Poems and Phantasms

Posts tagged ‘healing’

Counting Victory


How many days have you been successful with a personal goal? Do you only count consecutive perfection? If you back-slide for one day, does it mean you’re starting over? In a recent conversation with my daughter about her new healthy habit efforts, I brought up my dark nail-biting past. (It was more appropriate to share than my disordered eating history, but trust me…I am no stranger to trauma and recovery.)

“If you mess up, it doesn’t mean you are at zero again. Just skip that day and keep counting on the next successful day.” I’m pretty sure my advice goes against the sobriety-tracking culture of the 12-Step Anonymous programs, but I believe it’s healthier to honor every day, hour, and even minute of progress. All-or-nothing pressure is a mental health bully. Better to be gentle with ourselves as we heal, yes?

I’m a musician, so I believe in practice. Practice cannot be erased; the skills you build are there in your muscle memory. Long lapses may make them fade, but they can come back with more practice. Persistence is the key. 

If you miss a day and bite your nails, they might be at zero level again…but YOU aren’t. You became stronger with every moment of resistance. Nothing can take that away.

If you go against your better judgement and do the thing or fail to do the thing, it’s just a momentary slip. You’re still on the path, you just fell down in that spot. Look behind you—you’ve come a long way already. So pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and keep going.


Sometimes we want to

lock pain in, close

the door fast, take leave

where it cannot




or heal





we feel

it, still


Time comes to find

the door ajar

inside, the familiar

older, condensed

upon itself, pain


Fitting into the hollow

like a stone from your

pocket, leaping into your palm

you remember its




worn smooth

from long carrying


You could hide it

away again


bring it into the

light, discovering

streaks and sparkles

you could not see

until you opened your hand

to let go

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