Freedom to Fly

Guest blog by Michelle Darby Ross illustrating the power of poetry to help us through difficult times.
Guest blog by Michelle Darby Ross illustrating the power of poetry to help us through difficult times.
Freedom to Fly
By Michelle Darby Ross

Poetry is magical and transformative both for the poet and the reader. It is a shared intimate experience, an opportunity to heal and inspire. A chance to fly free from the bondage of the past with truth, forgiveness and love.

In the last six months, I’ve discovered the act of writing poetry not only articulates the intensity of my feelings and experiences, but also takes the story out of my mind where it ruminates and dominates, and relocates it to the page – its new home, nest and resting place. As a result, the experience gets released and my mind is suddenly free of the past and has a renewed capacity to create a future.

In February I returned from a trip where I had just spent the final week of my father’s life with him. I watched him fight like a valiant hero for 14 months against the cancer that mercilessly ravaged his body until the brutal end. I was devastated and heartbroken, during a session with Aniela she said, “you need to write, there are poems in there”. My first reaction was she must be crazy, I’m not a poet, how could this possibly help.

A few weeks later I found I could not stop writing, the words were spilling out of me. The poems were like salve to an open wound. I would laugh and cry as I read the poems to my children about the times I’d spent with my father, both as a child as well as a caregiver. And it inspired my children to write their own poems. At my father’s funeral my 8-year-old son and I ended up reading poems we’d written. It was cathartic and transformative for us and for the audience.

In August, six months later, I lost a beloved friend to cancer, a mother of 3 young children. I’d now lost my sister, my father and now my friend. So much death and carnage. I found myself wrestling with the fatalist on a daily basis, negotiating, justifying and accumulating weight both emotional and physical. Aniela commented one day, “wild horses are running your life”. A week later, I started to write again. I found myself being brutally honest, almost desperate to reveal the dark place where I’d been living. The writing once again set me free, just like letting a bird out of the cage. The next day, after sharing and reading my “completed” poems almost effortlessly and with a sense of lightness I could connect w/ the master once again, the source of joy and future dreams.

Poetry reveals the raw experience, naked and vulnerable, for all the world to witness.  In so doing it heals the poet and the reader.

Below are my most recent poems.


My body
I have abused you
I accept the truth and blame

Every day you showed up
Earnest, full of hope
Ready to receive love, respect and reverence

Instead I berated you-
shouted with anger and disgust
Stuffed you with poison
until you were in pain
Deprived you of sleep and nourishment
Spat at your naked body in disgust

Please forgive me
I was ignorant and confused
lost in pain

My soul has revealed
the all-knowing truth
My mind is clear
the light shines through the darkness-
love prevails

Trust me to be your protector
Your ardent devotee
Guardian of the sacred container
for my fully awake
unbounded soul

Faithful servant

My body
The container for my soul
Stuffed with pills, powders, poisons
Neglected, starved, exhausted
The past repeated,

I watched you stand naked
vulnerable and ashamed,
I berated you with insults
after torturing you and deflecting blame

My mind was blind and confused
a fatalist, a charlatan
committed to pain

I am a witness
The veil has been lifted
Exposed, the abuser, the abused

My soul, fully awake and clear
reveals the all-knowing truth
sweet child you are precious
fully worthy of Being
you are safe
no more pain and torture

Faithful servant

My body
Simple, pure, hopeful
Container for my soul

Fatalistic abuser
My mind
Devious and relentless
Mercilessly tortures
Thwarts future realities

Master creator
My soul
Witness to the mind’s insanity
Awareness reveals
New life emerges

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  • Thank you for sharing Michelle. I too have wild horses running my life. As a teen I would write to bare my soul to myself and it is something that would likely serve me well now. I feel so much emotion pent up inside that when it gets any chance to arise it comes out in waves through tears primarily with no discrimination for what the cause is. I can rarely even sing out loud without my emotions being triggered. I do not hold my feelings in and have become skilled at expressing myself quite well, but I still have this overwhelming feeling of oppression that leads me to self-destructive behaviors (over eating mostly). I have printed off your poem “Truth-Forgiveness-Love” as a reminder to myself to honour my body in the ways that I know serve it best and to treat myself with the kindness I would give anyone else.

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