Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Daddy’s Love

A Daddy’s Love

Your daddy would pick you up, swing you ‘round—
Ev’ry day when you ran home from th’ bus stop;
When you’d see him, straight to his arms you’d bound
After backpack’s slung off your arms to drop.

Sometimes he’d surprise you and hide from you,
Espying from behind a bush, he’d peek
Till you looked until he came into view—
A modified version of hide-and-seek.

When it rained, he’d drive to th’ bus stop and park
To keep you from having to walk in th’ rain . . .
With him as your daddy, your life was a lark;
You had nothing to lose and all to gain.

Your friend saw your life: “You so have it made,”
As she saw you so surrounded with love . . .

If love could prevent . . . you’d never have strayed . . .
T’ be picked up in Love . . . by Father above.

So my dear child, still surrounded with Love . . .
Rest in peace, in your Father’s arms of Love . . .

But this Father’s Day, just look down and peek –
Though now you’ll “hide,” your daddy will e’er seek ...
Till one day
you will come into full view,
And he’ll evermore celebrate with you!

Poetry prompts park, peek, pick
Carl Larson’s painting. “Brita and I” (Self Portrait), 1895 for

Written 5/30/09 – A Daddy’s Love – Angie Bennett Prince

Friday, May 22, 2009

From Tangled to Jaws of LIFE

From Tangled
Jaws of LIFE

From being tangled up in a drug world
To being tangled up in a mangled car . . .

Our “jaws of life” couldn’t pull you from one.
Too late, “jaws of life” pulled you from th’ other.

Tangled in drugs cut your heart, soul, and spirit.
Mangled car mutilated your body.

Tangled in drugs cut you away from us.
Mangled up by car cut your life from us.

From tangled to mangled, both took your heart …

LIFE picked you up, put you in His Jaws,
Saving from the one preying on your soul . . .

Photo from

Written 5/22/09 – From Tangled to Jaws of LIFE – Angie Bennett Prince

Monday, May 18, 2009

Counselor, “Heal Thyself!"

hope …is what keeps me alive

The Lord is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope. 

~Psalm 34:18 CEV 

Counselor, “Heal Thyself!"

Light-headed, can’t catch my breath, panic-struck,
Triggered, hypervigilant; now I’m stuck . . .
Hap’ning again – signs of PTSD —
Time for this counselor—“practice what you preach!”
. . . A song . . . “God is moving by His Spirit . . .”
Comes to mind—my “right brain” needs to hear it!
God hovers near; shortly, here come the tears.
Panic is broken . . . and so are my fears.
A simple song from a former church life,
The pastor would sing, soothing each of us . . .
Soothing harried hearts to a quiet hush . . . .  
I “hear” him sing . . . then . . . here comes the knife—
This man of God too, lost his precious child;
My crying heart cannot be reconciled:
So much suffering here—in our lives on earth—
Losing our children – what’s all this pain worth?
It ravages our lives, renders us weak . . .

My son reminds–That’s when we hear God speak!

The Man of Sorrows, acquainted with grief
Ministers to my heart, brings sweet relief . . .

Thank You O God for a way through the pain;
You provide Your light amidst death’s dark bane.
You said, “In this world, you will have trouble.”
(This is so true—I lost my baby girl!)
“But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

Your Sweet Spirit lifts me from death’s rubble . . . 

*PTSD:  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
**God Is Moving By His Spirit
            God is Moving By His Spirit,
            Moving o’er all the earth,
            Signs and wonders when God moveth,
            Move, O Lord,  in me.
what if i got it wrong, picture originally uploaded by jane.bird.

In memory of Paul Dana Walker, Jr.  1956 - 1980
In memory of Merry Katherine Prince  3/29/1987 - 8/2/2006

Written 5/17/09 – Counselor, “Heal Thyself!” – Angie Bennett Prince

Sunday, May 17, 2009



For years, we psychotherapists got it wrong!

We meant well. We went with the most current studies and 

research at the time.  But we got it wrong. When traumatized 

grievers walked into our offices, we "helped" them by asking 

them to verbally relate to us what happened to throw them into 

such traumatized grief.  Such therapy was misguided! There is 

indeed a time for talk-therapy, but this was not the time!

We got it wrong!

We learn now that the "left-brain" (which includes analytical 

thinking, cognitions, and language) is traumatized during the 

tumultuous experience of a loved one's death. 
To ask clients immediately to talk about 

the death can simply re-traumatize them! 

What IS called for initially is "right-brain" therapy, a therapy 

that utilizes the senses ... what you see-hear-smell-taste-touch, 

also the perceptions, the emotions, as well as the creative aspects 

of one's personality: painting, drawing, playing a musical instrument, 

gardening, walking in the park, writing poetry, etc. -- all right-brain 


Only when sufficiently calmed can attention be focused 

on ideas and the meaning of words.

Brain-Development Expert Bruce Perry

The trauma of the loved-one's death has basically "lodged" in the senses 

and the emotions of the right brain because the analytical, thinking, and 

verbal side (the left brain) was unable to receive all of the vital information 

because the brain was so traumatized by the life-or-death trauma. After such 

trauma, the right hemisphere of the brain is given extra "sensitivity and 

reactivity" within it to help compensate for the loss of power in the left-brain!  

(This explains to me why I started writing poetry "prolifically" after Merry 

Katherine's death.)

Therefore, it is very important for therapy to start with that creative 

right brain before including intensive talk-therapy.

If you have been to therapy and your therapist ever used such techniques 

as EMDR or maybe a Guided Imagery technique, s/he was using “right-brain” 

therapy.  EMDR is Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, which 

is a rapid-eye-movement technique to reduce some of the trauma of your story 

for you, or if your therapist uses a Guided Imagery technique, s/he is teaching 

you how to stabilize your emotions so that you can learn to do the self-care that 

restores your calm should the emotions get stirred up too much at any given 

time and trigger your body back into "fight-or-flight" traumatic reactions.  

Ideally, you eventually will be able to use these techniques for yourself at 

home, both for times of crisis and also for healthy maintenance of your war-torn 

emotions. These are just two of the kinds of therapy we have discovered now 

(since the 90's) that best "work" to initially help traumatized grievers when they 

step into our offices.

            That is why interventions that are based on a strictly cognitive,             

problem-solving approach cannot impact terror-driven behavior. 

The primitive brain and mid-brain cannot process cognitive

            solutions aimed at the higher cortical functions.  But imagery,

            with its calming voice tones, soothing music and symbolic             

representations of safety, can settle down hypervigilant brain             

functioning and allow the higher brain to get back to doing its job.

Psychotherapist Belleruth Naparstek


In focusing on the right brain, your therapist must first teach you what you 

must do to get "centered" (stabilized emotionally). After such calming 

techniques are in place, then-and-only-then should the therapist proceed to tap 

into the left-brain's verbal skills.  If done in an appropriately timed way, then 

your thinking and verbal skills can be very helpful to process the grief on 

through with both left- and right-brains now working together!


For an excellent book to read that further articulates this research and 

stipulates the kinds of appropriate therapy called for to effectively treat the 

right brain first, you may want to read Invisible Heroes: Survivors of 

Trauma and How They Heal by Belleruth Naparstek (New York:  

Random House, 2004). (The quotes I have included in this post from 

other experts in the field are from Naparstek's book.)


Oftentimes in trauma, healing cannot be completed because             

traumatic experience becomes locked in various areas of the 

brain.  We don’t work trauma through by just talking about it.              

Talking is primarily a left hemisphere activity.  In order to complete             

the healing process, a traumatized person must access the limbic             

system and the right hemisphere of the brain, where images, body             

sensations and feelings are stored.  By activating this area of the

brain and accessing the stored images, body sensations and feelings,

a person is able to attach meaning to them and move this traumatic             

material to more adaptive resolution.                                              

Psychotherapist Linda Gould

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Right-Brain Grief Work

Right-Brain Grief Work

(Poetry Prompt)


                                    Lost a loved one, and now you’re feeling droll,

                                    In circumstances beyond your control?

                                    Read the latest grief research; then decide . . .

                                    Landscape River’s beautiful countryside

                                    Could provide the best grief-relief for you!

                                    To glide in the water, bask in the view,

                                    Hear nature sing, smell arboraceous scents,

                                    And taste foggy damp air whets every sense.

                                    Oft-times talking about grief makes one balk;

                                    Reveling in God’s world often beats talk!

                                    So come alongside and ride beside me;

                                    Take a break from your grief; take time to “be.”

                                    The left brain, by death has been traumatized;

                                    The right brain brings rest when it’s sense-i-tized!



Painting:  Landscape River by Thomas Gainsborough, c1770

Prompt words:  damp, decide, droll


written 5/16/09 – Right-Brain Grief Work – Angie Bennett Prince

Saturday, May 9, 2009

But I Want to Climb Your Heavenly Tree of Life!

But I Want to Climb Your 

Heavenly Tree of Life!

 (Poetry Prompt Challenge)

This Tree of Life’s in Heaven –it’s not fair,

For to climb up on its branches, I long—

O to jump on a branch, and hang on there …

While folks down here just jeer and jest their song:


“There is no God in Heaven!” they all shout;

“For if He were, there would be no more crime—

the hungry would eat; babies would not pout;

there would not be sickness nor vile wartime!”


The God of Heaven hung His holy head,

“Do they not know My kingdom’s not yet come?

You must go, appeal to them in My stead,

‘Such laws are true only in My kingdom!’”


“There is another prince at work on earth—

Prince of Darkness they unwittingly serve;

That’s why I provided a second birth:

For on their own, My laws they can’t observe!


 “Of course, they long for justice and peacetime;

I put a longing for them in their heart.

For now, I need you, this Tree not to climb,

But gather the lambs to, My truth impart . . .


“I would not lose any if they’re willing

To accept My Peace offering with My love;

I cry for them daily, My tears spilling,

Longing to bring them to My courts above!


 “Keep your eyes on Me, not on My Life’s Tree;

Your reward e’er awaits your arrival;

Climb into My heart, and then you will see

My urgent need for your heart’s revival.


“For how will they hear unless they are told?

And how will they respond unless they know

My heart will free them from Satan’s stronghold?

Don’t only tell, but My love for them, show!”


Forgive me dear Lord for my selfishness—

I just wanted my pain to end!  Your pain

Though was freely given; You weren’t woundless—

Man of Sorrows . . . suffered pain for my gain!


Here, You missed Your Heavenly Father too,

But You never forgot Your life’s mission:

You never thought Your life too precious to

Undergo—for our sakes—pain or bludgeon.


Give me the strength to climb into Your heart,

See blood and tears from sorrows ... ripped apart.

I must, when I long to climb Your Life’s Tree,

Remember . . . You climbed Calv’ry’s tree for me!


Poetry prompts jump, jeer, jest

Keith Haring's painting, The Tree of Life, 1985

Written 5/9/09 - But I Want to Climb Your Heavenly Tree of Life! - Angie Bennett Prince