my first sorrow


Sitting with my granddad

on a wooden bench

in the hospital grounds,

I can only think of her.

She’s lying inside,

only just hanging on.


He had never been open

and rarely showed emotion,

but on this day he exhibited it all.

It was the closest I’d ever felt to him.


It was the 3rd of January

when it finally happened.

And despite six months’ notice

you can’t be prepared.

It still hurt.

The reality of it all.


I didn’t see her in the final hours;

I was too scared.


But I remember her

with beaches and sunshine,

trampolines and ghost rides,

the laundrette,

the gentle crackle in her voice.


The memories –

I am so fond of them all.



excavation games


Excavate your way

to the centre of my heart.


Crawl through the rubble,

the dirt,

the dust,

past all the slimy insects

that inhabit my body.


Be wary of my mouth,

my beguiling words,

for they seem to slip out

and strangulate

even the hardest

(of women).


My bones – fossils now –

will educate,

revealing stories,

divulging secrets

and admitting to failures

that in life

were too shameful to concede.


Swim through my blood,

keeping your head raised;

use a fast front crawl

to avoid being sucked in

by the swirling current

of my dishonesty.


There’s an abscess swelling

on the surface of my gut.

Walk tentatively,

making sure not to burst it

and allow the poison to spill out

and ruin it all.


And if … if you locate my heart,

please bring it back to being,

but be prepared to accept

my finite displays

of emotion

and interest.




curtains open


At the reception desk

I give my name

and the reason I came.


No waiting room for me.

I am a straightaway case,

led urgently by nurses

through the white hospital maze.


I sit alone behind a flimsy wall of curtains

and contemplate my fate.


My solitude is broken

by various people.

My blood is drawn,

my mental health examined.


They talk of using activated charcoal.

They talk of never sending me home.


Time passes; I sober up.

Tests come back clear;

I am still here.


The curtains are opened:

time for me to leave.

Like a burst of sunshine

I am released.


I’m still alive.

I love to be.



for the next seven hours i am your bitch


My best years spent at a desk

typing … and trying

to keep a smile on my face.

Answering calls from familiar voices,

unseen faces; false friendships.

It seems so unnatural

spending all this time

in an office block,

a disguised production line.

Coffee, chocolate, coffee …

caffeine and sugar – my saving graces,

which keep me conscious

and (just) communicative.

The hierarchy talk like politicians,

boldly and with gestures,

to convince and persuade

– themselves, mainly –

that they are doing the right thing.



the fore


Like a bolt of lightning

on a clear day,

they come from nowhere

and reach the fore.

The fog and the blackness

that cloud normality

suppress all happiness.

To be bedridden for days,

unable to move,

lying there alone …

not a life that I’d choose.

A swirl of dizziness fills my head:

cold, sweaty palms,

heavy, stiff legs.

They will soon disappear,

these intimations of darkness.

The fore will be clear again.

But they will return,

these ghosts in my mind,

with their brutal, harsh haunting

that will not be exorcised.

by Ryan Sam Turner


Survivor Love Letter ~by Paulissa Kipp


You may be wondering if anyone cares about what happened to you, if you are heard and seen.  Rest assured you are.

You may feel as though every person who looks at you can see your pain and only the acts that were perpetrated upon you.  Rest assured that this world can see your light, magnificence and strength.

You may wonder if you will ever feel safe again.  Safety is many things, dear one.  You will learn what safety, at its deepest, soul level means to you.  Both within and outside of yourself.  Maybe safety for you means being able to freely express yourself:  to write, dance, speak, journal or make art.  Maybe to listen to music that speaks to your soul.  You will learn to navigate the world in a different way and you will be the person who will see what others don’t.  To ring the bell when something isn’t right.  Because with survival comes wisdom.

Mandajoy By Paulissa Kipp
Mandajoy By Paulissa Kipp

You may think you are alone, not enough and you may doubt your worth and judgment.   You are NOT alone.  So many of your sisters and brothers see and hear you and we are holding space for you.  We have loving hands for you to hold onto and strong shoulders to help carry the pain.  You will learn that your gut is your best compass and you can trust it.

You may feel that your scars – emotional or physical – are all that remains of you.  Beloved, you cannot be wiped away.  You are a Phoenix resting and you will rise again.  This walk is not one you need to walk alone.

You may feel that the darkness will eat you alive.  Baby steps, dear one..  Strength is forged from vulnerability.  Every day that you get up, talk, speak and love yourself creates more space for your light to shine.

You may feel as though the future only holds pain or certainty.  You have permission not to know all of the answers.  Resources and information are there for you now or whenever you are ready.

You are precious and you are loved.  You are not alone.

You have the power of the stars, the comets and the Universe to manifest your dreams. For you are born of the stars, are shined upon by the sun and moon and smile the rainbow.                                             ~ Paulissa Kipp

Paulissa Kipp’s Art of Becoming

Calm your way to wellness: with Mantra ~by Sandy Hector

Have you ever tried chanting as a way to calm yourself down and help you to feel good?   If you’ve read my article about Yantras in the last edition of this guide, then you will already know that my background is from a yoga base.  Yantras, Mandalas and Mantras are all part of Tantra Yoga; the science of vibration.  The sound vibrations produced by chanting a mantra can have a powerful and profound influence on mental behaviour.  Albert Einstein said that everything is vibration; the entire universe is affected, consciousness, energy, mind and matter.    Chanting a mantra is a very subtle, yet powerful practise that can leave you with a sense of calm and euphoria.

The Mantra Om is said to represent the very first vibration; the Big Bang.  Chanting the mantra Om to yourself is mentioned in an ancient text by the sage Patanjali in which he says ‘The word which expresses Him is OM.  This word must be repeated with meditation on its meaning.  Hence comes knowledge of the Atman and the destruction of the obstacles to that knowledge’[1].  In everyday language, this means that by chanting the mantra OM you will get to know and understand yourself better and find peace within.

According to Yoga philosophy the mind is divided into two parts, the lower mind and the higher mind.  The lower mind is subject to time and space and includes all the senses of the body, sense objects, mind, and mental associations.  The higher mind is spiritually aware, intuitive, peaceful, luminous and transcendental.  In order to transcend the lower mind and reach the higher mind we need to block out the senses and all other sounds and focus completely on the mantra.

In Tantra, there are three groups of mantras.  The first group are called Bija Mantras.  These mantras are associated with the Chakras.  They are spiritually uplifting and awakening.  The middle group of mantras are the Guru Mantras, such as the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra and the Guyatri Mantra.  These mantras connect the lower mind and the higher mind and are tools for spiritual growth.  They create positive changes in attitude, helping you to feel more optimistic and content with life.  The third group are social incantations and religious chants.  These mantras are used to remove distress, or become healthier, for example in India mantra is often used for healing snake bites.

The easiest way to chant mantras is verbally out loud, or in whispers (although mental repetitions are much more powerful).   To prepare for the practise, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed  and make sure you are sitting comfortably; check your spine is straight, your shoulders are relaxed and away from your ears and close your eyes.  Start to connect with the breath; notice the breath moving in and out of the body.  Now set an intention for your practise (for example – for mental peace and physical well-being) and when you’re ready to start you can begin chanting.

Traditionally the Mahamrityunjaya  Mantra is chanted 108 times for the relief of suffering in the world, but you don’t have to chant the mantra that many times.  Depending on the time you have available you can chant any number of repetitions, so start off small and build up.  Using a Mala is very useful while chanting as you can synchronise rotating the beads with each repetition of the mantra.  A Mala is a string of 108 beads plus a ‘Guru’ bead.  If you have one, hold the Mala in your right hand between the middle and index fingers and use your thumb to count from the ‘Guru’ bead as you chant, pulling each of the smaller beads towards you each time you repeat the mantra.  When you reach the Guru bead once more you have completed 108 rounds.

Guyatri Mantra on You Tube

If you are interested in reading more about Mantra please click on the following link:

[1] Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, chapter one, verses 27-28