How to Heal

The time will come when something breaks your heart.
You’ll be sailing along, living your life, when suddenly
the wind will rage, the sky will turn black,
and the reality of inevitable hurt will capsize you.
I hope when that happens that you have a lifeboat.
I hope you have a little white dinghy and you cut yourself loose
from the fishnets and the flotsam, and I hope
you let the currents of hurt carry you away from the wreckage.
I hope that instead of drowning in the whirlpool, you get out.
Let the hurt buoy you and carry you on.
I hope when the storm has passed,
and you’re lying in the floor of your lifeboat,
you look up at the Milky Way and notice,
for the first time, just how beautiful the stars are
when all the lights in your life have been stripped from you
and you’re left alone with nature.
Nature is always perfect in its cruelty,
merciful in its greatest destruction –
even after the forest fire there’s still a purpose and a hope,
because the fire cleans and purifies, and clears the way
for a new kind of life to grow.
That’s the nature you’re left with
when the ship of your life goes under.
It’s the nature of death and revival:
to become a tree the seed must die.
So I hope you hurt and heal and feel it all,
and I hope you take this time to remind your eyes
the North Star never moves.
Because you are more than skin and a name;
you are fragile and persistent,
and this is how you heal:
you laugh more, and criticize less;
you sit down to drink your coffee, instead of taking it to go;
you eat alone at a restaurant, just once,
to see what it’s like to be on a date with yourself;
you paint your lips and pull the stilettos out of storage,
and you walk down the street with your head up, shoulders back,
performing for no one but yourself;
you learn the meaning of “fair-weather friend,”
and you find the ones who will be there when the sun doesn’t shine,
when the clouds within dump the rain of your hurt,
the ones who will say, “Let’s go out in the downpour together;
I’m going to teach you how to dance.”


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