Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Memories may fade…yet love lives on

Words dance on my lips, and flit away
As I seek to catch them, wondering if I may
Be allowed to express them, seeking to understand
Words that hover on the fringes, footprints in the sand.

As I remember the years gone by, just about two
I wonder what had happened, my apparent waterloo
A watershed, a marking, an etching in stone
A burden too heavy for a time to bemoan.

Now I turn back and look…nothing in sight
A mirage, a feeling, an experience, a soaring kite
Searching for images, few come to mind
Fewer than before, and of a different kind.

Memories? I can scarce bring to mind
Vividness of colour and clarity rescind   
I struggle to hear the haunting melody of voice
Lost in the cacophony of daily noise.

Fading memories, yet sustaining love
A never ending well, a strong hull
Mellower and deeper, a feeling that’s within
A soulful communion with my mother within.

-          -  Ann Joseph  
      (written in loving memory of my mother, this second year of remembrance)

Monday, 17 November 2014


Moments expand into a lifetime, 
A lifetime compresses into a moment;
A moment to come, a moment to go
The story of our lives…from first breath to last.

Moment by moment…a year passes by;
Quickly, yet slowly…just as is needed within
Bringing healing in pain, joy in sorrow
Knowing that in the twain, lie growth in the morrow.

A moment to remember, another to forget
Tears in one moment, laughter the next
Moments of anxiety, not knowing what’s next
Forgotten in moments of surety, knowing what’s best.
Moments of divine love, bringing solace unshakable
Confined to the need, yet vast and unmeasurable.
Moment by moment, we each learn to live
Pressed down, yet soaring…fleeting, yet eternal.

-       Ann Joseph
Written in November 2013, in memory of my Mum’s 1st death anniverasry


When love finds the self....

Confusion abounds in the life of the soul
When love draws near, scattering the whole
Life as its known, goes on a twist
Impressions galore, fleeting as the mist.

Losing oneself, yet finding the self
Hidden in depths, treasures in myself
Leaning on someone, now here then gone
Mist over the moor, a long drawn moan.

Where the self, where is it gone?
Lost in the love of someone bygone
Searching for self in another day's morn
Yet the mirror reflects the eye of the storm.

At home in the present, love comes to abide
Chaotic yet peaceful, a nugget to hide.
Blooming like a Lily, pure as the light
Arising from shadows, Phoenix in the night.

When love finds its soul, stilling the quest
It blooms from within, encompassing the nest
A nugget to treasure, from within not without
Radiating kindness, compassion, nothing to withhold.

- Ann Joseph


Friday, 14 November 2014

Illusions of (in)adequacy

Its been a while since I updated my blog. Interactions with people the past few weeks have made me put finger to keyboard again!  

In my conversations with people from different walks of life over past few days, I have heard subtle cries for help. I have sensed deep desires to climb out of a pit of doubt, self-consciousness and silent misery; of a feeling of inadequacy. Nothing overtly expressed, until gentle understanding from kindred souls draw it hesitantly out.

Very often, these are covered up with a hearty laugh, a smile, a gesture. Little do we see past the facade which so cleverly masks the inner anguish. Do feelings of inadequacy well up inside you at times? I guess they do arise within us at different times, in different ways.

We become like chameleons - adept at camouflage. It becomes a habit so ingrained that we fail to distinguish between illusion and reality. The illusion becomes the airbrush that masks the terrain. Very often this arises from the thought – what will others think? So the illusion begins to mark the terrain deeper, till it scores into the earth and develops roots. A mind-made forest emerges, which chokes the ‘self’ to a shriveling mass within. Left to die, yet cannot die – the source of life within.

So what do we do? An analogy comes to mind. A recent painting project at my house revealed the process to getting a good coat of paint.
  1. Masking - First comes the masking, of all things which need to be retained the way it is. So let’s first identify all things which we are perfectly happy with. Mask it to keep it on.
  2. Gentle Sanding – Now comes the seemingly easy part of gentle sanding of the walls of our lives that we are unhappy with. This involves going within and being with ourselves. Yesterday, someone mentioned that it is scary to shut the world out and be with ourselves! To the un-initiated it may appear so. So gently sand the walls and go to the deeper question – In feeling inadequate, what do I really want? What is it that 'want' within me that I desire to fill with something that someone outside can give me? 
  3. First coat of primer & ‘putty’ – having reached the root, it now has to be strengthened. Here come the resources that need to be identified. Strengths that are within. Got a few in mind? Good. 
  4. Sanding a second time – and this one’s strong. Don’t we find it difficult to identify hidden inner strengths and resources? A person was flabbergasted when I asked to list at least 20 inner strengths, capabilities and resources. Look back at all the times that you have excelled. What did you have that enabled your excellence? List them.  Why stop at 20, go for a century! You’ll be surprised. Another person once copiously wrote five pages of resources!
  5. Second coat of primer - Now it’s time for those newly resurrected strengths to get settled in and strengthen.  Keep playing them in your head. Visualise future situations where you get to use them, situations where you would earlier feel inadequate.
  6. Coats of paint – Now all you need to do is colour your world by choosing to be yourself, exhibiting all your resources in all their glory. Choose to have the controls to ‘feeling good’ with you – not hand them over others.
  7. Unmasking of that which was masked – wholeness is essential. Be yourself. Let’s take charge of our lives.    
    Have questions? Reach out to me - send an email!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

In stillness...

How many of us are comfortable with stillness? We tend to surround ourselves with voices, sounds, people, laughter…seeking comfort and a reason for living in them. While they all play a part in shaping, developing and providing meaning in our lives, do we ever take the time to quieten down and be still?

‘Stress management’, ‘Slowing down’ are all jargons that have somehow become words that are bandied about by all and sundry. These words conjure up visions of idyllic holiday spots and activities that are again filled to the brim with…well, voices, sounds, people, laughter. So what’s different? The stresses and anxieties get waylaid for a while, providing a temporary relief to many; only to raise their heads at the next opportunity.

Are you comfortable with stillness? In stillness…I find what I want to find. It could be love, comfort, God, the Spirit, relief, joy, sounds or music. The words from William Wordsworth’s famous poem, ‘The solitary reaper’, come to mind:
“I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.”

What strikes me here is the idea of listening to stillness, and carrying away its music in the heart.

  • In stillness, my world slows down and the mind pays attention to the soul within. 
  • In stillness, I listen to my body and become aware of subtle nuances that I would otherwise miss. 
  • In stillness, I become aware of my breath and how my whole being rests on that simple pattern of inhalation and exhalation. 
  • In stillness, I realise that all that matters is internal, not external; that all I need is within, not without. I realise that all that is without can only add to the experience from within. 
  • In stillness, I experience that my core is within. 
  • In stillness, comes a sense of oneness with the divinity or the spirit within, a peace, a communion with the self. 
  • In stillness, I experience the motion within.
With stillness, come purity, refined thoughts and words that don’t matter. The words of the song ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen are very apt:

“There’s a blaze of light in every word
It doesn’t matter what you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah”

With stillness comes awareness of myself as a whole. An awareness, that starts the process of transformation from within.
With stillness, comes a sense of equanimity, inside and out.

So take time to be still, and listen to the voices from within. Take time to be still, and listen to the music within. Take time to be still, and listen to the secrets of the silence within. Take time to be still, and be attentive to what is going on within. Take time to be still, and become aware of the movements within. Take time to be still and harness your strengths from within.
Take time to be still...and just be...


Still voices, trills of laughter abound
Relationships which matter, people around
Company a keeping, yet chasms surround
The deep within - the unknown yonder.

Together, yet alone; deep yearnings galore
Ideals of relationships, fostered through years
Desires of complete union, nurtured within
Unbaked clay, never to see the potter’s kiln.

Union and separateness: two halves to a whole
Calm winds and raging tempests, the eye of the storm
Separateness experienced in the wholeness of union
Yet true union savoured by chosen few in the world.

Can there be separateness, when union is incomplete?
Or complete union when separateness is severed?
The self floats around, finding comfort in neither
Till courage stands still and lets go of either.

Letting go of desires, cravings within
Self with self, Union from deep within
The known with the unknown, shadow plays with light

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Perceptions of relationships

What would be your answer if somebody were to ask you – how is the quality of your relationship with people who matter to you? I’m sure there would be a gamut of adjectives and phrases to describe the relationships that matter to us - particularly in relation to our parents. 

It never ceases to amaze me how we sometimes hold our parents responsible for practically all of our problems.  We go through most of our life holding on to grievances, unhappiness and so called ‘negative’ feelings, little realising how they affect present relationships in subtle ways.

How many of us have ever paused to consider that maybe the relationship or other person in the relationship is not at fault – maybe it’s just our perception? And once we re-wire our perception, the relationship changes. The past events then no longer have a hold on us the way they have been.

Have you ever tried to understand feelings from the other’s perceptual position? I urge you to try it out.  Remember the relationship or event that you feel most affects you. Consider the significant persons in that relationship/event. Step into the perceptual position of the other person(s) and re-look at the situation from their point of view. Start a dialogue if required, to better understand the positive intention behind their actions and behaviour. Does that enable you to understand their behaviour/ response patterns better? Does that change your perception of the event? Does it in any way change the feelings you have developed towards the other person? If done with genuine intent, you will experience a sea change of changing perceptions.

Changing our perceptions will enable us realise that we choose to understand, perceive and experience situations and interactions with others in a way that makes sense to us at the time. It’s not necessarily what the other person felt or intended to communicate. When we re-wire those perceptions, we feel a sense of liberation from past held limiting beliefs.  And we begin to understand that it was not the person and/or relationships that were are ‘fault’ – it was just our perception of that person and/or relationship.