The following article was recently published in Psychologica Magazine’s special edition on Trauma. I’ve included a link to the full magazine, lots of great articles on trauma treatments, both from a clinical perspective as well as personal. Hope you might find something that resonates.
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silent spaces…pause between words…shaping time…making art.
There is the sudden silence of the crowd
above a player not moving on the field,
and the silence of the orchid.
The silence of the falling vase
before it strikes the ﬂoor,
the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child.
The stillness of the cup and the water in it,
the silence of the moon
and the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.
The silence when I hold you to my chest,
the silence of the window above us,
and the silence when you rise and turn away.
And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night
like snow falling in the darkness of the house—
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography –
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.
by Pablo Neruda, from Fully Empowered, 1962
translated from the Spanish by Alastair Reid
is usually far removed
from the cycles and forces
of the natural world
and it can often seem empty
of any real purpose.
The ash is a key to healing the loneliness
of the human spirit
out of touch
with its origins
it can provide a sense of being grounded
and of belonging.
The ash reminded the Celts of the interlinking
of the Three Cycles of Being.
Likewise we are encouraged to consider
the role of the past in creating the present,
so that we can better appreciate
the many ways
in which positive thought and action today
can help to create a brighter tomorrow.
Through a constant process
of balancing and marrying opposites,
we, like the ash,
can achieve harmony
from The Wisdom of Trees by Jane Gifford
In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing stand
there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see
or the child’s older self, a poet,
a woman dreaming when she should be typing
the last report of the day. If this were a map,
she thinks, a map laid down to memorize
because she might be walking it, it shows
ridge upon ridge fading into hazed desert
here and there a sign of aquifers
and one possible watering‐hole. If this were a map
it would be the map of the last age of her life,
not a map of choices but a map of variations
on the one great choice. It would be the map by which
she could see the end of touristic choices,
of distances blued and purpled by romance,
by which she would recognize that poetry
isn’t revolution but a way of knowing
why it must come. If this cheap,
mass‐produced wooden stand from the Brooklyn Union Gas Co.,
mass‐produced yet durable, being here now,
is what it is yet a dream‐map
so obdurate, so plain,
she thinks, the material and the dream can join
and that is the poem and that is the late report.
a poem by Adrienne Rich
“When you go out into the woods
and you look at trees
you see all these different trees.
And some of them are bent,
and some of them are straight,
and some of them are evergreens,
and some of them are whatever.
And you look at the tree
and you allow it.
You see why it is the way it is.
You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light,
and so it turned that way.
And you don’t get all emotional about it.
You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.
The minute you get near humans,
you lose all that.
And you are constantly saying,
‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’
That judging mind comes in.
And so I practice turning people into trees.
Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”
Ram Dass a.k.a. Richard Alpert (b. 1931)
American spiritual teacher and author
a children’s book…
3 young sisters
plant a small elm tree
in their backyard.
Through the years…
the three sisters begin to realize
that the elm tree,
is their home.
The sisters see…
that the elm tree
remains with them…
watching over the 3 sisters
and holding time…
a tree of life…
As the 3 sisters grow
with their tree.
a synopsis of a story by Nora Sommerdorf
“An Elm Tree and Three Sisters”
“Days” from Collected Poems.
Used by permission of The Society of Authors as the Literary Representative of the Estate of Philip Larkin.
Source: Collected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001)