Eagle Poem by Joy Harjo

Eagle Poem

“To pray you open your whole self

To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon

To one whole voice that is you.

And know there is more

That you can’t see, can’t hear;

Can’t know except in moments

Steadily growing, and in languages

That aren’t always sound but other

Circles of motion.

Like eagle that Sunday morning

Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky

In wind, swept our hearts clean

With sacred wings.

We see you, see ourselves and know

That we must take the utmost care

And kindness in all things.

Breathe in, knowing we are made of

All this, and breathe, knowing

We are truly blessed because we

Were born, and die soon within a

True circle of motion,

Like eagle rounding out the morning

Inside us.

We pray that it will be done

In beauty.

In beauty.”

Joy Harjo

Gratitude. We pray that too.

Here is the book link (this poem is in ‘In Mad Love and War’):-


Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

Posted in actualizing tendency, awakening, beauty, consciousness, creativity, embodiment, encounter, gratitude, interconnection & belonging, internal locus of evaluation, Joy Harjo, kindness & compassion, love, natural world, organismic experiencing, poetry, presence, spirituality | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mark Nepo on presence and directness

“We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.

When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy.

It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.”

Mark Nepo – The Book of Awakening

Here’s the book link:-


Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

Posted in awakening, congruence, consciousness, Disconnection, encounter, fear, loneliness, Mark Nepo, meaning, mindfulness, organismic experiencing, presence, touch, vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Toko-pa Turner – False belonging & conditionality

“Our longing for community and purpose is so powerful that it can drive us to join groups, relationships, or systems of belief that, to our diminished or divided self, give the false impression of belonging. But places of false belonging grant us conditional membership, requiring us to cut parts of ourselves off in order to fit in. While false belonging can be useful and instructive for a time, the soul becomes restless when it reaches a glass ceiling, a restriction that prevents us from advancing. We may shrink back from this limitation for a time, but as we grow into our truth, the invisible boundary closes in on us and our devotion to the groupmind weakens. Your rebellion is a sign of health. It is the way of nature to shatter and reconstitute. Anything or anyone who denies your impulse to grow must either be revolutionised or relinquished.”

Toko-pa Turner: Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home

Here’s the book link:-

Belonging – Remembering Ourselves Home, a book by Toko-pa Turner

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

Posted in acceptance, actualizing tendency, autonomy, awakening, community, consciousness, cultural questions, growth, interconnection & belonging, internal locus of evaluation, self, Toko-pa, transformation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Toko-pa on Invitational presence

Beautiful description of therapeutic relationship…and indeed relationship…

Here’s the wording for anyone who has trouble following Facebook links:-

“Whether we are looking to create closeness with others, with nature, or with the living mystery, an invitational presence is the prerequisite to any form of intimacy.
Like the physical flinging open of our doors to guests, we can cultivate a quality of hospitality in our presence which signals to the other that they are welcome in our company just as they are.
This quality naturally emerges when we put down our own manoeuvrings long enough to be truly interested who someone is, what they need, and what they love. Simply put, it is to clear an opening in our hearts for the other to take shelter.
When your presence is hospitable, the other can become their essential self in your company, even if just for a holy moment.
One of the greatest contributions we can make to our communities is to hold this welcoming presence for others, without any presumption that they give something in return or conform to our expectations, without giving into the temptation to change, fix, or solve their questions for them.”

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

Posted in community, core conditions, cultural questions, empathy, encounter, interconnection & belonging, love, person centred, presence, relationship, therapeutic relationship, Toko-pa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Henri Frederic Amiel on Mystery

Toko-pa is a regular here…and here we are grateful for this post on her Facebook page of Henri Amiel’s beautiful words and the gorgeous painting by Katherine Goncharova.

This sense of respecting the mystery at the heart of ourselves, each other and all life feels resonant to us…and lives in the heart of the counselling relationship too. So needful that we are able simply to let ourselves be (in both senses), and not crush what is gentle, vulnerable, still forming with a harsh, distorted yang. And these words too feel deeply relevant to the true meanings and purpose of winter, and our need for it, culturally misunderstood and neglected as that is.

Here are the words for those who have trouble reading FB links:-

“Let mystery have its place in you;

do not be always turning up your whole soil with the ploughshare of self-examination,

but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may bring,

and reserve a nook of shadow for the passing bird;

keep a place in your heart for the unexpected guests, an altar for the unknown God.

Then if a bird sing among your branches, do not be too eager to tame it.

If you are conscious of something new—thought or feeling, wakening in the depths of your being—

do not be in a hurry to let in light upon it, to look at it;

let the springing germ have the protection of being forgotten,

hedge it round with quiet, and do not break in upon its darkness.” 

Henri Frederic Amiel

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994


Posted in awakening, beauty, cognitive, compassion, consciousness, creativity, cultural questions, encounter, feminine, growth, meaning, non-directive counselling, Palace Gate Counselling Service, presence, rewilding, self, self concept, spirituality, surrender, Toko-pa, transformation, vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heavy – Mary Oliver

Deeply sad to hear of the death of Mary Oliver, who has accompanied many of us over the sunlit grasslands and through the tight ravines. Gratitude for all she offers, and to Vera de Chalambert on Facebook for reminding us of this one.

Here are the words, for those who have difficulty following Facebook links:-


“That time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying

I went closer,
and I did not die.

Surely God
had his hand in this,

as well as friends.
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel,
(brave even among lions),
“It’s not the weight you carry

but how you carry it –
books, bricks, grief –
it’s all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

when you cannot, and would not,
put it down.”

So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

Have you heard
the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?

How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe

also troubled –
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep waves,

a love
to which there is no reply?”

Mary Oliver

And here’s the book link:-

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

Posted in beauty, consciousness, creativity, dying, emotions, grief, love, Mary Oliver, poetry, presence, relationship, sadness & pain, spirituality, surrender | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Francis Weller on remembering relationship with the earth

“Still, the ground beneath me felt unsteady, as though at any moment it could shake and easily take me to the ground. I stumbled upon what Zen priest and author Susan Murphy calls the koan of the earth. How do we answer the riddle of our times? How do we sift through the shards of our broken culture, our fragmented psyches, and come once again into “our original undividedness and the freedom it bestows, right there in the suffocating fear itself.” This was the question at the heart of my despair, ripening in the vessel of my sorrow. What felt different this time was the interior experience of the grief and despair. It was not centered on personal losses — my history, wounds, losses, failures, and disappointments. It was arising from the greater pulse of the earth itself, winding its way through sidewalks and grocery lists, traffic snarls and utility bills. Somewhere in all the demands of modern life, the intimate link between earth and psyche was being reestablished or, more accurately, remembered. The conditioned fantasy of the segregated self was being dismantled, and I was being reunited, through the unexpected grace of fear, despair, and grief, with the body of the earth.” 

Francis Weller – The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief

Here’s the book link:-

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

Posted in awakening, consciousness, cultural questions, Disconnection, ecological, ecological issues, embodiment, empathy, encounter, ethics, fear, Francis Weller, grief, growth, healing, interconnection & belonging, natural world, paradigm shift, perception, presence, relationship, rewilding, spirituality, transformation, vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter of Listening – David Whyte

In the tumult and frenzy that arises for many of us at this time of year, it is easy to miss the nature of Winter….. Here is a beautiful reminder from David.

A joyful, peaceful, restful Solstice, everyone.

The wording, for those who have difficulty seeing Facebook links:-


No one but me by the fire,
my hands burning
red in the palms while
the night wind carries
everything away outside.

All this petty worry
while the great cloak
of the sky grows dark
and intense
round every living thing.

All this trying 
to know
who we are
and all this
wanting to know
what we must do.

What is precious
inside us does not
care to be known
by the mind
in ways that diminish
its presence.

What we strive for
in perfection
is not what turns us
into the lit angel
we desire.

What disturbs
and then nourishes
has everything
we need.

What we hate
in ourselves
is what we cannot know
in ourselves but
what is true to the pattern
does not need
to be explained.

Inside everyone
is a great shout of joy
waiting to be born.

in the tumult
of the night
I hear the walnut
above the child’s swing
its dark limbs
in the wind
and the rain now
come to
beat against my window
and somewhere
in this cold night
of wind and stars
the first whispered
opening of
those hidden
and invisible springs
that uncoil
in the still summer air
each yet
to be imagined


The Winter of Listening
From River Flow
New and Selected Poems
©David Whyte and Many Rivers Press

And here’s the book link:-

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

Posted in awakening, beauty, consciousness, creativity, cultural questions, David Whyte, encounter, natural world, organismic experiencing, perception, poetry, presence, rewilding, self, self concept, surrender, wonder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Maya Luna, on staying with….

Beautiful, accurate poem from Maya’s Facebook page. Here are the words, for anyone who has difficulty reading FB links:-

“If you cannot help me
If you cannot heal me 
If you cannot solve 
My problem 
Will you stay anyways? 
Just for a moment 
Will you sit and hold 
The broken pieces with me 
And look at their worn edges 
Their luminous shine 
And just take one breath
With me 
Your eyes and heart 
Are everything friend
They lift this burden of 
For one moment 
I know it makes your skin crawl 
How messy this is 
I know you ache with 
I know you burn with helplessness
Knowing there is nothing 
You can do 
But will you stay, anyways? 
Stay with me for a moment 
And just look with me 
Hold these scattered pieces 
In your hands
These pieces 
I have grown accustomed to
That I carry everywhere I go
That know my sweat and fingerprints 
That carry the scent of my soul 
Hold them and touch them 
With your loving hands 
I do not need fixing 
Just eyes to see my 
Just a mirror reflecting 
What is mine to hold 
Just a love that can hold it all”

And this is what therapy is for. Thank you Maya.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

Posted in acceptance, core conditions, cultural questions, emotions, empathy, encounter, grief, healing, interconnection & belonging, kindness & compassion, Maya Luna, person centred, power and powerlessness, presence, relationship, sadness & pain, surrender, tears, therapeutic growth, therapeutic relationship, vulnerability, working with clients | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Francis Weller on Grief

“Grief is subversive, undermining the quiet agreement to behave and be in control of our emotions. It is an act of protest that declares our refusal to live numb and small. There is something feral about grief, something essentially outside the ordained and sanctioned behaviors of our culture. Because of that, grief is necessary to the vitality of the soul. Contrary to our fears, grief is suffused with life-force…. It is not a state of deadness or emotional flatness. Grief is alive, wild, untamed and cannot be domesticated. It resists the demands to remain passive and still. We move in jangled, unsettled, and riotous ways when grief takes hold of us. It is truly an emotion that rises from the soul.”

Francis Weller

Someone drew the writer’s attention to this quotation yesterday (and thanks to Jewels Wingfield for posting it). She found it very helpful – and wholeheartedly agrees with it. Cultural pressures to hurry up and tidy away grief are immense, so we can slot back into ‘normality’, numbness and our place in the machine. And the reality is, whatever our personal circumstances may be, there is a huge amount to grieve in the world at the moment, just as there is a huge amount to be grateful for. For the writer, grief and gratitude are the living breath of love, and essential daily practices which support everything else. And love is always subversive….

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

Posted in creativity, cultural questions, Disconnection, emotions, empowerment, Francis Weller, gratitude, grief, loss, love, meaning, non-conforming, perception, political, power and powerlessness, presence, rewilding, vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment