On staying with

Whenever we feel pain, we want to run. This is a natural, normal, even understandable condition of human living. Isn't it curious how the pain that we encounter, for most of us, evokes a sense of "no;" our habit, from birth, has been to push pain away and tirelessly seek its opposite. And in a way, no doubt, this makes sense. But like most of those old, conditioned ways-of-being that worked for us in our younger days, there may come a time when running and hiding from every painful situation stops working. We may begin to ask ourselves: "What if this isn't the way after all?" What if there is a deeper magic, a more profound process that can cultivate real healing instead of propagating the same old habitual, never-ending cycles of fear and rejection? What if there is something to be said for staying with our pain?

This is precisely what my poem "Stay" proposes. Let us be clear: these words do not suggest any type of masochism or martyrdom, but instead asserts, from a more spiritual perspective, that staying with our negative experiences and emotions is an act of courage. And within that fierce bravery are the fires of transformation.

The rainstorms that rage throughout our lives may appear terrifying, threatening. But the truth is, every single one of them is an angel, a messenger, a teacher. If only we could actualize this truth, we might reap more benefit and insight that we could possibly imagine. The only thing being asked of us is that we learn how to stay...






one can learn much

by listening to a rainstorm

have you ever

from beginning to end

sat without ceasing

and let it take you

on its wilding



at first

the orchestra only tunes

winds and brasses and strings

the rumble so far off

it can scarce be heard

some say they can smell it

on the air

that's the time

when most men run

into the comforting arms

of leather sofas and

frying pan melodies


those who are braver

feel the first foreign droplets of sky

on their necks

but rarely stay with the storm

long enough to watch

water turn soil into

yellow clay puddles

a morning cocktail for treeroots

they drink and smile and stretch

their showered limbs

while the half-brave man decides he's

seen enough, and,

content with himself

finds another distraction:

a god he worships more deeply

than the one just

outside his window


rare is the man

who holds his seat

until the last thunderclap has passed

he is the one who welcomes

the discomfort

of soaking, clinging clothes

who'd rather brave the roaring wind

and stinging pour

than sit in separation

in a sterile dreamland


to help us forget

who we are


it is not always easy

to be with a rainstorm

and you will want to run




and listen

as she tells you


you need

to know


© 2015 Brandon Thompson