Swept Away by the Raging Storm

Of late, I notice how desperate I am to hold on to happiness and joy and to push away anger, sadness, and grief. I often try to insulate myself and to live in a news and current events bubble. A recent and timely gift from a friend in recovery has the Brahma-viharas or heart practicesEquanimity. Loving kindness. Compassion. Appreciative joy. Of these, equanimity is often the most challenging.

Images and stories like many of those that I’ve recently seen and heard send me into a spiral of hopelessness and despair. I want to avoid these feelings and to create a ‘safe, stress-free bubble’ around me. But sober, I’ve learned to live life without ignoring or hiding my feelings.  I’ve begun to immerse myself in meditation using these four heart practices. It helps me to be aware, to be present, without being swept away by intense feelings. Further, it helps me to embrace my part in influencing change – ‘… to change the things I can …’

Swept Away by the Raging Storm

One moment I’m filled with joy
The next I am sadder than sad
Swept away and helpless like a ship
A ship tossed about by a raging storm
Killing and dying blood in the streets 
Blaming and justifying ignoring the pain
Rage on the right and rage on the left 
The middle I do fear is hopelessly lost
Fear anger sadness and grief fill the void
As faith love and hope bleed and flee 
Thoughts and feelings steal my breath
And they steal my very spirit too
This too shall pass they often say 
But today that is what I fear most

About the Author

Robert B. is a sober alcoholic in Madison, WI participating in AA and AlAnon at Fitchburg Serenity Club. He has been sober since April 21, 2007. He also began writing and sharing poetry on Facebook during his first year sober as part of his recovery from alcohol dependency, acute anxiety, and chronic depression. He has found that creativity expressed primarily through writing poetry and playing various stringed instruments helped him heal and thrive.

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