If the archetypes are accurate

then water represents the unconscious

     -Those parts of me still unknown

     yet holding treasures in the depths


All too often, I flounder on the surface

     fearful of sinking down into my awareness.


My struggles are becoming exhausting-

Why is the deeper water so frightening?

     Is it the stories told to me as a child -

Whether by word, by touch, by action, by absence:

          Be Good.   Behave.    Be Perfect

For that, we were told, is the commandment of a judging god.


Why is the deeper water so cold?

     Is it the stories told to me as an adolescent –

          Belong.     Be Strong.     Be Responsible.

     Don’t rely on others, as long as you can either manage or fail on your own.

     For that, we were told, is the proper role of the obedient offspring.


Why is the deeper water so unknown?

     Is it the adults who repeat the stories of our childhood

          over and over

     until we couldn’t recognize when a new story was being told?

Why do I even ask “Why”?

Dear Lord,

     I‘m drowning in sainthood!


As I panic on the water’s surface,

     it is not my life that flashes before my eyes,

     but the lives of those who demanded unrealistic expectations,

     who gave out mixed messages

     and held up impossible models

     that only served to illuminate my inadequacies.

So that all I see is the lives of those canonized by others.

Dear Lord,

     I’m drowning in sainthood!


At least their saints were honored

     -eventually someone else would happily wear their medals


What would happen if I slowed down?

     If I stopped struggling and floundering?

     If, instead, I allowed myself to sink into my vulnerability?


I hold my breath

     …and slowly let go.

     My first discovery is that I can still breathe

     and I finally take in deep Breaths of Joy!


And now I see by a different light.

     a soft glow in a rainbow of colors

     that shines from others who embrace their vulnerability.


These Saints of Awareness

     laugh at the childhood tales of their lives.

     How people grasp at stories of miracles.

     and never realize the truth of these saints-

That each moment is a miracle.

     That walking on water is less a miracle

           than water itself.

     And we witness a miracle every time

          we raise up the living.


These saints break out in song

     watching each of us creating our own sterling medal

     through our gifts, our open hearts

     our relationships, even our wounds.

And the prayer inscribed on the back

     - is simply our own deepest story.


For the Saints of Awareness

     know that each story deserves hearing,

     especially those true stories of our goodness

     that we still think are fiction.


They understand,

     we are, in fact, drowning in pollution:

     False stories we told for survival

          Shame, resentment, isolation

          Those lists we carry of ‘shoulds’ ‘oughts’ ‘don’ts’


Looking up through the waters

I see another swimmer floundering, tiring,

     I can now sense his fears,

     her shame.


In the rainbow glow, I join the Saints of Vulnerability.

     “Dear Heart”, I call out,

          “Just let go, you are only drowning in defenses.


 Stephen Kopp  7/15/2015                                                                      

Once again, a huge thank you and a heart of gratitude for collectively creating a sacred space for all of us this summer.  Happy 25th anniversary of Summer Camp!!



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