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THE HUNGRY GHOST by BethAnne Kapansky

 I believe the path of the heart is found through the act of being our authentic self…

This is the simplest of truths, yet walking a path of authenticity in a world that pulls us in every other direction requires us to be courageous souls and adopt a willingness to shed behind the skins that no longer fit.

This can be a very lonely road, and at times we will feel like hungry ghosts who yearn for the ease of warm food, yet find no satisfaction or sustenance from a life that is not lived soul-deep. Yet, it is also a sacred path, creating a tapestry of shadow and light, which embraces and learns to love the whole of our person bringing us to a place of healing and creating a beautifully nuanced heart. My poem is meant to inspire those on this sacred path.
The Hungry Ghost

I will tell you the secret
to wellness, and it will
be the simplest yet
hardest thing you
will ever do.

Be yourself.
Pure you.
That is all.

Walk into the world as the real
you, not the version who comes
programmed and packaged
to protect from other people,
prove to other people,
please other people.

Be the you inside who keeps
knocking hard and urgently
trying to find an exit strategy
to escape the well defended
walls holding you back.

You will have to slough off
the residue from others skins,
a careful exfoliation of tender soul,
until you are left with no artifice
and become an author of your
own truth, crafting a rich
narrative to define your
genuine space.

This may come with a cost
for it will require the sacrifice
of warm illusions for colder truths,
and truth can be a lonely road.
But with each brave step you
will step towards your truest of
norths and find the exquisite life
you create on the outside start
lining up with the exquisite
self you honor on the inside.

You may feel at times like
the hungry ghost, nose pressed
against the bare glass of a room
filled with a banquet of easy.
And though you know such feast
will not offer true sustenance for
your hungry heart, you can't help
but yearn for the delicious luxury
of the road already taken.

Just know that any true dark
night of the soul is here to help
burn through all that isn't real, so
you have only the purest of materials
left to help forge your heart into
a formidable temple of love.

A time may come when you
have to break your heart in order
to save your heart. For the contents
it's formed itself around are not the
contents of the authentic you,
and they suffocate your spirit's
airway so she cannot inhale the
grace tinged sky she requires
for breath.

You will tug and pull and try
to extract her from the sticky
tentacles that keep trying to
reattach and take your heart back to
lesser. Until one day you finally have it
free enough to hold up high then bravely
smash, so you can sort through the
wreckage and finally reclaim your
fragile seeds of self.

A time may come when life
breaks your heart for you and
like a lightening bolt of change,
you find the ground upon which
you once stood ripped from the
certitude of your scrambling feet,
as tiny pieces of self scatter among
a sea of change and you are forced
to leave the safety of shore to go
deep sea diving and retrieve
your precious pearls.

And you will learn somewhere
amidst the deep currents, that the
ocean is so wholly alive with beautiful
terror and awesome wonder, you will
forever be diving to find more pearls
to adorn the treasure chest that now
houses a heart, shining so bright with
radiant luster, people ask what is your
secret and you say with absolute authority,
It is well with my soul.

I will tell you the secret
to wellness, and it will
be the simplest yet
hardest thing you
will ever do.

Be yourself.
Pure you.

That is all.

BethAnne Kapansky: I am a Clinical Psychologist enjoying life from my tiny corner of Anchorage, Alaska. I love writing personal essays, composing quirky poetry, and creating whimsical art. I can often be found on top of the nearest mountain or running through the trails of my beloved woods with my little white dog who has the legs of a gazelle and mighty heart of a lion. My work has been published in The Elephant Journal and When Women Waken and used in collaboration with a local dance company to create performance art. I am inspired by nature, rainbows, cake, hearts, the power of women, the thousand faces of love, and the beautiful journey of becoming more fully human. I can be found on Facebook or at

~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 


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