Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Mindful driving?

My usual parking place is full,
what to do?
Last week I got fined
for parking in the wrong place,
can't afford that again.
A trawl through the streets begins
looking for a sign that doesn't say
'resident permits only' or
'maximum of 2 hours'.
There are none!

The search becomes more frantic,
not wanting to drive too far away
from my intended destination.
Already late for my first appointment
I don't have time to stop and
let them know.

Finding a private car park
I have the sense to search on my phone
and find a map showing the way
but the voice doesn't kick in
so I drive trying to read the map as well.

Success at last!
One on-street bay is free.
The car is badly parked and
barely within the white lines.
I walk to my destination
uncertain of the route
but finding the right roads,
and arrive, hot and sweaty, and out of breath.
This had to be the day I also needed
a laptop and projector!

The irony of the situation
is not lost on me
as I arrive to deliver a
Mindfulness-based stress reduction course!

© 30 Apr 14

Monday, 28 April 2014

Our final goodbye

offering you loving kindness
I realised
you were no longer
the ‘difficult’ person because
there was no emotional charge
in thinking of you.
The emotional lens through which
I was viewing our relationship
has fallen away
and I now accept
there is no relationship.

I don’t know what makes you happy,
or sad, or angry, or joyful.
I have no idea
how you spend your time
or what delights you.

Even the letting go 
of any idea of a relationship
no longer makes me feel sad.
The person I wanted doesn’t exist and
the person you are means
no more to me than any
stranger I pass on the street.
I wish you happiness, joy and wellbeing
in the same way I wish 
for all beings in the world.
The emotional ties that
once bound us together
are undone at last,
I am free to move on
thinking of you with 
no more regret or longing.

As I write
there is a part of me
wanting to cry,
to hold on.
Hold on to what?
To a distorted image of someone
who was once 
part of my life and
is no more.
Holding on would be to grasp
at empty air and
try to create something substantial
out of the wind. 

I have learned to let go
to accept.
This is our final goodbye.
© 26 Apr 14

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Taking a different road

the mysterious hour between
day and dark
full of secrets and
lurking shadows
things not seen clearly
inanimate objects mistaken for animate
shapes indistinct
taking on different meanings
and furtive meetings.

mist hangs heavy on the fields
covering rapeseed
with a gossamer fine quilt
providing nourishment and water
to the growing plants.
mist hangs heavy on the fields
shrouding this crop in
mystery and disguise
hiding its contents
from the eyes on the road.

the sun reluctant to yield
blazing forth
a final burst of light and colour
the moon nudging the sun
on its way
pulling a blanket of stars into place
blowing away secrecy and intrigue.

© 23 Apr 14

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

I want to write love poems like Rumi

I want to write love poems like Rumi
but my words are stumbling and ineffectual.
I want them to soar
and trip off the tongue
like oozing honey,
but they stutter and fall short
or are too verbose.
I want them to fly like paper aeroplanes,
expressing perfectly
the feeling of this moment.
I want to perfect a succinct phrase
that exactly describes this heartfelt longing.
I want to turn phrases that my children’s children
will repeat and learn by heart and
calligraph for their loved ones
on handmade cards.
I want to find a new way to say
I love you,
a way that makes the heart leap in startling recognition and
brings forth tears of joy and deep appreciation.
I want to craft words like Shakespeare
but I fear all the best phrases are taken.

I shall sit quietly to let
the yearning and searching settle
and listen intently to what heartfulness has to say.
The words are all there,
singing in the air,
how they will fall onto the page
is not yet certain.
© 14 Apr 14

Monday, 14 April 2014

No mud, no lotus

Dear friend
you stirred up the mud
from which I am convinced
beautiful lotuses will bloom
in the future
but for now
all I see is mud
think, gloopy, sticky mud
in which I do not want to wallow.

Just now
all I see is mud,
not even a glimmer
of a fresh green shoot
or a budding bud.

Dear friend
you stirred up the mud
that is my present
which I must learn,
to enjoy, to be with.

Let’s daub ourselves
let’s slip and slide
like carefree children
let’s roll and wallow
and try not to swallow!
Let’s embrace the mud
with no thought
of seeking the
fresh green shoot
or the budding bud.

The lotuses
which I am convinced
will bloom
must wait
for another time.
right now,
is the time of mud.

© 8 Apr 14

Friday, 4 April 2014

Mindfulness and Poetry Workshop

My lovely friend Pete Armstrong and I are holding a day workshop on Mindfulness and Poetry on
Saturday 24th May 2014 as a precursor to a 3-night retreat coming up in July. Here are the details!

"We can write a poem about anything! The practice of mindful awareness enables our mind to be clearer. This can be a starting point for a poem which is then a means of affirming, through words, the insights of the moment. In the workshop we'll provide the tools and exercises to practise and take away with you. And we'll encourage you to write about the things which give joy, and maybe even the things which are troublesome ..."

Time: arrive 9.45am for a 10am start. Finish by 4pm.
Venue: Quaker Meeting House, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster. LA1 1TX. (for directions)
Cost: we ask for donations to cover our costs (suggested rate £15-£20)
Booking: or 015242 62049.

Everyone is welcome, including those who have no experience of mindfulness or poetry.
Please bring your own lunch, or cafes are available nearby.

For details of the retreat (10th-13th July 2014) please go to

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Beware the sticky computer!

As part of my mindfulness practice I receive a daily email from Elisha Goldstein (author of The Now Effect) and two so far this week are all about using technology mindfully.
It also came up with my Sangha this week and I realised sometimes it's as if my computer is sticky and I get stuck to it and can't walk away. I do use it a lot for the PH.D., teaching MBSR courses and writing 2 blogs, but aside from the times when I need to use it I get so easily drawn in to random searching, playing games or just messing about on it instead of walking away and doing something different. This is something I'll be practising with this week.

Beware the sticky computer!
The beguiling, innocuous-seeming computer
with its fast-action means of
bringing up tempting page
after interesting page
with a casual, innocent
'have you seen this?'
'you must have a look here!'
'this is so funny,
so cute'
so damned sticky!
Hard to walk away from
when the task is completed.

Mindfulness is the solvent
that neutralises the stickiness
and releases me to walk away.
Mindfulness is the wise voice
that recommends, 'that is enough'.
Get up, move about
do something different!
It will all still be there
when you come back to it,
but the stickiness is diluted
and there is time for other interests.

© 3 Apr 2014