystery to me, I had to face the rawest, primal and most painful places inside of me and then surrender and say goodbye to false ideas of who and what I am.
I am a human being. How wonderful to find that out. What a relief to know that. I didn’t have to walk on water anymore. I didn’t have to be or do anything anymore. Everything now was authentically a choice.
What do you avoid about being human? How do you hide your humanness? What does the human spirit mean to you? Tell me about what you suffer. What does your suffering want from you?

How Dare I Love Myself
— Marta Luzim

I am not enlightened, although I know I am immortal.
I lived many times, in many destinies, down many streams of light
I do not know how an enlightened being feels
I can only fantasize vicariously about eternal joy and freedom
and at moments, sweetly brief, like the smell of pure mountain air
I know the miracle of the Creator’s intention
Loving everyone all the time is a mystery to me
But I have developed a wisdom that comes with triumphs and defeats
directed by a path of invisible footsteps summoned by my need to heal my pain
I live my life being and doing, being and doing
then resting my weary bones
wiping away the dew of morning tears on my heart
in a silence that brings more tears
I am suspicious of these cries that spring from the well of love and grief
that speak to me in my dreams and in my longing for the Miraculous
I do not know if I can forgive completely
but I know I can stop blaming anyone for who I am and what I become
My forgiveness dwells in the blood that drips from my wrists
in every slash of self-hatred I’ve inflicted upon myself
Yes, I can forgive this because I understand my blood
I can caress its pain and embrace its ignorance
a mother to myself
Yearning for the day my blood will flow into Oneness
instead of  merely trickle in my brain, separate from human touch
I crawl closer to knowing this as I gaze into every person’s eye and see myself
So I climb the deep ravine of my soul to forgive the only person that I have not believed was worthy of my forgiveness
That is me, totally me, and the me in everyone
I trust with a blind faith that one day this will wash away the illusion that binds me to my hardened fidelity
Songs, blessings, burn in my veins chanting hymns of love
Great ecstasy waits for all of us
I have no claim to this Love although it claims me without mercy
Everyday I pry my heart open
forcefully twisting it around and around like an old rusty jar with its top stuck
left forgotten in the back of a refrigerator.
A little more, a little more each day I scrape away the dead juices cementing it closed
Patiently I wait, praying, oh, praying on my knees with hands clutched tightly
Over and over asking for my sight to clear itself so splendor can tingle in me
Until then I continue on like a waterfall merging into the river
the river into the sea
I live a little. I die a little and then live again
Hungering for the union of the cool ravishing tongue of the ocean waves
Eroding my past and my gut wrenching agony with each lick of its invigorating foam
Surfing, balancing, connecting to its billowy ride along the earth
This insistence, this demand I set as my mission is the only way I can love myself
Nothing more and nothing less
All my talents, my visions, my desire rests in the arms of this request
This heavy fisted appeal pounds down on my guilt, shame and arrogance
That says to me “I carry on, I carry on through it all.”
And this is my love song to myself
A vigilante on horseback yelping like a wild animal into the dust
I carry on, I carry on, I carry on
Guns ablaze, ready to shoot anyone who dares to stop me
A love that never gives up on me even in my darkest times
Even when I look in the mirror and see a she-devil staring back at me
I guess I am worthy to love if I carry on and on and on and on and on…
I know I am immortal and I carry on unenlightened and questing for more

Letter to My Rapist by SSS

“Forgiveness, although frequently recommended by well-meaning (and not so well meaning) people, is not necessarily a stage of the healing process. Although some survivors naturally reach a place of
forgiveness after moving through the other stages of healing, it is not necessary to forgive the abuser in order to heal. Forgiveness is a personal choice and a personal experience, but it’s not the end of the healing process or the ultimate goal of healing.”

—  Laura Davis, Allies in Healing

“The black moment is the moment is when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.”
—  Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

Most want to say, ‘we are spiritual first’. But I see it that we are human first, and that is what makes the spiritual journey complex. Our spirit and soul guide us through this human experience, which is both painful and joyful. It is not one or the other. To forget the pain is to forget ourselves, our humanness and the millions of people who are still struggling to overcome tragedy and trauma.

Compassion comes from knowing pain. If we hide this pain then we can never build the spiritual and emotional strength to find the love our pain seeks.

No one can tell us what will heal us. No book, no theory, no doctrine, no practice. We can follow certain guidelines, rituals and the footsteps of others who have reached healing, but only we can know, through individual struggle and suffering, the answer that works. We need the support and guidance of others. But we need to be vigilant to find a wise teacher who can hold pain and know
joy at the same time. Someone who themselves has learned what self-acceptance and peace means to them through their own suffering. Who can help point the way. To allow for all human experience and expression to exist on every dimension and in every form.

To process this pain takes a holistic approach, a deeper ancient knowing and a deep hunger to reclaim our human heart and soul. It is not a perfect journey. And that is why the process of healing is human. It takes courage, surrender, impeccability, creativity, commitment and focus to stay on track of this deep transformation of the human spirit.

Read this poignant, fierce letter. Be open to what you feel and think.

Thank you for this sharing. May it be a blessing and validation to those who read it. This letter is what Give Her A Voice is about. To hold the space and forum for all who want to become whole from the effects and symptoms of complex trauma through their individual expression.

Letter to My Rapist
by SSS
I was a new mother. My daughter nearly four. I was young, at 26, but had seen more than most. I was sweet, beautiful, and I was strong.
Do you remember me?
That day that I went in to the bar where you tended to celebrate the end of a semester at school.
Full time mother, full time at work, and full time at school.
I deserved to relax and have fun.
We were friends, more than from time to time, and you fed me free shots. I think I had fun but it’s hazy.
Closing time.
I was driving home and gave you a ride. I should NOT have been driving but, hey, we all make stupid choices sometimes.
Even you.
Remember the stupid choice YOU made that night?
It goes like this…
Somehow you came into my house. My recollection is that you lived near to me so the ride that I offered was to get you home.
I sauntered into my house (luckily my daughter was safely with a sitter) and went straight to my bed which is, often, the case when people are wasted returning home from a bar.
Upon lying down, I got the spins so I got up from my bed, took off my shirt, and went to the toilet where I laid my head for long enough to vomit and pass out a few times in the dark.
When I felt my stomach and dizziness was eased, I returned to my bed and passed out. Ya know, PASSED OUT. From too much alcohol. I am sure that you, and other ladies like me, have been there numerous times.
What I woke to was you on top of me riding my limp body. My eyes opened, most likely, from the jolt of you entering me without me being wet. Without my permission. I wan’t even conscious.
I have ONE split second memory of you pumping me because I passed back out.
When I woke the next morning, I was naked in my bed, allowing the pieces of the night to fall into place. Alone with the knowledge that I had been raped.
By you.
I was a fucking Crisis Counselor for The Rape and Domestic Violence Information Center. I ADVOCATED for women who had been raped at hospitals. I KNEW that what you had done to me was WRONG yet I did not call the authorities.
Inside of me, I felt what so many women feel when raped because of what our society has taught us – that we, somehow, deserved it.
That, because you and I had been agreeably intimate in the past, you had a right to fuck me without my consent. Or, maybe, it was because my father sexually abused me and I felt frozen by what you had done to me.
So TRAUMATIZED that what you did to me STILL LIVES in me to this day.
It is a story I tell often to counselors and to men with whom I am intimate but cannot bring myself to trust. “I have been raped”, I say, and your face comes into my mind. Your face over top of me while you raped me.
You seemed to be enjoying yourself. Did you use a condom? Did you ejaculate inside of me? There was no evidence of it when I woke.
No acknowledgment of it when I confronted you about it.
I went back to your bar and wrote DANO IS A RAPIST on a stall in the girls bathroom.
In the process of needing to feel heard, I discovered that you had done that to another girl in our “circle”. Same scenario.
You were, in fact, in a relationship with your current wife.
I will be sure to forward this to her. Not that she doesn’t know all the evil things you have done. I would venture to believe that she was sexually abused as a child too. Ya know, to stay with a man
who continually cheated on her by raping other women.
Me writing this letter to you will not take away that memory or that trauma. I will always have been raped by you. My entire life.
It has affected me on deep levels.
Self Esteem, Trust, Boundaries, Anxiety.
Every time I have a panic attack, you are there. Every time I push someone away, you are there. Every time I say “no” and my voice isn’t heard. Every time I pick myself bloody to ease the internal
In these ways and more, you will always remain a rapist.
I do not forgive you.
I wish you nothing but to be fucked, beyond your control, in return.

Write your own letter or story…from these lines by Louise Gluck, Wild Iris…or use your own…

I did not expect to survive

I didn’t expect to waken again

Remembering after so long how to open again


Recommended Resources
Click the book titles for Amazon links:

Still Hurting? Find Health! Discover What’s Behind Your Symptoms (That Doctors Can’t Explain) by William B. Salt II, M.D. and Thomas L. Hudson, M.Div., J.D. – www.stillhurtingfindhealth.com

Allies In Healing by Laura Daviswww.lauradavis.net

The Courage to Heal by Laura Daviswww.lauradavis.net

Love – Repost from Breakthrough: Lara Luzim Dance

I’ve been so angry at love
fighting for it and against it at the same time
always defending its honor in a bar brawl
just before final call
bruised and battered
so mad at that cute and fuzzy little fucker
for tick ticking its way into my heart
when bombs explode they say, whatever does not kill you will make you stronger
eventually heal
but there will always be a scar left behind
you have to fall in love, take a leap of faith, see what the eye can’t see
and pray your losses will not overshadow that which is gained

I’ve been so angry at love
secretly numb to its radar
keeping the chip on my shoulder a little too sharp
darting in and out of its light
trying to forget its texture and warmth
resisting its seduction into the heat of its embrace
finding me here in the in-between, always coercing me to dance in the blue flame
you smell like alcohol and you taste like smoke
and you lead me in directions I never intended to be
you make me smile when I want to fight and cry when I want to laugh
waltzing in circles
leaving me distracted and dizzy and grinning from ear to ear…

The truth is,
choosing to love is like asking god for a roadmap with no directions
you both end up pointing at each other
when you really just want to cruise and wind the winding road together
the miscommunication is the complexity of our pasts
they get tangled and intertwined and leave tire marks on our souls
we never stop loving love we just forget how angry we are at it
those coulda been, shoulda been relationships, opportunities
the ones that would have been meant for greatness
only to end up water under a bridge, somewhere in the arteries of our bodies
clogging up memories that make us the most happy


Client Journal: I Have a Right to Be Here

I just finished breathing and meditating, and a thought popped up for me: “I have a right to be here.” I did some tapping [EFT] while saying it, “I have a right to be here”. The “I” that I am referring to is my adult. My adult has a right to here, to express, to be seen, to be heard, to be received. I spend a lot of time telling my adult otherwise. By numbing out, withdrawing, by not being assertive. And it makes me feel sad to realize that I do that, but also to have compassion for my younger self. As a child, it wasn’t safe for me to express or to be assertive. It wasn’t safe for me to be in my body, to feel what was happening to me. I’m starting to feel compassion for myself for coping with life the way that I have. But now, I have a right to be here. When I say that, I feel the warm fiery energy in my core and up through my throat. It feels nice and it makes me feel safe.

Hunger – Poem by Sonam Hajela

I bleed internally
There’s a scratch
I can’t seem to itch
Where is it
In my heart
On my tongue
On my body
Rolling over my arms, legs,
Feet aching for a body
Fingers restless for a touch
My thighs quiver for a need
I can’t express
The wind whispers something to my mind
I want to taste the salt on your skin
My tongue licking my lips
My fingernails leave marks
Their trails a mark of my todays
And yesterdays
Telling me I still live
I hunger for more
I want to be pleasured by the skies
The sun caressing the insides
that have spent a lifetime
in the desert.

Client Poem: My Brown Fingers

My brown fingers
I have tried to wash you away
Down the drain
Down down down
They reach, lost, confused
Looking for their master
Winding, groping, searching in the dark
In the rain, in sunlight
in the heated air, swirling
where have you gone, they ask
they follow the path from my wide eyes
down my blunt nose
over my lips
down my body
a stranger to itself
my knees, still like when I was 10
my feet so much like my mother’s
the body grew, the mind changed
the skin stretched
and I breathed
but my brown fingers have written the pain
when my body was foreign
when my mind was strange
they always knew where I was hidden,
trying to find purchase under the layers of knowledge that
only removed me further from myself
Come back, they said
Even the mirror knows so little
A reflection is not a story.

Client Poem: In Search of Me

I was taught to not pay attention
Let the stars shine and the crickets chirp
The night’s dead to you, child.
The whole world is dead to you in fact.
The light, the air, the green trees, the earth
Mock your existence
Do not go into the night to hear its call
Listen to my hand marring your cheek
But poetry arrived
in search of me
I don’t know where it came from, from winter or a river….
It swam to me, claimed me, its mark not stinging
but caressing my cheek
Pay attention
And I, infinitesimal being,
felt myself pulled into the abyss,
my heart broke loose on the wind.

I rage at your ignorance
At your blind eyes
And even blinder heart
The earth is dead to you
I am dead to you
A thing, a statistic, a number, a piece
What you couldn’t see is that you are part
of this earth
You made it corrupt
The earth’s vines are calling your name
Reap your rewards, father.
Reap your rewards.