Morning in a New Land – Mary Oliver

Click on the link above to visit Mary’s Facebook page for this beautiful poem, as we embark on 2018. Here’s the text, for those who have difficulty following Facebook links:-

‘Morning In A New Land

In trees still dripping night some nameless birds
Woke, shook out their arrowy wings, and sang, 
Slowly, like finches sifting through a dream.
The pink sun fell, like glass, into the fields. 
Two chestnuts, and a dapple gray,
Their shoulders wet with light, their dark hair streaming,
Climbed the hill. The last mist fell away,

And under the trees, beyond time’s brittle drift,
I stood like Adam in his lonely garden
On that first morning, shaken out of sleep,
Rubbing his eyes, listening, parting the leaves,
Like tissue on some vast, incredible gift.’

Mary Oliver

May we all appreciate and honour our vast, incredible gift in 2018.

Here’s a book link (or there is a more recent 2 volume set, which we think – although cannot promise – includes this poem):-

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

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I’m a Therapist, But I’m Not Your Therapist – Kathleen Smith

Click on the link above for Kathleen’s thoughtful and perceptive piece….

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

Posted in boundaries, communication, community, conditions of worth, congruence, core conditions, cultural questions, empathy, empowerment, encounter, ethics, friendship, growth, healing, interconnection & belonging, internal locus of evaluation, non-directive counselling, power and powerlessness, presence, relationship, resilience, sadness & pain, therapeutic growth, therapeutic relationship, vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I am not your fault – Charlotte Eriksson

“So I am not a broken heart. 

I am not the weight I lost or miles or ran and I am not the way I slept on my doorstep under the bare sky in smell of tears and whiskey because my apartment was empty and if I were to be this empty I wanted something solid to sleep on. Like concrete. 

I am not this year and I am not your fault.

I am muscles building cells, a little every day, because they broke that day,
but bones are stronger once they heal and I am smiling to the bus driver and replacing my groceries once a week and I am not sitting for hours in the shower anymore. 

I am the way a life unfolds and bloom and seasons come and go and I am the way the spring always finds a way to turn even the coldest winter into a field of green and flowers and new life. 

I am not your fault.” 

Charlotte Eriksson

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

Posted in acceptance, awakening, blaming, compulsive behaviour, consciousness, cultural questions, embodiment, empowerment, grief, growth, healing, internal locus of evaluation, loss, love, meaning, mindfulness, organismic experiencing, perception, physical being, power and powerlessness, presence, self, self concept, surrender, trust, vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lessons in breast feeding & non-racism – Laeaurra Flamehawk

Lessons in breast feeding and a lack of racism go together in my memory. It might seem an odd pairing in an era where wet nurses are rare. But it was once a common sight in the South to see white babies at black breasts. My experience was the opposite actually as I am not quite old enough to have seen mammies with my own eyes.

A church meeting room, I got bored and wandered. Searched room to room looking for something to do. Empty rooms until the door of the tiny personal prayer chapel opened on to an unexpected sight, a topless, beautiful slender slyph-like, extremely pale white woman, with the iconic straight hair of the 1970s, almost to her ankles, with breasts so plump that they seemed out of place on her slight form, was holding an ebony skinned infant to her right breast. I was mesmerized by the scene.

Looking back, it was so Age of Aquarius, Madonna and Child with the faintest hint of rainbow filtering through the circular stained glass window. I knew several things in that moment, the most concrete of them being that I wanted a camera for my next birthday. Some moments just needed to be forever. They revealed Secrets of The Universe that everyone needed to Witness. This was somehow one of those Moments and me without an Instamatic.

I stared wide eyed as only a child can. I had started school already. But I can’t recall if I was in first or second grade at the time. It was somewhere between 1972-73. She smiled at me to let me know I was not intruding, motioned for me to come all the way into the walk in closet sized room with the hand that was not holding the baby and then began stroking the baby’s tight tiny curls.

It was well known to the congregation that I was an only child. So she asked if she needed to explain. Had I seen someone breastfeeding before? Did I maybe have aunts that had babies who breastfed? I answered no. But I understood the basics, even without my aunties. Everyone in my immediate family did the bottle thing. But even that far back, National Geographic was an informative thing that sat on Granny’s coffee table.

The breastfeeding, while a bit of a surprise in church, was not the bit that had me wonder struck. It was that they did not match. That was how I phrased it once more than mono syllables began to tumble out. Like everyone else, I had watched her belly swell across the gestation and knew that a baby would join us soon, no strokes involved. But I had never seen her husband.

He did not attend services with her. It was, as it turned out, safer for them to attend separate services at separate places of worship.There were and still are many complications involved in mixed marriages of any kind, be it race, religion or culture that bridges the long held divide. Hers was the first mixed marriage Very Young Me had encountered.

After the feeding and burping were done, she showed me a picture of her husband, explained that darker skin tones were usually the way of things when people mixed and my only outward comment was that the baby had his daddy’s eyes. They were dark at the edges but with lighter golden flecks inside the brown, reminded me of the log slices taken directly from forest trees that still had the rim of dark bark attached.

That brief encounter inoculated me against several forms of prejudice. I was a nerd from the beginning and raised on a college campus. So even though my formal education had in a sense just begun, I already knew a few things. Humans can breed across racial lines because we are the same species. That was already in my head and the baby she let me hold was just that, a baby. No half breed demon. Neither was I for that matter, no matter what was said about my Native American “tainted” blood.

We all came into the world the same way and sucked at the breasts or the bottles whether or not the person feeding us matched our skin tones or not. It was all pretty much the same. With the simple faith of a child, I could not help but notice that it happened in a church with no smiting on the Almighty’s part. So He was obviously cool with it. While I still regret not having had my own camera to catch the breath taking image of Love unrestrained in God’s House, I will always have the Understanding that Little Miracle gave me. Maybe I will paint it. It makes a better Christmas card than images of torch bearing contemporary white supremacists.

Laeaurra Flamehawk

Thank you for sharing this memory, Laeaurra.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

Posted in acceptance, beauty, child development, civil rights, community, cultural questions, diversity, education, encounter, equality, ethics, feminine, growing up, interconnection & belonging, love, non-conforming, parenting, perception, relationship, spirituality, wonder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter’s Cloak – Joyce Rupp

Winter’s Cloak

This year I do not want
The dark to leave me.
I need its wrap
Of silent stillness,
Its cloak
Of long lasting embrace.
Too much light
Has pulled me away
from the chamber
of gestation.

Let the dawns
Come late,
Let the sunsets
Arrive early,
Let the evenings
Extend themselves
While I lean into
The abyss of my being.

Let me lie in the cave
Of my soul,
For too much light
Blinds me,
Steals the source
Of revelation.

Let me seek solace
In the empty places
Of winter’s passage,
Those vast dark nights
That never fail to shelter me.

Joyce Rupp

The – culturally under-valued, even invisible – meanings and importance of winter and darkness….

Thank you, Joyce (and Emily on Facebook for showing us this).

Here’s the book link….wonderful gift:-

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

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Apsley Street, Glasgow, 2008 – Kei Miller

I know you do not like
the way I write moments,
how they grow into some kind of magic
you do not always recognise.
I know you think things are simpler
and it is enough to simply say
how things are – like this bed,
its large spread, the colour of tulips;
I know you will say, isn’t it magic enough
that we fall asleep in the tangle of fingers,
that we sometimes dream a single dream.

Kei Miller

Thank you, Kei.

Here’s the book link. If you are looking for a present, look no further….

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling Exeter since 1994

Posted in flow, Kei Miller, love, perception, physical being, poetry, presence, relationship, sexual being, vulnerability, wonder | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Too right it’s Black Friday: our relentless consumption is trashing the planet George Monbiot

Click on the above link to visit the Guardian for this article by George Monbiot, to mark last week’s ‘Black Friday’.

‘When you hear that something makes economic sense, this means it makes the opposite of common sense. Those sensible men and women who run the world’s treasuries and central banks, who see an indefinite rise in consumption as normal and necessary, are beserkers: smashing through the wonders of the living world, destroying the prosperity of future generations to sustain a set of figures that bear ever less relation to general welfare.

Green consumerism, material decoupling, sustainable growth: all are illusions, designed to justify an economic model that is driving us to catastrophe. The current system, based on private luxury and public squalor, will immiserate us all: under this model, luxury and deprivation are one beast with two heads.

We need a different system, rooted not in economic abstractions but in physical realities, that establish the parameters by which we judge its health. We need to build a world in which growth is unnecessary, a world of private sufficiency and public luxury. And we must do it before catastrophe forces our hand.’

Yes, we must.

Palace Gate Counselling Service, Exeter

Counselling in Exeter since 1994

Posted in accountability, awakening, boundaries, compulsive behaviour, cultural questions, dependence, Disconnection, ecological, ecological issues, ethics, George Monbiot, growth, human condition, mindfulness, natural world, paradigm shift, perception, political, reality, resilience, risk, shadow, violence, vulnerability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment