Restorative Rituals for
Meaningful Self Care
As someone who has always loved to read and write, I have always believed in the immense power of words. Words create beauty, evoke feeling, tell the stories that tie us to our lives and our experiences and ultimately to each other. Yet the power of words took on an entirely different dimension when I became a psychiatrist.
Often, my patients will use certain words that seem to flow straight from their heart to mine, bypassing the logic and reasoning of the brain. Those words stay with me, and become a direct window into the non-verbal, the realm of feeling and shared humanity and connection.
Several months ago, I had a patient who was working through the unexpected death of someone very dear to her. As she processed her intense grief and sadness, she used specific, powerful words that I won’t soon forget. I am honored to share a poem with you that I wrote about one such session with her.
“The grief comes like acid rain,” she said,
looking away as the steady drip-drip-drip
of tears streamed down her cheeks.
I saw a single teardrop, linger, and then
fall from her face, land with a soft silence,
a dark stain on her pant leg
that wouldn’t disappear.
It was 7:47 pm, almost the end of our time.
The lights of the city blinking on,
shining in through the seventh floor window,
this warmly lit office, holding space
for the both of us to explore
the jagged terrain of pain, of loss,
And I felt my own tears, hot,
a clenched fist, grasping my heart
in my chest, a sudden loss of breath.
Feeling her own heart struggling to beat.
Is it okay to cry? my spiral thoughts wondered,
knowing that I was crying for her,
but also for all of us,
and for me too.
Yes, for me too.
Which was all I needed to know
as I pushed tears back into the
raw, soft places where they
are born and live and die,
only to pour again one day from torn skies
just like acid rain.
As I enter into my 41st year, I felt a sudden desire to return here to my blog and write. It has been awhile. I have shared poems and other words on social media, and a few here as well. But, it has been some time since I have sat down to reflect, write out
For you whose light has been dimmed in an already dark world— For you whose voice has been muted in a loud screaming world— For you who feels lost in a world full of mirrors— Breathe. When every warm body is out of reach, you have the power to hold your own heart with a
Holding hands in the dark, the wash of moonlight spilling onto the sheets. A kiss on my cheek and a hug that lingers long enough to feel the solid warmth of skin and bone. The breath of a sunset sky, and the heat of thunder and lightning pouring cleansing waters from above. A singular burgundy