3 Mindfulness Poems For Women With Emotional Scars

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reading book of poetry

So many women carry deep emotional scars — yawning wounds from childhood, an early love, and other injuries that feel like they happened yesterday (and maybe they did).

Fortunately, there's a way to begin to heal from what may seem to be an unlikely source: mindfulness poems.

You may find that your scars are oozing into your daily life, forming scabs that can be ripped off by traumas in the present, leaving you feeling overwhelmed.

Only you can make a decision to not allow your pain to fester. Only you can realize that picking at your scabs only makes your scars deepen. Only you can name your pain, feel it, and decide what you want to do with it.

Poetry has a way of accessing your inner world. 

Poetry, a practice of painting with words, allows you to feel the truths within you. In addition to guided meditations, reading poems is also a mindfulness exercise that permits you to confront your realities, even those hidden from you now.

RELATED: 6 Essential Skills That'll Help You Practice Mindfulness Like A True Zen Master

Here are 3 mindfulness poems for emotionally scarred women who want relief and healing.

1. "And Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou.

Here, Angelou invites you to name what has happened to you, call out your pain, and feel it:

"You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness"

Why is she so graphic? Because in naming what happened, you begin to have control. You’re no longer facing an unknown.

Your pain becomes tangible. You can begin to see, touch, and feel your sorrow from different angles, in the process, shrinking your trauma down to a manageable size.

In being mindful of what specifically has happened to her, she claims her capacity to decide what to do with it. For her, she has the power to rise above it.

"But still, like air, I’ll rise."

This is the same ability you have, to redefine what has happened to you, and to rise above it.

2. "The Word" by Tony Hoagland.

Healing is a conscious decision and how you heal is your decision. Yes, you can sit back and say that time will heal you, but you need to then ask "At what cost?" Or you can just get serious about taking steps.

This requires planning and adjustment in what's probably an already complicated and crowded life.

But, in the beginning, it isn’t the quantity of the time you take but rather the decision to take it. What to do with this time? This is where mindfulness comes in again.

"Down near the bottom

of things you have to do today

Down near the bottom

Of the crossed out list

Between 'green thread'

And 'broccoli' you find

That you have penciled in 'sunshine'

Being aware that you can look up in your life and see the magnificence of the sun, feel held by the sky, and get lost for a moment in the cloud formations is being in the present moment, a mindfulness practice.

It may as well be that you have to remind yourself to do this. You need to put this task that takes only moments on your to-do list. Accept that this is where you are.

Do this. Write down "sunshine." Then, notice the light surrounding you. And breathe.

3. "Love after love" by Derek Wolcott.

Give yourself the gift of mindfulness. This promise of what mindfulness offers is said best by the Noble Laureate poet Derek Wolcott.

"The time will come

when, with elation

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror

and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was yourself…"

In doing this there is the promise that you will:

"Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored."

RELATED: 8 Ways To Fall In Love With A Mindfulness Practice

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Relief isn’t just a fantasy and healing isn’t just the happy ending of a Romantic Comedy — that’s unreal.

Mindfulness is the beginning.

Mindfulness is the practice of moving into your senses, of noticing where you are in space, being aware of what you are doing, and how what you are doing feels.

Mindfulness is experienced in enjoying the bubbles that soap makes as you wash your hands, getting lost momentarily in the smell of the air after the rain as you walk your dog, and savoring the tangy taste of the lemon you just put in your salad dressing.

Mindfulness is the opposite of focusing solely on your often racing — and frequently accusing — thoughts about what you did and what you wish you hadn’t.

Mindfulness focuses on the present.

Honor your emotional scars.

When you're hurt, there's a natural tendency to want to minimize your pain, make it go away, and make yourself unaffected by loss.

And you may do all of this while trying not to cry because crying makes you feel ugly and weak.

You may resort to trying to deaden your feelings by eating or drinking too much, not getting out of bed, shopping, or even gambling.

But, inevitably, you find that your pain and negative emotions linger and fester, creating a bigger sore.

Your emotional scars demand your attention because they are symbols of battles fought and lessons learned.

In fact, feeling your pain provides an opportunity for growth, like crossing a river, and reaching a different shore.

The way out is through mindful acceptance.

So, in addition to a meditation practice, mindfulness poems are a way to begin healing your emotional scars by offering a compassionate view of yourself.

Learning to be mindful of the surrounding world and your inner experiences opens your heart to appreciate yourself and learn to lovingly self-parent.

RELATED: 5 Benefits Of Mindfulness & Staying Present In All Moments Of Life

Patricia A O’Gorman, Ph.D. is a trauma and addiction psychologist with over 25 years of experience, and the author of 9 books on resiliency, women, and self-parenting where she shares unique ideas for helping us all bounce back from the crazy challenges thrown at us... Connect with her directly on her website, patriciaogorman.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter on resilient approaches to your daily challenges.