Calming words

Writer Anne Lamott before her 61st birthday sat down and wrote all the truths she absolutely knew.  They include the importance of radical self-care

“Being full of affection for one’s goofy, self-centred, cranky, annoying self is home; it’s where world peace begins.”

“Every writer you know writes really terrible first drafts – but they keep their butt in the chair… they do it by prearrangement with themselves, they do it as a debt of honour.”

“if people want you to write more warmly about them – they should have behaved better” (round of applause from the audience)

“Grace is spiritual WD40 or waterwings”

These are words specifically written for people feeling overwhelmed by complicated politics in their country, by rapidly changing world events.  Above all, they are humane and hopeful, positive and spiritual.

Creativity healing

detail: photo by Marvin Lynchard, of soldier using art therapy

Just read an excellent article on the website about how creativity is a natural way for the brain to help process trauma.  Trauma by its nature is overwhelming – so the brain cannot deal with and store what is happening in the usual way.  With normal events, memories are stored using words:


“This makes it easy to recall and describe memories from the past. However, because traumatic events are processed when under extreme distress they cannot be properly assembled together and remembered as a coherent narrative, and so are stored in non-declarative memory, which operates unconsciously and is not processed in words.”

Creative arts have been observed to be helpful in particular situations: creative writing with refugees, drama with soldiers and photography with mental health of HIV/Aids affected women.

What do the creative arts offer?

  • help to people to remember and process the events
  • help the recaller distance himself/herself a little from the trauma to creatively share the experience with others
  • may help reconnect cultures divided by violence (e.g. drama)
  • it is often nonverbal, so aids those who struggle to find words for their emotional reactions
  • help without drugs and medicinal side-effects
  • an accompaniment to word-based listening, where appropriate

The article I read was mostly about the works/writings of Professor Bessel Van der Volk and his book “The Body keeps the Score”.  Catch the article, written by Senior Lecturer in Abnormal/Clinical Psychology, Bath Spa University at:



28,000 days

Enda O’Doherty (the gent fundraising for mental health help by carrying a fridge up Kilimanjaro) – lives life in challenging ways, as he is an alcoholic:


“I’m far more afraid of not living. I don’t want to spend my time just sitting eating take away pizza and looking at Netflix thinking that I’m living life. Given my hardships in the past, I’m so grateful for happy days, for adventures, and my good health. I really appreciate it.


“I told someone once that I live life like I’m terminally ill. And they reacted with shock that they didn’t know I was ill. But that’s not it. Of course I’m not. No more than anyone else. We all have 28,000 days on average. So, what are you going to do with them?

Fascinating.  There’s an old bit in the bible (somewhere around Psalm 90)  “Teach us Lord to number our days that we may apply our hearts onto wisdom”  – now, putting this with Enda’s quote is thought-provoking: what if each day we asked ourselves at the end of the day: what have I done today?  Anything positive counts: even trying something new, giving someone else a smile, stretching that talent I don’t use enough, finding something amazing and sharing it on social media, becoming a little more loving, helping someone, getting over that disappointment quicker, making a good health choice……. and then continuing this daily, living with the expectation that at the end of the day I will ask myself “So what did you do with today?”.

It may be wise.

Loyalty and Kindness – Drawn IN (Carole Bury)

Artist: Carole Bury


Both a beautiful statement and illustration, by artist Carole Bury.  You can see more of her work on her website  She works through fine art, paper, textiles, drawings, often with the subject of birds and flight and associated emotions of joy and release.

“As my pencils and charcoal dance and skitter over the paper I sense I am releasing the secrets of myself and those of my subject. Drawing is an internal dialogue, a conversation between artist and nature, during which each small detail is discussed. By its very nature my drawing is an invitation to the viewer to ‘listen in’.”

Golden Flight Feathers – by Carole Bury