Monday, 23 April 2018

Spring

Spring creeps in through the back door
while we are distracted by
the bluster of wind and rain
and a deep veil of fog over the valley.

Spring gently asserts herself and
of a sudden
daffodils adorn the roadsides and gardens.
Spring has whispered her magic
awakening the trees and
bringing swelling buds to life
and the sun smiles through the mist.

© 14 Apr 18

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Welcome, myself!

What is my narrative?
What is the story I’m telling
myself, about myself, today?
Is it the same as yesterday
before and before?
Will it be the same
tomorrow and tomorrow?

Today is a fresh day
a new day
a day to be alive and
to look with fresh eyes, kind eyes
at myself.

Today is a good day
to lean in to the parts
of myself
I’m trying so hard
to avoid or ignore.

Today is the day to be
my authentic self
my glorious, imperfect self.
Today is the day to let
the light of goodness and truth
shine though the cracks
shine inward and outward.

Today is the day to
let the masks fall away
to let the imposter being
crack open and reveal
my authentic self.

Welcome, myself!

© 12 Apr 18

Monday, 9 April 2018

#plasticfree

I wanted to write a post about going #plasticfree which is below, but actually what I also want to say is that my inspiration for this comes from the 5 Mindfulness Trainings from Thich Nhat Hanh, and a view that in looking after ourselves we need to look after the whole planet, animals, plants and minerals as well. There are many aspects to the 5MTs, and Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) recommends these are read regularly, preferably with a group of people to then discuss how they are relevant to our lives. For me, the most important aspect is this sentence
I can live happily in the present moment simply by remembering that I already have more than enough conditions to be happy.
[Note to self, I couldn't find a beautiful image using these words, so I might have to make my own!]

To me this speaks about being aware of my consumption, and recognising and being grateful for the many gifts I have in my life around me - good health, a lovely home, family and friends - the list could go on for a long time!
So, onto the plastic free bit!

I'm really glad to see #plasticfree is on the increase and appreciate how difficult it is at times. Sometimes when I ask for 'no straw' they bring one anyway! But I have also discovered lots of wonderful substitutes. So in my own endeavours to go #plastic free the changes I have made are (and just to say, I'm not being sponsored by anyone for doing this!)
Who Gives a Crap (great name!) toilet paper wrapped in paper delivered to your door. 
And if you want to go a step further Cheeky Wipes are reusable, washable cotton wipes which are so much nicer than toilet paper.
Bamboo toothbrushes. At the moment we use plastic ones where you only replace the head, but nonetheless these still go into landfill, so bamboo toothbrushes, which can be composted once finished with will be used once the plastic ones are done. 
Shampoo soap bars. I had to do quite a bit of market research to find ones that didn't make my eyes sting! Oh, and not only am I seeking to be plastic free, it also has to be organic as well, another challenge! So currently I'm using Dr Bronner's All One shampoo bars, which also have lovely messages on the paper wrappings about interconnectedness. I use these for hair, head and body, so my aim (once all the other shower bottles are used up) is to just have one bar of soap in the shower!
Toothpaste in a glass jar. I discovered Truthpaste, which is made in Brighton. It's quite a strong taste compared to my normal toothpaste but I'm persevering. They also do solid deodorant in a tin that you apply with your fingers, which is very nice.
Cling cloth, a lovely, pretty alternative to clingfilm. This is pieces of cotton covered in bees wax which clings to itself when you apply heat from your hands, so you can shape it around bowls and plates, or individual pieces of fruit or veg. It's washable and compostable at the end of its life cycle.
I always ask for no straw if I'm out having a drink or smoothie, and don't buy pre-wrapped sandwiches or takeaway hot drinks anyway.
I shop from a local Organic farm, The Organic Pantry, who deliver loose fruit and veg in boxes and  in a paper bag if anything.
This weekend I've also been looking further at buying nuts, rice etc. loose rather than in plastic bags, and there are possibilities if I travel to Leeds or York.
I'm going to check out Alligator Foods in York, who are organic.
Whilst these are good measures I'm also aware there is further to go.

It's really good to see lots of articles popping up now about making changes, particularly to avoid single use plastics. My question is who's doing something to change the way we recycle plastic, and make this easier to do? When you hear that much of our plastic is shipped overseas to be recycled that's complete nonsense! Or much that we think is being recycled isn't anyway because it's mixed materials. When you read that every plastic toothbrush made still exists I want to know what can be done to recycle them, locally, by our own council authorities? Is it worth hoarding the plastic we have in the house now until someone comes up with a brilliant idea of recycling it properly? Not too sure I want to hoard old toothbrushes! But at least it won't be going into the oceans.
I don't have the answers to these but I guess the more people keep asking these questions the more likely it is that councils will start to take notice.
Or some genius who's probably about 12 will come up with a splendid answer! I really hope so!

#plasticfree #mindfulconsumption #fivemindfulnesstrainings #zerowaste 

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

What is Sangha?

Sometimes, you gather
a group of people around you, and say
‘this is my Sangha.
With these people I can be myself
I can be free’.

But I say,
‘Sangha is not confined
to only a few
that excludes the rest.
Be your own Sangha
trust in your own wisdom.
Let your Sangha be filled by
leaves, flowers, trees.
Create your room to be a Sangha.
Let Sangha be the place
that reminds you
you are free’.

© 30 Mar 18

Monday, 2 April 2018

Clear mind and clean heart

We are mere shadows
that awareness chooses to inhabit.
Shadows dancing on
the backcloth of awareness.
Keep a clear mind and a clean heart.
No need for these to become dusty
covered with the soot of existence.

Awareness is.

All else is a shadow created by
a cloud passing over the sun
rising and falling
here and not here.

Shadows move
and the light remains.
Shadows only present because of
the light.
Keep a clear mind and a clean heart.

© 30 Mar 18

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Enquire what is permanent in the transient

Enquire what is permanent in the transient*

See with the eyes of the heart
the eyes that open when the
physical ones close.

Speak with the voice of the heart
the voice echoing from
stream to mountain
from tree to tree in the forest
from blade of grass to poppy
in the field.

Sing the song of permanence
that meeting point when
question and answer arise and
there is no distinction between them.

See with the eyes of love
love resonating from being to being
in a wordless symphony.
Love vibrating in the atmosphere
carrying all knowledge, all goodness
into the hearts that hear.

Know the permanent in the transient.

* Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
© 29 Mar 18

Thursday, 29 March 2018

These tiny moments

The tiny moments
when you smiled at me
when I saw the clouds
when I appreciated a kindness
become significant
grow in size and stature
to be of great importance and
make my day worthwhile.

The tiny things
when for a moment
I stopped worrying to enjoy the dog walk
I stopped criticising myself and allowed a little kindness in
I stopped focussing on the negative and noticed one positive
become significant
grow in size and stature
to be of great importance and
make my life worthwhile.

These tiny moments
are droplets of
mindfulness and self-love
filling my infinite vat with
compassion and awareness
allowing me to live my life
in joy, simplicity and freedom.

© 29 Mar 18

Monday, 26 March 2018

New poetry booklet - Lean into the wind

I'm very pleased to announce the (long-awaited) publication of a new poetry booklet!
Lean into the Wind
records all the poems (77) I have written on several Silence on Sunday retreats since 2010.

Here are the contents pages.


The booklet costs £8, plus £2 p&p.
You can order the booklet via this link or from me personally.
I'm so pleased to finally be able to offer another booklet.
In my writing poetry career (since 2009) I have written over 500 poems,
most of which are on this blog!
Please see this previous post for details of the other two booklets :) 

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Layers and layers

Layers and layers
beneath me
layers of treasures
dust, growth, decay
ancestors of previous times.
And I?
a fragment of cloth
adorning these treasures.
Layers and layers above me
sounds intermingling with silence.

My energy feeds these layers
as much as I am fed
by the air I breathe and
goodness oozing out of earth
filling air and space.

May my contributions be generous
seeds of nourishment
for those in need
droplets of refreshment
for those who thirst
filling all the layers.

© 17 Mar 18

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Love removes fear

Tightness in the body
is only fear
that can be released
washed away with love.

Fear comes from the effort
of seeking to maintain
a separate individual.
Love is the real in-between
removing all differences.
Love is the great connector
the meeting place for you and I.

Release the fear
by accepting love
as an expression of oneness.
Love washes away all fear
as gently and easily
as a pattern in the sand
is washed away by the sea.

Love completely removes fear.

© 10 Mar 18

Sunday, 4 March 2018

The bird of compassion

Something has appeared between us.
A box labelled ‘my frustration’
‘my resentment’.
A hardening of the heart.
The bird of compassion has flown
out of the window
sits on a branch out of reach.
It cannot be coaxed back inside.

The box is an unwanted gift
neither wishes to own.
I think you have generated it and
wish you to take it back.
You have no knowledge of creating it.
Passed back and forth as
emotional tennis
feeds it, allows it to grow.

I see the box for what it is
a shadow.
A small grey cloud seeking to
become a thunderstorm.
A breath of wind seeking to
become a tornado.
Lay it outside the door.
Let the softness of the rain
take way its heat.
Let the freshness of the wind
blow away all its conflicting parts
until nothing remains
except true friendship.
The bird of compassion has returned.

© 4 Mar 18

Sunday, 25 February 2018

This breath is not mine

This breath is not mine
I do not own this breath.
I can neither hold nor release it.
I am only a channel
through which it moves.

This body is not mine
I do not own this body.
It is only a collection
of elements
no different
to anything else perceivable.

These thoughts are not mine
I do not own these thoughts.
They are only a collection
of waves
movements I can
latch onto or let pass.

I am only a channel
through which these energies move.

© 18 Feb 18

Saturday, 24 February 2018

The way of freedom

Hold tightly
to what is ‘mine’
and it will be ripped from my fingers.
Let it sit lightly
on an open palm
and it can move freely
of its own accord.

With the effort of holding on
comes the pain of losing.
Let it rest lightly
effortlessly.
This is the way of freedom.

© 16 Feb 18

Friday, 23 February 2018

True essence of oneness

Mind and the senses
act as curtains
covers over true essence
of oneness.

This reality
untouched
untainted
unaffected
undefiled
by any covers
no matter
how apparently thick or heavy.

Oneness
is inextricably woven
into the fabric of the universe
can never be extracted from it.
Oneness
is the power of breath
life, speech, actions.
When these are destroyed
oneness remains
pure being
forever free.

© 15 Feb 18

Thursday, 22 February 2018

A single snowflake

I am a single snowflake
falling from a cloud
tumbling through sky and space
carried by the wind.
I let go of the cloud
the cloud lets go of me.
My friends and I
we dance together
through the greyness
falling towards earth.
Singing and dancing
we descend on our joyous journey.
Look out world!
Here I come
to imprint my uniqueness
on the earth.
Look out world
here I come!

© 14 Feb 18

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

No within or without

Listening to the universe
listening with the heart.
Feeling the waves of
crackling energy
washing over me.
Listening to the heart of the universe
hearing its gentle lullaby
and its vibrancy.
Listening in the heartspace
no within or without.

Seeing the universe
seeing with the third eye.
Knowing the waves of beauty
awe and wonder as me.
Seeing the face of the universe
as my smiling face.
Seeing from the heartspace
no within or without.

Listening to the space
from the space.
The dreams of the mind
too small
to contain this great being
this giant.
The workings of the mind
cannot create a beauty
as vast and gorgeous
as this now surrounding
enveloping the body.

Listening
feeling
seeing
knowing
from the heartspace
no within or without.

© 14 Feb 18

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

I sing into existence

I sing into existence
the dawning of each new day
throwing light onto
a hungry baby and exhausted mother
a thief running with newly acquired goods
shops opening, tills ringing
the murderer
the lover
the nurse holding the hand of one
passing from life
one sheltering from a rain storm
one hurrying with a battered umbrella
one catching the sun’s rays on a beach
one sweltering and parched in a paddy field.
A play of many parts
taking place
as the light passes over.

I sing into existence
unfolding
gathering and rising
expanding and contracting
meetings and missed opportunities
energy moving
undulating waves and moments of rest
attracting and repelling.
I sing into existence
light and shadows
receiving and donating
descending and dispersing.

I sing
I sing.

© 13 Feb 18

Monday, 19 February 2018

Heart knows

Darkness
light
path
Two paths become one path
side by side
hand in hand.

Mind
heart
knows
Mind creates prisons in the
limitations of its thinking.
Heart knows
I am boundless and free.

Stillness
movement
paradoxes
Mind wrestles with these
trying to straighten a crooked path.
Keeping busy, distracted
not seeing truly.

Heart allows, accepts.
Darkness and light born together
stillness and movement present simultaneously.
Heart knows
I am boundless and free.

© 13 Feb 18

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Lean into the wind

Lean into the wind
let it carry and support me.
Lean into space
let the mind go free.

Be a leaf blown on the wind
cradled and caressed
carried where it will
let the mind go free.

Mighty force of life
take me in your arms
gentle breath of life
soothe my turbulent thoughts.

Mighty force of life
buffeting and breaking
gentle breath of life
lead me sweetly home.

© 15 Feb 18

Monday, 5 February 2018

Standing like a mountain

Standing like a mountain
finding balance, seemingly not easy.
Can I rely on myself?
A breathing, living body
not static, not rigid.
standing still, yet not entirely still
minor adjustments, tiny movements
to keep balanced.
Does the mountain breathe?

Seeking for a sense of inner poise.
Reach down, reach up.
Touching earth, touching sky
filling the space between.
Experience solid and spacious
within one body.
Grounded and free.
Let the air support my weight.
Heels pressing into the earth
giving support.
Heart reaching skyward
I am free.

© 4 Feb 18

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Feel it

There is a jewel hiding
at the centre of each black hole.
Sometimes
the darkness is too dense
to reveal it.
So we must feel it
find a new way of connecting with it.

Flowers of spring are not absent in winter
only waiting for their time to shine.
Sunlight has not yet touched
the soul of the seed
allowing it to crack open.

Knowledge of each situation is present
as a seed.
Our inability to see it
marks our own ignorance and
not a lack of beauty.

Dense earth nurtures the seed
waiting for a touch of sunlight
and its time to shine.

There is a beautiful flower of opportunity hiding
in every circumstance and situation.
Sometimes
we are too engrossed in sadness or fear
to notice it.
So we must feel it
find a new way of connecting with it.

© 28 Jan 18

Monday, 29 January 2018

Sliding teardrops

Lying on my back
meditating in a fog of grief
I am startled to wakefulness
by teardrops 
running into my ears.

Brought to my senses
by sliding teardrops.
Joy overcomes me
with simplicity and ease.
Grateful for 
the laughing tricks of life.


© 25 Jan 18

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Lullabying

Exquisite tenderness and love
in gentle voices lullabying
a cradle song.
Truth emanating from words
uniting historical and ultimate dimensions.
There is no here and there
no from and to
no moving, no becoming.
There is only love
pure, innocent, tender
fresh as a child
lullabying a cradle song.
Sweet as flower scents
adorning the bedroom.
Precious as this moment
of no moving, no becoming.

© 28 Jan 18

Time to be awake

The energy of youth
passionate and full
now my energy is softer, realistic
accepting and patient.
I acknowledge change
takes time
yet it does happen.
Things come to pass.
Sometimes events are upon us
before we’re aware.
Now more than ever
is the time to be awake.
Let passion and fullness
dance with acceptance and patience.
Now more than ever
is the time to be awake.

© 17 Jan 18

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Who am I?

Admitting imperfections
approaching vulnerabilities
being honest with myself
recognising shades
a collection of traits
qualities in flux
changing and moving
come and go.
Who am I in all this?
Not the changing and moving
neither good nor bad
dirty or innocent.

Never a moment to pinpoint
to freeze motion and say
‘this is me’.
I am a collection of
shifting traits and qualities
advancing and receding.
Some I welcome, and others
would rather not admit
pretend it’s all ok and
hope the cracks don’t show.
Who am I in all this?
Unchanging, unmoving
neither good nor bad
dirty or innocent.
Unchanging, unmoving.

© 17 Jan 18

Friday, 26 January 2018

Cycle of life

I wrote and decorated this poem on Wednesday evening as part of a mindfulness and creativity workshop I was running. It is dedicated to a dear friend who's husband is close to the end of life.


This cycle of life
essence of nature
Why do we resist it?
Why are we fearful?
Celebrate instead
the energy created
from this individual.

Celebrate each drop
each pulse of energy
drifting out in the universe
as floating embers
from a burning flame
touching hearts and minds
wherever they land.

How far do these pulses travel?
How wide does their influence reach?
This energy of love and peace
of vitality and curiosity
carried on the wind
as floating embers
from a giant burning flame.

© 24 Jan 18



Sunday, 14 January 2018

A night-time journey

Cocooned in a denim blue patchwork
warm, snug, safe.
Wide-awake in the midnight hour
a thought bubble floats by
“cannot sleep”.
Grasp it and hold on
or let the breeze carry it onward to
another night-time mind?

Lie in a boat
sail free from the harbour.
Let the wind and waves
describe the journey
guided only by
the pull of the moon.

What is this time for
if not for sleeping?
Re-membering
awakening to a being free
of wants and desires.
Accepting what is
may be different from what I want.

Let the boat course its own journey
always moving closer to home.

What will be remembered
in the morning?

© 12 Jan 18

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Walk With Me film

I'm really looking forward to seeing the film Walk With Me, which is already on in several cinemas in the UK, having shown worldwide as well. It's a film about Thich Nhat Hanh and Plum Village and has been several years in the making. 
A rare insight into the world of mindfulness and Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh.
I'll be at showings in York on Tuesday 23rd (6.40pm) and Sunday 28th (10.40am) 
if you want to join me. 
For more about the film watch the trailer here 
and for dates in your local UK cinema have a look at this website
Oh, and did I mention, it's narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch? Yet another reason to see the film!

#thichnhathanh #plumvillage #becalmbehappy

Friday, 5 January 2018

Don't need a bird-cage

Grateful to know
oneness
the unbound.
Grateful to see
thoughts
like flitting birds
without their usual
stamp of authority and
reality.
Grateful to know
don’t need a bird-cage
to trap and keep them
make them real.
Grateful to see
thoughts milling in
universal consciousness
as dust motes in sunlight
dancing in the unbound.
Grateful to know
don’t need a bird-cage.

© 5 Jan 18

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Wildness

The wildness inside me responds
to the wildness outside
calling, drawing
tempting me to come and play.
I spend too long indoors and
the wildness is quiescent
resting
yet still it needs to roar
needs to be buffeted by the wind
battered by the rain
like a lone wolf answering
the call of its pack.

And so I slip-slide through mud
wind trying to bowl me over
rain to make me submit.
The wildness inside refuses and
on I go
to the top of the hill and catch
the beginning of a rainbow.
On I go
until the wildness is content.
Allowing the wildness within
to be itself, be free.

© 3 Jan 18