before you were a victim

June 26th, 2017

I knew you before you were a victim,
before you were a wreck, a mess, and a bomb.
Without a crowning success or crippling failure.
Before you had an issue, an axe, or a cross.
No disorder, no syndrome, no label –
without a blemish or scar.
Before that night and the morning after,
before the after and before the before.
Before the fall, the crash, the crime,
without an upgrade or makeover.
Version 0.0
No story,
no narration, no closed captioning,
no footnotes and no bonus features,
before you remembered to forget and forgot to remember.
I knew you before you were what you say –
what you think, what you fear, what you know.
Do you know yourself before?

Band-aid Carpet by We Make Carpets



  1. wow.

    Comment by Kirsten Michelle — February 15, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  2. This is so beautiful. Thank you for reminding us that we are not who we think we are.


    Comment by pamela — February 15, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

  3. I don’t even know how to find the words. Other than thank you.

    Comment by Lisa — February 15, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

  4. What would we be without our stories? I say that in reverent delight of a very positive shift. If we could just let go of our masks that we’ve collected, we could finally ‘be’.

    Comment by Angela DiGiovanni | Living Out Loud — February 15, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

  5. like a warm breeze across my soul, your words deliver peace.

    but of course, my monkey mind questions: how was i before i started living my victim story?


    Comment by denise — February 15, 2011 @ 5:58 pm

  6. Well, THIS is inconvenient. I was very busy telling a very tragic story in my head and now it will have to be cancelled due to a poetic wake up call. I’ll just have to think of something else fun to do tonight.

    Comment by Connie Assadi — February 15, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

  7. I am trying to know. Every so often there is a brief flash.

    Comment by Suzanne — February 15, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

  8. @Suzanne, stop trying and you’ll know.
    @Connie, you always meet me smile for smile.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — February 15, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

  9. Have you ever started to write something that felt like a profound thought until you saw the words in print? I did that just now and then hit delete. It was not profound. Not at all. 🙂 Thank you for the reminder. They always come at just the right time. You’re magical like that.

    Comment by Mani — February 15, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

  10. @Mani, the dharma (the truth) is magical. It works by itself, and when we see it, we can trust our lives. If not completely, then a little more.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — February 15, 2011 @ 8:58 pm

  11. Thank you. That was beautiful!

    Comment by CD — February 15, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

  12. Reading this before the sunrise, thinking how much beauty there is in the before. It’s why I get up early, why I keep returning to your site — to be reminded. Your words set a course for the day. Thank you. xx0x

    Comment by Katrina Kenison — February 16, 2011 @ 3:16 am

  13. So beautiful and meaningful. Thank you for sharing this.

    Comment by Tif — February 16, 2011 @ 5:51 am

  14. So wonderful and so useful (according to me, lapsed psychiatrist) in the field of mental health. Thank you…


    Comment by Bobbi — February 16, 2011 @ 7:14 am

  15. ah. the peace in the simplicity approach… i’m so happy when i’m down to my core, i keep forgetting…

    Comment by Kate — February 16, 2011 @ 7:27 am

  16. I am going to ponder this one…so much to explore here.

    Comment by Swirly — February 16, 2011 @ 8:03 am

  17. This reminds me of the song by Enigma “Return to Innocence”. I love to listen to it and think back to who I was when I was 3 years old quitely laying down with only dreams and no worries. I remember that time often as I live life over again with my 3 year old son. It is a very wonderful place to be.

    Comment by Heather — February 16, 2011 @ 8:35 am

  18. Tears in my eyes.
    My heart moved.
    Mind surprised by the sudden space.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Yuna, Netherlands — February 16, 2011 @ 10:45 am

  19. Do you know yourself before? Maybe for a couple of seconds at a time. Very rarely. Usually in the shower. Seriously.

    Comment by Neil — February 16, 2011 @ 11:29 am

  20. Showers count, Neil. Showers really count.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — February 16, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

  21. Thank you.

    Comment by grace — February 16, 2011 @ 8:43 pm

  22. maezen. thanks. i’ve stopped thinking a lot lately and that has helped.

    Comment by mb — February 17, 2011 @ 6:08 am

  23. oof. my heart.
    thank you for jump starting it.

    Comment by meredith winn — February 17, 2011 @ 8:34 am

  24. This was a brilliant lyric , I can see many thing and persons in this but mostly my children …can I copy this and use it?
    Would love to use this lyric to a series of photos..
    Take care and have a brilliant weekend.

    Comment by jacglenphoto — February 18, 2011 @ 9:05 am

  25. Resonates. I love this. We ARE so much more than we usually give ourselves credit for. Now we only have to remember.

    Thank you for reminding me.

    Comment by Juliana — February 20, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

  26. I was looking for an old post. I found it and then a new one as well.

    In practicing zazen I have found so liberating, so comforting, the release from the fixed self. The non-existence of the fixed self. And with it go the history, the stories, the damage, the neuroses I defined myself by.

    The falling away of body and mind: Buddha nature.

    Comment by Laura — August 3, 2017 @ 1:33 pm

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