The gateway to true

Transformation is called pain.

Just sitting with it


Over and over

And over and over again until

It has no power.


“It will not kill you,”

Eckhart Tolle assures us.

Instead, it cleanses.


Panache Desai says

“Painful emotions get trapped

and become disease.”


We run from these, and

Try to numb away the pain.

But Brené Brown says


“You can’t numb just one.

“Pain, joy, every emotion…

“You numb everything.”


But if you are brave;

If you can feel everything,

Every single time,


This is the pathway

Tolle explains, through the gate

Of transformation.


So, I decided

I would try this.  For three weeks

I felt everything.


It was difficult.

Still, I persisted until

I felt a shifting


Inside my brain,

Like it was realigning,

Letting in the light.


Old, unused windows

Creaked open. Fresh air blew in,

All around my brain.


It gathered debris,

Dusted away doubts, polished

every window pane.


Then one fateful day,

I faced my dragon! It was

A suspension bridge.


All my life, I’ve had

Dreams — nightmares — about bridges.

They terrified me.


Now I had to drive

Across one — the Delaware

Memorial Bridge.


It connects me to

My family of origin.

I’m a “Jersey Girl.”


The night before I

faced my Dragon, I had three

bad panic attacks.


The worst was at dawn.

All is well, I soothed myself.

Until I could breathe.


Got up. Showered. Dressed.

Packed the car.  Said my goodbyes.

LAST GOODBYES! Brain screamed.


Shut the fuck up, Brain,

I said. I started the car,

And began driving.


The bridge grew closer.

An odd calm descended.  I

Just kept on driving.


I approached the bridge!

Heart pounded! Drove to the top!

Then, a miracle!


As though shedding

Work clothes and slipping into

My favorite pair


Of comfortable

Jeans, I felt my brain return,

Like a dear old friend.


It was my old brain

That loved to drive all over,

Loved zipping along,


Singing to a song

On the radio; laughing

When I messed it up,


It was like Real Me

Came home, booted out Fake Me,

Then put up her feet.


The journey begins

(Continues), and I am filled with

Incredible joy.


Niki Flow, 8 August 2018

Special thanks to all authors mentioned, but especially to Traci S. my therapist, who got me through one of the roughest times of my life.  She helped me so much. I’m really grateful to have had the time I did with her.  I wish we had met as friends instead of patient/doctor, but no matter what, I’m so glad we were connected.

Photographers unknown.