Love’s victory

Turn back, live again, he asked of me
Do not wander in this darkness anymore
One false step might give death victory

We are each connected to that tree
The sunlit top, the roots hid in earth’s floor
Come back, live again, he asked of me

While we live, we’ll live with dignity
Not scrabbling for the gold in blood and gore
One false step will give death victory

The kindness of the golden light was clear
And left an image in my mind’s deep core
Come back, live your life, he then soothed me

Do not wonder now why you are here
We’re here to live and living shall restore
What our suffering self has found so dear

I had never seen the Light before
Only Christ the Tyger with his roar
Come back, live through pain, he asked of me
One right step will give love victory

Love will need no trick

In my despair I felt that I was stuck
Paralysed by  grief and guilt I failed
By the end I had tried every trick

From prayer unthought to deeps of logic black
My  life, my engine ,juddered off the  rails
I hated God and of “his” Church was  sick

Starving  and alone I was in shock
The death of one I loved   had made me frail
By the end I had tried every trick


I felt  Love’s arms around me,  death was blocked
I knew   this goodness,  why else would I wail?
I   thought I hated God  but Love had struck

Warm and golden light  that  did me hold
Where are you now when Evil has grown bold?
Kind despair  that  made me long time sit
By the end I learned Love needs no trick

Oh, gentle Light

I ‘ll try to get it right just one more time
You did not converse with me in words
You were simply present with your Light

Nowhere did I feel your power and might
You were no eagle, but a little bird
I ‘ll try to get it right just one more time.

Who made our language with its subtle rhymes?
The ancient people  had their well trained Scribes
You were always there,oh gentle Light

You  gave me warmth, you  changed my too fixed sight
A comforter , a Spirit, how describe?
I ‘ll try to get it right a final time.

The agony inside me lost its bite
I wanted to go on, to be alive
You  do not always show your golden Light

We do not know  when we at last arrive
We do not reach this  meeting place by strife
I ‘ve tried to get it right this final time
I never saw such  Gold until that night

Choose not death

The crushing  grief when  someone chooses death
When life had shown much promise and much hope
Turns the  ones who loved to  find new paths

Some may sin, encouraged by cruel wrath
Against the  one who chose the wicked rope
The shock of grief  at such too early death

Others freeze  and cannot take a breath
Scarcely moving as their mind elopes
Making  then impossible   their path

The mountains  of  deep grief I could not pass
Until  a  warm gold light caressed  my heart
The  wounds  of grief , the sacrifice, the Mass

Do not dwell in darkness  and distress
Follow me he murmured  while we start
I will help you find a different path

The golden light  had brought for me a chart
The sea of life had ripples ,brilliant sparks
The suffering and the  grief from such a  death
Turned the  one who loved  onto this path.

 

 

 

 

 

Learn to relax again

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/dec/26/relax-life-changing-how-to-find-comfort-zone

The need for some simple source of relaxation can be seen in the initial surge in popularity of the adult colouring book, as well as last year’s 13.3% increase in sales of books providing spiritual guidance on how to live in a hectic world, and the mindfulness “mega trend” seen in Hehadspace, the meditation app that has been downloaded more than 15m times. Those of us who spent our money on these products were presumably searching for answers to some of the same questions – and many of us are still looking. The bottom has now dropped out of the colouring book market, with Forbes declaring it “dead” in May, and, in June last year, Headspace laid off 13 staff members.

According to a report by Ofcom this summer: “Most people in the UK are dependent on their digital devices and need a constant connection to the internet.” It found that 78% of us now own a smartphone – rising to 95% of 16- to 24-year-olds. We check these phones on average every 12 minutes of our waking lives, with 54% of us feeling that the devices interrupt our conversations with friends and family, and 43% of us feeling that we spend too much time online. We can’t relax with them, and we don’t know how to relax without them. Seven in 10 of us never turn them off.

The clinical psychologist Rachel Andrew says she sees the problem every day in her consulting room, and it is getting worse. “I’ve noticed a rise in my practice, certainly over the last three to five years, of people finding it increasingly difficult to switch off and relax. And it’s across the lifespan, from age 12 to 70,” she says. The same issues come up again and again: technology, phones, work emails and social media.

Kicking back in front of one screen or another does have its place, says Andrew – but it depends how you do it. “Sometimes people describe not being engaged in what they’re looking at – totally zoning out, not knowing what they’ve done for the last half-hour,” she says. “You can view this almost as dissociation, periods of time when your mind is so exhausted and overwhelmed it takes itself out of the situation. That’s unlikely to be nourishing in any way.” Maybe that is why, after I have spent an evening staring emptily at Twitter, or dropping off in front of the TV – less Netflix and chill, more Netflix and nap – I wake up feeling as if I have eaten a load of junk food. I have confused feeling brain-dead with feeling relaxed.

The psychoanalyst David Morgan, of the Institute of Psychoanalysis, believes that for many of us this deadening retreat to our screens is both a reason for and a consequence of the fact that we no longer know how to relax and enjoy ourselves. Our screens and what we use them for are all techniques of distraction, he says. “People have got so used to looking for distraction that they actually cannot stand an evening with themselves. It is a way of not seeing oneself, because to have insight into oneself requires mental space, and all these distraction techniques are used as a way of avoiding getting close to the self.”

Some of her patients, Andrew explains, simply never get around to thinking about how they want to spend their time. “People say they are so busy doing the ‘shoulds’,” she says – whether that is working, caring for family or being a part of demanding friendships – that by the time an evening or weekend comes around when they might do what they want, there is no energy or motivation left for anything but “flopping out”. She adds: “That’s a difficulty – because how is life enjoyable or satisfying in the long term if you’re only doing what you should do the whole time?”

For others, the notion of being in touch with their own needs and desires is totally alien, says Andrew. People who grew up in a family environment that centred around the needs of a sibling or a parent might have spent their whole lives never being asked about what they wanted to do. “It might genuinely be something they’ve never considered before,” she says. For those people, identifying something they might find enjoyably relaxing, and pursuing it, can be a huge, life-changing shift. “It can be quite dramatic.”

Another problem is that it can be tricky to untangle our own wishes from those of the people around us, says Nina Grunfeld, the founder of Life Clubs, an organisation that aims to help people live more fulfilling lives. It can take a lot of effort to discover where your enjoyment ends and your partner’s begins. “When my husband and I were young,” she says, “we went to Rome on holiday, and he wanted to go to every church, every restaurant, every everything. And I got home completely shattered. It was only after coming to know myself, after thinking about my life without him and what I like as an individual, that I realised that for me to enjoy a holiday and to come back feeling relaxed and refreshed, I need to read and be still. Now we’ll go on holiday and he goes off to do the churches by himself, but I’m very happy just lying by the beach, pool or fire and reading. It’s a real treat. I might join him for the restaurants, though.”

Speaking to Grunfeld and Andrew, and hearing their advice (see ) on how to identify different occupations that might relax and reinvigorate me, I begin to feel optimistic. I think back to how I liked to pass the time when I was young; the quiet times sitting reading a book, the rowdier times baking with friends. I resolve to make more time to do the adult versions of these things over the next year – then realise I am making excuses. If I could redirect the evenings I am already wasting on screens, that would be a good start.

The fact is, I do already do all those ideal things occasionally, but sometimes it feels as if being in the world is too much, and I need to disappear from it by losing myself in a screen. It is as if I crave that brain-dead feeling, even though I know it isn’t good for me. Having psychoanalytic psychotherapy is helping me to think about the reasons why I might do this – and for Morgan, therapy can be an important pathway out of being stuck in a screen-gazing rut, because it is somewhere a person is encouraged to use his or her mind. “The therapeutic space is the opposite of distraction – it’s concentration,” he says. “When people come into my consulting room, they often tell me it’s the first time they have ever felt they have had a space where they can’t run away from things.”

I have found that not running away from things, but confronting them and reflecting on them, can feel as exhausting as the running itself. It is difficult, disturbing work. But in a room with someone who can listen and help me to make sense of things, it can also be a relief. Morgan tells me: “We have all these various ways of distracting ourselves from the most important fact of life – that we live, and then we die. Having a mind to help you think about things, having a person who can think deeply about things with you, is a way to manage this very frightening fact of life.”

The flip side of that frightening fact is, of course, the realisation that since we don’t have much time on this planet, it is a shame to waste any of it voluntarily making ourselves brain-dead.

Top tips: rediscover the lost art of relaxation

• If you are spending time with family or friends over the festive period, Nina Grunfeld recommends assigning each person one hour in which they are in charge of the group’s schedule, when they can choose whichever activity they consider most relaxing. “One of my children might decide we all have to play a video game; another will decide we are all going for a walk; another will make us all bake cakes. That way you all get a bit of ‘me-time’, and you can experience someone else’s – and it’s very relaxing not having to make decisions for the whole day,” she says.

• Try to remember what you most enjoyed doing as a child, then identify the most important aspect of that activity and find the adult version. Grunfeld says: “It might be that you can’t remember, and you have to ask friends or family, or look at old photo albums. There are normally themes in all of our lives, and if we’re missing those themes as an adult, it’s almost as if we’re not a whole person.” If you loved playing in the sandpit, you might want to try pottery, or if you liked building things, you might want to make bread.

• Experiment with looking at the world in a new way. “Allow yourself to explore. Just walk around wherever you are and see what you can find that is completely new. Try to get lost – whenever you get to a turning, ask yourself do you want to go left or right, and see where you end up,” says Grunfeld.

• If you have no idea how to start relaxing, look at the science, says Rachel Andrew. “There is a growing body of research to suggest being out in nature is uplifting and nourishing.”

Q

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As sudden as the ending of a song


Was this the apple then, your mother’s breast
Which father thought was his to oft caress?
And when, in deprived rage, you bit to test,
he vowed to hurt you ever you harass.


So then you learned that you could hate as well,
The punishment struck hard in your small heart.
Your memory was unworded, could not tell;
Though pain and anguish made your soft skin smart


.As unknown as the journey to your birth
As shocking as the grief of unmeant wrong.
As frightening as the gauging of your worth
As sudden as the ending of a song.


Impossible to foretell or to prepare,
The ambivalence of our hearts starts here.

Oh, gentle Light

I ‘ll try to get it right just one more time
You did not converse with me in words
You were simply present with your Light

Nowhere did I feel your power and might
You were no eagle, but a little bird
I ‘ll try to get it right just one more time.

Who made our language with its subtle rhymes?
The ancient people  had their well trained Scribes
You were always there,oh gentle Light

You  gave me warmth, you  changed my too fixed sight
A comforter , a Spirit, how describe?
I ‘ll try to get it right a final time.

The agony inside me lost its bite
I wanted to go on, to be alive
You  do not always show your golden Light

We do not know  when we at last arrive
We do not reach this  meeting place by strife
I ‘ve tried to get it right this final time
I never saw such  Gold until that night

Are you worried about your anxiety?

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/26/smarter-living/the-difference-between-worry-stress-and-anxiety.html

Mike Flemming copyright 20-22
  • Write your worries down. Research has shown that just eight to 10 minutes of writing can help calm obsessive thoughts.

Remember: Worry is helpful only if it leads to change, not if it turns into obsessive thoughts.

Jesus must be free

Jesus does not live within the church

Like the wild birds of the sky he’s free

Jesus is in no parrot with a perch

Nor does he require a bended knee

In the ancient buildings there’s some air

Quiet years of prayer have left a mark.

Yet its sad destructions caused despair.

The abbot of old Glastonbury stark

The restless ashes spread as in the air

The winds of love are heartless yet demure

Would it be a way to make things fair?

If there is a God he must be there.

Not with those who scandal eyes the poor

Soon they’ll have no shoes nor much to wear

Whores do not pay tax, oh what allure.

Christ and Mary Magdalene come by

How economics causes men to lie

The power of mathematics made the bomb

Soon the the earth shall burn to kingdom come.

On a motorbike with God

There were three of us on this motorbike,
Father Dan with me,
And he had Jesus in his bag.
That makes the total three.

Transubstantiation, oh my Lord
I looked at his black bag.
Is Jesus inside there, I thought?
Should it have a tag?

It’s a secret never told
Father Dan gave it me to hold.
So I had Jesus in my lap,
No wonder now I feel a gap.

We zoomed off up an unmade road
As fast as Dan could go.
I felt bewildered and bemused,
I loved my Daddy so.

Father Dan took back his bag,
And went inside our house.
I got my marbles out to roll,
I feared I’d see a mouse.

So Three of had taken a ride
And after that, my Dad had died.
Father Dan said Mass today
Still with Jesus, so I cried.

The art and the heart

the art of poetry isn’t hard to master
make the syntax good and  entertaining
the  gruesome heart of poetry   brings disaster

 

a meter errant makes  the lines come faster
an oxford  thesaurus   gets the listeners   waning
the art of poetry  isn’t hard to master.

 

a genius woke and saw a verse rush past her
it only needed polishing and planing
the  gruesome heart of poetry brings  disaster

 

she left the oven on,it gassed her
ever since her folk  groan, paining
the art of poetry  isn’t hard to master.

 

she saw her selves as coloured shapes in plaster
and round her mind, were ghosts all craning
the  gruesome heart of poetry brings disaster

there’s not a lot of hope if we’re complaining
for criticism  from hidden ghosts is draining
the art of poetry isn’t hard to master
the  gruesome  heart of poetry brings disaster