When I was younger, I described myself as having agoraphobic tendencies.* I wasn’t housebound. I could get out and do what I needed to do for the most part, but it could be a struggle. Eventually, I learned how to access a place of peace and safety inside myself, my inner refuge. Lately, though, with everything going on, accessing my inner refuge has been a challenge. I wrote this poem to encourage myself. Perhaps it can help you too.


Heart clenched tight,
The intensity of life,
Seeking to penetrate again.
Such sorrow, such fear,
My neck aches,
My shoulders throb.
How does one consent
Always to such suffering?

Surely I can figure it all out,
Simply bypass the inevitable,
Get busy,
Do something,
Read another book,
Find some distraction on TV.
A thousand ways to ignore
The suffering.

A world dying
Day by day,
Locked inside our fancy caves.
Who will cater to such need
As that which spreads
Across the continents?
The rich get richer,
The poor go to work.
Yet who’s rich? Who’s poor?
I beg you to consider this now.

Peace we want,
Peace we seek.
The only real way
Is opening to life.
Opening to life,
Just as it is.
Holding it there,
Total surrender,
The mind of Buddha,
The heart of Christ,
The deeper truth within.

In this we learn to trust,
Trust the waves of our inner life.
To care for that life
As it occurs.
Then something of the tightness

Waves of sorrow,
Waves of fear,
Surge together like a violent storm.
Yet, I, in my refuge of
Loving Presence,
I, in my refuge of
Uncompromising Acceptance,
Have learned there are ways
To accommodate it all.

So, I turn over my well-worn strategies,
My attempts at feeling better,
And simply feel.
Then life opens its wings inside of me
As I rest inside this ocean of awareness
Curled around a loving heart.

*Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.

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