The Best Medicine on the Planet

The other day in my early morning meditation, I felt a lot of tension in my shoulders, neck, and gut. I often feel this stress when I first sit still and go within, so I calm myself by saying affirmations, such as I am safe or all is well. But an image of a knife plunging into my middle, an image connected with post-traumatic stress from my infant stomach surgery without anesthesia or pain control, sent me reeling. Instead of working with affirmations, I pulled out my pen and journal–some of the best medicine on the planet. Here’s what I wrote that turned my day around:

During the surgery

I have to believe that someone

stroked my forehead with her thumb.

I have to believe that someone squeezed

my shoulder in tenderness.

I have to believe that out of all those souls

hellbent on saving my 26-day-old life,

there was someone who knew of my torture–that I was feeling pain

and under great duress. This person could not fool herself

that I felt nothing because I was an infant and my nervous system was not developed.

This person could not have fooled himself that babies did not feel pain.

In her heart, in his heart, I was embraced by caring and felt this.

This person could not have leaned in

and pressed a cheek to mine, but she stroked my arm with her thumb–

just enough pressure so I knew I was not alone. Just enough

so I could maybe believe that I was not being killed.  Just enough

to know that I was not meat on a slab but a living soul, warm

human flesh, needing to be known, needing to be seen, needing to be free.

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4 Responses to The Best Medicine on the Planet

  1. Wendy i love this. the thumb the gentle acknowledgement
    i like how you wrote it so simply
    a good thing to read
    in the rain

  2. When I read this post, so very deeply felt and simply stated, I was reminded of the healing and strength you receive from writing and especially poetry when you’re hurting. Your battle with the ptsd that resulted sub-consciously from your surgery continues to dog you but you know what you can do to manage it and wear it down. Sharing your journey here is so encouraging to me and many others who are with you on this road. Thanks for keeping up the good work.

  3. Your comment, Fred, means so much to me. You are an intrinsic part of my healing journey, making it possible for me to reach out and find the courage and the tools to keep growing, coping, and changing. Thank you for your continuing friendship and deep understanding of my/our situation.

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