Jenny Buckwell (MBACP)
Counsellor in Walton-on-Thames

Here are poems, thoughts and reflections that have been meaningful for clients and also for me.

It may be that some will resonate with you in the time you are experiencing. Clients have said to me, there is a comfort in the reminder that difficult emotions are part of the human condition, we are not alone in experiencing them and can even share them with insight, tenderness and humour.


Falling: The Code

I lie beneath my window listening
to the sound of apples dropping in

the yard, a syncopated code I long to know,
which continues even as I sleep, and dream I know

the meaning of what I hear, each dull
thud of unseen apple-

body, the earth
falling to earth

once and forever, over
and over.


October 2014

Falling: The Code

Through the night
the apples
outside my window
one by one let go
their branches and
drop to the lawn.
I can’t see, but hear
the stem-snap, the plummet
through leaves, then
the final thump against the ground.

Sometimes two
at once, or one
right after another.
During long moments of silence
I wait
and wonder about the bruised bodies,
the terror of diving through air, and
think I’ll go tomorrow
to find the newly fallen, but they
all look alike lying there
dewsoaked, disappearing before me.

I lie beneath my window listening
to the sound of apples dropping in

the yard, a syncopated code I long to know,
which continues even as I sleep, and dream I know

the meaning of what I hear, each dull
thud of unseen apple-

body, the earth
falling to earth

once and forever, over
and over.


September 2014

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact.
Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.
-- Marcus Aurelius

July 2014

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.” ― T.S. Eliot

June 2014
When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.
Viktor E. Frankl

Viktor Emil Frankl, M.D., Ph.D. was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor.

April 2014
“I recently read in the book: My Stroke of Insight by brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor, that the natural life span of an emotion—the average time it takes for it to move through the nervous system and body—is only a minute and a half. After that we need thoughts to keep the emotion rolling. So if we wonder why we lock into painful emotional states like anxiety, depression, or rage, we need look no further than our own endless stream of inner dialogue.”
― Tara Brach

November 2013
A story of wrong perceptions
: Jack Kornfield, “”The Wise Heart”, Rider Press (2008)

One young army officer who had a hot temper and a history of anger and stress-related problems was ordered by his colonel to attend an eight week mindfulness training class to help reduce his level of stress. One day, after attending the class for some weeks, he stopped for groceries on his way home. He was in a hurry and a bit irritated as usual. When he took his cart to check out, there were long queues. He noticed the woman in front of him had only one item but wasn’t in the express line. She was carrying a baby and talking to the cashier. He became irritated. She was in the wrong line, talking, holding every one up. Then she passed the baby to the cashier and the cashier spent a moment cooing over the child. He could feel his habitual anger rising. But because he’d been practicing mindfulness, he started to become aware of the heat and tightness in his body. He could feel the pain. He breathed and relaxed. When he looked up again he saw the little boy smiling. As he reached the cashier he said, “That was a cute little boy”. “Oh, did you like him?” she responded. “That’s my baby. His father was in the air force, but he was killed last winter. Now l have to work full time. My mom tries to bring my boy in once or twice a day so I can see him”.

September 2013 Anger

Anybody can become angry - that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way - that is not within everybody's power and is not easy.


August 2013
The Astonishing Light of your Own Being by Hafiz

One day the sun admitted,
I am just a shadow.
I wish I could show you
The Infinite Incandescence
That has cast my brilliant image!
I wish I could show you,
When you are lonely or in darkness,
The astonishing Light
Of your own Being!


July 2013
Autobiography in Five Chapters (The Romance of Self Discovery) by Portia Nelson

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost . . .
I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I'm in the same place
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes forever to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in . . .
it's a habit.
My eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street. 

June:2013 The Guest House from The Essential Rumi. Translation by Coleman Barks

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

May 2013: by Billy Mills... American Indian, Humanitarian warrior, Olympic gold medal winner.
Poem from the book“Wokini” (New Life) by Billy Mills

In my youth I respected the world and life, I needed not anything but peace of heart

And yet I changed despite myself and believed in Iktumi’s lies.
He seemed to know all the truth, he promised to make me happy.

He made me ask Wakantanka for wealth, that I might have power;
I was given poverty, that I might find my inner strength.

I asked for fame, so others would know me;
I was given obscurity, that I might know myself.

I asked for a person to love that I might never be alone,
I was given a life of a hermit, that I might learn to accept myself.

I asked for power, that I might achieve,
I was given weakness, that I might learn to obey.

I asked for health, that I might lead a long life.
I was given infirmity, that I might appreciate each minute.

I asked Mother Earth for strength, that I might have my way,
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for Her.

I asked to live happily, that I might enjoy life,
I was given life, that I might live happily,

I received nothing I asked for, yet all my wishes came true.

Despite myself and Iktumi, my dreams were fulfilled,

I am richly blessed more than I ever hoped,

I thank-you, Wakantanka, for what you’ve given me.

April 2013 : By Christina Feldman
Excerpt from Compassion: Listening to the Cries of the World

There are no quick fixes to some of the problems which people can face.

Sometimes they can seem even greater by the sense of isolation which they produce. Fear can close us in on ourselves.

However, through remaining open to others and sharing, we realize that there is no law that states that we have to go through problems all alone.

The human story is both personal and universal. Our personal experiences of pain and joy, grief and despair, may be unique to each of us in the forms they take, yet our capacity to feel grief, fear, loneliness, and rage, as well as delight, intimacy, joy, and ease, are our common bonds as human beings. They are the language of the heart that crosses the borders of “I” and “you”.

In the midst of despair or pain you may be convinced that no one has ever felt this way before. Yet there is no pain you can experience that has not been experienced before by another in a different time or place. Our emotional world is universal.

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