All materials, paintings, photos and writing on this site are Copyright © Marianne Broug 2004-2019.

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Poetry and Writing

Sunrise, Streaky Bay, SA

The poetry and writing on this page, is my own and that of Cathryn Deyn. Cathryn had suffered with depression for over 40 years and shared with me her stream-of-consciousness piece, Where the hell am I? which was inspired by the material on this site and also by Thomas Moore's book Dark Nights of the Soul. The insight, wisdom and courage of her writing touched me greatly and I hope it will be inspirational to those who read it.

 

In one of our exchanges she wrote:

"I do not 'suffer with depression' any more ... I consider my journey through it to have been a difficult privilege!"

Along with art and poetry, stream-of-consciousness writing can give a more accurate and nuanced voice to the processes involved in deepening than merely prose. My own poems are written at many different times in my life, and although they may attest to the many facets and stages of my journey, they all reflect a movement down and within: a willingness to move into the depth with curiosity and honesty.

This site outlines a way of living with and understanding depression, that gives it extraordinary validity and meaning. We are far deeper, more complex and more beautiful beings, than the superficial understandings that are so often touted as the norm. Where are we to go if we are no longer interested in the surface, materialistic, biomedical world? What if this surface world seems so empty to us? What if we are invited into our depths but are told we are suffering from illness or to fight this deepening at all costs? How then is deepening to make its presence felt?

Where the hell am I?

- Cathryn Deyn -

 

On recalling the time my life imploded, aged 8, bullied at new school.        

1. Where the hell am I?  Who are these people? Where has my life gone?!  How can I function well here? I don’t know what to do ...

I can’t cope with this.

2. There I had it all figured out (it seemed).  Here I am floundering. The rules are different. What are the new questions I need to ask? ...

How can I fit in?  I need to change.

How can I just be me here? – I can’t. Who the hell can I be then?

How do I become somebody different?

I have to deny my soul, my real Self.

Detach. Pretend.

It feels REEEEally BAD.

I believe that bad feeling is ME, when really I see now it is the denial of me that hurts.

Nobody must know about this. It is shameful.

I have made a mess of it all.

I will pretend to be ok. I can be good at pretending to be ok.

 

I never got to figure out and make sense of what happened here.

I never went deep enough, low enough.

Abandoned. Rejected. Not wanted.

 

Makes it all pointless

Missing the connection – with others (with Self)

Feeling missing the connection.

Hungry for the connection.

Craving the connection.

(eating to fill the craving for connection)

Need to stay here, contracted, immobile, stuck.

Doing as I’m told. Being a good girl?

Letting others control me. No - I am controlling me

Underneath is sadness

Sadness.

Never allowed the sadness as it is embarrassing, failure.

Deep sadness

Allowing sadness

Giving it all the time it needs.

It would be ungrateful to complain about it here ...

Dad came and chose it especially for us.

I feel guilty that I messed up – it was lovely to start with!!!!! Exciting.

I expanded a lot ... rushed forward with so much enthusiasm.

That THAT is my soul. Dynamic, fearless, exploring ....

I DID NOT ALWAYS HATE IT HERE!

To start with I liked it. (bit of a revelation)

My sister was very unhappy, I wasn’t.

I was ‘ TOO friendly. TOO optimistic. TOO open.’

 

People don’t like that here ... it backfired.

I broke boundaries I didn’t know existed.

Where is the love?!!

I am deeply sad I cannot be myself here.

 

If I am ME/my free soul, nobody will like me.

I have forgotten who that person is.

If I have forgotten who she is,

how do I know if she will be liked now or not?

Neither/nor:  I cannot remember how to be the ‘old’ me that I lost touch with, nor continue to live as this current version.  So all I can do is wait and allow my sadness and other feelings about this …

It can be ok to not know what to do or who to be.

Whoooo am I ? 

I can live with this question without the need to answer it.

I can follow my Self to wherever she has retreated.

Humble, open to her knowing.

Ready to learn, to hear.

( I was so SO tired of worldly learning.  It feels refreshing to find the urge to learn from my Self)

I am a small child at the feet of my Self.

I have spent years demanding that my Self come to me, my ego.

Where is my energy, my zest for life? How dare it desert me!

Berating it for deserting me.

Berating myself for being disconnected from Self.

When all the time, Self was patiently waiting in the shadows.

 I see now that the shadows are not scary, there is nothing to be afraid of there.

They are a safe, warm, healing place.

For US to reconnect, become reacquainted.

 

The shadows are the womb of my life.

My Self knows, in her wisdom, to retreat there when things overwhelm.

I never knew to follow.

The relief, the relief of seeing this truth ...

The joy of knowing I can go there whenever I, whenever WE need to.

When Jesus said ‘follow me’ was this what He meant?

 

I can feel now in my years of depression and illness, the value.

I was almost there, so close to the answer.

Just unable to follow through, literally.

Kept myself clinging on to ‘normality’, and ‘success’ and in that clinging, suffering.

Fearing the fall, somehow aware of the need to surrender,

and terrified of it.

Now, I am falling ... and it is freedom, bliss, effortless

And I am crying for the years of torment, but at the same time

Knowing it is only the torment that drove me to the edge, and exhausted me so much

There was only the letting go left.

And there are waves of forgiveness,

Exquisite, crashing through my heart,  removing years of debris in one sweep

A Soul tsunami

Because as I see all of this, I see it in others

How they cling, and cling, just as I was.

 

It is astonishing how quickly the sadness became a new knowing, new feeling.

Now there is wonder. Awe.

 

Bewilderment  at the sheer scale of the design, the intelligence, the union.

My body trembles;  Self/Soul like the phoenix arising.

I catch her tail as she flies into the sky.

 

And my old and painful story ... What  story?

There is just a vague recollection..

A looking back from a new vantage point

At small and faded details

 

 It may be that Self soon folds her wings,

Heads back to the shadows, to the warmth, the safety of the dark.

 I know now, to follow, with total trust and respect.

I am truly, truly blessed.

Footprints in the red sand of Central Australia.

In the midst of a wretched turmoil

 

In the midst of a wretched turmoil,

an aching blistering pain,

an unexpected and unwarranted assault,

on a deeply-held trust,

I invite space.

Stillness.

Just a simple invitation,

allowed to lie there amidst anguish and tears.

Not prodded,

poked,

pushed.

Perhaps even forgotten

by this circling shocked mind.

An invitation into the infinity

of my Being..

 

And then

seemingly from nowhere,

is a ground,

an infinite stillness and spaciousness

that can hold even the most shocking acts,

can allow all to dwell within it

and can only see

love and beauty.

 

Here lies peace.

Here

 

Our process, our path to God,

Is never anywhere else than here.

 

What is here?

 

We think that this ‘here’ cannot

Possibly be that path.

Here is too ordinary,

Too awful,

Too mundane,

Too uncomfortable.

How can this possibly be the path to God?

Surely these are only anomalies,

Horrors,

Wrongnesses,

Which we must supplant

With goodness, peace, happiness,

Kindness and contentment.

Surely, only then will we be closer to God.

 

If you let everything simply have its place,

If you allow everything to be as it is,

Feel it,

Embrace it,

God will open a window

For the Light to shine,

And by God’s grace

You will see that every hardship

Every pain, every trouble,

Is a doorway to the Infinite

But there are also times
of growth, healing
and new understandings.
Of wellness,
and living fullness.

I know that what is asked of me here
is not to remove myself from
the chasm,
the depths,
the emptiness.
Not to trap myself in the bafflement,
prisons,
and alarm of the mind.

I must simply bear This:
allow it,
move down into it,
feel it in my body,
palpate its edges,
sense its textures,
its density,
its nuances.
Hold myself with the newness
Have the courage
to stand by my own side. 
Follow what needs to be followed:
to sit
to breathe
to cry
to question
to understand the wisdom of withdrawal
and gestation.
And to understand that holes and emptiness
are merely the opening that
allows the light of our True Self
to shine through.
Opening, movement
and rebirth will come by grace in their own time.

Here is the death of
a tried and trusted part
that only sought to protect
to help
to provide succour
to rationalise that for which
there is no rationalisation

 

The process

 

I never welcome the process.

 

Never.

 

I may invite it.

I may see its necessity,

understand its profundity,

value its wisdom,

but never never never

do I welcome it.

 

I never welcome the edge

that I walk

between the person

I believe myself to be

and the person I am becoming.

I never welcome the pain

or discomfort  

of giving birth to a new self.

 

Over the years I have learnt

to better ride its storms.

Rather than resisting or complaining,

indulging or wallowing,

I know that it is far far easier,

far wiser,

to acknowledge that the pain wil come.

And I know that the closer

I walk with that pain,

the tighter and truer I follow its paths,

the more I allow its scenery to unfold

 as it will,

the easier that that birth will be.

 

Our True Selves can’t be bought

in a supermarket.

Lightning Ridge, NSW.

Inside inside

is deepest silence

full emptiness

softness

home

I enter as nobody

as no one

I take nothing with me

All else jangles

knocks

jostles

makes noise

wants something in return.

Cape Willoughby lighthouse,

Kangaroo Island

Embrace

 

I pull all the scattered and scared parts to me,

The small parts,

The pain-filled and tired parts,

The parts that have seen enough

Of the world’s angular pushing for now.

 

I hold them all in softest embrace;

Soft as the caress of my lover’s cheek

Or the kindness of compassionate eyes. 

 

My hands, my breasts, my belly, my heart,

Loosen.

And take me in.

I curl myself into the warmth of my own soul.

Smoothing and soothing.

 

I sink effortlessly in the depths of who I am,

Allowing all of life

Its place in this moment.

 

Exquisite gentleness.

 

And indescribable joy.

Falling

- Cathryn Deyn -

 

Drowning in my fears

I stop thrashing, tread water

Long enough to hear

My Soul speak

 

‘Ssshhh ‘ -  she soothes me as a babe in

 Her arms

‘ Do not be afraid of your sadness,

little one.

Fall from me, as a leaf from a tree.

Do not cling to me just now.

Drift down, down,

down into your sadness’

 

I tremble, terrified.

Clinging on.

 

‘Fall , fall into your sadness, little leaf’

  Soul whispers patiently,

Again, again, then again

Until  this becomes a mantra I can trust

 somehow.

 

I let go.

I am falling.

 

Into a wondrous discovery.

 

My sadness is no hellish torment,

My sadness, like air, supports me as I

 fall.

So, so softly I descend

Then land, on a cushion of perceptible

 Grace.

 

‘There is an end to it?’ I ask, amazed.

 

I sigh, surrendering to my small death

Upon the earth of my Self.

I have fallen to my Bliss.

My Soul, rooted in this earth, catches me

A mothers arms ,waiting, Loving me,

Gathering me to Her again.

As if I had never been alone.

I want to die

 

 

I want to die.

A familiar thought.

I want to die.

 

I’m not crazed with desperation.

I’m not about to fling myself off a cliff.

I won’t run my car into a brick wall.

I have no inclination to take

a bottle full of pills.

 

No, this is much quieter.

 

As I walk along

the familiar avenues of life,

there is simply a very quiet

I want to die. 

 

I stand where I am.

I want to die.

 

I look around me

at the pavement, the trees,

the clouds.

They will continue on

after I die.

I will be gone

but they will still be here.

What will that be like?

To no longer be here?

I want to die.

 

But to say that I want to die

is a problem.

I want to die.

It is a problem.

Friends will be worried.

Family will tell me to stop being silly.

Doctors will give me pills.

Nobody will listen.

I want to die.

 

Perhaps I must listen to myself.

Even when there aren’t

any ready-made words.

Perhaps I must listen to myself.

Because when I listen to myself,

I know that it isn’t a problem

to say the words

I want to die.

 

I look inside.

Listen inside.

Wanting to die is still there.

I want to die.

 

I look at it more closely.

No, not look at it,

I feel it.

Tentatively. Carefully.

Around the edges.

It is an ache in my forehead.

An ache in my belly.

I feel the ache, first in my forehead,

then in my belly.

I allow the ache to simply be there.

What is it aching for?

I ask the question.

What is it aching for?

What is it aching for?

And then the answer comes:

it is a longing,

it is a wanting of ending, of stopping.

I want it all to end.

I want it all to stop.

 

But what is it that I want to stop?

I don’t know.

What is it?

I ask the question again quietly,

Letting it dwell within.

What is it that I want to stop?

 

This here, now.

That is the answer:

I want it all to stop,

I want this life to stop.

This life.

Not my life.

This life.

 

I want this whole life to die. 

I want this whole life to stop.

I want this doing to stop.

I want this wanting to stop.

This whole thing.

This whole thing we seem doomed

to call life.

I am tired of it.

I don’t care about it.

I don’t want what everybody else wants.

I can’t move in the ways

that everybody else moves.

I don’t see the point of all of this.

This chatter. This movement.

These ups and downs.

This pleasing.

 

This everyday life wants to die.

It is so empty.

It is so superficial.

But the only words I have for this are

I want to die.

 

Is there any other life?

I ask the question,

Feel the question.

Is there any other life?

I whisper the question,

Plead the question,

Ache the question.

Is there any other life?

 

Suddenly a space has opened up inside.

I feel that space.

I drop into that space.

I know that space.

Tingles of recognition race

through my body.

The ache in my body opens.

My eyes look inwards.

Here. This space is me.

This inwardness is me.

This is truly my life.

It is more me

Than anything I could

ever describe in words.

It is deep. Solid.

Precious.

 

Does this me want to die?

 

No.

I am thinking once again of ending it all

 

Opaqueness
Why is it that I think of oblivion
when there is absence
when there is a hole?

I can only dimly remember
what it was that I was filling that hole with.
What was it?
Why can I not remember clearly?
two days ago? three days ago?
Why can I not remember years upon years of my life?

What is this despair?
Who was I?
Who did I think I was?
Who am I now?

The mind cannot
define itself by absence.
It can only use words like
suicide
emptiness
worthlessness.

But I have been in these places before.
I know the superficiality and limits
of the mind’s language
and the mind’s imaginings.
I know the mind’s desperate desire
to set life into concrete.
I know that the mind’s desire to moan and lament,
is like dry tinder to a spark.

We are far deeper
far more complex
mysterious
beautiful
magnificent
than the mind could ever conceive.

We are fluid and flowing beings.
We are made to move and bend like the seasons,
like branches in the wind.
There will be times of wretched pain,
times of strangeness,
of winter and death,
times seemingly without purpose or sanity.