Thursday, 9 June 2016

Panning for Poetry ~ Part I


The poems, sayings and quotations that follow have all been chosen by members of the private psychoeducational group of the Research Centre for Building Psychological Resilience in Breast Cancer.

For this feature, our members were asked to submit favourite poetry and quotations, the ones that comfort and soothe, the rainbow of words that help them get through the storm, the sunshine verse that lights their darkest day.


Creativity cures the chaos of the heart
~Taoist proverb

Submitted by Samantha Newbury
~
Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.
~Rumi

Submitted by Vicky Wilkes
~
I wish I could show you
When you are lonely
or in darkness,
The Astonishing Light
Of your own Being!
~Havez
My Brilliant Image

Submitted by Tamsin Sargeant
~
It is important that we share our experiences with other people. Your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else. When you tell your story, you free yourself and give other people permission to acknowledge their own story. ~ Iyanla Vanzant

Submitted by Vicky Wilkes
~
Cancer is a great equaliser – it doesn’t care who you are.
Kylie Minogue

Submitted by Caroline Frith
~
She stood in the storm
and when the wind
did not blow her way,
She adjusted her sails.
~Elizabeth Edwards

Submitted by Vicky Wilkes
~
Wild Geese
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting -
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things
~Mary Oliver

Submitted by Anita Traynor
~
A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words –unknown

Submitted by Caroline Frith
~
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
~Marianne Williamson

Submitted by Caroline Frith
~
I Tripped Over Today
I tripped over today looking for tomorrow.
I didn’t see it spread out there before me.
I couldn’t see it,
I was looking past it to the future.
Eager for what tomorrow holds
I neglected today.
Eager to move forward
I tried to skip today.
Instead I tripped.
I fell flat on my face in now.
Today sat on top of me, pried my eyes open and made me see,
Made me look at the now I had crushed.
Always rushing forward I had never noticed the beauty of now.
Now it was revealed to me.
I began to mourn all that I had missed,
Until today dragged my eyes from the past back to the present.
“You’re missing the point again,” he said patiently.
There is no yesterday to mourn,
There is no tomorrow to run to.
There is only now to embrace.
Every tomorrow becomes today, so be patient.
Enjoy now and you will have no regrets for yesterday to hold.
Rest here in the arms of now and live.
Enjoy this moment and no other for this is the only one there is.
Look not ahead nor behind,
But look at yourself where you are now
And leave no more todays unattended to.
Then you will fear no tomorrow nor long for any yesterday
~Copyright 2004 Lynda Allen

Submitted by Caroline Frith
~
Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ”I will try again tomorrow”.
~Mary Anne Radmacher

Submitted by Vicky Wilkes
~
Enough
Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now.
~David Whyte

Submitted by Anita Traynor
~
The Man in the Arena
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
~Theodore Roosevelt

Submitted by Caroline Frith
~
There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe and mostly live – the Dalai Lama

Submitted by Caroline Frith
~
Autobiography in Five Chapters
1. I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
2. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
3. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
4. I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
5. I walk down another street.
~Portia Nelson

Submitted by Caroline Frith
~
The Clock of Life
The clock of life is wound but once.
And no man has the power
To tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour.
Now is the only time that you own.
Live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in tomorrow.
For the clock may then be still.
~Robert H Smith

Submitted by Caroline Frith
~
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
~Mary Oliver

Submitted by Anita Traynor
~
Tilicho Lake
In this high place
it is as simple as this,
leave everything you know behind.
Step toward the cold surface,
say the old prayer of rough love
and open both arms.
Those who come with empty hands
will stare into the lake astonished,
there, in the cold light
reflecting pure snow
the true shape of your own face.
~David Whyte

Submitted by Anita Traynor
~
The Invitation
It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.
I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.
I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”
It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.
I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.
~Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Submitted by Anita Traynor
~
When you have gone so far that you can't manage even one more step, then you've gone just half the distance you are capable of.
~Innuit saying.

Submitted by Tamsin Sergeant
~
The Journey
Above the mountains
the geese turn into
the light again
Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.
Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens
so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.
Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that
first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.
Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out
someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.
You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.
~David Whyte

Submitted by Tamsin Sargeant
~
The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~Wendell Berry

Submitted by Tamsin Sargeant
~
Listen once in a while. It’s amazing what you can hear.
~Russell Baker

Submitted by Vicky Wilkes
~
It Ain't what you do, It's what it does to you
I have not bummed across America
with only a dollar to spare, one pair
of busted Levi's and a bowie knife.
I have lived with thieves in Manchester.

I have not padded through the Taj Mahal,
barefoot, listening to the space between
each footfall picking up and putting down
its print against the marble floor. But I

skimmed flat stones across Black Moss on a day
so still I could hear each set of ripples
as they crossed. I felt each stone's inertia
spend itself against the water; then sink.

I have not toyed with a parachute cord
while perched on the lip of a light-aircraft;
but I held the wobbly head of a boy
at the day centre, and stroked his fat hands.

And I guess that the tightness in the throat
and the tiny cascading sensation
somewhere inside us are both part of that
sense of something else. That feeling, I mean.
~Simon Armitage

Submitted by Tamsin SargeantTop of Form
~
Prelude 
What if it truly doesn't matter what you do but how you do whatever you do?

How would this change what you choose to do with your life?

What if you could be more present and open-hearted with each person you encounter working as a cashier in the corner store, a parking lot attendant or filing clerk than you could if you were striving to do something you think is more important?

How would this change how you want to spend your precious time on this earth?

What if your contribution to the world and the fulfillment of you own happiness is not dependent upon discovering a better method of prayer or technique of meditation, not dependent upon reading the right book or attending the right seminar, but upon really seeing and deeply appreciating yourself and the world as they are right now?

How would this effect your search for spiritual development?

What if there is no need to change, no need to try and transform yourself into someone who is more compassionate, more present, more loving or wise?

How would this effect all the places in your life where you are endlessly trying to be better?

What if the task is simply to unfold, to become who you already are in your essential nature- gentle, compassionate and capable of living fully and passionately present?

How would this effect how you feel when you wake up in the morning?

What if who you essentially are right now is all that you are ever going to be?

How would this effect how you feel about your future?

What if the essence of who you are and always have been is enough?

How would this effect how you see and feel about your past?

What if the question is not why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am?

How would this change what you think you have to learn?

What if becoming who and what we truly are happens not through striving and trying but by recognizing and receiving the people and places and practises that offer us the warmth of encouragement we need to unfold?

How would this shape the choices you have to make about how to spend today?

What if you knew that the impulse to move in a way that creates beauty in the world will arise from deep within and guide you every time you simply pay attention and wait?

How would this shape your stillness, your movement, your willingness to follow this impulse, to just let go and dance?
~Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Submitted by Caroline Frith
~
Love after love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
~Derek Walcott

Submitted by Tamsin Sargeant
~
And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.
 Haruki Murakami

Submitted by Vicky Wilkes
~
 The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep, loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.

Submitted by Caroline Frith
~
Hope
Hope is an image of goals
Planted firmly in your mind.
When looking at life before you,
Hope lines the paths you find.

Hope is a well of courage
Nestled deep within your heart.
When faltering in fear and doubt,
Hope pushes you to start.

Hope is an urge to keep going,
For limbs too tired and weak.
When apathy stills all desire,
Hope sparks the fuel you seek.

Hope is a promise of patience
As you wait for distress to wane.
When all you can do is nothing,
Hope pulls you through the pain.

Hope is a spirit that lifts you,
Should heaviness pull at your soul.
When torn apart by losses,
Hope mends to keep you whole.
~Wendy S. Harpham, M.D.

Submitted by Vicky Wilkes
~
From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand. From the inside looking out, it’s hard to explain. ~Unknown
Submitted by Vicky Wilkes
~




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