Remove the stress

puzzle, photo by Emin Ozkan, Izmir, Turkey, serenity peaceSerenity and peace of mind are easier to maintain if the stress in our lives is kept to a minimum. That is, negative and positive stress. Both forms of stress put pressure on our system and we reach out for, or do, things that helps us to cope better. Often the things we use are not healthy for us. Then we make excuses as we are faced with the consequences of our actions. This could be putting on weight from overeating or being fatigued from working too many hours, being sick from too much drinking or smoking. The list goes on. Our first step should be to remove the stress then we can deal with the excesses much easier.

retirement had promised to be a relaxing time
and she’d looked forward to doing the fun things
she had promised herself for such a long time
but somehow she became so very busy
how did that happen she wondered because
her healthy food plan had faded away?
her coping method had been comfort eating
and promising herself that soon she would stop
then she realised that she needed to
get down to basics and
remove the stress from her life before
everything else could fall into place


Getting Married

future gaze, photo  by Charlie Balch,Colorado Springs, United States, happy ritualSome people prefer not to marry but just live together. Their reasoning is that they think marriage is just a bit of paper which creates a feeling of being in prison. Others feel that when they have reached a state of intimacy that is fulfilling and exciting, then getting married is the cherry on top. The planning of the event symbolises their loving future together and is a happy ritual.

the couple came to me to plan their special event
they were getting married and wanted the ceremony
to take place in a secluded spot on the river
as it turned out they found a unique cave which
was tucked in the side of the mountain
and we stepped off their boat and
to the music of a friend’s guitar
the ceremony took place and it was
very romantic and memorable


Addiction and relationships

Together photo by Sanja Gjenero, Zagreb, Croatia, unmanageablity, dysfunctionalityWhen people first come into recovery from an addiction they are encouraged to focus on themselves and if in detox avoid contact with family or getting into new relationships. Once they develop the relationship with self and are comfortable living without their drug (or process) of choice they are in a better position to develop healthy relationships. Addiction and relationships cause major dysfunctionality. An ‘addictive process’ can represent one or more addictions to gambling, eating/undereating, working, being busy, spending, sex, love, relationships, avoidance of intimacy, and isolation (hermits) and no doubt more. ‘Drug’ means alcohol, narcotics, nicotine, tobacco, pot, prescribed pills, recreational pills such as ecstasy, ice and so on.

she had been to hell and back addicted to prescription medication
he had dabbled with pot and was a heavy drinker
he experienced blackouts too but thought it was OK
both smoked cigarettes cause it seemed cool
as their life spiralled downhill they realised it was unmanageable
unpaid bills, no work, no money, avoiding debt collectors, and
worst of all accidents with their cars, injuries, plus illness
jealousy and fights topped it all off – pure codependence
that’s unmanageability!
so they cleaned up their act with the help of a professional
who knew about this kind of craziness
that’s what addiction and relationships are about
major dysfunctionality and unmanageablity
then in recovery they planned their future
being happy and free of the demons that had plagued them
serenity and peace of mind at last brought about
emotional and financial security


Developing friendships

in touch, photo by Tom Denham, Palm Bay, United States, lifelong friendshipSome of us find it easy to reach out to others and some of us don’t. All it takes is for one person to reach out a few times and the other will reciprocate eventually. That’s the process of developing friendships. From then on the friendship becomes stronger and, despite natural moments of conflict, it becomes a lifelong relationship.

when I looked back on my closest friendships
to find out how they became that way
I discovered that I am somewhat slack in
contacting people I like because I am not
that keen on telephoning people although
I am eager to meet them once they phone me
nevertheless, once we become friends I reciprocate
the telephoning because I appreciate the effort they
have put into contacting me so I make the effort back
that’s been the birth of developing friendships with
some of my dearest friends


Overcoming obstacles

desert caravan, photo by Arjun Chennu, chennai, India, dreams come trueLife is one obstacle after another and some of us overcome those systematically while others stumble and fall. Nevertheless, there is a system to help us overcome the constant pain. Like a caravan of camels we need to set on a course and then gently and persistently stay on track until we reach the destination we have aimed for. Overcoming obstacles then becomes manageable and we have dreams come true.

I often come across obstacles in Life but I
have learnt to set a course and follow it with
the support of a network of people heading
to the same destination or thereabouts
like a caravan of camels
overcoming obstacles then becomes easy
that is the difference between succeeding or not

Desert Caravan, photo by Arjun Chennu, chennai, India,ttp://


Successful wedding

the kiss, photo by Noelle Franzen, Carlsbad, United States, bride and groomAnyone who has lived through a wedding will know the stress that can take place. However, there are moments that are blissful too. Choosing the venue, the outfits, the catering, the dance music, and the wedding party. Of course the festivities just before are a fun experience too. What fuels the whole process, so that it does not collapse, is the love the bride and groom have for each other. This love can overcome all sorts of hassles in order to have a successful wedding. When everyone looks back on the event through the photographs, they forget those moments of stress and eventually only remember how wonderful it was.

oh what a commotion it was
the in-laws disagreed about almost everything
it was going to cost more than was planned
but the wedding was in the Royal Botanic Gardens
overlooking the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House
the weather was fantastic
the outfits were perfect
the bride and groom had the freedom
to choose what they wished to do
for one of the most important days of their lives
the celebration was on a reception boat in the harbour
and everything made it a successful wedding
to remember for the rest of their lives

the kiss, photo by Noelle Franzen, Carlsbad, United States,


When Happy Hour means alcoholism

Happy Hours, photo by Emin Ozkan, iZIR, TURKEY, social ritualHow great it is for most people to meet at the end of the day and enjoy two-drinks-for-the-price-of-one with work colleagues or mates. Happy Hour for the majority of people it is just that, but for those who have developed a drinking problem, Happy Hour is anything but happy. For them it means when they join the others, their drinking gets out of control. That’s when Happy Hour means alcoholism. If they are in recovery then usually they avoid that social ritual at the end of the day. Quite a paradox at that, but they have no choice for the sake of their sanity.

Happy Hour had been great as he and his mates
had been winding down after a busy day
he felt in a good mood, therefore, he was
oblivious to the fact that he had bloodshot eyes
and being drunk, his words slurred badly
I gave him feedback on what was obvious and
he admitted that the ideal was that he should
stop after the first few drinks but as he couldn’t
the realisation hit him yet again
he needed to accept the fact that alcohol
was his enemy and not his friend
and that fun with mates can be healthy
but he needs to avoid the ritual of having drinks
when Happy Hour means alcoholism