Friday, 19 December 2014

The spectrum of our relationships

Thought provoking question: Do we limit our capacity to love?

If yes, lets ask ourselves how we do so. Someone recently told me this: "Ann, have you ever considered how you can love people of who are of diametrically opposite personalities? These individuals are at the ends of a spectrum. And in between lie all the other people that you touch with your life - different people at different times in different ways, . You give of yourself to so many people - in umpteen ways, in as many times. You have so much love in you to give." This observation astounded and humbled me. I had never thought of love as a continuum.

Are we guilty of neatly labeling relationships and slotting them into appropriate boxes? To be opened and closed as and when required? What does a relationship mean to us?
Look at the babies. Relationships are quite simple really for them. They freely give unconditional love. When does this metamorphose into a learned behaviour of giving when something is given in return? Giving and always expecting something in return.

We love, and expect to be loved in return. And if we don't receive what we expect, we neatly label the box and file it away for posterity. Little realising that in doing so, we are also slotting a part of ourselves away. That we become less 'whole' in the process. In the process, relationships become a barter of sorts. Where is the giving of self in such a case?

Dr Richard McHugh once said that love is decision to give all of oneself, willingly, no expectations. Its a choice one makes.  When we enter into relationships with people, be they parents, friends, children, spouses, lovers, colleagues & others - with expectations of what we will receive, where is the giving? Aren't we then guilty of choosing how much of ourselves we share?

The metaphor that comes to mind is the notes of music. The music is our life. The notes the relationships we have in this life. Each note is distinct, no two are alike. Each has a different life span. Some are played gently, some strongly; some long, others short. Some notes are played over and over again. There are pauses between these relationship notes. Every one note is whole in itself, but limited. When played individually, they stand apart with no connection. Play it in continuum, and the beautiful song of love emerges. A place for every note, in the song of our lives.  Let's walk this beautiful journey of life, learning to touch lives by giving of ourselves in relationships with love....

Seasons greetings to all!    

Thursday, 4 December 2014

What is love?

It brings a smile to my lips, a lift to my heart.
A flutter to the insides, joy to my soul. 
A feeling of connect that goes deep within,
Deeper than the oceans can hold within.

Tenderness galore, sweet as the spring
Freshness in outlook, seeing new things
A spring in my step, walking on air
Feelings galore, laying me bare.

A feeling, a desire, a craving to be?
A sense of completeness that lets me be?
A desire to take and give of its own
Complacent and secure, nothing torn?

A cry in the desert, ravaged by pain
Barrenness surrounding the heart therein
Forlorn, forsaken, pierced to the heart
Bleeding, an orphan that longs for the hearth.

Plummeting to the depths, the ravine deep
Yet cushioned by air, buoyant in sleep
Waking to experience the lightness within
The pain and the paradise, contained within.

Music I now hear, the pause before the note
The silence that tells a story of its own
Words left unsaid, gentle like a feather
The whisper of breath, heard by the other.

A feeling, a desire? More a decision to be
Giving to the other, whatever may be
In loving myself, finding meaning within
Compassion to be, to give and receive.

Quietly, serenely, nothing to prove
Yet feeling love in its myriad hues
A child, a parent, a lover, a friend
Love in every action, with no end.

A feeling…of rightness, a decision to be
Bottomless, fathomless, wide as the sea
An atom, a ripple, a wave that crests
If this is not love, what is love at best?

-       Ann Joseph

Thursday, 27 November 2014

The dance of truth

As butterflies we go from flower to flower
Searching for nectar, from sunlight to bower
A searing presence, few moments at a time
Fleeting in intensity, reflective of its time.

What do I do? Asks the deep from within
What do I say? Ask the words therein
Do I allow the words to fly free
Forming sentences that would surely be me?

Do I instead rein them in?
Holding the patterns of thoughts within?
What would happen if the rails were set free?
Would it let loose a different me?   

What is it that sets the barrier line
From expressing who I really am?
A fear of loss, maybe perceived slight
A fear of rejection, all located in the mind.  

Vulnerability, that’s what I aim to hide
Covered in words & actions aimed right.
Little realizing that in doing so
I bury myself in images that mow.

Till I wake up & fling the covering layers
Taking courage in my hands, a self that dares
To be who I am, to say what I feel
Being truthful within, compassionately healed.

The dance of truth, flitting from bower to bow
Let loose on its flight & homing in low
Finding its restful place, completeness within
A kindred soul, met on the journey therein.

-              Ann Joseph

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, like 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, like 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!