Monday, April 26, 2010

The Power of Felt Powerlessness

Visiting the Total Care Unit at Laguna Honda Hospital yesterday, stirred things up in me, that I am only starting to comprehend now. The sight of men and women, trapped in their bodies, and unable to do anything for themselves, even breathing, resonated with buried part that keeps me bound, despite my will. 

Hands still, mouth shut, 
I sit and feel
the powerlessness from long time ago.
First grade, oblivious,
I want to walk about and play,
not sit and read.
I will teach you, she says,
and sits me down,
and ties my hands behind my back,
and puts tape over my mouth.
Powerless, I want to kick and scream.
Will someone please rescue me?

Powerlessness, dissolving under the light of bare awareness . . . What Jack Kornfield describes in his chapter on 'The Ancient Unconscious', in 'The Wise Heart'. 


  1. Isn't it amazing the places in us that get cracked open by being *present* to someone else's experience... And then we have to be present to our inner experience of it as well... Your writing is poignant indeed. Once again my heart is touched... Wishing you sweet remembrances as well - Christine

  2. Thank you Christine for your so kind response. And yes, only through the opening of our heart to others regardless, do we get a chance to fully explore our depths. A blessing indeed!

  3. That is the essential cry for all of us. Yet somehow we must prepare for and participate in our rescue. I find it helpful to reflect on the nature of helplessness, in the sense that no matter what our predicament, there is always an opening to the Unborn. Plus we never know where someone else is spiritually, we don't even know where we are.
    Thank you for the nice nudge.

  4. Well said, Helmut. And, yes, regardless of our own individual history, powerlessness is an integral part of our psychological landscape, if only because of our mortality. With time, and further enquiry, it just becomes more felt in a physical way. I suspect it is one of the great blessing from working in hospice, to be facing that reality so close.