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Imagine One Love

Finding Freedom’s first writing contest is taking place! Help you favourite writer to win a cash prize and a signed copy of Rebekah Nicole’s The Crashes of Waves bylikingtheirentry.

This month’s theme: surviving the times: emotional wellness.

I’d like to credit my friend Kimberly of Fiddlesticks in Cambridge for the theme emotional wellness; which we agree is free from the negative undertone associated with the phrase “mental health”.

I consider emotional wellness to be a very important topic because, as Iyanla Vanzant has said,

“When you stand and share your story in an empowering way, your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else”

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Dropped SpinningTop

My home is what I can carry on my back,
A house if it stands, stands as a shell.
Stories once told around fires,
With laughter mingling
and singing,
The once red hot embers now burnt out,
stone cold.
My family are those with me, sharing the same struggle to survive.
Not knowing if my parents, sisters and brothers are alive.
Our world fell prey to monsters, masquarading in people we thought we knew.
How can this world create so much turmoil and strife?
Horrors of those gone missing,
the endless mindless spilling of blood.
Terror in my chest pushing me as I flee,
I cannot let them catch me.
Stunned silence
my constant companion since
this new reality.
My head hurts, breathing strained, tiredness and pain,
How much longer can I run like the wind,
this craziness scares me
need to find somewhere
Safe, secure.
Those words I have heard are a distant memory.
When I get there, will they take me?
My game of chance
Lays in their hands
As I reach the gates of a refugee camp.

I was taken,
Help was given
Rebuilding my life.
Hope growing cautiously.
Scars on my arm,
emotional bruises within,
Slowly I gain strength,
Seeds of confidence germinating, just needs time and patience
to discover,
my path that I will create.

Written by Jaclyn Abrahams, April 2/14

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When I am down,
and my despair is hard to bear,
Beyond the rectoric found in the power of words,
You’re always there,
Observing what’s been happening far and near,
Showing your care,
I will not be the victim.
With your strength that comes from praying,
I will triumph over the hurdles.
In you I will put my trust,
Free me from my burdens,
For I must
Heal sores of the spirit,
Dear God, I know
you see my wounds within me,
And with your help,
I have journeyed far
But it’s today I need more
To help me go
And keep getting there.
It is then I see,
The postscript in my letter,
As if to say, oh by the way
Don’t forget I’ve sent words of encouragement from a friend, a gift of friendship from another
and what about
the words flowing from your daughter,
“I love you so much, mother!”
As I reflected upon His words,
they were true
Because there has been more
than a few
Gifts given today,
Reminding me that life and living
it is a miracle
Thanks to God,
I have much to be grateful!!

Written by
Jaclyn Abrahams, Feb. 16/14

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When life threw me lemons, I made lemonade.

When my kids threw me lemons, it was like a grenade.

I hold on so tight, ’cause that’s all that I know,

Hoping that love would smother the blow.

Try to make life so you could easily succeed,

By giving you every tool you could need.

Thought I was a good, a natural parent, before,

But it was like being a soldier without going to war.

I don’t know what to do except do my best,

To hold your hand, show you love, and steer you through this mess.

But I see now it’s time that I have to let go,

Just a little and hope the grenade  doesn’t blow.

I have faith in you and the thing that we taught you,

That you’ll do the right things the things that you ought to.

We’ll look back one day, you’ll have kids of your own,

I’ll be there to help you catch the grenades that are thrown.

I’ll always be here for you whenever you need,

But I have to let go, let you take the lead.


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A Conduit For Lightening

by Cid V Brunet

It is the first day of spring. My dog walks confidently beside me, dodging frozen puddles. An explosion of new bird songs announce the shifting of seasons despite gray skies and casual snow flakes. A flashy cardinal matches the brilliant crimson of the tulips a friend recently brought over. The weight I’ve been carrying momentarily lifts off my shoulders and chest. I take a full breath and cautiously explore nascent optimism.

The charcoal they forced you to drink stained your gums the cracks in your dry lips. A trail from a tear of blood had dried where it trickled down from a cut hidden in your hair. Your right arm was neatly tucked under a white blanket. When you tried to move it we discovered you were locked to the hospital bed. You gave the cuff a faint rattle before your head lulled back. Desperately searching eyes internally lit by a consumptive black flame. Unsatisfied, your mind jumped else where, restrained by nothing.

As an anxious introvert I find my world slows down while I’m walking. Sights and sounds can intrigue instead of over whelm me. I get to feel productive and comfortable in my body. Emboldened by this purposefulness I can take time to be in the world instead of trying to hide from it. By visiting places regularly I get to witness shrinking snow banks and fresh green shoots in the bare ground. I use this slow change to reassure my paranoid, fearful and frustrated self. I try to apply this to your healing process. It is difficult.

As soon as they buzz me in I can hear a beautiful classical piano piece filling the psychiatric ward. It’s streaming out of your memory as if your hands are a conduit for lightening; grounding danger and dispersing it into the sand. There is no confusion or crisis in your music. It seems to help you search for meaning. Like a friend who will wade with you into the vast ocean of emotion that a heart cracked open can experience, but who will, at the same time, guide you back to the shore.

There is heart wrenching beauty in being allowed to witness such venerability. To become intimate with raw creation and destruction. Beethoven on a poorly tuned piano. Tulips from friends. How my family now includes your family and they include me. Fear can keep me stuck but I know that to go forward I need to trust the act of movement itself. One day, one step, at a time.

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Wildflowers side-by-side.
Sharing the soil,  rain and sun.
For them there is no guide.
Growing together in the good times and bad.
Never striving against each other,
Never taking from another.
Oh I wish we were all wildflowers,
Then so much better we would be.
Never hurting one another,
Like the wildflowers that are blown by the wind but stay firm, rooted in the fertile ground.
Our roots will be strengthened with love, honesty, respect and trust.
Blooming against all odds,
The seeds of tomorrow’s wildflowers
Are planted in our interactions of today.
Creating peaceful meadowlands of such beauty we could not fully imagine or see,
An inheritance worth nurturing for the future,
I see it as not an option but as a must.

Written by Jaclyn Abrahams, Feb. 25/14.

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Tiny Flowers Crack the Pavement

By Christopher Tj Brown 

Pain, Hurt and Anger with their semi-automatics drawn

Surround the many stunted shoots and guttered hearts

That suffocate in seas of drowning people.

Lost and bewildered, trapped in a well of Zoloft indifference,

Blindfolded by psychiatric commands.

Cries for help are unheard by stony ears and stoned people.

The ache of emptiness is like January knives into August hearts.

Those few that really care end up getting lost too.

 Weak failures, scripted saviours

Missing along the long roads of confused pavement,

That stretch longer every day.

The self is so fragile,

Trembling blossom peeking up from stained city sidewalks,

Bright dash of colour in oceans of grey.

Trampled by busy shoes,

Ignored in favour of destinations,

Strangled in the smoky, smoggy air,

But still it lives and slowly grows,

Candle in a rolling black out,

Little love note tacked to anonymous fences.

A tiny shoot cracks the skin of the apathetic pavement,

Letting tiny beams of light shine in.

When the busy people look down from their lives

It’s not the sidewalk they remember seeing,

But the flower that had the strength to grow there.

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People need to realize that we are not our diagnosis; we are not our mental health difficulties. Sometimes I feel that people are not always able to see their own personal strengths, especially in the midst of dealing with crisis in their lives.

Our own inner dialogue is what can find many individuals in a crisis about any situation, yet not even be aware of it for themselves. With a lot of hard work and self awareness of your inner dialogue you can effectively change any situation for yourself.

Many times, we are sending ourselves very negative messages and aren’t even aware of it. There are many techniques to helping people become aware of their own inner dialogue. I have found that writing my feeling down on paper and then looking at what I wrote, was a real eye opener for me.

Anyone who has taken Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is aware of the triangle: thoughts, behaviours and feeling. They are all connected in relation to how we feel about ourselves. The idea here is if we change our thoughts, we effectively change our feelings, which can effectively change our behaviours.

When I first heard that, years ago, I thought how the heck can I change anything, let alone my thoughts!! I struggled with this concept for a really long time, years in fact! The idea that I could change anything about my life was foreign to me. I felt as though if I changed anything in my life I would lose who I was, even though I wasn’t really sure who I was.

Through my own writings, I have discovered a few things about myself and just how I tick. I found the concept of changing my thoughts was way too daunting for me. I did get to the point thought, of being able to challenge them. We all possess insight about ourselves and what is best for us.

My inner dialogue was so negative for so long, that I was unaware for a long time about just how that was affecting me in my life and the choices I was making.

You alone have complete control about your life. The past few months I have had many “ah ha” moments. First, life can be STRESSFUL. When we start to realize this, I mean TRULY realize this for ourselves, life can actually become pleasant. It isn’t the stressful moments in life that can throw us into a potential crisis; it is our own perception of the event that CAN throw us into crisis. Everything we do in life is a choice. I hated that word for a REALLY long time!

When you become aware of your own inner dialogue and challenge the messages you are sending yourself, THINGS WILL CHANGE FOR YOU. I am not saying this process happens overnight, (I wish). It comes from hard hard hard work and a lot of patience on your part. I am also learning to be kind with myself, especially when I feel I have still “messed” up again. Having kindness for myself has become my greatest motivator to keep going. Some days I still crawl and others I walk, either way matters not to me, because I am in a race with no one, and I am still moving forward!

Quite often I have heard…..but, but the other person was pushing my buttons!! They made me mad or sad. Although there may be some truth to this statement, we can choose whether or not we want to keep the button pushed.

A difficult moment ( and yes, I still have them) doesn’t  have to turn into a difficult day, or week, or month etc…. With this I will leave you with a few parting words that I created.

LETTING GO: I found before I was able to “let go,” of my anger, bitterness and hatred about my life, I first had to acknowledge it. Then I let it walk along by my side for a time. Eventually I just kept going, and all the anger, bitterness and hatred, just couldn’t keep up with me anymore.

I have now embarked on the next leg of my life’s journey.  I just finished my first year at Conestoga College in their Social Service Worker Program. It has been a long and tedious road for me to get to this chapter in my life. I am ready. Remember, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

Rondi McFarlane


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Coming Down

Amy stood in the elevator heading up to the 12th floor beside 2 burly movers carrying stacks of boxes. She personally only carried a single box as the movers insisted that they carry most of the rest of her boxes up for her.

They exited the elevator and walked down to apartment 1212, which they entered and set down the boxes. Amy paid the movers and they left her to unpack her things, which she knew would take a whole week on her own.

Amy had been having a rough week for she hadn’t planned on having to unpack everything on her own. Amy had been counting on having both her parents and her boyfriend helping her unpack everything so I wouldn’t take so long but as she opened the box she had been carrying she was immediately reminded of everything that had transpired over the past 5 days.

On top was a framed picture of her and her parents at Amy’s high school graduation which reminded her of the horrible fight her and her parents had had 2 days previously. They had fought because Amy wanted to take some time off college because of something that had happened at the beginning of the week and she already wasn’t doing very well in a few of her classes.

It probably wasn’t the best time for her parents either as they were very stressed because on the Monday Amy’s grandmother passed away which Amy was reminded of by the next thing in the box, a journal left to Amy from her grandmother.

Amy looked down into the box to see the last, and worst, thing in the small box. A newspaper from Tuesday of that week. The front page was plastered with a picture of a car accident between a tractor-trailer and a minivan. The minivan also happened to be her boyfriend Chet’s who was killed in the crash.

Amy set the paper down on the wooden table in front of her couch, lay down, and cried for a while. Later that night she went and tried to get some sleep in her bed but sleep was something that she hadn’t been able to get much of since the accident. She tossed and turned for about an hour before getting up and going to sit on her couch again.

Amy pulled out a pen and a piece of scrap paper and started to write a note. At the end of the note she wrote “It’s OK for you to hate me for all the things I’ve done. I’ve made a few mistakes, but I’m not the only one.”

She left the note on the table and went out onto the balcony for some fresh air. She stood out there in the silence of the night for a little while before saying to no one in particular, “Is there anybody out there? Is there anyone who cares? Is there anybody listening? Will they hear my final prayers?”

She then grabbed the bottom of the above apartment’s balcony and pulled herself up so she was standing on the rail of her balcony. Suddenly she hear a voice say the words “I will,” from somewhere above her and then in a loud voice say, “Step away from the ledge, I’m coming down.”

Amy turned her head to see Chet standing behind her on the balcony, then stepped down from the railing carefully and turned to face him.

“Hi.” Chet said with his perfect white smile.

Amy started to cry as he came in to hug her. “Everything is going to be OK Amy, just remember you will see me again someday.”

They talked for a little while longer about how he had died and then finally Amy asked the most pressing question on her mind, “Chet, is this real? Or is it all happening inside my head?”

“Of course it’s happening inside your head Amy, but why should that mean it isn’t real?” Chet said. To this, Amy gave him a puzzled look.

“Just stay strong and always remember, I will ALWAYS love you,” He said the word ‘always’ with the most force and as he faded away those last 5 words echoed in her head.

Amy sat down on the concrete floor of her balcony and started to cry again about the loss of the boyfriend who she had been with since her grade 9 year of high school. After a few minutes she curled up into the fetal position on her side and wept until the sun rose the next morning.

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Unanswered Questions

It seems like everyone thinks that death and leaving are both very similar. “Moving on”, “Not with us anymore” those are terms used for someone who has left. The thing is, there is one huge difference between leaving and dying. When someone leaves, it creates a hole. It may be the same size or even bigger of a hole than someone who died would leave, but it can be patched or mended, slowly, over time, and slowly, it’ll heal. With death however, there will remain a hole.

Humans are funny…Curiosity drives us to make decisions, improvements, to wonder, to explore, and to create! When someone dies, they leave you with the “what if’s.” They leave you wondering and questioning what could have been. They leave you with a curious thirst of questions that cannot be answered.

When you see something that reminds you of a person who left, you may remember the good times, or feel sadness about the loss, but when you see something that reminds you of someone who is dead, you remember the memories, feel the sadness, and are again reminded of the “what if’s”. They haunt you, plague you, following you everywhere you go. But there’s the one question that plagues you the most, the one that you can’t get out of your head no matter what you do, the one that stops you from sleeping each night.

You can’t escape it, every night is the same, and you dream the same dream about that night. The front door was left ajar and as you entered the lifeless house of your best friend, you hear it, the last thing you wanted to hear…the retort of the gunshot. You run down the stairs sobbing, hoping against hope that you won’t see what you think you will. As you reach the bottom of the stairs to your horror you see it, you best friend sprawled on the floor, blood rushing from the bullet wound in her head and blood spewing out into a pool on the floor.

You wake with a start, crying into your pillow. You get up, out of your bed, bags under your eyes, exhaustion slowing all movement, and you think, you think about all the “what if’s” and you think about the one you have thought about the most since that day…

What if I could have saved her? This “What if” is the worst of all… especially when you know the answer.

“You two were very close.” “This must have impacted you so much.” you hear this all throughout the day of the visitation and funeral but you shake your head and plaster a smile on your worn out face. “I’ll be fine”, that lie is all you can seem to say to them, it snaking around the brightly lit room and crawling into their ears.

They look at you, the same expression every time; pity, concern. You keep a tight smile. You can’t lose your grip. “How didn’t anyone notice?” they ask each other, but the truth is people did, they just didn’t care. The rest of the visitation passes in a blur, her parents stand up and deliver a eulogy, her sister breaks down when they put her casket in the ground and her first boyfriend comes to say how much he misses her.

So you sit at home and wait, days and days for these feelings to go away. But they don’t. They never do. So one day three weeks after the funeral, you go to visit her. You go to say goodbye.

The morning is gloomy. Clouds hang overhead, as though they know what is coming and they want to watch the show. You walk for twenty minutes to the cemetery. You slowly make your way up to the iron gates. A faded “No Trespassing” sign hangs from the gate. You slowly walk in, following the winding cobblestone path. You clench the red roses firmly in your sweaty hands. They contrasted the dreariness of the weather, of the place. You make your way down the path, walking and walking and walking. Names flash in your head as you read them from their stone plaques. Finally, you find the place you are looking for. You plop down on the grass and clumsily place the flowers on top of the overturned mound of dirt. You then look at the grey stone and tears begin to roll down your cheeks.

Nicole Catherine Mathers
Beloved Daughter, Sister and Friend
“As anyone who has been close to someone that has committed suicide knows, there is no other pain like that felt after the incident.”

Peter Greene.

Tears stream down your face. You finally let it all out. And finally, after the tears have dried, after the choking sobs have faded, you say what I’ve needed to say for a long time. “I’m sorry that I never said that I was on your side and I know it is too late now but to me you really matter.”

I’m sorry Nicole. I’m so, so sorry.” You sit there, lying up against the headstone for what seems like days. By the time you get up the sun has set and it is fast darkening around you. You get up to leave, but before you go you look back down on the grave and the flowers and say one last thing. “I love you Nicole and I always will.”

The feelings never truly go away, do they? They can never leave once they’ve come. However, you have to be able to know them. You have to accept them. You have to go on living life as you did. Yes it is easier said than done but you have to do it. You have to press on because if you don’t, if you remember for even a second, all those feelings might come back….and if they do…well then, you’re in trouble. Because remember one time, and you might not be able to handle it. You might need to get out…and you might just end up going the same way she did.

I was able to conquer my feelings and didn’t go how she did. The only thing that I still fight with is the “What if I could have saved her?”

This is especially hard when you know the answer is yes.

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My life is a rollercoaster

filled with emotional highways, fast ups, faster downs,

crashing myself into euphoria smiling, waving

at every person i see wondering why they dont wave back,

or smile, when they see me

not always the other way around.

So i go down, and crash for an instant

as my heart hurts of failed attempts

to try and communicate with the mindless.

Seconds later,

I smash into the sky the happiest ive ever felt

induced from a single thought

in a milisecond

a surge of energy electrifys my mind, tickles my bones

and shocks my senses leaving me enchanted,

exuberant and pure, grateful and delighted.

Thoughts of appreciation, for things i have,

for who i am as a person, and who

i have in my life,

flood my brain with chemicals of euphoric taste

and i feel like a million bucks without a suitcase,

loose and free.

With a million thoughts and feelings which will i choose?


Where do emotions come from, where are they born?

Are the sparked from thought

are they molded by sight?

Are they crafted by the mind?

I feel them.

I create them.

I forge them with tools.

Emotional blacksmith by the fire, learning

to synthesize desirable feelings only.

Positive re-inforcement of the mind

seems to be the key but copied, as feelings

of hostility and disgust sneak into my mind

bringing hatred and jealousy through the back door

contaminating my character.


Smoke stacks of media pollution burn inside my head

so i find myself more often these days

locked in my room with lit candles

in deep meditation within each deeper breath

the vandal disappears and i am left

with myself and nobody else,floating

becoming one with the universe, at

the same time i become one with myself.

The rollercoaster stops,

and so does time.

It doesnt start agin till i open my eyes.

So i keep them shut.

Communicating with the universe, thinking

of a single thought detoxifying my mind

pouring light onto my brain in buckets bright,


filled to the top,

i think of sharing this ride with with her,

as it is not the ride that is most important,

but who rides with you.

Andrew West



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I’ve been asked to create a last minute window for submissions even though the due date has passed.. and hey, what can I say, I’m flexible. If you’ve already written something on the topic of Emotional Wellness (or can write something up quick) I’ll give everyone until 9 pm tonight (17 April) if you’d still like to submit something!! Email to All submissions are welcome, even if you’ve already submitted to another contest or published. Maximum 3 submissions per person.