Fall Into Winter

My Silver Birch tree finally changes leaves to gold
green remained long after fall told it was here
flowers bloom still, colors in array
abuse of the atmosphere is something we will pay

A cold snap last weekend chilled my heart
winter winds work their way with driving rain
the damp dankness depresses my lungs
I thrive only in fine dry warm weather, wellness there

The coming winter fills me with dread, yet happy I choose to be
misery may love company, but company will soon flee
each day brings birth to joy in life
I will not stress, strain the time or lose myself in strife

Published by Lifeline


Moonlit Dreams

Moon, you followed me every place I went
yet you are fading away from Earth
only eight inches thus far, but further?

Moon, you are my true love, soft Light you bring
we forget to celebrate you, except the Chinese
how sad for you, so you are departing us

Moon, if I could beg you to stay, my tears would not win
you must do as you feel right, as I keep
my gaze on your sphere, as we spin on Earth

Published by Under The Moon


Flowers in a birdcage…

Yet we need rules so that we don’t harm others.

I found a tiny birdcage and so I planted a plant in a small pot and put it inside. I have hopes of a climbing plant growing around the bars of the cage.

I am expecting an old friend in half an hour. I haven’t seen him in twenty years. He is the younger brother of a boyfriend. I use boyfriend loosely as although we were exclusive for the most part, we never declared our relationship and I often felt manipulated. He expected me to know when he was going to arrive.

He left for Italy and I left for the rest of the world.


A trying 24 hours…

Photo by Martin Coward

The photo above is near where I live. During my school years, I learned to ride horses just where this happens twice a day.

I once drove some colleagues from the US around my area, and this happened during the drive. They were in complete disbelief despite the very apparent evidence.

I broke my own rule with my title today. I used 24 instead of writing the words. It is poor writing practice and I don’t like it. But I am weary from trying to stay well. On Sunday night I called for paramedics as I was struggling to breathe. Around 10pm. Eventually, I went to bed leaving lights on, and my packed bag in case I should be taken to hospital.

I woke at almost 8am and found a missed call from SWAST at 06.21am. I was puzzled as crews have entered my home at 3am before.

I made my way to hospital to be nebbed, but found the ED to be hostile to my physiology. I left and went home. Half an hour later paramedics arrived. Thirteen hours after my call. This is how busy they are. They were great and fixed me.

My inhalers ran out yesterday. The pharmacy has none until Thursday. My lungs were screaming at me, so I went to my surgery. I did not get a warm welcome. Despite their ability to neb me they consider it a job for SWAST or ED. That SWAST is in a critical incident does not matter. That ED is hostile to my illness is irrelevant. My previous GP nebulised me there.

In the end, I was nebbed. It has helped me through the day. I have had to rest more.

I am in touch with an old friend again. I’ve known him since I was 18. He was a reliable friend to me, and helped me when I was in schtuk. Once, I phoned him as I was lost in Wiltshire, and asked him to get a window that was ajar at the back of my place further open and climb in to get a phone number from my address book by my phone. ( Remember those days?). He once also jimmied open my car when I locked my car keys in. AND HE was the one that noticed when I sat on his brother’s motorbike and burned my calf through the muscle. I felt nothing, but was in shock and he noticed my white face.

A carful of us headed to ED, me still not feeling anything, That burn took months to granulate.


Our Only Victory Is Defeat

Before we can change anything about ourselves we must first accept who we are. This was postulated by Carl Rogers,who founded the Person Centred Association, and developed a humanistic approach to psychology named Unconditional Positive Regard. Many people see this and think they know what it means, but they don’t.

If we want to accept who we are we need, first, to realize how we sabotage our self acceptance.

  1. Resistance to how our life is. The cards we are dealt, so to speak.
  2. Having unrealistic expectations of ourselves and others
  3. Confusing our random thinking with values.


We all come with attributes and skills. Also we have negative characteristics. Think of any quality and the possibility of it growing in us is there. Life is like that.

Life also has a way of dropping difficulties in our paths. A bad parent, an abusive partner, illness etc.

The thing about resistance is that the more we do it, the more that thing gets ground up and refined into our lives. More resistance means that that thing overwhelms us. We cannot avoid it. It looms large.

Robyn Norman says; Many of us spend much of our life trying to be somebody we can like, which is terrific. But when we ignore the parts that we don’t like or pretend we don’t have them, they tend to grow and sometimes take over, or show up in weird ways.

Take the person who believes they’re always kind. When they behave in unkind ways, they will fall on the sword to prove that they’re only doing what they’re doing because they love you, or because it makes sense (to them).

Resistance can be rationalization. Like telling ourselves our relationship is not so bad, or work is ok really.

Until we accept that there is a problem, we cannot change it.

Unrealistic expectations;

We cannot place our happiness on winning the lottery, or hoping that our abusive partner will change. Doing such things means we will never be happy.

Confusing our random thoughts with values;

Our values start with what our early caregivers teach us or set as an example. We alter or build on them as we travel through life. Our values indicate who we are and how we behave. However we come by our values or principles, we must be guided by them and not by our thoughts.

Our thoughts can lead us into mistakes. A thought acted on can be rudeness, or an insult. Acting on thoughts can cause us regret.

Robyn Norman says;

When we confuse our random thoughts with values, we can convince ourselves of almost anything. We (need) work to recognize the difference so we can let our values lead the way. And that is the beginning of change.

In order to change we must

  1. Accept the reality we are in.
  2. Keep expectations in within reality.
  3. Make clear what is your value and what is random thinking.

Maturing into the person we want to be means seeing and accepting where we are. Acceptance is key. Only then can we change and grow. Acceptance is the victory of defeat.

Published by The Good Men Project


For My Mother

Unnaturally cold, a marble face

No blood flowed

When cutting her breastbone

Hot stumpy fingered hands

Will never grasp again and twist

Until whipped back as if from a coiled spring

And then to blame that wrung thing

For the pain inflicted in return

Malice that cut another’s quick

Until like a wild animal, they simply bit

What she sowed, so did she reap


Fone World, High Street

My view

Earlier in a post, I mentioned Dave Stimpson: My laptop screen broke this morning. I was scanning a bar code and it went dark. So Dave is doing that for me. It will be fixed by Tuesday. I am so grateful for Dave. Such a great guy. Not many like him. At age 31. He is rare.

How wrong I was! He is not fit to run a dolls house let alone a store.

He gave me his bosses email so I could address law breaking issues that go on in the company.

The police got involved it was that serious.

Now Dave cannot take responsibility for giving me the email address. He makes nasty faces and horrid words when I go with my warrantee.

Not kind, not professional, no friend of mine!


Sustaining A Sexual Connection

When I had a consulting room, I often saw a couple or one of a couple saying that sex had gone out the window after, say, fifteen years of being together.

always found this sad as the best sex is when you really get each other, when you are friends. Not when you are starry eyed first in love. That is when we explore and say we are pleased when maybe we are not.

So you made it as a couple for years but if you are not touching each other as you pass in the kitchen, cuddle as you watch TV, can’t wait to share your day with your partner, then sex becomes infrequent and eventually non existent. Don’t let this happen.

The secret to whether your sex will last is if you cuddle after sex says Emily Nagoski, Sex Educator at Smith College. If you cuddle intimacy is sustained and you will look forward to your next sexual communication.

A healthy sex life long down the road is about the pleasure of each other’s skin touching. It is emotional presence for each other. Being fully present, attentive, communicating.

Hurt feelings and resentments prevent good sex. Deal with minor conflicts quickly. Keep short accounts with each other. Don’t go to bed angry at one another. We can’t last with make up sex.

If you are a serial monogamist or divorcee, examine how you approach sex and intimacy. No one dreams of being a third or fourth wife/husband. It happens, but something is missing.

Beware of casual misogyny; ‘life’s a bitch’, life is like a BWA — a beautiful woman with attitude.

Such sayings have no place in the mouth of a good man.

Women, you need a Good Man.

So much depends on men. How they are raised, who they hang out with, whether they watch porn. No teenager learned anything good from pornography.

Don’t watch it together. It has no place in your sex life.

So the secret to lasting sex lives is skin touching skin. No resentments and no misogyny. Here’s to your good sex life.

Published in The Good Men Project


Take Time Out

We all work and live in fairly busy places, although some of us are fortunate to have open country near us. We need to see greenery regularly. Making our way to a park or field is urgent for our mental health.

Even in a city there are parks and green spaces. Make time to get there and just be. No running or jogging.

Be. Be in a green space. Regard the trees, the blades of grass. Look for critters that crawl or fly. They keep our planet healthy.

The green outdoors help keep your mind healthy. It washes away your stress and worries, at least for a while. The green outdoors heals your soul and allows you to shed the cares that weigh you down. It’s a place to be just you, to remember who you really are, what you want from life, who you love.

A place to rest your mind and refresh your being. Breathe in the cleaner air. Fill your lungs with it. Feel the peace. Absorb the stillness.

Nature is mostly green because green is calming. Green is restful. Take the calm and the rest. Relax. Chill. Sit and gaze. Drift away from your day. Be present in the green. Notice what you have never noticed before or reconnect with a childhood you forgot.

Do this as often as you can. You will worry much less. Feel less stressed. Instead, you will a new person. You will want to go back to that green. You may change your job, move out of a city. There’s no telling what being in the greenery will change in you.

Published in The Good Men Project


Looking For Fixes

In life we often go through high and lows. A few ‘off days’ and mostly good days.

If we are diagnosed with depression we are usually given a tablet to take that causes us to become numb, or we look for reasons. Why?

Before modern medicine began dishing out Zanex in huge quantities, people had to live with it. Some killed themselves.

History is filled with outstanding writers, musicians, artists, and many other creative skilled people who suffered terrible despair. They sat it out. They journaled about it.

When you accept defeat as your only victory, dawn comes over the horizon.

How can something truly superb come from someone who has never known the depths of sorrow? Or grief, despair, or solitude? How can we expect no more than average to come from an average mood?

Never fear the darkness, a candle will extinguish it.

Look at Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Freddie Mercury, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, May Sorton, Elizabeth Bishop, Virginia Wolf, Dylan Thomas, Van Gogh, to name a mere handful who experienced despair. Apart from Dylan Thomas they sat it out. The jury is still out on Van Gogh.

If you are a parent you need to disguise your desolation, as I can attest. The thing is that light comes when you need it. When you accept defeat as your only victory, dawn comes over the horizon.

There is no list to give, no advice to write. Just sit it out. When the time comes you will be stronger and brighter.

Men don’t fear the feeling of failure. You have not failed, you are human. Despair is human nature. So is depression.

Attend the small things; washing dishes, changing clothes, normal daily habits.

This, too, will pass.


The Mystery Of Healing

While I was researching my Ph.D. I worked in a recovery unit just North East of L.A. I was responsible for a group of people who had abused some type of substance, or had suffered some sort of mental crisis.

It was mainly men, about a dozen, and a handful of women. Most were referred by a mental health worker or family.

The men, with scarce exception, loved me like a sister. I showed them respect, was present for them, sat with them as they cried, listened to their hopes.

Yes, men cry. They have loss, regrets, rejection, grief, just like women do. Crying somehow helps healing.

Healing is a mysterious process. We all go through it differently. We each are unique. Our stories are unique.

Men respond to respect, or Unconditional Positive Regard as taught by Carl Rogers. It is not regard, it is not kindness. It is a model used in counseling and other therapeutic relationships.

Men respond to being heard, validated for their positive traits. In the last two generations men have lost their role. Faced with feminism, often militantly, they feel displaced and emasculated.

Often coming from single mother homes they have lacked a good male role model. These men grow up with no clue how to relate to women appropriately.

Men respond to appropriate trust. Compliments on a task well done. Being asked to help with some thing practical.

Women should not teach men how not to be misogynist, unless they are the mother. Men need to learn for themselves and then help other younger men or sons.

Men are far more intelligent than most women realise. They just need the right tools to learn. Men’s brains are different to women’s.

Men and women are compatible but men need friendships with men first. Men who lots to offer in being a good man.

Male friendships are more straight forward than those of women. They can handle some constructive criticism, some ‘hey man, you messed up big time there’. Not all the time though. They need strokes too — compliments.

If a man can cry in front of me, he can most probably cry with a close friend. Never jeer. Never tease tears. Value them like a diamond.

I don’t have all the answers for healing. It is a mysterious process and takes time. I have seen so many processes, none the same.

We need to make room for men. We need the good ones. We need more to learn from men how to be good men.

Published in The Good Men Project


Introversion Is No Excuse

We grow up and then leave home by one way or another. If it’s by going to university we are more likely to become less introverted than we were as children.

I prefer introversion. It’s my safe place. However, I now extrovert almost as easily because of the roles I’ve had in life. It’s important to remember that introversion is a preference and not a setting. We should all be able to step away from the preference just as we wear different colors. If we like blue, there may be a lot of blue in our wardrobe but we can’t wear only blue. That is, if you don’t want to be laughed at.

When I was first asked to host a seminar I was horrified. It had been fine to put it together with phone calls and emails, but host it was another thing. I did not flinch but got out three outfits that gave me confidence and, on the first morning, stood in front of a crowded conference hall and took the microphone.

Yes I was scared, but I am brave. By the end of the third day, I felt almost at ease making announcements to introduce speakers or say where refreshments could be found. I later became a guest speaker at seminars.

So, you see, we do not break when we are needed to extravert. We just dig deep for courage and do it.

I am tired of hearing how Annabel needs three days alone after coffee in a group. Or how Lancelot must wear headphones on the subway in order to not speak to anyone. If at 25 you still do this, yes, I exaggerated, you are very immature.

Maturity is doing what is needed at the given time. Yes you can meet your boyfriend’s parents without a six month build up, or go on a group trip. You just make the most of any time to be introverted. That does not include locking yourself in the bathroom.

Be a grown up. After all, we expect an extravert to be quiet at a funeral or during a play at the theater.

I gave birth to the most extraverted little girl. I thought I would go nuts. But no, I enjoyed every waking moment of her. I would give a lot to go back to her early years.

Introverts, please wake up and grow up. Stop letting your friends down. Stop making excuses, and above all, live!