Running Poem About Changing and Working on Yourself

Running

Can I get a cup of wine
to drown the time,
to float away from
this heavy heavy of mine?

Or perhaps a speedy car
that'll take me fast so far
away from these expired dreams
now void of stars?

Maybe a boat to sail these seas
that swallow me with ease
each time the tide of my moods
helplessly carries me out with no reprieve?

But no. I suppose that won't do
for there's no way to bid adieu
to my mind who follows me
no matter the destination I run to.

I can't conspire to flee
when the jailer with the keys is me.
I only get to taste freedom
by working on myself daily.

Justin Farley

Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

Fasting in the Desert A Godly Poem About Contemplation and Selfishness

Fasting in the Desert

Strip yourself naked,
unclothed of selfish desire.
For it requires fuel to burn
just as a raging fire.

If all thoughts
revolve around me and mine,
how am I to hear the voice of God,
how am I to feel the presence of the Divine?

It's by starving addictions
that we discover the depth of their roots.
Sometimes we must endure pain and misery
to prepare our hearts for grander pursuits. 

Contentment begins 
when we step into Silence's abode.
Here we find all we need
and her blessings are bestowed.

For comfort comes
not from out there but from within
and fasting in the desert
is where the search for God begins.

Justin Farley

A Poem About Recovery Hope and Change

No Matter

No matter how hard it is
to keep the fire burning,
no matter how many disappointments
have visited you without warning,
no matter how many different trials
you've sat through today,
though the verdict may be hard to swallow,
tomorrow, tomorrow's another day.
And it may seem impossible in this moment,
but in time you're going to be ok.
For when you wake tomorrow
a new sun will be on the rise,
and you'll find a mustard seed of hope
sprouting upon the ashes of yesterday's demise.

Justin Farley

Hello, everyone! I have recently published my first chapbook of Christian poems titled “A Voice in the Wilderness – A Chapbook of Poems about God”. This has been developed and polished over the past six months or so. I am happy with the final product and hope you find encouragement in the poems but also a validation that the spiritual life is not all sunshine and rainbows. We all struggle. We all have periods of questions and/or doubt. But it is the yearning that keeps us coming back for more and allows us to experience joy.
You can purchase either on Amazon or on my own bookstore (it is cheaper and has free shipping on my store) and is available on the Kindle and in paperback.
Amazon: Kindle Paperback
Inkspiration Books (my bookstore): Paperback

Thank you for your support!

The Cost of Freedom – Recovery Addiction Poem

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The Cost of Freedom

Confining walls, prison cell;
there’s no shame in wearing a straight jacket
if it makes you well.

Dirty dishes, soiled clothes;
it’s a heavy burden to keep
your house clean on your own.

Hidden secrets, concealed lies;
they are the extent of your sickness –
the enemy of recovery is pride.

Foolish illusions, blind in the dark;
the most harmful delusion is believing
you can trust your heart.

Death’s agent, the loser’s bane;
sometimes winning means folding now
to remain in the game.

The humble lives, the prideful dies;
better to trust in another’s truths
than to keep living by your lies.

Safety in numbers, self-reliance self-destructs;
an unchecked mind quickly becomes
unreliable and corrupt.

Freedom is sometimes choosing not to be free;
better to serve a great master,
than sit on the throne of insanity.

-Poem and Content Written by Justin Farley

As a recovering alcoholic who’s been sober for almost 11 years and someone who can become addicted to about anything that makes you feel good, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned in my recovery is the need to let go of my freedom sometimes. The hardest times in recovery are often the ones where we’ve still got one foot in and one foot out, believing that we can be both fully free and fully accountable living by our will power.

For me, I’ve learned that when I’m free I’m a slave, and when I’m a slave I’m free. Quite paradoxical, but I’ve learned that I can’t trust myself to do what I want myself to do. If I sit with temptation long enough, it will eventually over power me no matter how much will power I have.

We don’t want to accept defeat. We don’t want to admit that we’re weak. We want to continue to live by the lie that we’re able to conquer our demons on our own, despite file cabinets full of evidence to the contrary. Sometimes giving up some of your freedom is the only way to protect yourself from yourself. For addicts, I believe the cost of freedom is often freedom itself.

You want to be sober? Well, you’re going to have to give up the freedom of  being able to go to bars. You want to be free from addiction? You’re going to have to give up the freedom of hanging out with people that are still using. You want to be free from your shopping addiction? You’ve got to give up the freedom of carrying cash and credit cards.

Is it possible to keep all your freedoms and remain free from your addictions? Maybe. At least for a period of time, but it’s like playing Russian roulette, never knowing when your addiction is loaded in the chamber. Play long enough, and I believe you’ll eventually self-destruct.

For me, I’ve realized the cost of unchecked freedom is misery and death. And today, I choose to live.

You may also like my other addiction and recovery posts.

Grace – A Poem

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Grace – A Poem

I am awed by the way you move me
like freshly fallen snowflakes dusting across the frozen ground.
Some days I forget the barren tundra from which I came
and how you whispered by name, echoing across that vacant landscape
so that a lost soul could be found.

Some days time passes by me without a single thought
that each waking moment is a treasure –
a gift granted, light years away from being deserved.
But despite all my wrongs and all the foolish footpaths
I chose to walk, in my time of desperation I called
and without hesitation you answered.

Each single second is abounding opportunity,
a renewed possibility for new life.
My destination was one I was unable to arrive at
by the work of my own hands, but while I lingered,
withering away in the darkness, you nestled me
within your loving embrace and brought me back into the light.

The fact that I breathe and my heart beats
is a living testament to your endless love and grace.
May I never forget from where I came and that each day is a gift
that I should unceasingly praise and never waste.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Morning mist via photopin (license)

Living With Fear – A Poem About Anxiety Disorder and Mental Illness

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Living With Fear – A Poem About Anxiety and Mental Illness

Close your eyes.
Keep yourself blind
To the hideous beast
That hides beneath this veil of security.

Pretend you can’t see me
For who I am –
A scared, frightened, shell of a man
Raging in the solitude of fear’s prison.

I can’t even stand the vision
That stares back at me in the mirror,
So how could I expect you to accept me?
How could I expect you not to judge me?

I only wish that for one day you could see
What it feels like to crawl within my skin,
What it feels like to loose it all –
Everything you’ve ever loved, ever dreamed to your own mind.

Finding myself racing around trying to make up lost time –
The minutes, hours, days cowered in the corner,
Just wishing the world would fade away
And this anxiety would leave me in peace.

The attacks may subside, but the restlessness doesn’t cease,
Always waiting to jump me unexpectedly
Like a mugger in a dark, deserted street,
Leaving me helpless and penniless, staring death in the face.

How do I mingle and mix with the human race
When I know my revelations will label me an outcast and crazy fool?
How do I look confidently into another’s eyes
When inside my soul shrieks and my heart beats through my chest?

Where can my soul find rest
In a world of strangers
Who would surely laugh and jest
At the man beneath the mask?

How do I keep from being labeled an outcast
And not notice the eyes jeering at me like I’m a psychotic loon,
Pretending to understand, but keeping their distance,
With no desire to get close enough to help me clean up my mess?

How do I bear being labeled lazy when I’m doing my best
Just to make it through the day, make it out the door,
To achieve some level of normalcy,
And not get crushed beneath the weight of my fears?

Will they ever understand when my mind rears
Its ugly head and leaves me panicking,
Breathing in short gasps pleading,
“Can we please leave now?”

Will they ever understand how
It feels to be locked in a prison of your own being,
Pacing the hours away, wishing somehow
You could find a way to escape invisible bars?

Will they ever not be horrified at the scars
That cover the face of my soul?
Can they ever comfort me at my worst
And not run from the beast before their eyes?

So do you blame me from hiding this storm inside?
Do you know the shame I sleep with,
Always feeling like a monster –
A freak drowning in a sea of normalcy?

But this is me.
And no amount of hiding can change who I am.
I am a scared, frightened, shell of a man
Terrified of the world finding out how weak I am.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


*Painting “The Scream” by Edvard Munch

 

Illusions – A Poem

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Illusions – A Poem

The demon water you drink
Is devouring your soul.
Don’t you know this road has no happy ending
And your heart will turn cold?

Repeating lies does not change reality.
Sooner or later you’ll have to face life’s inevitable truth.
Don’t set yourself on foolish paths, don’t chase foolish pursuits,
And hang your happiness up by your own noose.

The lies we tell our hearts are more deadly…more potent
Than the poison spewed from your lips.
Silence the serpent, the viper, the piper
That sings you mirages of bliss.

Strength is weak;
Weak is strong.
Pride brews careless ways
And pushes you to places you don’t belong.

Independence is dependence;
Dependence is independence.
Try to sweep the truth under the rug if you like,
But in solitude you depend on a mind of madness.

The free is captive;
The captive, free.
For the one who relies on self alone
Is bound in lonely chains of slavery.

Call yourself what you wish,
But truth still stares back at you in the mirror.
Pretending to be confident and defiant,
Does not erase your heart of fear.

The proud are brought to their knees;
The meek stand on their own two feet,
For the first step of growth
Is admitting you’re in need and weak.

So bat your lying eyes and put on a show.
But through your smirk, you’ll find only tears.
The road to hell is seen as heaven
By eyes that are blind and ears that refuse to hear.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley

Alien – A Poem

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Alien –  A Poem

Feelings run too deep
like the full summer moon,
sinking in the sky’s dark sea of black.
Reminiscing, pondering over burnt out stars,
wishing their beautiful light could somehow be brought back.

But the ancient dust has crumbled,
scattered like ashes in the brisk solar wind.
But memories stand transfixed,
unaltered by time, suspended
in infinity’s domain without an end.

To navigate this sea without your stars for direction
leaves me scrambling, rambling without course.
No heat radiates by the fireside.
No flames flicker in the lantern at my bedside.
My burning passion is extinguished without a fuel source.

Shoot me across the atmosphere,
riding high tides of lonesome tears.
Won’t you pluck this bitter fruit from my hands?
I fear the past may be lost, withered beneath winter’s frost.
So queer to feel like an alien inhabiting Earth as a man.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: Northern star trails via photopin (license)

Raven

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Raven

Jet black feathers fall from your head
And brush the beauty of your cheek.
Dark as night like strands of onyx
Woven with omens and tales of mystery.

The spell you caw claws at my heart and captivates me.
Emerald eyes like a pair of dazzling jewels,
Sparkling and rousing lust like a treasure
Uncovered beneath Arabian sands.

Stay perched upon this tree, find safety within
These limbs and the arms of my branches
That conceal your past, and take rest knowing
That your secrets fall upon a humble heart and hushed lips.

Grip your talons into my skin if you must,
But do not fear the embrace of my hands,
Petting and soothing your feathers in disarray.
Have faith, do not fly away, fall knowing you’ll never be betrayed.

Your body like sleek, black oil;
A fuel that has remained untapped,
But only needs a quick strike of my match
To blaze into a beautiful inferno of passion.

Your beak remains closed, but I know
There are words that fill
The bowels of your soul,
Longing to be set free.

There is great mystery
Within your complex simplicity.
Share with me the secrets
Of your long and trying flight.

Tell me stories of your nights –
The forests you’ve flown through;
The pains and joys you’ve encountered
On your arduous journey.

Some may find your feathers too ruffled.
Some may find your feathers stained like soot.
But I find ultimate beauty in your ebony armor –
A black canvas I yearn to drag my brush across.

Raven, make room for me beneath
Your veil of apprehension,
Raise your wings and let my touch
Move your heart to sing.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

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The Mirror of Truth – A Poem

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The Mirror of Truth – A Poem

Into the mirror I gaze
and am wrapped within the frame
of a smoky haze of secrets swirling within glass.

I can’t deny the face,
can’t pretend I don’t know,
have no trace of realization that the figure before my eyes is me.

It’s unsettling to see the darkness,
to discover the demons in the flesh,
to witness my flaws, flogging me in the face.

Beneath this mask of pride,
there is a face scorched and seared
by lies, deceit, and by the heat of betrayal.

I know the image I wish to see,
I know the reflection my heart believes;
but within me is a darkness I prefer not to acknowledge.

The mirror of truth does not lie,
does not flinch when it brings onlookers to their knees,
does not hide delusions, but pierces the veil of our ego.

The mirror of truth is a loving master,
a humbling stone meant to trip our feet,
a pastor to turn us towards joy and away from the bonds of slavery.

I may not like the face that stares back at me,
I may not like the icy eyes, the lips of pride,
but I have the opportunity to reconstruct my image.

Morning sun, be my witness –
when you lay down to rest tonight, the flames may remain
fueled by my darkness, but will crackle beside the waters of love and grace.

-Poem Written by Justin Farley


 

photo credit: De lujo y miseria via photopin (license)