Take a deep breath and slowly let it out — 2022 is here. All the unsettling news from 2021 seems not to have noticed the change and galloped right into the New Year.

Another surge of the pandemic. The same political strife. The aches and pains in our bodies and psyches can seem overwhelming. It’s time to unbuckle them.

Lately I have been writing poems to use in my meditation class and posting them on my podcast, Balanced Mind with Julie Potiker. I have written about six poems in the last two weeks, and want to share this one, called “Unbuckle,” with you. Here’s how it came about:

One day I was in bed and everything was hurting. I rolled over on my belly to soften and do a body scan. And I had this image of those buckles that are on steamer trunks that have the metal piece that goes down around in the latch. I had this image of unbuckling and releasing, unbuckling and releasing.

When I got into my torso, I thought: I wonder if anybody’s ever talked about unbuckling the heart? I’ve heard unchain the heart, but I’ve never heard unbuckle the heart. Then I thought, what if you could release everything that’s negative? What would you be making room for?

Here’s the poem:

Unbuckle by Julie Potiker

This morning as I lay in bed, I heard from my left hip flexor, it had a high-pitched tone, too tightly strung

Then my right ankle joined the song

Then my left toe

I rolled onto my belly and imagined unbuckling my hips

Unbuckling my ankles

Dragging my arms down to my sides I unbuckled my shoulders

Has anyone ever written about unbuckling the heart, I wondered?

Unbuckling the heart,

Letting the disappointment flow out of the chambers

The sadness and grief tucked into the mitral valve might need a little scraping to flush it out

The existential angst at all that is lost every day in our human family

That blows away in places like Kentucky and the Philippines this time

Next time some other village or town will lose to nature – our blue marble in danger making itself known again and again

After the heart is unbuckled, and drained into the river, there is room for the packages to arrive

Precious squares of moments intentionally wrapped and delivered to you, from the person that knows you best

Unwrap the smile you remember in a child’s eyes

Unwrap the light flashing on the water

Unwrap the wind blowing through the mountain trees

Unwrap your unique pearls of awe

Unwrap the truth that love resides here

Since I wrote this poem and started sharing it, a woman who is my age shared it with her mother, who is in charge of poetry at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in San Diego, where I have been involved for more than 20 years. They have asked me to present it for their Jewish Voices poetry series January 24, and it will also be broadcast on Zoom because of the pandemic.

Poetry in guided meditations is about going on a journey. As we start the journey into 2022, what can you leave behind to lighten your load?

Here’s another New Year’s meditation that I did for my group called “Clear A Path.” I hope it too can help you let go of what did not serve you, and create a vision board in your mind for joy, peace, love, calm, caring, compassion — whatever you want to experience in 2022.

Please share your thoughts. . .