A Poem for Fibromyalgia Patients?

I came across this poem a couple of months ago.  My mother-in-law had this book of poetry sitting in the living room and I happened to pick it up.  This poem jumped out at me immediately.  It speaks to me of my battle with fibromyalgia.  I feel like it eloquently sums up the process I think we fibromyalgia sufferers go through to fight our pain.  I feel like I have to strip away all these parts of me, rip out all my unhealthy habits and ways of thinking, and tear myself down to the studs.  Once I’m down to bare bones and I’m still and quiet, then I can control the pain and even, in the best of times, knock it down and reduce my pain level for a time.  This poem describes that process to me.  If we’re still enough to hear the sea, it’s still not enough.  We have to attune our breathing and our thoughts to the sea — or in our case our pain — then calm our bodies and mind, give up our ego and clear our mind of thoughts and maybe then we can touch the pain, shape it, and morph it into something less.  Something smaller and less harmful to us.  This poem has come to mean a lot to me.  I hung a copy of it in my office and read it anytime I start to get busy or stressed and can feel the pain rising.  It’s a good reminder to me to stay centered and focused on myself and not let myself get so lost in my work; when I get that lost in my work I pay for it with a spike in pain.  When I’m done with the task that has stressed me out and made me lose track of everything else, when I come up for air, the pain slams into two or three times as bad as it was before I got immersed in the task at hand.  Maybe this poem will help someone else.  I hope so.

The Surge of the Sea

The Surge of the Sea

Exercise in concentration, by Dorothee Soelle in “Revolutionary Patience”

If I’m absolutely still
I can hear the surge of the sea
from my bed
but it isn’t enough to be absolutely still
I also have to draw my thoughts away from the land

It isn’t enough to draw one’s thoughts away from the land
I also have to attune my breathing to the sea
because I hear less when I breathe in

It isn’t enough to attune one’s breath to the sea
I also have to ban impatience from my hands and feet

It isn’t enough to calm hands and feet
I also have to give up images

It isn’t enough to give up images
I have to rid myself of striving

It isn’t enough to be rid of striving
if I don’t relinquish my ego

It isn’t enough to relinquish my ego
I’m learning to fall

It isn’t enough to fall
but as I fall
and drop away from myself
I no longer
seek the sea
because the sea
has come from the coast now
has entered my room
surrounds me

If I’m absolutely still.


6 thoughts on “A Poem for Fibromyalgia Patients?

  1. lovely! lovely! your writing and the poem – lovely!

  2. staciegh says:

    Great poem, it does relate to people suffering with fibromyalgia. And I also think you have a great blog, I love to read everything you post. Very inspiring. 🙂

  3. navasolanature says:

    I was asked to read this poem at Woodbrooke the Quaker Study Centre in the UK. I am fascinated by how this poem has helped you and by the poet herself. For Quakers I expect its strength is in the understanding shown of how to become still in a Quaker meeting. I hope all goes well for you.

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