Between Shit and Serenity

I can say with all honesty that
I am grateful for what I have,
but I also grieve for what I have lost;
mobility, independence,
that sense of purpose,
a busyness, some of it possibly
extrinsic, but it led me to become
who I was; it defined me

and now all that’s changed
and sometimes I feel lost,
like a small child losing its
mother in a large store,
frightened and alone.

So I listen to words of wisdom
that tell me I am not my body,
that it’s my spirit that counts
and truly lives, which I know
is the essential truth,
and simple to grasp when
I sit cosily with a heat pack
against my back, coffee and cake,
and practice Dharma,

until I am reminded that I have
an appointment within the next hour
and I have to stand up, get ready,
walk, negotiate uneven paths,
heavy doors, awkward people.

I do not see my body as a bonus
and find myself flitting endlessly
every day
between shit and serenity.


39 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pete Armetta
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 10:55:40

    Oh yes, Dharma. It’s an ongoing challenge and ebb and flow I think to not be defined and “owned” by something that does whatever the hell it wants! As someone with very moody auto-immune issues that generally have me all over the place, and someone who’s sought “treatment” and “cure” for years, it all gets quite absurd.

    I’m in “denial” mode right now which is actually working pretty well haha meaning I’m taking a break from thinking much about it and docs and even focusing on it. The break is often necessary and I so know how confounding and annoying (well and painful and tedious) the whole thing can be!


  2. journeyintopoetry
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 11:03:41

    Thanks Pete, you were quick off the mark! lol

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean about denial; it is sometimes a comfortable place and also a necessary place to be, just to take a break from the whole, ludicrous situation. I think, if we didn’t do this now and then we would go mad; or madder!! lol. Obviously, I can only speak for myself here re the madness, but I think I do know you a little by now ๐Ÿ™‚

    Take care, and thanks for this insightful comment.



  3. triciabertram
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 11:12:36

    My dear Christine,
    This is an amazing poem. It gives chronic life limiting illness the kick in the guts it deserves every now and then. The title is wonderful.
    I too get ‘doctored out’ sometimes and just step off the merry go round for a while.
    You are a powerful woman and a gifted writer.
    Much love


  4. journeyintopoetry
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 11:20:32

    Thank you so much Tricia.

    I am just so pleased I found an outlet in writing which helps me to be able to try
    and make sense of it all, and if I can’t do that sometimes, it simply helps to share the “shit”, but not in a self pitying way, just being honest, saying how it feels, and hopefully, too, it may help someone else going through similar situations.

    Lots of love

    Christine xx


  5. sophie walker
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 11:32:39

    Once again Christine you have written my thoughts and feelings entirely….although different challenges I relate enormously to your feelings and you have definitely helped me this morning…..I am exhausted and actually not feeling well and I am so bad at giving myself permission to take a moment of time out from the hecticness of life…..I get so fearful of not pushing forward with the challenges feeling I am not doing enough…..and yet sometimes it’s just too much….so thank you Christine for saying it how it is…..All my love xxxx


    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 29, 2012 @ 11:30:31

      Thank you so much Sophie.

      I am pleased the poem spoke to you.

      I don’t think the circumstances make any difference, the emotions we feel are the same
      I think we all need to take time out just to “be” and I’m not very good at it either, although I have to say I am trying and getting better at it. It’s all about having compassion for ourselves I feel, and I try to
      ask myself how I would treat another person if they felt the way I feel and the answeris always “with compassion”.

      And just remember how far you have come!! I do hope you will be feeling better very soon.





  6. Thomas Milner
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 11:34:21

    I like this one very much, Christine! I was watching a TV interview with a guy in a wheelchair and his philosophy was ยซit’s not what I CAN’T do that counts, it what I CAN do.ยป
    ยซBetween shit and serenityยป yes, indeed.


    • journeyintopoetryMour eyintopoetry
      Nov 29, 2012 @ 09:06:08

      Thank you Tom.

      Yes i use that affirmation too, its definitely a good one and makes a lot of sense, but on some days I just wont let myself use things like that and it is then the day be ones a s*** one. But I believe all this is called being human. ๐Ÿ™‚



  7. Ina
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 11:36:48

    Hi Christine, this great poem says it all, there is shit and serenity and somewhere in the middle life goes on. You say it like it is! Maybe there is sense in all the bad stuff that can happen, if there is, I don’t see it btw. But writing is a great way to vent!

    Love and a big hug


    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 29, 2012 @ 09:08:48

      Thank you Ina.

      Yes we have heard the expression “everything is for a reason” – hmm, maybe lol.

      Good luck with the surgery on Friday, I will e thinking about you.

      Love and hugs

      Christine xx


  8. leamuse
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 12:00:31

    Wonderful poem from a beautiful spirit! Bon courage mon amie! Bisous, L


  9. suzywordmuser
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 13:09:42

    Very well said!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I know exactly what you mean Christine, I have some similar problems, and have been thinking on this very same subject, about feeling lost, and wrote a poem on this subject a week or two ago, and two days ago I read another poem on a blog about feeling lost! Is there something floating round, like a lost wind or something!? All the poets are feeling a bit lost at the moment!

    But you are so right, our bodies are only a little part of who we are, even though sometimes it feels like our flesh and bone is everything!
    Suzy ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Journeyintopoetry
      Nov 29, 2012 @ 09:19:59

      Thank you suzywordmuser!

      Yes on a good day I can let my body be only part of the equation. But when I tart to think about all the things I now cant do, that is where the conflict inside me arises and I feel my body is the most essential part. Like I said to someone else I think it’s called being human.

      And there must be some synchronicity afoot with all the poems you are coming across about being lost!



  10. Pete Stott
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 14:06:52

    Yes! When we lose a faculty, we SHOULD grieve. We NEED to feel pissed off. It doesn’t help if others try too soon to cheer us up, or go to the other extreme and over-sympathise. You do your friends/readers a great favour – indeed you pay us a compliment – by exposing the rawness of your condition as well as the compensations for which you declare your gratitude. If once in a while you have a day and don’t feel like being grateful, then so be it. That wouldn’t be a failure, except to some technical martinet who doesn’t allow for our human nature. And always remember from 50 years ago: You’ll Never Walk Alone.


    • journeyintopoetry
      Nov 29, 2012 @ 11:23:21

      Thanks very much Pete! It’s always lovely to see you here, and this is a heartfelt comment and much appreciated.
      The other day I found a photo of our first year class at school, that’s before we were sorted into “cleverness”!! I was in 1B, and I can’t remember if you were. But even if you were it hasn’t captured the whole class and I cant see you. I will attempt to scan it and will send it to you and we can analyse it closely; you are bound to recognise people!

      I always worried about his high notes in that song of 50 (I just whispered that figure!!) years ago!


      Chris x


  11. countingducks
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 14:14:51

    These are gutsy powerful, direct and honest words. Something in your words gives your situation a purpose. Its no comfort I know, but it is impressive and inspiring


    • Journeyintopoetry
      Nov 29, 2012 @ 09:22:51

      Thank you very much for this kind comment.

      I hope, in a way, my writing things like this down may have a purpose, as in putting my poems out there, hopefully they may reach and touch someone else going through similar issues.




  12. Caddo Veil
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 18:58:59

    Boldly honest, Christine! Thinking of you today–always with prayer. Love, Caddo


    • Journeyintopoetry
      Nov 29, 2012 @ 09:26:07

      Hi Caddo. Thank you.

      I was very dubious about using the s*** word but I tried others and they just didn’t do it. Nothing was strong enough, and this word describes exactly how it feels when my legs and hands just wont work for me. I think in poetry we have to take riks if we are to be honest and this was a risk!

      Lots of love

      Christine xxxxx


  13. samatwitch
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 19:21:21

    I understand this poem way too much, Christine. My chronic back issues are much less painful when sitting in my chair at home and increasingly there are days where it takes a mighty act of willpower to get up and walk to work. I try to remember how lucky I am that I CAN still walk to work even if every step hurts but sometimes it’s too much.

    Sending you some good thoughts and healing energy to help you on your journey and to inspire you to write even more poems.


    • Journeyintopoetry
      Nov 29, 2012 @ 09:29:28

      Thank you samatwitch, this is a lovely comment

      I think its ok for us to have days when we feel its just ll too much as long as we don’t dwell there for too long, because then I think we o ourselves harm

      Sending you healing energy too..

      Christine x


  14. Harry
    Nov 28, 2012 @ 19:22:02

    Every word true, stay strong Christine


    • Journeyintopoetry
      Nov 29, 2012 @ 09:32:07

      Thank you Harry.

      Im always pleased when you visit. And the other group is going from strength to strength. I may put this up there too. Is it ok to put things up in two places? Not sure of blogging etiquette! Lol



  15. belfastdavid
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 10:47:10

    An absolutely terrific poem Christine.
    And with a title I really wish I had thought of. ๐Ÿ™‚
    One of your very best methinks

    Lots of love


  16. journeyintopoetry
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 10:58:39

    Thank you David, that’s a lovely comment and so very much appreciated.

    And what I have just said here is without distraction!! ๐Ÿ™‚ The other comment I
    was prattling on about is, I have just realised, one I will have to moderate!

    Enjoy your quiet day and don’t forget the “brushes” – Well you nudge me!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lots of love




  17. Linda Willows
    Nov 29, 2012 @ 12:38:15

    An amazing poem, Christine, very tender, real and true…your heart is so strong and wise, I love the reality jolts, the reminders of loss and survival…you have survived very much and endure with a spirit that overcomes each thing that is placed to challenge you in life, and they have been mammoth, this is true, so a strong and vivid survivor with grit and love, you are, how Dearly Loved you are by many, mostly by God, your Nearest, who truly sees, as others cannot. I really salute you, and send my love to you, Linda


  18. journeyintopoetryJourneyi topoetry
    Nov 30, 2012 @ 11:52:41

    Linda, thank you so much for your heartfelt comment. It is so very much appreciated.

    I have so much support both in “real” life and all of you I have met on the internet, , I truly do feel blessed.

    Lo e
    L hristine xxxx


  19. Bodhirose
    Dec 01, 2012 @ 15:51:51

    Your title sums up very well what I feel like most of the time and I don’t have a major illness to contend with. I’ve found that writing poems such as this one can help process the feelings…well done, Christine!
    Gayle xoxo


    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 01, 2012 @ 15:59:11

      Thank you very much Gayle.

      The therapeutic effect of writing is great sometimes. This just fell onto the page during a really difficult day and I felt I needed to do nothing with it to improve on its sentiments. A weight just seemed to be lifted after it was written, and for some reason a bigger weight was lifted after sharing. .

      Lo e

      Christine xx


  20. Thomas Davis Ethel L. Davis
    Dec 02, 2012 @ 14:20:18

    This sounds like a good place to be in, Christine. When you are young you can find a field of wildflowers and glory in the beauty of the earth. I am always ordering students to stop growing old, right now! But, of course, I also have to frown and tell them ten seconds later that they do not obey orders very well.
    But, of course, in the end we have to deal with the reality we face between serenity and shit, as you say, and the good thing we can do is look the challenges we face in the face and learn to deal with the complexities they cause in our lives, forgiving those who have no clue about what we’re going through but give us pity, cluck clucks, or understanding, or whatever.
    These poems you are writing are important because you are keeping a record, showing the universe how what you are facing with courage and resolve that crumbles sometimes is affecting you, opening a window for others to look inside so that they can get a glimpse of a reality that they are not living.
    Sometimes people call me a wizard for some reason, though seldom to my face. I’m not sure exactly what they mean by that, but I would like to be a wizard with the power to act like Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West in Wisconsin, flinging my cape into the wind on a green hill and then showering my sense of power out into the world. My power would be to strengthen spirits and courage, if I had any power–which I do not, of course.
    But I believe your poetry, in its honesty and unflinching, does that.


    • journeyintopoetry
      Dec 02, 2012 @ 14:29:10

      Thank you Thomas and Ethel for this wonderfully heartfelt comnent. It really is very much poreciated. Your comments on my poems always help me to “see” things more clearly.

      And now Thomas I have you very clearly in my mind as very kindly worldly-wise wizard. Thats a lovely image ๐Ÿ™‚



  21. hollyannegetspoetic
    Dec 05, 2012 @ 00:23:32

    It feels a little wrong to “like” this – but I think you’ll understand me Christine when I say I “like” the poem, but not the frustrations and grieving of the situation that provoked it.


  22. Francina
    Dec 08, 2012 @ 17:57:25

    Moving between shit and serenity is often a roller coaster ride. Hanging on is the only remedy against the frustration. And as usual it is your honesty what makes your poetry so strong, dear Christine.

    lots of love,


  23. journeyintopoetry
    Dec 08, 2012 @ 18:08:32

    Thank you o much Francina.

    “Hanging on”, I like that! And it is what I intwnd to do so thank you for sayingi it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lots of love




  24. bardessdmdenton
    Dec 09, 2012 @ 00:50:17

    You so say it like it is, Christine … between shit and serenity … and when in the latter, don’t we just want it to go on forever?

    I love this image:
    ‘sometimes I feel lost,
    like a small child losing its
    mother in a large store,
    frightened and alone.’

    We have to keep on listening to those wisdoms, and let them embrace the raw reality of our lives, and perhaps they can be like the arms of that mother who is so relieved to find us and comfort us.

    Blessings and love โ™ฅ always, Diane XO


  25. journeyintopoetry
    Dec 09, 2012 @ 10:28:59

    Thank you Diane for this lovely comment.

    Your last paragraph brought tears to my eyes; the image and feeling of a mother relieved
    to find us and comfort us is so affirming. I really will start to listen to those words of wisdom a little differently now. I can almost sense the arms of my mum wrapped around me.

    Lots of love and hugs

    Christine xx


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