Tag Archives: Self Image

Dreams of Grandeur


Robert W. Buss, Dicken’s Dream an Unfinished Painting (1875)

The dreams of the person I could be
The image of the person my mind’s eye can see
Dreams of grandeur about things I might do
Leave me dissatisfied with that which comes true
And when my critical eye spots the smallest flaw
I become my very worst critic and harshest law
Yet, I’ve enough wisdom within to know
That dreams may come and dreams may go
My imagined working capacity
Doesn’t always match reality
And comparisons are rarely kind
Between lofty dreams and reality’s bind
Someday, perhaps I’ll dwell at peace
The most grandiose dreams I’ll release
Content with all I am able to do
The dreams and tasks I made come true
And the person within the mirror I see
Will be satisfied with the person I came to be


When did my hair get so thin
That it no longer protects my scalp skin
Yet it never lays flat
After wearing a hat
Oh how wonderfully vain I have been

Several days behind now in the Intro to Poetry prompts, but this was a fun one. To take an imperfection as the prompt and then to attempt to put it into a limerick. And while I am still glad to have as much hair as I do at almost 44 (especially with the men on both side losing much more) there isn’t as much as there once was.


The Whisper of Demons

The Fool with Two Demons (detail) in a psalter, illuminations by the Master of the Ingeborg Psalter after 1205

The Fool with Two Demons (detail) in a psalter, illuminations by the Master of the Ingeborg Psalter after 1205

There are demons that whisper their words into our stories
And devils dwelling in the details that we created to fill the gaps
Creating conspiracies by blinding us to other possible conclusions
Filling in the places of doubt with stories told in the worst light
Fortifying the bulwarks of certainty by ignoring any contradiction
Allowing us to truthfully tell the lies in the story to others
Infecting them with the virus of paranoia, suspicion and hate
Blasting others in our blundering bluster as the enemies we fear
Naming enemies and traitors and the victims of our wrath
And the first casualty of this whisper is the life of the neighbor
We sacrifice as our enemy on the altar of our unyielding zeal.
There are other demons that whisper their words into our stories
And devils dwelling in the details that we create to fill in the gaps
Of the narratives we craft about ourselves in our world we live in
Highlighting all the failures and flaws and weighing them mercilessly
Using the unreal scales imposed upon us by a Photoshop reality
Allowing us to truthfully tell the lies in our story to ourselves
Tearing down our sense of self by whispering their damning words
Destroying our self image with the skill of a master assassin
Renaming our body and soul as unlovable and unattractive
And the first casualty of this whisper is our own life
Sacrificed upon the altar of an unreachable perfection

Seeing our Better Selves

When my image is captured and frozen in time it is so easy to see what I don’t like
Even more than my mirror image where I can turn and perhaps see things differently
In the moving image I can find the better light and the parts of me that I like
But there, frozen in time in a now dead moment it is so easy to pick at the flaws
To critique myself in a much harsher light than any other would ever see
And in my life it is helpful to find those who remind me how to see my better self
Who in that same image see not the flaws frozen to be picked apart and fretted upon
But in that moment sees not a moment dead in time but instead a reminder of the living me
And learning to see myself through another’s eyes and risking cataloging the moments
As living reminders to celebrate the person I am today viewed in a new light


I don’t know how to quantify what makes a person beautiful
Perhaps it truly does rest in the eye of the beholder
Perhaps it is only found in that moment when we see
The times when we open ourselves to the possibilities in the other
And put aside the judgments of the screen and the magazine racks
Seeing in a subtle smile or a wondering glance
A window into the soul that our spirit rejoices to meet
We may spend a lifetime and only encounter a handful of these moments
And so often they surprise us because of where they meet us
In places we never expect or in experiences tragically transitory
In a simple conversation or strolling through the marketplace
And there are many types of beauty that meet us in our lives
There was a beauty that was found when each of my children were born
That moment they touched my heart with their tiny thumbprints
Still remaining beautiful in their own way as they grow into young adults
There is the beauty of the person who you see and cannot look away
For something about appearance or movement or voice or demeanor
Captures your imagination and draws you in, even if only for a moment
Some will hear their beauty spoken in words awkward or eloquent
Many times the words remain trapped within our throats
And perhaps the most difficult beauty to acknowledge
Is the one that we find as we criticize our reflection in the mirror
For it is far easier to see the things that make us unique as our flaws
And to become blinded by other’s judgments
To that which is beautiful in ourselves.
Neil White, 2014

What I Learned About Myself, Life and God from My Divorce Part 3

Apophysis-Betrayal (1footonthedawn at deviantart.com)

Apophysis-Betrayal (1footonthedawn at deviantart.com)

This is the final reflection on this at this point in my journey.

7. The Place of Ritual and the Value of a Worshipping Community- I know that many people have had bad experiences in churches, synagogues and places of worship after a divorce, which is sad but a very real experience of many people-but not every place is like that. For myself, as a pastor I found myself in a new community, where I knew the pastor as one of my colleagues and I showed up with my kids each Sunday and as much as I could be I was anonymous. I did have a few people ask where their mother was in an inquiring and not an accusing way (to which I answered that she had chosen not to be there) and since I was still at the process of trying to save the marriage initially and later going through the divorce I didn’t want to close any doors, but I needed a place to just be. I knew that when I needed I could talk to the pastor as a friend and as a person who knew more of what was happening but mostly I just needed to be around the rituals and around a worshipping community. I needed someone else to sing when there were no songs coming out of my heavy heart. I needed something that was familiar and known in the midst of all the changes. I needed to be reminded that in the bigger picture that I mattered. I needed to hear about forgiveness, that I was valued, that I mattered. I needed to be in a place where I could begin my journey of healing.

8. The Gift of Limitations-For years in my life I would always find a way to dig a little deeper, to draw on some reserve of physical, spiritual or emotional strength and continue to do whatever needed done. In my relationship with my ex, in my work or school, in my life failure was never an option. The time leading up to the divorce pushed me for the first time in my life beyond the breaking point, where I reached a point where my spiritual and emotional strength were exhausted and depression began to sap even my physical strength. At the time, nothing about this seemed like a gift but it forced me to begin to pay attention to my own body and mind for the first time. To accept that my energy had limitations, that I needed to take breaks and pay attention, that there were times that I would need to say no to a commitment because I simply was not in a state of mind to deal with things. I began to listen more closely, to recapture some of the parts of myself that had been lost in pushing so hard for so many years. I began to recommit to listening and paying attention which eventually turned into poetry and writing, and I made space to listen to stories, to read, to listen to music and to make time for myself and not feel guilty about it. In accepting my own limitations I was able to find strengths that I had long forgotten about.

9. Seeing Myself as Worthy of Being Loved Again-I never imagined how deeply the rejection I felt from my ex-wife would reach into my sense of self-worth, but it challenged the core of my identity. I had always been pretty confident, in at least decent physical shape, considered myself fairly attractive and charismatic, emotionally resilient, intelligent and I had done a lot of things in my life that I was pretty proud of. The things that happened in this time caused me to question all of this, through both words and actions everything that I was felt rejected. I felt ugly, emotionally flat, I questioned whether anyone would find me interesting, I wondered whether everything I had done in the past was merely me managing to get through rather than really achieving anything. I wondered what type of future I might have in relationships, I was also wondering what I would do as far as work. Everything seemed in a period of months to have gone away and I really began to wonder who I was. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, and it probably didn’t happen all at once, but slowly I began to see that I really was pleased with the way I had lived my life, that I genuinely was happy with who I was. That I was worthy of being loved again, that I was still creative and intelligent (and in fact the experiences had opened up new avenues of creativity) and that I was OK with who I was. Not that every moment and every day I remembered this, there were occasional dark times and still are every once in a while, but  the emotional resilience did return and that I was able to see myself as worthy of being loved again.

10. The Process of Forgiveness and Reconciliation– Until you’ve really been hurt you don’t understand how difficult forgiveness and reconciliation really are. Even when you have made the choice to forgive there will be times where past actions are reenacted in your mind and you need to let go of them to move forward. It was a journey from the point where I had made the initial decision to forgive my ex (while we were still married) and work towards reconciliation and the possibility of a new beginning, to realizing that the reconciliation which occurred (which involved the divorce which I didn’t want) was much different than what I hoped for, to continually having to commit to trying not to allow things that happened in the past to determine the relationship going forward. It was a journey and not a one-time decision, and yet it was a journey that ultimately led me towards healing.

In the midst of the many challenges and lessons I have changed and grown. It took time and I have been able to walk with several others through their own journeys through broken relationships and divorces. It was not a skill I was seeking or an experience I wanted but you can learn to find the gift in even the most challenging of times.

purple rose 01 by picsofflowers.blogspot.com