Who are the people who return me to myself and with whom the world opens up

I ponder – and slowly start to write
A list of names emerges followed by their qualities…

Those who aren’t afraid to take off the mask
Those who know how to listen and to shareAthena-Wall-Mirror-P14123616
Those who aren’t afraid to love and let you know they love
Those who laugh a lot and can take things lightly
Those who know and speak of a bigger picture
Those with whom I can sit in silence and weep
Those not afraid to say ‘I don’t know’
Those for whom speech is not the only form of communication
Those who can leave space –
Those who see me
I pause…

And raising my head
See in the mirror that hangs before me


Hold Things Lightly

“Remember to hold things lightly”

Recalling this advice I breathe deeply
And step into the chaos…                                                                                       photo

But once inside it transforms into a whole new world

Repeating my newly found mantra
Far from the dark discordant place I have always believed it to be
Chaos reveals a pleasant landscape rich in new possibilities

These words are magical they have the power to transform!
I must guard them carefully
Or maybe just remember to ‘hold them lightly’…

Life Expressing

Today I had an encounter with Life
Expressing as a weaver from Amsterdam via Tuscany
A vessel full of joy and love and laughter
Fearless in her story telling
An open honest presence

photoWe had gifts for each other
Though no need for distracting ribbons and wrappings

For me the awareness that out of silence
Can come the voice of the True Self

For her the invitation
To stay with the emptiness

A conversation between soul friends
Weaving the threads of relationship
Into ourselves and each other

As the True Self makes itself known
I find myself weaving more and more of these ‘anam cara’
Into the fabric of my life…

The Karmic Construction of a Carer

It seems I have been caring for my mother
All  –  my  –  life
Conceived and born for this express purpose

A past-life karmic pact
Lived out unconsciously until this moment
Her talisman in a strange and hostile land
Cold, grey, loveless, post-war Britain

I was her comfort blanket
Bringing warmth and distraction
– A raison d’être –

When memories of tropical homeland
Her privileged comfortable life
Her first-born left behind
Threatened to overwhelm with dark despair

As a young child…
Dressed and groomed for the Caribbean
Hair in tight bunches
Tied with broad, bright satin ribbons

Skin polished with olive oil
Clothes bright and stylish
Arriving in parcels smelling of moth balls
Sunshine and exotic places

In this way I also served my mother
Preserving echoes of a familiar and safe life…

And as I grew…
She relived aspects of her abandoned life
Her mothering like small foot prints
Laid down inside of those
Now faded but perfectly preserved

Groomed for caring…

Kept close by –  “where is Joan?”
A familiar oft heard refrain
No friends – mother didn’t know the provenance
Of those I begged to be allowed to play with

Errands run to shops with notes
Requesting intimate items
Disguised in brown paper bags
Or wrapped in newspaper

And later in adolescence…
First one in from school
Paraffin heaters to fill and light in winter
Tables to be laid for tea
Rooms needing tidying

Post ‘A’ levels…
A brief escape
A year in Switzerland as au pair
An opportunity to hone my caring skills
But in reality to expose their flaws and holes

How I have struggled with my karmic inheritance!

Like a rock in turbulent waters
I have been shaped by the ebb and flow
Of caring

Officially recognised by the state for this role
Still caring for my mother
Paying my karmic dues
Wondering what comes next
Once the debt has been paid in full with love…

Summer Tempo

The tempo of the summer changes
With the arrival and departure
Of each new friend and family member
Bringing with them new rhythms to be accommodated                        IMG_1406

And for us their hosts
There are beds to be made
Laundry to be done
Markets and shops to be foraged
For meals on the terrace for 8, 10 often 12

IMG_1411Friday is market day
Everyone needs to be in the car by 11 o’clock
From the oldest
Who really doesn’t know where she is
To the youngest
Who’d rather stay and play games on the IPad

There are music nights
Dancing and eating under the stars in village squaresIMG_1389
Barbecues with friends
The tennis meal to cook and serve
And this year
A 210th birthday party to organise…

As I lie on an Atlantic beach                                                           IMG_1393
Coming slowly back to my own tempo
I see the rhythm of the summer in the waves
That start as calm drifting water
Build to tumultuous foam-crested waves
And peter out gently on the warm sand at my feet…

Caught in this tempo
I am carried along
Often feeling out of control                                                                                     IMG_1341
Unsure of ever finding my footing again
But safely held in the rhythm of summer
And I have slowly learned to let go
Of both fear and control
And discovered the joy of the summer tempo…

A Summer Dance in the Dordogne

Last night I took myself dancing
I jumped and swayed and whooped with joy
Under a starry indigo sky
Eyes, ears, lips, teeth all enjoyed the rhythms
The freedom of the dance was intoxicating

I looked around and saw that the same Selfaug 09 133
Had been at work in others
Fuelling us with happiness
And the desire to move without mental purpose

The ground was stony and uneven
And so our feet stumbled from time to time
Much as in daily life
But this did not seem to matter

We were captured by the rhythm
Connected by some primordial thread
That wound its way around that stony dance floor
At once binding us to the music and each other

And freeing us from our stories…

‘I’ and ‘We’


How to happily co-exist
Certainly there cannot be one without the other
Both must be embraced

The key is always to see100_2158 - Copy
The One within the other
To comprehend the multiplicity of the One

Accepting Its many faces as our own
And growing through our willingness
To allow expression to those we would reject

Knowing them to be our disowned selves…

The Book of Mum


Mum has arrived bringing with her, her unique story
She opens the pages and starts reading…

There are within the pages echoes of something familiar
Like a well known image on a puzzle, wrongly assembled

It appears that sometimes she skips a page or two
So that you lose the thread of the story that she is following perfectly
Waiting with patience and superior amusement
For us to catch up…

Suddenly she raises her head from the pages of her book
To ask; “Where am I? I really need to go home!
I’ve told no one I was going! They’ll wonder where I am!
I have nothing with me! Why did no one tell me I was coming?


Patiently and with some humour we each open our books
And begin to read to her – our stories…
But these appear too fanciful to her
And she prefers to return to her own story

In this way the five of us enjoy the holiday
Sometimes reading aloud from our books
Sometimes silently turning the pages

Sometimes simultaneously creating a cacophony
Of intersecting, overlapping stories, that no one hears or understands
Perhaps this is how our individual stories sound to mum…

Anam Cara


Today I have a need to linger long in bed,  to read                             photo
To write, to get up close and personal with myself

To be my anam cara, my ‘soul friend’
And share the longings and secrets
Nestling gently in this sacred place

To embrace with love the totality of the Self
Affectionately, compassionately, unconditionally

Today I have a need and my anam cara says “yes!
Do what feeds you, when you are well fed
Then you will nourish others…”

The Mender of Broken Things

I am not the mender of broken things, I no longer do that kind of work
You will see I have removed the sign that used to swing gently in the breeze

In its place I have hung a basket of wild flowers                                               shattered-glass
Inviting nature to my door

By all means come by for a chat, I still enjoy good conversation
But I am not the mender of broken things

Whatever you bring with you is yours – here to teach you
And because you bring it to my door – to teach me also

And as I learn my lesson, I can look, I can smile, I can listen
But when you leave, you take it with you

I am not the mender of broken things, I’m not in that business anymore
Now I know that nothing is really broken, just made in a manner of our choosing…