Poems for Mental and Spiritual Healing
by Rufus Johnson
Writers’ Branding

"Everything comes to / A stop eventually. / We all must stop before it’s too late."

From the opening poem, "Acceptance," Johnson establishes the understanding that the healing of the mind, body, and spirit begins with relinquishing one's ego and accepting God's presence and divine will. In a poetry compilation that ranges widely from exploring emotions like deep-seated anger to the magnitude of each choice on one's overall standing in life, both philosophical and transcendental topics will likely present audiences with a direct connection to their own lives. At its core, however, the central focus is on freedom and how we can free ourselves from the prison of resentment, anger, and defeat to live a life of compassion, forgiveness, and love while traversing the path God has created.

As timely as can be, the poetry seemingly understands that the world is in a state of heightened emotions, particularly the negative ones. In "Escape from Negativity," Johnson highlights just how devastating of a force negativity can be and how difficult it can be to remove ourselves from its gravitational pull once snared in. During the darkest of dark times, positive thinking needs to become a way of life. Similarly, "Forever" evokes a message of fleeting time and the inevitability of mortality. Whether during matrimonials or other avenues of life, using the word "forever" has become commonplace. Yet as the speaker of the poem soundly states, "forever, a moment away." "Hatred" simultaneously captures the spirit of both an inability to let go and forgive and a reluctance to completely surrender to love, whether that is the love of family, of a partner, of one's professional pursuits, or ultimately, even the love of God. By releasing these pent-up emotions, the poet carves out a road to gratitude, hope, and, as described in "Here," an awakening of purpose, a reason for being.

On a stylistic level, Johnson's poetry has aesthetic appeal as the constant three-line stanzas throughout the poetry create an almost trance-like environment as one poem seeps into the next, interconnected by the theme of healing one's mind and spirit. While most of the poetry is predicated upon narrative prose and no consistent rhyme scheme, it is the poet's ability to integrate personification that creates transparent images and illuminates the canvas of the readers' minds. "Hope," for instance, is personified as an entity whose home is in one's mind. The speaker states that even when hope is nowhere to be seen, it is only "gone for a while. / To look for peace."

Providing audiences with the opportunity to achieve self-realization, poems like "I Can" highlight all the things people can do with their sensory experiences. However, though one cannot see God, his presence is undeniable. Often, as portrayed in "In the Sands," when we are least in control is when we are being taken care of, when God is our guiding light. That being said, "Incomplete Path" acknowledges open-heartedly that humanity is destined to travel incomplete paths, both in the physical realm and the realm of the mind, in order to find the way to completion and Jesus Christ. Poems like "Order" and "Soul" extend a debt of gratitude to humanity's Maker, while those like "Stop" touch on the difficult realities of breaking habits that have corrupted people's minds and threaten to consume their souls. Overall, a sense of calm, healing, and realization exudes from the compilation as Johnson strives to explore universally relatable topics to unify one's physical and mental reality with one's spiritual awakening.

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