What wearies you? What renews you? Who brings you joy? Who exhausts you? When you think of safety and comfort and happiness, what place or person comes to mind? The answers to these questions are already known to you. They live in your body, in a place beyond conscious thought and its dangerous companions, rationalization and overriding.
If you turn to your body for answers you will know when someone’s love is not love but control and need. You will know when you are living not in safety but in fear. Over time, you will slowly learn to trust yourself. When I first read this small, curious poem below, a deep heaviness descended on me and I physically shrank into my chair in recognition and sorrow. John Freeman says so much in so few words.
Mail, by John Freeman
We wrote one another a lot
those days, long winding
letters that crossed a country, in which
I asked if she knew my gratitude;
her replies so generous
it’s only now I realize
my gratitude wasn’t gratitude
but another request.