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.

Respectfully,

Calm Pond

3 Writing Prompts to Help You Process 3 Difficult Emotions

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“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.

Grief

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…

Anger

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 …”

Sadness

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:
Grief: www.mindfulnessandgrief.com
Anger & Sadness: www.writingthroughlife.com

Mindfulness Is Wherever You Find It

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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.
http://www.vox.com/2016/3/20/11265872/persian-new-year-nowruz

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

-Karyn

 

 

 

 

 

How to Express Yourself Through Creativity

pexels-photo-254717.jpegCreative expression can be a helpful tool for self-care, as it facilitates the expression of our innermost thoughts, feelings, and reflections. The creative process is about letting go of self-judgement and exploring the process with curiosity. These are useful skills for when we cope with the challenges of caregiving.

It also provides the time to process our emotions, to take time to sit with our thoughts and feelings, in order to find ways to get them out. Getting them out—expression—relieves us of rumination, worry, and depression.

Here are 5 ways you can express yourself through creativity:

  1. Draw or paint: Use colour, texture, line, and shape to express how you feel. Allow yourself to become fully immersed in the act of drawing or painting. Involve your body in the strokes of the brush, or in the scribble of the pencil.
  2. Dance, jump, move: Put on some music and move your body to express the many emotions you are experiencing. Dive deep into one emotion in your movement or show how scattered you feel in your steps.
  3. Free-write your feelings: Free-writing is exactly what it seems, writing with full freedom to explore. Take a piece of paper and a pen. Write at the top: “I am feeling” and write non-stop for 10 minutes. If you get stuck, simply re-write the sentence starter “I am feeling” and see what new thought pops into your mind.
  4. Create a sculpture or collage: Use found objects and assemble them together into a collage or a sculpture. Use disparate objects around the house to express the conflicted emotions that you feel inside.
  5. Make music: Belt out a tune, beat on a make-shift drum, tickle those piano keys. We can make music out of nearly anything. The many popular cup rhythms on YouTube demonstrate the human connection to music. Many tout the healing power of singing, so why not give it a try?

If you would like a starting point to incorporating more creativity into your life, please see these helpful books:

  • Natalie Goldberg`s Writing Down the Bones
  • Julia Cameron`s The Artist`s Way
  • Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic
  • Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit

Lindsay

 

The Mountain Path I Follow

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I often think of my life as a kind of mountain hike.  Yesterday I found the following quote which seemed to resonate with my rather challenging week:

“Our way is not soft grass, it’s a mountain path with lots of rocks.  But it goes upwards, forward, toward the sun.”

Ruth Westheimer

A mountain itself can be the symbol of immutable strength, a source of peace and quiet meditation.

Take comfort in our beautiful mountain views today,

Calm Pond

Christmas 2016 Party Review

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This last Christmas 2016 a group of us caregivers met with Karyn to celebrate the holidays and have some peaceful time together.  We all tried an exercise in which we focused for a few minutes on “savoring the good”. I’ve since tried this on my own with great results.

One of the caregivers brought a delicious pie, which we all shared.  This brought to mind the following quote:

“Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie” (David Mamet)

I would like  to say thanks to that thoughtful caregiver and also thanks to Karyn (and superb blogger Lyndsay) for all the work they did in 2016.

Here’s to another great year!

Calm Pond