Hope & Healing Through Photography and Poetic Expression

Posts tagged “pain shadow

Pain Shadow (on exhibit)


On the deserted beach
I walk with a pain shadow.
Hip searing with each step
I move forward slowly.

My joint tears away.
A sharp arrow pierces through me.
I stop to find stillness yet the
pain shadow follows.

Gazing into the ocean,
I inhale deeply
then exhale with force
trying to release the pain.

But it won’t let go.

I must abandon this pain shadow.
This constant companion.
This unwelcome thing.
That has attached itself to me.

19 years of unrelenting pain.
Countless attempts to escape
to normal days, when the beach
meant walks and waves; picnics and laughter.

I climb the wooden stairs to look down
on the wide expanse of shoreline.
In pain I stand tall above the sprawling
desolate beach that goes on forever.

I envision myself burying the pain shadow
beneath the sandy surface,
deep in a restrictive dark hole
where it can no longer define my world.

And in that moment I am free.


©Robyn Lee: March 2012

recently selected for exhibit in the gallery  Escape From Pain – PainExhibit.org

IMG_5465 2

I am honored to announce that the above artistic photograph and accompanying prose poem has been selected for gallery inclusion at PainExhibit.org | A California Non-Profit Art Exhibit.  PainExhibit.org is an educational, visual arts exhibit by artists with chronic pain . The global not-for- profit organization is dedicated to creating awareness amongst healthcare providers and the public about chronic pain through art, and to give voice to the many who suffer in silence. I learned about this organization after reading an article in the NY Times featuring the organization and its mission.  Here is a link to the article  Pain as an Art Form – NYTimes.com.  Immediately I felt aligned with the goals and intention of this organization, and was moved by the works shared at the exhibit.

My Pain Shadow  (above) was an early post that I published about a year ago.  It was the 2nd piece in my  blog’s Pain Shadow Series,  and the first poetic/prose piece I wrote that reflected my innermost feelings about living the past 19+ years with severe chronic pain and health challenge.  As someone who has always done her best to bring as little attention as possible to her dilemma, I confess, this was a difficult piece to share publicly.  At the same time, I now realize it was also a transformational experience for me;  By creating art,  and opening my heart to others about this isolating and life-altering plight , I quickly learned  how beauty and art can be born of pain…how this art can inspire compassion, and can heal both artist and viewer.

After some encouragement by a dear friend, I submitted my work last winter to PainExhibit.org.  I’d nearly forgotten about the submission, when several months later, I was notified that my entry was indeed accepted, and would be included in the collection of  art displayed at the gallery entitled: Escape From Pain.  Please visit PainExhibit.org to learn more about this unique exhibit, and explore a variety of amazing works in the various galleries housed there.  I am extremely proud and honored to be a part of this collection, and the organization’s important mission.

Pain, especially when chronic, is a very difficult subject to understand and embrace. Often pain cannot be seen, and it is nearly impossible to articulate. Quite frankly, it is an isolating and frightening place to be. Art, whether it be through written word, painting, sculpture, photography, music or other, offers a powerful vehicle for universal expression and transformation. Pain channeled through the creative process allows both the artist and the observer a meaningful and deep connection, one that speaks directly to the heart of  the human experience.

With my whole heart, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who follow and support me, and my blog work.  Over the last year, this sacred space has become such an important part of my life, and of my healing path.  Always know how much your friendship, love and support of my artistic endeavors means to me. Each of you have touched me, and enriched my world through your presence and appreciation, and for this I am so grateful.

Much Love ~
Robyn Lee

Cast Ashore

drifts ashore


and lines;









has been


tender kiss







deep in the






©Robyn Lee


I  want to let everyone know that I will be leaving town this weekend for an undefined period of time.  I will be flying to another state to  consult with a medical professional in order to determine  whether I might benefit from  working with him privately on a very specific functional training program he developed, in efforts to help stabilize my joints, and better hold them in their sockets.

It is  past the 2 year mark now, since my bilateral hip surgeries ( arthroscopic repair of  labrum tears and bone impingement). I have done all humanly possible to recover  from this surgery , and regain some degree of normal function, but my situation continues to worsen, and the pain remains unrelenting.

As an update to My Story which I wrote about a year ago… it was recently determined that I have congenitally shallow anterior hip sockets (hip dysplasia) in addition to very loose ligaments (body-wide).  Thus this last  surgery in which my bone was carved, and joint capsule violated in order to do the repairs mentioned, did not serve me, and has seemingly rendered my joints more unstable.

I hope that I will be a candidate for this specialized training program with a functional movement expert I have sought out personally, and  have great faith in. Through dedication and hard work, I’m hoping to develop even greater body awareness, and gain enhanced  neuromuscular control of my ball/socket joints, increasing stability and reducing pain. As you might imagine, I  am trying desperately to avoid further surgeries, which  the experts warn, offer “no guarantees”.

Although I may be away  for several weeks now, I hope to have internet, and my wireless devices handy, and will  keep a good eye on everyone here ~ reading posts as much as possible, and hopefully posting some too.

Sending much Love and Light to all of you,
who have been, and continue to be
such an incredible source of strength
and inspiration in my life.

Robyn Lee

Her Pain Dance

She extends

 Spine arched sharply over

Shaded green fields,

Facing her

 Daily mission.

She prepares

Like a

Lyrical dancer

Shifting her limbs





Beginning another

Onerous quest

To reclaim her


She yearns




Muscle fibers,


 Rebellious joints,




 Misplaced bones.

She stretches






Brave Tigress

Setting forth

Deliberate intent


Free nerves


Helplessly on their


She exhales


Hips Throbbing

Rotating her pelvis


The vertical axis of




Painstaking circles


 The air;

Seeking the graceful place

Where relief


She resists 


Demonic Forces


Her tenacious fascia,



Strong willful fingers


Knead deeply into her own

Aching  tissue.

She sobs



 Her long thin arms

Tightly around







 Agony’s harsh






Robyn Lee

Transcendent Shadow

In the still night

Holding stable

Atop white sandy dunes

I lift my head in prayer.

Hearing the moon’s call, I

Submit to the pleas of my own

Desperate breath.


A warm salt breeze

Strokes my forehead

Gently urging my eyelids to close;

And quietly, I slip away from


What is real

What is earthly

What is pain.


Swiftly transported through

Space and time;

Lifted lovingly onto the wings of

Incandescent stars,

I transcend.


Spinning fervently

Whirling and turning, round and round

like a Dervish;

Finally, I penetrate a solid

Wall of mirrored glass and,

I am welcomed.


Without thought

Without words

Without pain,

I enter.



Where my body

Is weightless and free;

And movement, effortless.



Without bondage

Without boundary

Without pain.



Where My dreams

Dance freely,

Held in the safe embrace of

 Blissful crystal waters;



Where my heart beats in

Perfect sync with the

Rhythmic tides of

My truth.


Robyn Lee

Her Ascent

She dares not question her guide
Ascending the spiral platform
Thirsty for calm.

Each step elevating her to the next
Yearning to reach her
Fateful destination.

Climbing up circular
Curves and winding
Steep  angles.

Her Shadow follows
Free of thoughts
No decisions.

Gripping the sturdy iron rail of
Stability, she arrives
At the vertex;

And under a thick canopy of
Reassuring clouds,
Closes her eyes

to see.


© Robyn Lee

I Want To Know

It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have been told, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.

~David Whyte

This poem entitled, Self Portrait was written by David Whyte, and is an excerpt from his book
Fire In The Earth. It resonated with me as I reflected upon my feature image today, which portrays my own shadow during a visit to the woods, where I often go to contemplate life’s hard questions. Hope you enjoyed.  

Much Love ~ RL

 Click here to read an interesting analysis of Whyte’s poem:
Analysis of “Self-Portrait” « THROUGH THE HEALING LENS


“Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.”

~ Paul Tillich

Heading back to New York City for a few days to have the mri and spinal procedure that was scheduled two weeks ago (see: Release « THROUGH THE HEALING LENS).

Anticipation and anxiety have been tormenting my soul these last few weeks. I think two weeks was too long to expect me to keep “releasing” the questions that linger and haunt. I haven’t had my spine mucked with in a few years… and over the past 19, have been poked, prodded, carved and dissected, without resolve more times than I care to remember. Why are we back to the spine again when so many experts assured me just 16 months ago the issue was my hip that needed carving? And why did that hip surgery result in worse pain and dysfunction?  Seems like lots of guess-work taking place, and this all makes my head churn.

So… here I am, trying to find my optimism, but I confess…facing some pretty gloomy shadows of doubt. I am working to let go of the questions and have faith, but am having a tough time given the pain levels I’ve been living.

Nevertheless, there are some very important life-occasions coming up around here (namely my daughter’s college graduation in Boston entailing  travel and exciting ceremonies, celebrations~so proud of that kid!! I really want to be there for her, and be a part of it all (for me), and thus, agreed to the upcoming medical experiments to try to get the pain levels reduced enough to allow me to join in on the good stuff ahead. Unfortunately, I have no rescue medication to turn to, as my body completely rejects narcotic pain drugs which produce severe spasm of my bile ducts (more painful than a long drawn out heart attack). Even more the reason I’m really needing this spine procedure to buy me some pain relief.

And so, I’m attempting to confront the doubts and fears, and conjure up some serious faith for my journey. Was happy to stumble on Tillich’s quote above, as it made me aware that doubt and faith may indeed be interconnected.

Hoping that this procedure will lead to a revelation of sorts, and at least get me into a mode of higher functioning so I can participate in the festivities, and perhaps even gain insight as to what structures are causing the worst of my pain. If it works well, I’m hoping I can be more aggressive with my rehab program and, of course, take on more adventurous blog photo shoots!

Thanks for everyone’s good energy blown my way on this one. I can feel it, and truly do appreciate.

Farewell for now…. sorry will be at least a few days before I can post again… but in the meantime
wishing all of you good things while I’m away!

Much Love ~ Robyn Lee