Raw: Looking back at where I started

(originally published August 18, 2013 on Journey of the Heart | Women’s Spiritual Poetry)

Twenty-five years ago I slowly began to wake up to the fact that I was staring at my soul across a grand canyon of separation and dissociation.

For the best of reasons – protection – my soul had skipped town and landed on the moon. If I was going to get anywhere with my healing, though, my soul/I and my body/I needed to get the band back together.

I hit every new relationship pothole, and when I wasn’t hitting them I was swerving drunkenly down my path avoiding them.

It’s been a gloriously messy experience.

The poem here rises from a low triggered by a crack-my-soul-open full-body conversation with a mountain. That low was the beginning of an extraordinary piece of my journey, though, which brought me to this page, courageous, strong, and in love with my life.

So, why look back? Looking back helps me remember just how damn courageous I am and how much I’ve healed.


my resilience
is so fragile

shreds it

dead leaves
fluttering anxiously
in frigid winds
torn branches
clutch uselessly
holding to

I’ve lost
in small

picture perfect
inward such

I found myself out

always afraid
others would see
past the mask
unveil the fraud

I did it

who am I

I can’t do this
competent face
tearing flesh

I can’t do this anymore

I doubt everything

no kernel of redemptive
this time

no positive words
trip away
from my mouth
to reassure
who relies on

I am lost

I doubt everything

(I know I’m in here somewhere)

what a relief
it is
to show my face
to the world
unsure and small

yearning for


what a relief
it is
to be just

© 2008 Tracie Nichols

This poem wrote me a few months after I spent a 30-minute lifetime on a mountaintop of exposed quartz during the Summer Solstice.

At the time, I thought I was just on a walk with friends. I sat down on a rose quartz shelf to rest. An instant and unexpected collision of woman + mountain + Solstice fire left me stunned and shaking. My mind rushed in to “make sense of things,” and I walked back into my life thinking the experience was over.

LIFE knew better, of course, and tumbled this poem out of my soul on a grey November afternoon when I realized how I was living my life felt deeply wrong. I was elementally changed, and what I was doing with my life needed to change, too.

Oh, and the mountain and I are dear friends, now.


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