Poem by poem, I woke up by Susan Telford

susan telford Sep 07, 2022

Writing poetry was never a part of my life until my life fell apart in 2016. I went from working crazy hours in a busy high school to lying in bed staring out of the window, too exhausted even to read.

In 2017, a strange thing started to happen. When I wrote in my journal, trying to make sense of what had happened to me and why, poems started to appear on the page. The poems were like messengers from the divine — most of the time I did not understand what they meant.

What they did though was lead me, poem by poem, back to health, to a new life, a new vocation, a recognition of my true nature.

My problem was I was a typical Type A perfectionist, people-pleaser. I did not pay much attention to the needs of my body, just pushed it to do what the mind demanded.

This poem taught me to listen to my body...


The body knows

The lies you tell

The headache blooms

Where love is blocked

The wrong path

Knots your stomach

With the nausea of self-abandonment

The fear of being seen

Your precious life energy

Exchanged for acceptance.

You push on

Too busy to notice

The birds gliding effortlessly through the sky

The flower buds gently opening

The return of the spring sun

These masters showing the way home.

You push down the truth emerging

Still trying to be good

Forgetting your own innate perfection.

There is nowhere to get to

Nothing to strive for

Everything is a gift you rejected over and over

Until now.

When you feel as if you have wrecked your own life with overwork and pushing yourself, the concept of “innate perfection” is a stretch!

I had lost my job, my income, my independence, my friends and it felt as if everything had gone badly, irreparably wrong.

The next poem said otherwise...


Can you see it, my love?

You are beginning to wake up.

Can you see what we have done together?

You are ready to trust.

Can you see the perfection

of all the things you fought so hard against?

The pain of losing it all, the loneliness of chronic illness,

the stripping away of all you thought defined you.

You are beyond definitions.

Joy when the mind agreed that it was right,

Pain from thinking things have gone wrong.

There is nothing wrong.

Nothing can ever go wrong in this perfection.

You are standing, now, on the threshold,

knowing that your arrival here is inevitable.

In the quietness of your mind,

in this vast still place where you belong,

from which you came and to which you return,

you know the truth.

There is nothing wrong.

I will whisper it, in songs of love.

I will shout it , through screams of pain.

 There is nothing wrong.

The heart slows, the mind stills, the eyes open,

blinking in this new reality, as old as time.

Trust all that comes,

love everything that arises as though you chose it.

You did.

The one thing, I thought I knew for sure was that I DID NOT CHOOSE THIS!!!!! I felt as though I was losing my mind, developing some kind of mental illness to add to my physical woes. 

All I could do was look out of the window at the trees. I lay in bed watching the seasons change. 



No resistance to the shedding

The beauty in letting go


No resistance to the storms

The beauty of being blown


No resistance to the blooming

The beauty of new growth


No resistance to the fullness

The beauty of it all.

I started to fall in love with the trees and one day the power company came and lopped down the one right outside my bedroom window 

Branches gone, stripped bare

Essence remains, still a tree

Nothing real is lost

I realized that even though I had lost my profession, my income, my health, my purpose, I had not lost everything. There was something that still felt like me, without the labels. 

Now, I was being asked to live in a new, effortless way , the polar opposite of my old Type A driven self


Step into the river

Of love-soaked joy

It will carry you home

Silence monkey-mind objections

Loosen tight fingers of control

I gave you Eden

Accept my gift

Stop, now

Watch the trees

Leaves and branches moved by Love

Watch the rise and fall of your chest

Breathed by Love

Watch the actions of your body

Moved by Joy

Listen, now

The birdsong

Purring cat, rustling paper

Everything, here, now

For your pleasure

Taste, now

The bounty of nature

Sweet fruit, Divine nectar

For you, my love, for you.

Open all your windows

Smell salt sea air

Incense of the gods

Let me blow through you.

Let me touch you, now

Feel the light filled bursts of joy

Erupting in your cells

I left my breadcrumbs

In the last place you thought to look

See them, now

Where they always were?

Here, now

Inside, outside

No difference.

Step into the river

Of love-soaked joy

It will carry you home.

For the last 5 years, I have followed those breadcrumbs as they led me to the Teachers of God Foundation, to a new career as a coach, a writer, a poet, to becoming an ordained minister at Awakening Together to seeing more and more clearly the truth of who I am. 

More poems came, continue to come, and they always seem to point to the next part of my journey. They are the voice of Inner Wisdom, “my breadcrumbs” as the poem said. 

They are pure Grace!

In her work for the Teachers of God Foundation, Susan’s roles include Project Manager for The Integrated Awakening Series, Evolve Community Manager and resident host on The Awareness Podcast. 

Susan is an Awakening Together ordained minister and is a spiritual coach and mentor in private practice. Her first collection of poetry, An Endless Namaste is available from Amazon.  Learn more about Susan at www.susantelford.com