Beyond psychotherapy, counselling, supervision and training in the narrow sense..... sparks which may bring light, heat, new perspectives and transformation.
An Imagined Letter from Covid-19 to Humans
Stop. Just stop.
It is no longer a request. It is a mandate.
We will help you.
We will bring the supersonic, high speed merry-go-round to a halt
We will stop
the frenetic, furied rush of illusions and “obligations” that keep you from hearing our
single and shared beating heart,
the way we breathe together, in unison.
Our obligation is to each other,
As it has always been, even if, even though, you have forgotten.
We will interrupt this broadcast, the endless cacophonous broadcast of divisions and distractions,
to bring you this long-breaking news:
We are not well.
None of us; all of us are suffering.
Last year, the firestorms that scorched the lungs of the earth
did not give you pause.
Nor the typhoons in Africa, China, Japan.
Nor the fevered climates in Japan and India.
You have not been listening.
It is hard to listen when you are so busy all the time, hustling to uphold the comforts and conveniences that scaffold your lives.
But the foundation is giving way,
buckling under the weight of your needs and desires.
We will help you.
We will bring the firestorms to your body
We will bring the fever to your body
We will bring the burning, searing, and flooding to your lungs
that you might hear:
We are not well.
Despite what you might think or feel, we are not the enemy.
We are Messenger. We are Ally. We are a balancing force.
We are asking you:
To stop, to be still, to listen;
To move beyond your individual concerns and consider the concerns of all;
To be with your ignorance, to find your humility, to relinquish your thinking minds and travel deep into the mind of the heart;
To look up into the sky, streaked with fewer planes, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, smoky, smoggy, rainy? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy?
To look at a tree, and see it, to notice its condition: how does its health contribute to the health of the sky, to the air you need to be healthy?
To visit a river, and see it, to notice its condition: clear, clean, murky, polluted? How much do you need it to be healthy so that you may also be healthy? How does its health contribute to the health of the tree, who contributes to the health of the sky, so that you may also be healthy?
Many are afraid now.
Do not demonize your fear, and also, do not let it rule you. Instead, let it speak to you—in your stillness,
listen for its wisdom.
What might it be telling you about what is at work, at issue, at risk, beyond the threats of personal inconvenience and illness?
As the health of a tree, a river, the sky tells you about quality of your own health, what might the quality of your health tell you about the health of the rivers, the trees, the sky, and all of us who share this planet with you?
Notice if you are resisting.
Notice what you are resisting.
Stop. Just stop.
Ask us what we might teach you about illness and healing, about what might be required so that all may be well.
We will help you, if you listen.
A quote I have been holding in mind whilst reshaping my professional life over the last few years.
'Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.'
In the CPD group I recently facilitated, we explored working therapeutically with nature and the outdoors, exploring what it means to move away from differentiating inner and outer, what it means to approach nature as 'Thou' and not something different and less valuable/important than human animals....
'The inner...what is it?'
‘The inner… what is it?
if not the intensified sky,
hurled through with birds and deep
with the winds of homecoming.’
Because this supports me, in case it supports you
Busy with Many Jobs
Busy with very urgent jobs
one also has
I kept neglecting this duty
or performed it
as from tomorrow
things will be different
I'll start dying meticulously
without wasting time
Tadeusz Rozewicz, translated by Adam Czerniawski
Some words I read in the workshop 'Playing: possibility, transformation and the unexpected' which I facilitated in Edinburgh Gestalt Institute in August 2017.
'They caught all the wild children...'
'They caught all the wild children,
and put them in zoos,
They made them do sums
and wear sensible shoes.
They put them to bed
at the wrong time of day,
And made them sit still
when they wanted to play.
They scrubbed them with soap
and they made them eat peas.
They made them behave and
say pardon and please.
They took all their wisdom
and wildness away.
That's why there are none
in the forests today.'
From 'Wild Child', J. Willis and L. Freytag
Needing one, I invented her -
The great-great-aunt dark as hickory
Called Shining-Leaf or Drifting-Cloud
Dear aunt I'd call into the leaves,
and she'd rise up, like an old log in a pool.
and whisper in a language only the two of us knew
the word that meant follow,
and we'd travel
cheerful as birds
out of the dusty town and into the trees
where she would change us both into something
two foxed with black feet,
two snakes green as ribbons,
two shimmering fish - and all day we'd travel.
At day's end she'd leave me back at my own door
with the rest of my family,
who were kind, but solid as wood
and rarely wandered. While she,
old twist of feathers and birch bark,
would walk in circles wide as rain and then
scattering the rags of twilight
on fluttering moth wings;
or she'd slouch from the barn like an gray opossum;
or she's hang in the milky moonlight
burning like a medallion,
this bone dream, this friend I had to have,
this old woman made out of leaves.
A poem sent to me, which I love
It didn't behave
like anything you had
ever imagined. The wind
tore at the trees, the rain
fell for days slant and hard.
The back of the hand
to everything. I watched
the trees bow and their leaves fall
and crawl back into the earth.
As though, that was that.
This was one hurricane
I lived through, the other one
was of a different sort, and
lasted longer. Then
I felt my own leaves giving up and
falling. The back of the hand to
everything. But listen now to what happened
to the actual trees;
toward the end of that summer they
pushed new leaves from their stubbed limbs.
It was the wrong season, yes,
but they couldn't stop. They
looked like telephone poles and didn't
care. And after the leaves came
blossoms. For some things
there are no wrong seasons.
Which is what I dream of for me.