For Someone Awakening To The Trauma of His or Her Past

For everything under the sun there is a time. 

This is the season of your awkward harvesting, 

When the pain takes you where you would rather not go,  


Through the white curtain of yesterdays to a place 

You had forgotten you knew from the inside out; 

And a time when that bitter tree was planted  


That has grown always invisibly beside you 

And whose branches your awakened hands 

Now long to disentangle from your heart.  


You are coming to see how your looking often darkened 

When you should have felt safe enough to fall toward love, 

How deep down your eyes were always owned by something  


That faced them through a dark fester of thorns 

Converting whoever came into a further figure of the wrong; 

You could only see what touched you as already torn.  


Now the act of seeing begins your work of mourning. 

And your memory is ready to show you everything, 

Having waited all these years for you to return and know.  


Only you know where the casket of pain is interred.  

You will have to scrape through all the layers of covering 

And according to your readiness, everything will open.   


May you be blessed with a wise and compassionate guide 

Who can accompany you through the fear and grief 

Until your heart has wept its way to your true self.  


As your tears fall over that wounded place, 

May they wash away your hurt and free your heart. 

May your forgiveness still the hunger of the wound  


So that for the first time you can walk away from that place,  

Reunited with your banished heart, now healed and freed, 

And feel the clear, free air bless your new face.


~ John O'Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings