Tag Archives: healing

Pickpocket time

Swift-handed pickpocket time
Tries to steal the spring from my step
And the smile from my face

I must constantly refurbish my soul
Worn down by the endless ticking-off
Of swift-handed pickpocket time

The world proposes skin-deep remedies
Vainly promising to lift the weight of days
That steal the spring from my step

But alone in dark hours, my patient soul
Meditates with ink and paper
Until a smile returns to my face

Swift-handed pickpocket time
May steal the spring from my step
But not the smile from my face

For poefusion – firstly the friday five (pickpocket, heal, refurbish, propose, face), and secondly the form of a cascade poem. I’ve played around quite a lot with the lines, and added an extra verse that’s very close to the first one, but I think I’ve still kept the basic feel of a cascade.


Six months’ worth of writing, living and learning

To celebrate six months of blogging (over 200 posts and nearly 100 poems!), I thought I would share thirteen things I have learnt in that time, many of them directly from blogging:


  1. Hearts can heal, and a thoroughly healed heart is stronger than one that has never been broken.

  2. Creativity, particularly new creative projects, is a great way not just to recover from a broken heart, but to grow immeasurably from the experience.

  3. Writing doesn’t have to be a solitary activity – and sharing drafts with an understanding audience is a great way to keep motivated.
  4. Writing things in a public forum, even to a small audience of people whose faces I have never seen, is different from just writing them for yourself – and it can be much more healing.
  5. Sometimes the things I don’t want to say are the ones I most need to say. Sometimes the things I don’t want to say are also what others are most interested in hearing

  6. Free writing practices often produce some of my best writing… and paradoxically often my most structured writing too. And I’m increasingly realising that the ideas and experiences that go into my poems are strong enough to stand as free verse. I enjoy playing with different structures, but I can have more confidence in the interest of my own voice. 

  7. It’s better to say too much than to be too vague to be understood – even if you have to clarify what you meant, or soothe someone’s agitation, you’re communicating. And being so tolerant of other people’s views and beliefs that we don’t express our own is almost always counterproductive – and leads to much less interesting discussions.

  8. It’s far too easy to accept arguments and evidence that supports your conclusion, and not notice the obvious flaws. Reading and participating in the debates in the blogosphere has made me very aware of this, and hopefully made me a more honest debater!

  9. There are some wonderful people out there in the blogosphere…. as well as a lot of people who can’t string a coherent sentence together. Many people out there have had lives incredibly more difficult and complicated than mine has been. I’ve been touched and moved and shocked by some of the things I’ve read. I don’t know whether bloggers are more likely to have trauma in their past, or whether it’s just that in the blogosphere, people tell stories that you would normally hear only from your closest friends. Either way, thank you all for increasing my awareness and understanding of what it is to be human.

  10. Finding my own words to express myself is, right now, more important to me than singing the music and words written by others, however beautiful and powerful.

  11. Always follow your dreams can be a good principle, but it can also be a trap that leaves us struggling and miserable, feeling like failures or forcing ourselves to do things that just aren’t right any more. So it’s important to leave room for both you and your dreams to change and grow.

  12. This last year has been an intense time – difficult in many ways, but I don’t regret a moment of it. I have learnt so much and grown so much, that it’s a hundred times worth all the tears and the pain of heartbreak.

  13. Writing means far less without readers – so thank you all!

When the heart feels lonely

I think I understand, now, why I’ve recently been experiencing a bit more sadness about my ex than I’ve been used to in recent months.

It’s very simple – I feel lonely just now. It’s a loneliness that is an inevitable part of starting a new life in a new place. I am isolated in the office because of the nature of the job, which will not really change. And I’m isolated in my personal life because it takes time to meet people when you’ve just arrived. This will change, indeed is already changing, and I’m familiar enough with this process of relocating myself that I can wait patiently and proactively to make new friends.

But what I hadn’t expected was that feeling lonely in my life in general would make me feel lonely for a partner. Not my ex, but the person I thought he was when we first met – or someone with some of the same qualities.

I miss that feeling of having someone on your side, who’s there for you when you need them as you’re there for them when they need you. Someone who’s there to do things with – making it safer and more fun to explore a new country. Yes, I miss that. And the stab of pain at the weekend was the memory of how it felt to have those hopes so cruelly and suddenly betrayed – the pain of finding that someone who I thought was on my side didn’t respect or trust me. That he was damaging rather than strengthening my confidence and happiness. That he couldn’t bear to be in my company, and any contact with me was increasing the intensity of his distress and fear.

The wound left by that betrayal has largely healed now, which is why I was surprised to feel that pain again. The loneliness of starting a new life just brought it all a bit closer to the surface than I expected.

Still, I am already making progress in filling my new life with interesting people, and so I know this sensitivity will soon fade again. This process goes in phases of pain and learning – they’re much gentler now, and don’t distress me even a fraction as much as they used to. But still there is a lot to learn from each new period of sensitivity.

The body’s memory

Walking the streets of a town where I used to live, it struck me how my body remembered it so much better than my mind. The feel of the cobbles under my feet, the particular cold dampness of the wind, and the scent of yeast in the air – all deeply familiar to me physically. And yet somehow my mind had forgotten – it had got used to other streets and different air.

My mental map of the city had become a bit scrambled over time, but without thinking about it I walked to my destinations, taking old shortcuts without hesitation.

In the evening I went to my old Aikido class, and again my body remembered the moves that my mind was confused by.

Looking back, it’s not surprising that so much has changed mentally. A lot has happened in the 2 years since I last walked these streets. And so many things felt different.

I met friends from my Buddhist days. And I was glad to meet them, and amazed how much my scars had healed – so that I could speak equanaimously about things that once upset me.

I stayed in the same bedroom I shared with my last-but-one lover, and where we finally split up… and felt relief more than sadness. (A good omen for my break-up with my more recent ex!) 

The hopes and fears I had when I left are so different from those were in my mind yesterday. The ghosts of old dreams that made me decide to leave have been laid to rest. But I still would not choose to go back.

Sometimes it is good to look back to see how far you have travelled. And then carry on walking towards your future.

More songs to heal a broken heart?

Anyone know some good songs to encourage and console people who are feeling broken-hearted?

I’ve noticed that several people are arriving at my blog by googling various phrases that appear in my post “Songs to heal a broken heart“. So clearly I wasn’t the only one looking for songs about love that give an encouraging message to people whose love lives have fallen apart.

Music is so powerful – sometimes sad music that expresses all the agony of heartbreak is what we need, but I quickly found that if I only listened to that sort of music, it made me feel worse rather than better. So I started looking out for music that gives a more positive message – that it is possible to survive the loss of love, to rebuild your life either happily alone or with someone new. Songs that talk about regaining your strength, of putting yourself and your life back together!

I’d love to collect some more songs about healing the wounds of lost love – it would be a lovely theme for a concert or a CD! (talk about making lemonade when life gives you lemons!)

So please leave a comment with your favourite medicine for the heartsick!

To get you started, here’s one of my favourites – Pink Martini’s Hang on Little Tomato – with a lovely slideshow that someone posted on youtube:

Fading images of fading love

I can hardly remember what he looks like any more.

It’s been 4 months, more or less, since I last saw him. (I used to know how many weeks it had been, without having to think, but this time I had to check my diary…)

At the weekend I came across a photograph of him on my computer, and it was like going back to your home town after an absence of 20 years. The strange sensation of seeing things that you don’t remember until you see them again. And, even stranger, feeling how dramatically the emotional significance has changed.

I remember the delight with which I pieced together his image in my mind while separated from him in the first heady weeks of our love. I would always start with his eyes and the angle of his browbone, which I found irresistibly attractive. And from there there the mental image just fell into place – a face, smiling, and haloed in the glow of our radiant happiness. I remember that feeling – but I can’t see the picture any more.

Now when I try to remember what he looks like, the image is clouded with echoes of the pain of the break up. I remember the coldness with which he turned away from me, the arrogance and defensiveness he showed in those last conversations. But the pain is fading, and the mental image fades with it.

Shortly after we broke up, I changed my computer screensaver, because each time it flashed up a picture of him it was a painful reminder. The person I loved had vanished, leaving behind someone who looked the same but behaved completely differently. And each time I saw his photo, the pain I felt at his rejection of my love and my honesty stabbed my heart all over again.

For a long while I avoided these reminders, and just got on with healing from the pain, and learning from it what I needed to learn. And now the pain is almost entirely gone, the mental image I have of him is fading, and seeing photos no longer brings back the pain.

It feels strange, but much more peaceful.

Each day now the memories slip further into the past. If I try, I can remember our happiness and the fun things we did together, and I smile – as you do when you hear a story of happiness which happened to someone else, a long time ago.

In the present I feel just a little wistfulness, plenty of compassion and the occasional flash of anger.

It is the future, with all its challenges and hopes, that interests me now.

Open heart surgery (haiku)

Searing needles stab
Stitch sutures for the hurt heart
Healing comes…. slowly.

(a reflection on my previous post natural cycles of recovery on how pain can be part of the healing process