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.