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The Anatomy of Peace (formerly titled "How to Live With My Body")

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

my brain and heart divorced

a decade ago

over who was to blame about how big of a mess I have become

eventually, they couldn't be in the same room with each other

now my head and heart share custody of me

I stay with my brain during the week

and my heart gets me on weekends

they never speak to one another

- instead, they give me the same note to pass to each other every week

and their notes they send to one another always says the same thing:

"This is all your fault"

on Sundays my heart complains about how my head has let me down in the past

and on Wednesdays my head lists all of the times my heart has screwed things up for me in the future

they blame each other for the state of my life

there's been a lot of yelling - and crying


lately, I've been spending a lot of time with my gut

who serves as my unofficial therapist

most nights, I sneak out of the window in my ribcage

and slide down my spine and collapse on my gut's plush leather chair that's always open for me

~ and I just sit sit sit sit until the sun comes up

last evening, my gut asked me if I was having a hard time being caught between my heart and my head

I nodded

I said I didn't know if I could live with either of them anymore

"my heart is always sad about something that happened yesterday while my head is always worried about something that may happen tomorrow," I lamented

my gut squeezed my hand

"I just can't live with my mistakes of the past or my anxiety about the future," I sighed

my gut smiled and said:

"in that case, you should go stay with your lungs for a while,"

I was confused - the look on my face gave it away

"if you are exhausted about your heart's obsession with the fixed past and your mind's focus on the uncertain future

your lungs are the perfect place for you

there is no yesterday in your lungs there is no tomorrow there either

there is only now there is only inhale there is only exhale there is only this moment

there is only breath

and in that breath you can rest while your heart and head work their relationship out."

this morning, while my brain was busy reading tea leaves

and while my heart was staring at old photographs

I packed a little bag and walked to the door of my lungs

before I could even knock she opened the door with a smile and as a gust of air embraced me she said

"what took you so long?"

~ john roedel (

This poem can be purchased as wall art right here.

You can support John's writing by buying him a cup of tea right here.

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VioAnne Otieno
VioAnne Otieno
Apr 21, 2022

It’s a beautiful poem - bumped into it on Monday 18th April and have read it and listened to the YouTube narration everyday, sometimes twice! Rushing to order «Upon Departure»


Sharlene Hansen
Sharlene Hansen
Feb 11, 2022

I love this so much! So wonderfully expressed. Is this in one of you published books? I would love to find it in a collection to share with a loved one. <3.


Mohd Nadzrin Wahab
Mohd Nadzrin Wahab
Feb 02, 2022

Dear John, I fell in love with this poem and I have sent you an email asking for permission to include it in my stress management course and ebook. I am looking forward to some happy news. Thank you sir.


Paul Kennedy
Paul Kennedy
Feb 01, 2022

Words naturally cannot encapsulate the unspeakable, unknowable essence of living the divine experience of being in this human reality, John you have come closest to doing just that. I salute you and laugh loudly with it's simple, humble humanness and will pass this on and will recite and play with it~with abandon.

Thank you brother. 👍


Staci Dabson
Staci Dabson
Dec 03, 2021

John. My name is Staci of SN Dabson Art. I am currently working on a new presentation of work featuring anatomy healing through nature. I have been looking for a piece of writing to go alongside the presentation. I was wondering what the cost would be to use this piece in a showing along with my work? If you would be willing to let me share this alongside my work please email me what your fee would be- and I would be interested in discussing it further. My email is

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