A Life Emerging: A Poetic Journey Out of Depression

A Life Emerging: A Poetic Journey Out of Depression

by Elán Yardena

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Overview

A Life Emerging chronicles three years of author Elán Yardena’s life, when Yardena was finally able to overcome a lifelong struggle with depression. The poems are not meant to be a literal reporting of events but rather an expression of Yardena’s deepest emotions and thoughts during that time.

There is a completely subjective and imaginative aspect to the poetry collection, which seeks to represent Yardena’s personal journey. A Life Emerging describes the psychological and emotional path to self-discovery—overcoming the past by finding the perfect solution, having the right therapist, learning mindfulness meditation, and writing poetry as a way to express the issues and solutions more clearly.

Hiding

The life others see, so small and incomplete,
the tip of the iceberg, hiding much more below,
concealing evidence of trauma.
The soul, fragile and brittle, a fall leaf crumbling,
projects competence, an image for others.
Only a matter of time before falling apart.
An incongruity between self and the mask,
with truth wanting to prevail.
Time to let truth emerge, no longer avoiding
fearful thoughts and emotions, at peace with the shadow
without becoming ensnared.
Feelings jump and shift, instant tears go unexplained,
triggered unconsciously by invisible connections
watching without, reacting or hiding.
What are they saying?
Where is the key?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781462058433
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/08/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 188
File size: 203 KB

Read an Excerpt

A Life Emerging

A Poetic Journey Out of Depression
By Elán Yardena

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 Elán Yardena
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4620-5841-9


Chapter One

    Digging


    A Life Emerging


    Looking back across years,
    a strand unwinds slowly
    as each life unfolds, trying
    to reach the end intact,
    without unwanted interruption,
    without breaking too early.

    Death tastes like honey
    after a full life. Everything
    experienced; laughter and tears,
    celebrations, and never-again
    lists made the hard way;
    joy of babies born and
    old lives gently returning
    to the earth;
    a natural course of
    life cycles complete.

    Strands begin the moment of birth,
    traveling through time, disentangling
    slowly, a destiny unfolding
    every day, connected
    to everything, everyone,
    willingly or unwillingly,
    all memories and their
    emotions: Siamese twins,
    sometimes needing separation.

    Look back and listen,
    vibrations of heart and soul,
    reverberations of consequences
    stretching back into darkness.
    Who wants to go back
    into blackest pain?
    A human compulsion,
    rubbernecking for trauma,
    searching for blood and gore;
    a moth spotting a flame,
    urged on by primitive instincts,
    uncontrollable, self-destructive,
    but powerful still.

    Searching for explanations to
    restore a sense of purpose
    with future reruns prevented,
    avoiding that never-again list,
    the burned hand wincing,
    a warning of fire.
    If only it really worked.

    Instead, trudging forward in hope,
    the tether tugs, sometimes yanks,
    dragging attention backward.
    Childhood revisited, blows relived,
    where wounds never healed
    and déjà vu never stops.
    Hoping different outcomes
    magically appear, but
    everything has already happened
    becoming hated history,
    never to be rewritten.

    How to dig up roots,
    sources of turmoil; not band-aids,
    covering never curing, only
    weed-whacking tops of conscious
    manifestations, letting them
    grow back? Buried memories
    returning, columbine and dandelion,
    in life unwanted, spoiling
    the garden's beauty.
    The gardener's daily toil,
    never-ending, sweaty struggles,
    but worth the harvest.

    Delicate seedlings contain power,
    energy to move boulders,
    break through concrete,
    an unstoppable life force,
    defying all containment.

    Plants never stop growing,
    buried but not really dead,
    under junk piles discarded,
    hidden and often forgotten;
    life is determined to survive,
    awaiting sunshine's glimmer,
    patient for anyone
    to clear away debris.
    The crypt yawning open
    revealing thriving growth.
    Waking from slumber,
    pale blades and stems,
    starving for light,
    finally spring forth,
    surviving against all odds:
    a life emerging.


    Old Friend

    Old friend, gone so long.
    Lethal, old friend,
    want to take my life?
    Something in me
    wants to let you.
    Normalcy still feels foreign
    but you are my familiar,
    life-long companion.
    Prayer and meditation
    take too much energy.
    You are easy, exacting no effort.
    Rivers beckon, no swimming there,
    currents take over.
    Everything floating downstream,
    down into darkness,
    deep into helplessness.
    No effort, no work,
    too exhausted to care.
    You promise it will be easy.

    Old friend, comfortable, old friend,
    known so long.
    Malevolent, old friend.
    No matter how long apart,
    it only takes a second
    to reignite our relationship.
    Have you been waiting?
    New skills already forgotten,
    months of progress reversed,
    moorings coming loose,
    undercurrents pulling down.

    Old friend, addicting, old friend.
    So warm, so enticing,
    filling veins with deadly relief,
    but at what price?
    A life? My life?


    Choices

    Helplessly, a circus horse
    runs mindless circles, around
    and around a ring, riders jumping
    on and off; standing,
    sitting, kneeling.
    Just keep circling,
    keep the same monotonous pace.
    Don't slow down, don't speed up,
    don't stop until told to do so
    or whips refresh the memory.

    Years of practice make the mind
    an outsider, watching others
    but seeing itself with eyes inside out.
    Viewing outward appearances,
    expert and cruel judgments, alone
    against the world, always the loser.
    Detecting flaws and magnifying them:
    wrong size, wrong gender, just wrong,
    inferior in every way.
    A ruthless headmaster, standards of perfection,
    rules to follow. Success is impossible,
    failure is sure.

    Seligman's dogs in a cage rigged for failure,
    zapping volts. Can't stop the pain,
    can't escape the pen until lessons are learned.
    Nothing works, nothing changes.
    No choices matter, suffering is inevitable.
    The mind disconnects, pretends to be elsewhere,
    giving away control.
    The sooner the self dies, leaving only a shell,
    a puppet with others, pulling the strings,
    the sooner simplicity is restored.
    The only choice left becomes
    whether or not to live.
    But there are always choices.
    Some choose to remain helpless,
    blaming others, easier than
    taking responsibility.
    Some seem empowered,
    but the circus horse and caged dogs
    never see that option.
    What if the dog is too old to learn?


    The River

    Standing on a riverbank
    in the shade of an oak.
    Arms fully loaded,
    the soul collecting
    unresolved relationships,
    betrayals and regrets,
    tormenting emotions:
    self-criticism, self-hatred
    all unbearably heavy
    tumors on the soul,
    deforming the heart
    where no one sees
    'til depression takes over.

    Standing on that riverbank
    remembering a promise.
    Freedom comes by
    casting thoughts, emotions
    into watery currents
    floating away.
    Some resist, enmeshed with souls,
    attachments still wanted,
    purchased with suffering,
    earning medals of honor
    in trophy cases,
    displaying an identity,
    created with blood,
    a value too high to give up
    or let go.

    Standing on this riverbank
    choosing to believe the self,
    not emotions. And definitely
    not thoughts, just vaporous clouds
    passing by. Sometimes stormy,
    sometimes billowy,
    but nothing tangible.
    Reality is garbage floating by,
    unwanted baggage, broken dreams,
    remnants of relationships,
    and the inability to move
    or change.

    Standing on my riverbank
    with a focus on the breath,
    letting go becomes the only option left.
    Taking the grasping hand, slowly
    unclenching fingers, forcing change,
    the will battling the body,
    the mind commanding muscles,
    against their reactions,
    throwing all into the river.

    Heartbeat and breathing slow,
    empty arms relaxing,
    energy and strength returning,
    depression diminished as
    heart finds peace for a moment.

    Now as firmly planted as a tree
    by the river, ever ready to return,
    to cast in sorrows and burdens
    when they come.


    Coats

    Self-protection is a thick winter coat
    pulled tight with a belt.
    Nothing gets in, nothing gets out.
    Completely insulated,
    everything trapped inside,
    isolated and alone.
    But is this safer, or just self-defeating?

    Pockets filled with treasures,
    souvenirs, mementos, photos,
    some happy but many not.
    Constant reminders of successes
    and failures all trapped within
    the clutched coat. The fool locking
    the predator within.
    No help gets through,
    so the coat becomes a prison.

    Hide all the wounds. Don't touch!
    Don't come close.
    The pain is unbearable,
    festering and growing,
    infections spreading.

    There is always a choice:
    keep doing what caused suffering,
    or choose a healing pain,
    stinging medicine dreaded
    or surgery feared,
    intense but only temporary,
    offering a painless future.


    Blind

    Born blind and unaware,
    living in darkness. Unseen obstacles
    hit and trip, hurt and trap.
    Never seeing connections
    or understanding all the ways
    wounds reprogram the psyche
    into self-destructive patterns.

    Teenage introspection, translucent sight
    of self-sufficiency. Hormones luring,
    stumbling home in perpetual twilight,
    never realizing what is missing.
    Only those committed to
    self-revelation hope to see
    what is coming: a warning
    to brace for collision, avoid
    mistakes, soften blows,
    enhance resilience or harden hearts.

    Some find glasses: religion, psychology.
    Focusing the vision but not increasing light.
    Seems clearer, distance closer, but limited.
    Seeing only expected, acceptable explanations,
    conformity, believing one side only.
    Rose-colored glasses or shades.

    Some find the truth sought.
    After dead ends, a window opens
    making the endless night vanish.
    But sudden brightness, stabbing retinas,
    forces eyes to squint.
    A life now seen in iridescent color:
    Dorothy waking up in Oz.
    Confidence crumbles,
    foundations unravel,
    some truth becomes lies, and
    some lies have more truth.

    Deep sadness, grief pouring down
    for all the years lost in blindness,
    never knowing every relationship
    was based on midnight's unreality.
    Problems looked black, though really
    blue and green. Moments of happiness
    seemed sad gray, only foolishness,
    the eyesight painting them gray
    and responding accordingly.

    Everything changes in daylight,
    looking bleaker from loss.
    Tears flow, though resisted.
    Wrongs blamed on others, self-inflicted.
    Despair takes over, beliefs are questioned.
    No solid ground to stand on,
    to start from or to build on.
    Everything changing at once.
    Heart racing, life frozen in fear.
    Too much chaos.

    Have to move forward. Which direction?
    Time to reevaluate. Where to start?
    Time to think. What is truth?
    How to organize what's left?
    Understanding needed to restore order.
    Strength needed to rebuild.
    Insight needed to see new reality
    in the bright glare of sunlight,
    to face the new season.


    Where Is God?

    An identity intertwined with religious teachings,
    hard to distinguish reality from indoctrination.
    Time to discover heartfelt beliefs, values.
    Time to get rid of oppressive ideas,
    planted by zealots, controlling and selfish,
    imposing agendas, taking away
    individual freedoms.
    Thwarting desires to hear God's voice,
    spoken directly: the still, small voice,
    unique words of comfort and love,
    filling heart voids, keeping faith alive.
    But how can the soul distinguish lessons
    from doctrines?

    The damaged, needy soul absorbs religion,
    reinterprets, filters through lenses
    of the past, creates fear
    in the present and future,
    needs attachments to those
    offering acceptance,
    a place to call home.
    Swallows destructive ideas,
    internalizes, incorporates into
    heart and soul. Chooses to become
    indoctrinated.

    Fear of harm and danger
    assuaged by group protection.
    Confusion of a stolen childhood
    rests in peace of certainty found
    in communal dogma and rituals.
    Longing for love; a magnetic attraction
    to canons, traditions, devotion to creeds
    so perfectly matched in expectation;
    a glove fitting onto a hand.

    The inner orphan searches for spiritual family,
    the pastor or priest becoming the father
    every soul desires. Lives deprived
    of parental love become attached
    to anyone willing to fill the role,
    making bonds to churches powerful
    through the energy of transference.
    Hard to remain objective,
    forgetting no person or group is perfect,
    none have all truth and wisdom.

    In this complementary union,
    the child within can't stop
    from regressing
    back to the role of dependence,
    unquestioning trust. Trying to satisfy
    the longing, stop the aching.
    Accepting all as normal and healthy.
    A primary relationship's bond,
    so critical for survival, never challenged.
    Objectivity and discernment
    turned off by belonging
    until some point like now,
    when new trauma obliterates
    once-secure foundations, forcing
    self-discovery to start,
    separating truth from fabrication.

Chapter Two

    The Breath


    In This Moment


    The storm is here
    once again. Swirling thoughts
    confuse the mind.
    Emotions become a vortex,
    sucking everything down
    into the pit.
    This is too familiar,
    but I am more prepared this time,
    armed with mindfulness
    to see the truth, and let it be,
    in this moment.

    Beware your eyes.
    Deceptions filter sight,
    disguising reality.
    Just a pair of glasses to change.
    Through transparent lenses
    the situation is teacher,
    the lesson is wisdom,
    surrendering to processes unfolding.
    Glad to be fully awake
    observing suffering and shadow,
    wounded heart, growing compassion.
    Willing to say yes
    in this moment.

    Beware your thoughts.
    All is illusion
    Openly received, but not believed,
    let all thoughts stay or go
    in this moment.

    Beware your emotions.
    Though acute, they are
    just smoke and mirrors,
    never held or pushed away.
    Feel pain and pleasure fully.
    When gone, no harm is done
    in this moment.

    Finally living in present moments,
    finding contentment in what is,
    finding peace in having
    an open hand,
    grateful to be alive
    in this moment.


    Wake Up

    When tightness is felt
    in heart or head,
    wake up. It's just a dream.
    When pulse races,
    urging flight,
    wake up, it's not real.
    When fear rises,
    soul disappearing,
    wake up, stand up tall!

    So much goodness,
    peace, and kindness.
    All are thirsty, drink it in.
    It's a choice to stay right here,
    in this place, in this moment.
    Why let mind and emotions
    drag away the heart?
    Wake up and stay!

    When the mind is falling,
    darkness closing in,
    wake up and see the light.
    When ready to give up,
    future seems too bleak,
    wake up and look around.
    When the world closes in,
    limiting choices, vision, hope,
    wake up and expand!

    There is much joy
    and loving-kindness.
    All are searching, take it freely.
    It's a choice to stop right here
    in this place, in this moment.
    Why let suffering rob, imprison?
    Wake up and live!
    There is much space
    and contentment.
    All want freedom. Turn the key.
    It's a choice to stay right here
    in this place, in this moment.
    Why carry burdens? Let them go.
    Wake up and breathe!
    Just breathe.


    Mindfulness

    In a room full of people,
    find solitude and warmth.
    In a whole day of silence,
    find an ear to hear Yes!
    All eyes close in darkness.
    A distant light
    brings hope, peace,
    and loving-kindness to all.

    Close the eyes, find the breath,
    listen to the body.
    Find the breath once again
    notice sounds.
    With the breath as anchor,
    look up to the sky.
    See all the clouds?
    They are thoughts floating by.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from A Life Emerging by Elán Yardena Copyright © 2011 by Elán Yardena. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction....................xvii
I: Digging....................1
A Life Emerging....................3
Old Friend....................6
Choices....................8
The River....................10
Coats....................13
Blind....................14
Where Is God?....................17
II: The Breath....................19
In This Moment....................21
Wake Up....................23
Mindfulness....................25
Spa Day....................26
III: Mariposa....................29
Death....................31
Letting Go....................32
Positive Core....................34
Transformations....................37
IV: Changing....................41
Turning....................43
Lead Me Back....................45
Time Against Time....................47
Without Love....................50
Childish Games....................52
V: Triage....................55
Save the Child....................57
Thanksgiving....................62
The First Brick....................66
Empty Façades....................70
VI: Love....................73
Again....................75
Eternal Voices....................79
Limping....................82
Open to Love....................83
VII: Convergences....................87
Strongholds....................89
Triggers....................91
Release....................93
Resurrection....................95
VIII: Opening....................97
Broken....................99
Floodgates....................101
Hiding....................103
Opening Slowly....................104
IX: Mother....................105
Compassion Within....................107
Abandonment....................108
Home....................112
Peanut Butter Memories....................114
16,000 Days....................117
X: Revival....................121
Excavations....................123
Voice Awakened....................126
Passing Storms....................130
In the Stillness....................132
Self-Forgiveness....................134
XI: Universal....................139
Confined and Incomplete....................141
Despoiled....................144
A Universal Life....................147
Stand Up....................148
Glossary....................151
Bibliography....................155

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