On Growing Old


On Growing Old

Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying,
My dog and I are old, too old for roving,
Man, whose passion sets the spindrift flying
Is soon too lame to march, too cold for loving.

I take the book and gather to the fire,
Turning old yellow leaves; minute by minute,
The clock ticks to my heart; a withered wire
Moves a thin ghost of music in the spinet.

I cannot sail your seas, I cannot wander
Your cornland, nor your hill-land nor your valleys,
Ever again, nor share the battle yonder
Where the young knight the broken squadron rallies.

Only stay quiet while my mind remembers
The beauty of fire from the beauty of embers.

Beauty, have pity, for the strong have power,
The rich their wealth, the beautiful their grace,
Summer of man its sunlight and its flower,
Spring time of man all April in a face.

Only, as in the jostling in the Strand,
Where the mob thrusts or loiters or is loud
The beggar with the saucer in his hand
Asks only a penny from the passing crowd,

So, from this glittering world with all its fashion,
Its fire and play of men, its stir, its march,
Let me have wisdom, Beauty, wisdom and passion,
Bread to the soul, rain where the summers parch.

Give me but these, and though the darkness close,
Even the night will blossom as the rose.

~~ John Masefield ~~

Image origin: unknown, found circulating on Facebook


Affirmation of the Week



Synchronicity is a wonderful thing and it always amazes me when a theme will keep repeating itself. I usually find that’s because there’s a message I need to hear. It’s not always pleasant I have to admit, I mean… who among us wants to be constantly reminded of the areas we need to work on, let alone be sent enough messages for lightbulbs to start flashing!

I’m talking here not of being empathic in a healer’s, reiki or psychic sense (where we pick up on another’s emotions and/or feelings and literally feel what they are feeling), but more like what Wikipedia has to say in its definition of empathy:

Empathy is the capability to share and understand another’s emotion and feelings. It is often characterized as the ability to “put oneself into another’s shoes,” or in some way experience what the other person is feeling. Empathy does not necessarily imply compassion, sympathy or empathic concern because this capacity can be present in context of compassionate or cruel behavior.

When people come to us for help and/or advice and we listen, we give them a shoulder (whether literal or not) to lean on. We do not judge them for whatever has or hasn’t happened, rather we give them time and space to vocalise their feelings and thoughts …. and hopefully this in turn will allow the person concerned to feel as if some of the weight has been lifted, that someone cares… that they matter. Always an important aspect in my opinion.

But how can we do this if we have no real experience of what they are going through? This is where I believe Wikipedia’s definition of empathy comes in. As it states, we try to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, or to at the very least look at problems as if through their eyes, their perspective – to walk alongside them as it were. We can then try to visualise how this would make us feel, what our automatic reactions would be and how we would react. Yet because we are emotionally distanced or not physically involved (albeit slightly if it’s your best friends or possibly close family) we can then offer a different and more detached perspective to the person concerned, which in turn, may then help them to not take things so personally, to not hurt, to learn to react differently… or just give them pause for thought.

As Eleanor Roosevelt states: “No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent

I always thought I tried to empathise with people, but at one point in my life when I was faced with some difficult situations, I realised that I didn’t empathise enough! And as a result of that, when I then had discussions with some people, those conversations degenerated because both parties were operating from an emotional and self-motivated point of view. Neither were empathising with the other. As a result, I learnt when to spot the warning flags rearing up… and when that happened… to detach, take a few steps back and try to look at things from the other’s perspective… I tried to empathise 🙂 It’s amazing what that can do, how much it can help you learn about yourself, about others… and how it can change your relationships! And when these lessons started appearing for me, personally, quite a few years ago, I never realised quite how important it would be to me professionally… today it’s obviously a fundamental part of my counselling and coaching work!

So this week, I would ask:

How do you view empathy?
How do you currently empathise with others?
In which situations do you empathise the most?
In which situations do you empathise the least?
What can you do to improve your ability to empathise?

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne

The Power Of One


The Power of One

One song can spark a moment,
One whisper can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One moment can make one fall in love.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.

One step must start each journey.
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what’s true,
One life can make a difference,
You see, it’s up to you!

~~ Ashish Ram ~~

Affirmation of the Week



Working within a busy city… it’s all too easy to get caught up in the trudge of the daily commute. I’m sure most people can identify with the imagery that the word commuting would bring up in our minds… the rat race, a multitude of people, the majority dressed in black or grey… dashing single-mindedly to their places of work. Almost a uniform image really… and I’m one of them, been doing the same thing for quite some years now… and at this time of year it seems to be much “harder” to get up in the morning and face that daily “trudge”.

Winter is now breathing down our necks in the Northern Hemisphere, the clocks are about to go back and darkness has descended before it’s time to leave the office for home at the end of the day. It’s getting colder, we’re wrapping up warmer, there’s less light and sometimes it feels as if a spark has gone out a wee bit with the reduced amount of sunshine… yes we do get some sunshine in the UK!

I was thinking how grey it all looks. The commuters, the weather, the buildings… and how that too can lend a more negative vibe not just to ourselves but to how we interact with other people which then has a ripple effect into our day. Yet this doesn’t mean I can’t smile… that I can’t lift my head and see light and sparkles in things I pass by on that daily journey. But how many people do I see walking past with their heads down, shoulders hunched, looking and acting miserably as if they can’t bear to be outdoors, can’t bear their everyday lives? How grey do people look when they do that? And depressed… as if they are wishing their lives away, waiting for the warmer weather to reappear again. And then I thought that I too am known to have walked like this and sometimes still do when I’m moving on automatic pilot first thing in the morning.

Yet, it comes down to choice. Behaving, looking and acting grey is a choice when instead I could be smiling. OK, I don’t mean manically all the time, like someone deranged (yeah yeah that happens normally *grin*)… or as if I’ve just stepped out wearing a Joker costume, but just generally… what is to stop me from smiling… from choosing to enjoy each step in the brisk air instead of hunching over miserably… from choosing to be happy?

Absolutely nothing.

So this week… and the following weeks as they meander into the future… I am choosing to smile.

And if you’re not smiling, I would ask why not… and hope you find a reason to choose to smile for 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne

Comes the Dawn


Comes the Dawn

“After awhile you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn’t mean security,
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises.
And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes open.
With the grace of maturity, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on
Today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans,
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And that you really do have worth.
And you learn and learn and learn ….
With every goodbye you learn.”

~~ Veronica A. Shoffstall ~~

Affirmation of the Week



The 3rd precept of reiki says: Honor your parents, teachers and elders. But how easy is this really? For we don’t live in a simple world, with simple relationships, we live in a world where connections are complex, not least the relationships with those closest to us, which very often have huge undertones throughout our lives.

Honour… a simple word, but not a simple meaning. Or is it? Wikipedia has the word “honor” as meaning:

“Honor or Honour (see spelling differences), (from the Latin word honos,honoris) is the evaluation of a person’s trustworthiness and social status based on that individual’s espousals and actions. Honour is deemed exactly what determines a person’s character: whether or not the person reflects honesty, respect, integrity, or fairness. Accordingly, individuals are assigned worth and stature based on the harmony of their actions, code of honour, and that of the society at large. Honour can be analysed as a relativistic concept, i.e., conflicts between individuals and even cultures arising as a consequence of material circumstance and ambition, rather than fundamental differences in principle. Alternatively, it can be viewed as nativist – that honour is as real to the human condition as love, and likewise derives from the formative personal bonds that establish one’s personal dignity and moral character.”

It reads as rather a lot, and quite complex, don’t you think? So, in view of this week’s affirmation, I’m taking honour to mean as acting with high moral integrity, to treat people as you wish to be treated (one of my favourite sayings and beliefs), to do the *right* thing and for actions to match words.

In view of that, it sounds quite straightforward to honour those who teach us, who look after us and we who look up to. But how easy is it in reality? What about when you don’t respect someone, especially if they are a teacher, an elder, or even a parent? When they have constantly let you down, when they do not practice what they preach? What if you don’t like them, even if you love them? What if you have no contact any more? What if they are needy? What if your relationship is unequal? What then?

I believe this then comes down, as it usually does, to our own selves. Gawd, at this rate I think it sounds like I’m becoming a me, me, me person *grin*. Our little mirror again, reflecting back at us what we need to understand about ourselves. In which case, shouldn’t the first person we honour, be our self?

On the face of it, when I thought about this, I thought, well I do honour myself. I do what I want, when I want. It’s not like I’m going to lie to myself, promise myself things and then not deliver… it’s not as if I look down on myself… am unfair to myself. And on the surface of it, I do honour myself. But that still surface is a cover for many things that lurk below *grin*… yep, I promise myself lots of things and don’t deliver… like sleep, like chill out time… like cutting myself some slack when the metaphorical straws are mounting up on the camel’s back! I don’t think I look down on myself these days but I do know I don’t praise myself enough and that I need to acknowledge my capabilities and what I’ve managed to achieve over the years… even if I’m better at it these days than years ago… well, the list could go on and on and on. Can you recognise yourself in any of this?

So, Honour… a path that I’m taking one little step at a time… and each one filled with truth, with respect, with fairness and integrity… with love… to walk with honour. I honour myself. Do you?

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne

The Starfish Story


The Starfish Story

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

“I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?” asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “It made a difference for that one.”

~~ Loren Eiseley ~~

Affirmation of the Week



Quite some time ago I was reading “Your Sacred Self – making the decision to be free” by Wayne Dyer and then synchronistically came across this quote by him:

Solitude can become your most meaningful companion
and it can assist you in being a more giving person
in your spiritual partnerships. Rather than regarding your
partner’s need for time alone as a threat, see it as a time of renewal
that you celebrate. Make every effort to help each other
have that space. Treat that space as sacred.
~~ Wayne Dyer ~~

When I first read this, my instinctive reaction was that I wondered why someone would need alone time, I certainly never thought I did! Cue several years down the path of learning about the self and I had to take those automatic words back for they were a defence mechanism that then still needed to be watched.

We are all individuals first and foremost, I believe we come to relationships to learn and this is where we have to compromise… and as a result, often our own needs can be left somewhat unfulfilled. By taking time out, being on our own, we renew our most primary relationship… that with our own self. It can also be the time when we think things through (rather than arguing), when we can get little jobs done just for ourselves, where we can sit, we can just be. The majority of people reading this will probably say that they don’t have enough time, that time and space for your self is a luxury… but if we don’t look after ourselves, then how can we even expect to have any energy or enthusiasm left to give to others, especially our families, which although we love dearly… can be very very draining!

If we feel or believe we need these things for our selves… it’s not a stretch of the imagination to realise our partners will most likely need exactly the same thing. And even if we don’t, they might. We all deserve our own *me time*… so who can you help achieve that?

If you feel that you don’t need space and/or can’t understand why your partner would need space from you (because of course, let’s face it, we are all wonderful, charismatic, loving creatures aren’t we *grin*… who would need space from us!!!)… I would ask you… why do you feel this way? And just what are your parameters for space? What you think this *space* actually means? And what are your motivations for it too!

We all have different thoughts on this I’m sure, and our parameters are relevant and important to us… but are they relevant to your partner? If you are both sitting on a see-saw, is it balanced? And if not, why not? Which would then lead to more questions…

Why do you hold on so tight or run away demanding a continent of space?
Do you cling or do you in fact run in the opposite direction?
What is the worst that would happen if you gave someone space?
Is your need for either… fear-based… (both to hold on or to have too much space)?
How much space is enough *space*?
What does your space give you?
What does space give your partner?

This week I am going to give myself some space, from stressing about work, from little jobs that I should be doing… space from responsibility… I am going to take a few minutes out of each day just to do… nothing probably *grin*… and will make sure to enjoy every second of it!

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne



This has to be one of my most favourite pieces/poems/thoughts that I’ve ever come across.  It may have been written a long time ago, but it has such relevance today. Enjoy!


 Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

~ Max Ehrmann c.1920 ~

Affirmation of the Week



Language and communication… where would we be without it?  I remember when I had a discussion with a friend of mine at work about how we express ourselves and how we can be perceived through that expression. Which of course led me to thinking this would be a great affirmation!

I am talking about verbal communication here… what energy we are pouring out of our mouths! You can think all the most wonderful thoughts in the world, but as we all know… that old cliché is also true, actions speak louder than words. So this week I thought we’d combine the two.

Like many people I have been known to swear.  And speak negatively.  And have a pity party for one.  And quite some years ago, yep… there was a fair bit of that negativity going on.  That’s not to say some situations don’t actually deserve some of this, some do.  But it’s also not something I was proud of… and the majority of the time it was purely habit, I slipped back into them automatically. I didn’t do it at work (in the office I mean, well not the majority of the time anyway) and it’s not as if I needed to do it the rest of the time if I’m honest with myself. Some of it was knee-jerk reaction, like when someone pulls out in front of your car at the wrong moment… and the rest of the time? Well, it was unnecessary really. It had no benefit… it generally brought absolutely nothing of any value into my life, in fact I think it cheapened it!

Then one day I was on the way home and I heard someone say something that I could imagine myself saying on the train, in fact I’ve probably said the same words in the past (I won’t repeat them here)… it sounded awful. It sounded cheap. It gave a feeling and I guess automatic judgement about that person… so what a shock when I realised that that could be me… with someone else watching and thinking these things about me.

“I’m not like that”, I kept thinking to myself… but yes, at that moment… it was a part of me 😦 A very sobering thought indeed. It’s not nice when you come across these realisations of your self is it!

Why on earth do people do it? Some answers to that question I can think of are… habit… copying others that are around you… bravado… anger… fear… insecurity… none of these are positive are they!!!! Yet everyone I know who swears, tells or would tell their kids not to swear, that it’s not nice… it doesn’t sound nice… so why do they do it themselves?

This also brings to mind a quotation I read which fits here as well:

People may doubt what you say, but they’ll believe what you do
~~ Lewis Cass ~~

You can say you’re a nice person who speaks lovingly, but what actual words and energy comes out of your mouth? What impression are you giving to others? Is it representative of the real you, the light and spark that exists at your core… the one that is filled with love and hope and happiness? I know that even now, there can be a difference here for me… so now I am working on eradicating the automatic reactions I have verbally, and also on the core reasons why they appear in the first place. I do believe in walking with love, in emitting love… therefore my verbal energy should be the same as my mental and emotional energy… from hereon in… I aim to speak in a loving manner (and I’ll no doubt be tested on that some time soon when I’m driving *ahem*!) 🙂

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2012 Michelle Payne

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