The ‘Guest House’ by Rumi


‘The ‘Guest House’ by 13th century Persian poet Rumi

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 scared of sorrows

Who violently sweep your house

Empty of its furniture

Still treat each guest honorably

He may be cleaning 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


So ‘Welcome and entertain them all!’ The kaleidoscope of feelings that passes through us every day; the ever-changing weather of emotions: sunshine, rain, windstorms, and even tsunamis.

Watch for upcoming post ‘The People On the Bus’ mindfulness exercise, as follow-up to this poem.

Calm Pond



The Recipe for Trifle is here!

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Here is the long-awaited recipe for Nigella Lawson’s Ginger Passion fruit Trifle:


400-500g Store-bought sponge cake (usually two loaves)

125 ml Green Ginger Wine (or any dessert wine, or for kid version 125 ml orange juice)

500 ml whipping cream

4 teaspoons icing sugar

8 passion fruit (sliced mango will also do)


Slice or break the sponge and arrange half of them in a shallow dish or cake stand with slight lip or upward curve at edge, then pour half of wine (or juice) over them. Mound up  the remaining half of sponge and pour the remaining wine on top.

Whip the cream with the icing sugar until it is firm but not stiff, you want soft peaks.

Scoop the insides of 2 passion fruit into the bowl of cream and fold in before mounding the cream floppily over the soused sponge.

Scoop out the remaining 6 passion fruit onto the white pile of cream so that it is doused and dribbling with the black seeds and fragrant golden pulp.

Serves 8-10.


Calm Pond



The ‘Accidental Tourist’ in France

When I was younger I read a great book called ‘The Accidental Tourist’, so inspired by the book I decided to do some armchair travelling…and here is what I found:

La Cite du Vin, Bordeaux, France

Admission: 20 Euros

(includes Permanent Tour visit, tasting of a world wine in the Belvedere, and interactive guide) In the Belvedere, you will discover a 360 degree view of Bordeaux whilst tasting a glass of world wine.

Consult Rail Europe for fast trains (in France, called “TGV”) from Paris to Bordeaux.

The rail journey from the Montparnasse train station takes about 3 hours.  Bordeaux, known for its fine wines, is the capital of the Aquitaine region.

Happy travels!

Calm Pond



The Lazy Woman’s (and Man’s) Guide to Yoga: An Interview with Taylore Daniel

Taylore Photo 2015 b (3)

Hi Taylore! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. We see your book, “The Lazy Woman’s Guide to Yoga”, as a wonderful resource for caregivers. Caregivers often struggle to find time for self-care. Your pose suggestions can be done anywhere, anytime. Not only does yoga help ease sore muscles, it can help caregivers feel better emotionally so they can support their loved ones and take care of themselves.

Can you tell us about what inspired you to write the book “The Lazy Woman’s Guide to Yoga?”

Well, there’s a lot of people who’d like to do yoga, but at the same time, yoga can feel intimidating and inconvenient. It usually involves a one-hour class outside the home. It involves floorwork, a change of clothes, a teacher, and poses that might feel strange or risky. So what inspired me to write this book was the desire to help people practice yoga in an easy, effortless way that fits their schedule, can be done sitting on a chair at home or out and about doing errands… no floorwork, special attire or teacher required.

How has yoga changed your life?

Yoga has been a part of my life since I was a child, when I took my mom’s Hatha Yoga book off the shelf and began going through it page by page, copying the poses. Throughout my life, there’s been times I’ve practiced yoga regularly. And other times, not. When it’s a regular part of my life, I feel strong, my joints are supple, I feel energetic and grounded. When I fail to practice, I begin to feel creaky, puffy and a little sluggish. There’s a direct relationship between yoga and quality of life, and the older I get the more direct this relationship becomes. 

Could you recommend a pose that helps give people energy first thing in the morning?

A fabulous energizing move in the morning is what I call “flying.” Simply put, raise and lower your arms at your sides, as if you were a bird. Moving our arms above our head pumps blood and oxygen to our brain, increasing alertness and clarity. As well, it loosens up and revitalizes the arms, shoulders and back, and gets the spinal fluid flowing through our body and lubricating our joints. Not to mention, this flowing move feels absolutely wonderful. (And it can even be done while you’re watching television or reading email.)

How about one for winding down in the evening?

A great way to wind down in the evening is with the breath. When we exhale longer than we inhale, our entire nervous system begins to calm. Inhaling slowly to a count of 2, and exhaling to a count of 4, you will almost instantly sense your shoulders relaxing, the muscles of your jaw and forehead becoming softer, your mind quieting. Feel the breath reach right down into the belly and your whole body will begin to relax.

I love the chapter in your book on tapping! It’s not something I’ve heard about often when reading about yoga. What would you say to someone who’s hesitant about trying it?

Using our fingertips, the palm of our hand, or a loose fist to gently and softly tap our limbs, our backs, our stomach or any other part of our body is a safe and effective practice that releases physical tension and knots. Try it right now, and see how it feels. It’s effortless and can be done anywhere, whether it’s behind the wheel of your car or waiting in a line up. Tapping also brings fresh oxygen and blood to the skin, so has the effect of giving us a lift.

An inevitable part of the caregiving journey is grief. Are there any yoga or tapping exercises that are especially good for coping with loss or changes of a loved one? 

As well as releasing physical tensions and knots, tapping relieves emotional stresses like grief, loss and anxiety. One effective tapping exercise is to, first of all, identify where the feeling of grief is located in your body. Is it your throat? Chest? Stomach? Once you’ve located where in your body the feeling sits, softly tap that spot with the pads of your fingers. You’ll find this simple exercise emotionally soothing, calming and nurturing.

Finally, what would you say to someone who tells you, “Yoga is not for me.”

When someone says, “Yoga isn’t for me,” I get it. There can be a sense of insurmountable obstacles with any new practice, including yoga. “Where will I find the time?” “What if I can’t sit on the floor in lotus position?” “What if I don’t live near a yoga studio?”

The main reason I wrote “The Lazy Woman’s (and Man’s) Guide to Yoga” is to make yoga so effortless and convenient that anyone can practice it, whether there’s time issues, mobility issues, or motivation issues. The key is to simply begin where you’re at, taking a moment here and there, seated comfortably or standing, at home or in the midst of running errands. The benefits from even a few seconds of yoga throughout your day are immeasurable.

Do you have anything else to add?

Thanks so much Cassandra for your great questions! They were thoughtful and practical, and I really appreciate you taking the time to ask.

Thank you so much, Taylore!


Taylore Daniel is a yoga teacher and personal trainer. “The Lazy Woman’s Guide to Yoga” and “The Lazy Man’s Guide to Yoga” are at, Banyen Books, and other Vancouver bookshops.

The Lazy Woman’s Guide to Yoga” and “The Lazy Man’s Guide to Yoga” is at, Banyen Books, and other local Vancouver bookshops. Visit Taylore at



A VE Day Poem

‘My VE Day Poem’ by WMC-SVAction Desk

Memories of a 12 year old evacuee

The war is won, it’s VE day,

A wild excitement fills the air,

Grown ups busy, children play

among the tables, standing there

in road bedecked with myriad flags

and bunting high across the street,

Women dressed in their best ‘rags’

pile tables high with things to eat.

Men pull rafters from the bomb site,

building a gigantic fire

Hitler sitting very upright,

waiting for his funeral pyre.

Earnie plays the old ‘joanna’,

favourite tunes that won the war.

Any song for just a tanner,

money goes to help the poor.

Beer and whisky flow like water,

hoarded for this special day.

Young men hang round Charlie’s daughter,

pretty as the flowers in May.

Darkness falls, they light the fire.

Flaming fingers reach the top.

Adolph sitting in a tyre,

Burns until his head goes ‘pop’.

Dance and singing follows after,

Okey cokey, Conga too,

Food and drink and lots of laughter,

Oh, it was a perfect do.

So our super day has ended,

heads are aching, feet are sore.

Still, at least they’ll soon be mended,

different from the hurt in war.

let us hope we never have to

celebrate a VE day

Be as one, just Europeans.

(This poem submitted to People’s War website by Anastasia Travers from WM CSV Action Desk on behalf of Jack Woods)

Copyright of content contributed to the Archive resides with the author.

I would also like to acknowledge on this VE day the bravery and dedication of my maternal grandparents who were both in the war: my grandfather in the army and my grandmother as a nurse.


Calm Pond

3 Writing Prompts to Help You Process 3 Difficult Emotions


“Writing is the painting of the voice!” – Voltaire

Do you keep a journal or write detailed letters/emails to family and friends? Do you write poetry or songs? If so, you may already be familiar with the ways that writing can help you to process emotions and tell your story. Writing can help you to work through difficult emotions or sort out your thoughts on experiences and situations when it feels hard to talk to anyone about what’s going on for you. For those without a writing practice, it can feel intimidating or maybe overwhelming to get started. Writing prompts can encourage you to put pen to paper and help you get your thoughts out of your head and heart and on to the page. Read on for 3 writing prompts to help you work through 3 difficult emotions.


I remember when….
This is what I have to say to you….
The first time I….
My happiest memory of you is…
The greatest lesson I have learned is…


Write a conversation with your anger. Ask it why it exists and what positive action it wants you to take to feel better.

What are you angry about? What happened to hurt you? Was it an act by someone else? A situation out of your control? Freewrite for ten minutes, beginning with, “I’m angry because …”


If you can identify a specific event, person, or loss which initiated the feelings of sadness, write with as much detail as possible about that event and how you responded at the time. Did you experience a hurt or loss of some kind? What did you do with that hurt? Did you turn it inward? Hide it from others? Feel that you had to “be strong?”

Here are some other great posts to help you start writing: Writing the 5 Senses, Life Writing, and How to Express Yourself through Creativity.  

Does writing help you to process difficult emotions? We’d love to hear from you!


Cassandra Van Dyck

Writing prompt sources:
Anger & Sadness:

Mindfulness Is Wherever You Find It


This afternoon in the pouring rain I took the bus to the local supermarket.  Unfortunately it was closed due to a power outage, no doubt because of the weather.  A  few shoppers wandered around looking lost, hoping that the power would be restored. I felt I had wasted an hour and had worsened an incipient cold that has been lingering for days, on this the eve of my birthday.

Then suddenly, as I sat in the bus shelter passing the time before the next bus, I felt an inspiration.  I thought: why not be mindful,  an opportunity has arisen out of the busyness of my daily routine, suddenly, an island of mindfulness, a pause, a spaciousness. I gazed at the beautiful trees, the sky, the miracle of automobiles taking their passengers wherever they wanted to go, and thought about the cough the woman sitting next to me was nursing. I thought: may she find healing, may she find rest.

Then the bus came, and I pondered the miracle of public transit, delivering me to my door so quickly.

All this transpired in a matter of minutes, but it felt wonderfully energizing, this renewal, this lightness of being.

May you, too, find mindfulness, wherever you are.

Calm Pond

Nooroz is a time of renewal

I am fascinated by the Persian New Year, which is vibrantly celebrated in North and West Vancouver. There is a thriving Persian community on this shore, many of whom provide emotional and practical care for elderly family members, friends, and loved ones.
Last year I attended an outdoor  Nooruz celebration, where I was mesmerized by people jumping over the flames of fire for a fresh start to the year, saying , “Zardi- ye man az toh, sorkhi-ye oh az man!”  While my friend and I joyfully danced to live music, I truly felt a part of the compelling richness in this ancient and beloved tradition.

Enjoy reading this article about the background of Nooruz and what the Haft seen table means. Maybe you’ll even notice some of the beautifully decorated haft seen tables in your local shops and community centres.


Happy New Year and let us welcome the inspiration of spring!