Consumption versus creativity

Consumption versus creativity

consumption, creativity: in breath, out breath.
every day, consuming food and drink: essential to life

but not all of it

every moment creating: things, relationships, ideas, experiences.
consuming ever more information, drama, energy, fuel, food, time,
the planet’s, ours, other people’s

always wanting more

over consumption driven by desires that cannot be met
for comfort, excitement, security, power, immortality even.
short term dopamine hits to soothe over-excited systems
if all we are is a lone separate human among 7 billion others

why wouldn’t we go on a binge?

chasing connection, inner fulfilment, chasing away our demons
with every click, glug, fight and scroll we get further away
draining the life blood from ourselves, our planet, our children
weary, frightened, ready to attack, we cower, duck or dive

the frenzy of desire takes us to the brink

to go forward is to fall into the abyss, chaos, destruction
we pause, catch a different note and hear a different song
the song of creation, re-formed in every out breath
our stories swirl like bridal gowns released from moth balls

but beyond is the crucible holding each sacred act of creation
fixing your hair, taking out the trash, typing a text
reading aloud to a child, waving at the neighbour
tiny acts unnoticed, forgotten, yet weaving this web of experience

acts of love, reciprocity, generosity and service
made daily, often unremarked, acts of humanity
everyday creation, pulling the threads that bind us
when we’re already swimming in the same sea

only we forget and flounder and flail about
and create the illusion of drowning when
all we’re doing is making a wave
in the sea of belonging, the sea of love

to notice, to see, just to see, is enough
to wake up and worship at the altar of creativity
go out, with glad hearts and celebrate
the daily acts of creation that connect us

© words and artwork, image of original watercolour pencil artwork, sun & moon abstract by Juliet Fay 2020

This piece is in a new style for me, neither prose nor poetry, inspired by the writing of Bernadine Evaristo, author of Booker Prize joint winner with Girl, Woman, Other. In the book she uses no capital letters, just line breaks. I was amazed how quickly I got over the initial feeling of disruption and adjusted to it as the new normal.

Juliet Fay is a poet and Three Principles facilitator and local admin of a Buy Nothing Project group. Subscribe to her list to hear news of gatherings (virtual for now), and receive original writing and artwork direct to your inbox. Find out about being mentored by Juliet or Wellbeing Sessions

Reflections on being in service

Reflections on being in service

This article has been bubbling up for 5 days now. At first a jumble of confused ideas were jotted down, explored a little in the Daily Gathering, but now on this sunny Sunday morning I am starting fresh.

Tears are close for me today a sign, not, of the times, but of the vibrancy of this human instrument, feeling depths, as yet, unfathomable.

Feeling deeply has never seemed more of a gift than it does now. When tears and laughter tumble one after the other like children chasing a stray ball, there is an expansion of the heart that allows our perspective to be blasted open, and take us far above our usual worm’s eye view.

There is something that wants to be said, and I’m not at all sure what it is, but here goes……

Helping and serving

The helping/service instinct never dies. It lurks close by, ready to surface whenever the murk clears. It can hibernate; sometimes for years and then all of a sudden it blooms like one of my Grandfather’s home bred orchids that threw a single bloom after a drought of 15 years.

Stories of service are spreading around the globe faster than the virus. And sitting here in a small village in self-isolation, they are coming thick and fast; in all shapes and sizes; from a myriad of sources: virtual and physical.

A hot meal on my doorstep, covered with tin foil; a neighbour’s wave up at my window as they turn their car; daily video chats with my love, 10,000 miles away; the much loved sound of an old friend’s laughter on the phone ; a daily online gathering bursting my heart open again and again.

I feel the dilemmas of those wanting to serve yet being fearful, for themselves, for those they love, wondering about their capacity, their resilience. Those in confusion; those who are lonely; those who are scared; those who bridle at the restrictions; those who want to shout and scream and those who want to hide.

I see the ebb and flow of emotions through me and all around: now, more than ever, in glorious technicolour. Frenzied activity; crying in the toilet; dazed; desolate; arguing; stressed; moments of peace and joy; tenderness; tantrums; bonhomie; nostalgia.

The disorientation on waking and forgetting, then remembering. Guilt over stolen moments of peace and joy as if these times call for seriousness and worry.

And through it all, rather than seeing right or wrong; appropriate or inappropriate; helpful or unhelpful; I feel my horizons being expanded, all the while in confinement, and I am invited to wonder at how things are in service, even when, especially when, I cannot see how.

Service ~ an act of help or assistance

The more acts of service I see; the more I am open to look for the act of service in what I see.

In the impossible dilemmas facing so many of us: helping ourselves versus helping others; helping strangers versus helping our families; not helping others lest we become a burden; fearing others versus accepting help; keeping our distance when our hearts want to throw our arms around those we love; keeping our distance because our hearts can’t bear to do anything else; striding towards the front line because we come alive in the service of others; exhausting ourselves with frenzied activity; the unsung carer, quietly sitting by the bedside of a 91 year old at home with Corvid19 symptoms, well versed in the care of the sick and dying.

The old codes of sacrifice, moral duty, greater good do not go far enough.

For at this time; the old parameters and measures of what is helpful, what is in service are to be thrown up in the air.

It is a time to question what we are ‘in service to’? What impels us to act or not act.

Beyond service to self and loved ones, community, country, the natural world, there is being in service to Life.

What is Life?

Whatever you imagine it to be.

That which stirs your heart. The mystery that animates all living things.

How could we ever know what is or isn’t in service to Life? For every act in the end is an act of Life. Life in motion. Life expressing through us all.

It is only our judgement that says an act is cruel or kind, helpful or unhelpful. But how could we know? How could we possibly zoom far enough out to get a perspective vast enough to see how all the threads of every action of every living creature make, unmake and make the whole over and over again.

And what if we began to trust that every cross word, every loss, every change, every reaction, every action, every thought, word and deed is part of a bigger picture that we can never see or understand?

And what if it is all guided by an unseen hand?

Am I talking about God?

No, not in the sense I understood God, as a young person attending Protestant Church of England services. Not an external deity.

I’m talking about the mystery behind life which I don’t understand.

So what is the point of looking in this direction?

Some may call it delusional but if it is, for me, it’s a helpful delusion.

The sense of Wisdom at play does several things for me.

It allows me to relax more into whatever is happening in my head and just go about my day.

After all, inside our mind is where the drama of our lives plays out

Realising I don’t need to understand, nor do I need to make sense of my experience in terms of analysing, explaining or justifying it, gives me welcome permission to simply experience whatever is running through me at any given time. To act or rest with less and less comparing, judging, analysing and drawing conclusions.

Worrying less about the tumult of feelings running through me, means I sometimes, get to pay less attention to them, and when I pay less attention to them I start noticing some interesting things:

  • How changeable my experience is: one moment, still and contented, the next teary, comic, manic, reflective, insecure. Like xx men lining up.
  • My experience is not directly related to what is happening out there (what is even happening out there? All I can see from my window is a peaceful sunny street).
  • How thankful I am that my experience keeps changing regardless of circumstances, as my mother used to say to me when my children where toddlers and I was tearing my hair out about the latest phase, ‘if you don’t like what’s showing up now, there’ll be a different phase along soon’. That alone is a huge help. Short hand – this too shall pass.
  • When I begin to trust that every experience is brought to me by Wisdom, my own bespoke navigational system, it takes a big load off. It’s not all up to me, I don’t have to fix/control/sort out everything.
  • I don’t have to like every experience; that’s not the point. If I think of Wisdom in action it can get me wondering how being uncomfortable, scared, confused might be ’in service’. That can lead to some shedding as I get radically honest with myself. Perhaps feeling like I can’t cope is protective, stopping me from taking on too much.
  • A productive day is nice and I’m grateful
  • A day of feeling lost, weepy and wandering round my place, not knowing what to do, is probably also a gift, even if I can’t see it. A ‘step off the bus day’, allowing my system some down time and much needed release and reset.
  • Feeling guilty about my privilege is a herald of gratitude
  • Wondering about how everything is ‘in service’ expands my heart.
  • The story of a woman complaining loudly about the socially distanced queueing in the local food store, reminds me we do not know what is going on in people’s heads nor what might be awaiting them at home or work. Following this woman’s reactions and actions (trying to sneak into the front of the queue) led another woman to offer her place in the queue.
  • Seeing others’ heartache and vulnerability shared openly and honestly; touching a place in my heart that floods me with compassion one day and walling up against the flood the next. Both gifts to self and others
  • My human system, our human system, the system of life moving, shifting, creating, sustaining, destroying over again responding, reacting, and interacting simultaneously in billions and billions of unseen movements from the cellular level to the level of continental drift.
  • Seeing service in the sunny days and the wet. Service in the arguments and the love. The possibility of service in the violence and the loss (yes, that is hard).
  • Looking for and trusting in the unseen hand of Wisdom and wondering about the act of service inherent in every breath of life, doesn’t lead to passivity or not caring, on the contrary it opens us up to ever richer, more high definition participation in the web of Life.
  • Knowing we cannot see the significance of our tiny part but just knowing that it has significance. Knowing only that we are part of something far bigger, far more beautiful, far kinder than we could ever know.

What if, at every turn, our rage, our despair, our hopelessness, our joy, our tenderness, they are all in service. Our judging, our taking offence, our numbness, our reaching out; they are all in service.

What if our fascination with our small selves and others fades, as we get to wonder at the marvel of Life in motion, ever ceaseless motion, and wonder at the gift of consciousness, that allows us to have a sense of that motion. Every twinge we feel in muscle, heart or gut, is a note in the human string section, that is joined with the grand orchestra of all living creatures.


This article was written 29 March 2020. Since then I have begun an exploration into uncovering my hidden biases around racism and so I pondered about whether to publish this article now or not. In the end, I am publishing it as a record of what I saw at that time. Every moment feels like the moment to look unflinchingly at what we are up to. Consider if words, thoughts and deeds are self-serving, protecting our ego, our privilege or are they in service to something bigger than us? Are we willing to open our hearts, to surrender, to be wrong, to discover new horizons?, to surrender, to be wrong, to discover new horizons?

What are you seeing around being in service? What are you curious about?

Boggarts (and other difficult people)

The Boggart appears in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, one of the series of books about the boy wizard Harry Potter by J K Rowling. In these books, a Bogart is a shape shifting spirit that will appear disguised as your worst fear.

Often hidden, it will burst out when you least expect it. To ‘overcome’ your initial terror, Harry and his friends learn from Professor Remus Lupin to use a Riddikulus charm to change the appearance of the Bogart into something less fearful or ridiculous. Neville, a particularly nervous pupil, tries out the spell, re-dressing the Bogart (who’s appeared as his nemesis Professor Snape) in a green silk gown, bonnet and high heels. The comedy breaks the grip of terror.

Like a Boggart, difficult people seem to pop up in our lives and disturb us (and sometimes hang around a LONG time). I wanted to share my ever evolving understanding of this topic, as it often come up in sessions I facilitate.

At first it can look as if the difficult person needs to change for us to find peace. Or perhaps we just want rid of that person. Because they are SO difficult and annoying.

Perhaps, we sense, we may have something to do with our experience of the difficult person

If we have some inkling that our experience of the difficult person is actually all ours and nothing to do with the person in question, we might realise at one level that we are dealing with ‘difficult thinking’ about the person which gives us the experience of a difficult person. Rather than an actual difficult person. After all other people get along with this person perfectly well.

However if this is more theoretical than felt or realised, we might still wrestle with this experience, and innocently reach for a better ‘story’ to rid us of our uncomfortable feelings.

Different stories come in all shapes and sizes, like:-

He/she doesn’t communicate well

He/she is having a hard time/has problems/has had a hard life etc etc

He/she is over-reacting

He/she is so judgemental

He/she is so negative

He/she is an a**!#%#e

He/she just can’t get over it

Or if you’ve been around the Principles understanding for a while it can come out in more subtle story making:-

It is just his or her thinking

They are not self-aware

I did the best I could

They did the best they could

They must be suffering, it must be so hard to be them

Subtle and sneaky: ways we try to avoid discomfort

These are all subtle ways we seek to avoid the discomfort we are experiencing that seems to be about this difficult person. It’s like dressing up the Bogart in different clothes to force quit our experience of difficulty. 

But why would we avoid feeling discomfort? What’s the big deal about feeling uncomfortable? If we now that it is temporary and inherently unreliable as an indicator of anything other than our state of mind, why would it bother us to feel uncomfortable?

And yet …. it’s very seductive, this ‘making a better story’, easing ourselves away from discomfort.

But this is where we’ve got the wrong end of the stick (again!).

While we are busy story making, we are moving further and further away from engaging in our experience (uncomfortable though it may be) and seeing the heart of the other person.

Both of which are far more interesting and less draining than the endless merry go round of story making. Which, you remember was all about not being uncomfortable. 

Let’s look at what can happen…… 

We have a story about something that happened: say a ‘difficult’ person didn’t answer an email and ……… we don’t like that.

So we make a story about why they didn’t answer the email.

e.g. they don’t care about us, they don’t like us, we don’t matter, why don’t they give us an answer, they’re so annoying, etc etc then we can begin to add more layers to try and come up with a story that feels better.

So the story goes round and round, with more flesh being added to the bones e.g. they always do this, why are they such hard work, how am I supposed to make arrangements when they don’t answer etc etc. We move from blame to judgement to self-judgement and back again. Before we know it we have moved into a movie of our own creation where we play the aggrieved party and the other plays the offending party (or we take turns).

What’s interesting about this, is that by the time we actually make contact, we have already written the scene with our part and the other person’s part laid out ready. So we’ll be resentful and hurt, they get a blast of judgement even before any words are exchanged and they are likely to be either off hand, defensive or equally hurt and so it goes on.

Lights, camera, action!

You get the picture. We create a story and hey presto, if we don’t see what’s going on, it happens again and again in ever more resourceful and imaginative scenes where hurt, slights, misunderstanding and counter hurt, play out on endless repeat.

Next time you catch yourself feeling hurt, offended, jealous, bewildered or uncomfortable and it looks like it is because of someone else, check out how cranked up your story making machine is.

Before the story completely takes over, what happens if you pause and just feel the discomfort rather than trying to avoid it?

If you truly know that it is not created by the other person, it’s more likely that you’ll have the wherewithal to pause. When that subsides (as it will, of its own accord, if you leave it be), see what else arises? What’s new?

The stories we make up about our ‘difficult people’ are fascinating

They reach back into the past for evidence and predict the future based on the past. They leave no room for people (including yourself) to be as they are. Have you noticed how you’re not relaxed and easy when you finally get in front of the ‘difficult’ person?

When we meet someone in a story like this we’ve made up, we only ever get to experience that story, not the actual living breathing person in front of us.

If we use these stories to try and take decisions in the present, they are pretty much guaranteed to backfire. They’re not helpful. They’re based on a simulation of that person that is entirely self-created, like an avatar in a computer game. Have you noticed how your difficult person has no redeeming features, their every action is suspect and they become like a cartoon baddie? Irredeemable. 

It’s very human to do this.

We are, after all, story making machines. And even knowing what you know, something ‘bigger’ will likely crop up that looks entirely and utterly as if your experience is coming from someone (or somewhere) else. Go easy on yourself. In this case…..

Love will do if understanding is absent

But if you can see it in action, you get curious: though better stories might be appealing, there is something beyond all the stories.

If for one moment you can step out of the story and simply breathe and open to the heart of the person in front of you, the invitation is there for both of you to have a new experience.

Without the script from the story, you can simply be interested in who is in front of you in that moment. Like a stranger you meet on a train journey when you have all the time in the world and as they begin to speak, you find yourself curious and fascinated by who this person is, what their experience is. You forget yourself as you get immersed in this exchange.

And in this space, what you experience might surprise you.

And what about the ‘easy’people?

Funnily enough, you might notice, with the ‘easy’ people in your life, the stories you carry about them are very sparse.

You just love them. Enjoy them. You don’t endlessly analyse their words and actions. You don’t tend to worry about them. You don’t mind if you don’t see them. When you think of them, there’s a warm feeling. You love their foibles and funny little ways. When you’re with them it’s fun and easy whether you’re doing the dishes or dining out.

Notice with the difficult people (especially when this feels like a long standing problem), there is a mountain of thinking. You analyse things they said and chew over things they failed to do or say. And it comes with uneasy feelings. If only they would give you want you want: a fair hearing, understanding, love, acceptance?

You aren’t meeting them in the here and now, you are meeting them in chapter four of the block buster novel you wrote about them.

Until you see the story for what it is – a huge great bundle of thought – you are destined to experience only the person you made up and not the living breathing being in front of you.

Funnily enough, the love and understanding you so desperately want from the ‘difficult’ person are likely the very same things you are denying yourself in some aspect of your life.

Nowhere is this easier to miss than in your own story.

Which chapter are you stuck in?

The one where things never work out; where it’s better to be alone rather than risk getting hurt; the one where you’re too old or too young to do what you dream of doing; the one where you blew it and there’s no get out of jail card; the one where you are too depleted from illness, disappointment, loss, heartache or chronic conditions or the one where other people’s expectations and demands are too crushing? It’s so easy for this to look and feel true.

If you see it for what it is. You can turn the page and open to what is. Go from there. And who knows what might happen.

I love the story of the Bogart and the pink frilly gown. While the Bogart looks real, dressing it up in a pink frilly gown might be temporarily helpful. However, until you see the Bogart for what it really is – a figment of your imagination – made of thought – it will keep appearing attached to so called ‘difficult’ people, difficult situations, difficult memories, or difficult imaginings about the future. When one bows out, a new one will be ready and waiting to play the part.

When you see it for what it is, the Bogart diminishes of its own accord and what remains is the essence of your experience (whatever or whoever it is): that essence is love and beauty. Anything else is opinion, judgement, belief ~ in short, a story.

While there is no magic wand for seeing the illusory nature of thought, in the case of a difficult person or any other so called difficulty, if we have glimpsed the understanding that all of our experience comes via the Power of Thought then we can at least, look away from the story and get curious about the awesome creativity of that Power and what lies beyond it.

As ever thank you to those I am in conversation with. This article was inspired by a recent group and various conversations I’ve had recently. It occurred to me to write this and in doing so, I have seen deeper into my own stories. It is a joy to be in this conversation. If you are interested to join me in conversation please contact me.

When I find myself in times of trouble

When I find myself in times of trouble

When I find myself in times of trouble……

When troubles seem to be on our back, it can lead to frantic activity or paralysis or yo-yo-ing between the two. The state of the world in particular is a place where it looks like we can be flung about on a roller coaster of emotions from denial to anger to deep gloom, grief or a sense of panic and urgency. 

My own journey with climate change began in the 1990s. Getting involved in organic farming led to finding out a great deal about soil and the changing state of the planet.

Busy raising and processing organic food, I didn’t feel I had the capacity to take on the bigger picture but I felt the fear associated with the ‘armageddon narrative’. Even back then in the early 2000s I felt how disempowering it could be to just consume that information without having some creative response or outlet.  

What I didn’t realise back then is, whether the troubles look internal (my mental health difficulties) or external (climate change); tiny (I’ve run out of coffee) or insurmountable (rising temperatures), our experience of them is always coming via the power of Mind, Thought and Consciousness (even when it doesn’t look like it). 

How does that help, especially with the ‘big’ stuff?

It helps because we begin to see how changeable the mind is. How unreliable ‘reactivity’ is in giving us information about ourselves, others or the world and how when we look towards the source of our experience.

How there is an infinite supply of new thoughts, fresh ideas, new perspectives when we get less fascinated with our personal thought dramas and more interested in what is constant (the flow of thought).

It won’t stop us feeling the whole dynamic and diverse range of feelings but an understanding of what is going on helps us allow those feelings to roll through knowing there is a deeper wisdom at play and to take the next step (whatever that may be) with more ease and less angst.

In these times, we need more innovation, connection and love

And more people out in the world who can bring that example to every day life. What helps us do this, for ourselves, our loved ones, in our workplaces, communities and in the wider world, is a deeper understanding of our true nature.
Gathering with others who are looking in this direction is nourishing and nurtures that reflective, relaxing and deepening gratitude for being alive. Something we begin to look to more and more, in times of trouble or not. 

Experiencing for ourselves how practical ideas and solutions show up in real time lays the groundwork for a deeper knowing that we can get into life and take the actions that occur to us from that more solid sense of what’s next.

Knowing that in an enraged state of mind we will, of course find more things to rail against. From a state of hopelessness: the challenges will seem overwhelming.

It’s not that we can necessarily ‘snap out of’ those states but we get less enamoured of them, trust them less, judge them less and as this happens we get more discerning about when to pause, when to rest, when to reflect, when to gather information, when to cease from consuming, when to act, when to make changes, when to reach out to others, when to retreat into silence, when to mourn.

As we get better at tuning into a deeper wisdom, we can’t but get better at nurturing others and the planet we share and responding to what shows up (whatever that may be) with more resilience, love and clarity. 

Juliet Fay is a 3 Principles Facilitator & Mental Health Educator facilitating healing conversations via poetry, illustration, walk ‘n talk, group programmes and 1:2:1 mentoring sessions. She lives in a small village on an estuary in West Wales and works in her local community, at a mental health charity and online.

Sign up to the email list for original visual poems and articles and updates on programmes and products. Join Juliet and a small group in August 2019, for the next 4 week, online programme, Love Your Life Again, exploring how daily life is our best teacher pointing us towards a deeper wisdom. Get in touch for details.

Bored, Judgemental and Lonely went for a walk…..

Bored, Judgemental and Lonely went for a walk…..

Once upon a time, Bored, Judgemental and Lonely went for a walk. The sky was blue, the birds were singing and everywhere the summer creatures were enjoying the fruits of the season, but Bored Judgemental and Lonely saw none of it.

For their heads were bowed and they saw only their feet. Each felt sorry for themselves. Bored could find nothing to interest her either inside her head or out in the beautiful surroundings. Judgemental could find only fault: it was too hot; the path was too dusty and her knees were stiff. Lonely could see nothing but the emptiness inside her.

As they walked along, each one became more and more gloomy. Their steps seemed heavy. And though they were young in years, their gait and demeanour suggested women well into crone-hood. After a while, their attention was caught by the sound of singing and laughter. They looked up, squinting in the summer sun.

Ahead were three figures. With the sun behind them, it was hard to tell what age they were. By their movements they looked to be young. Judgemental felt immediately annoyed by this intrusion. The singing was too loud, the laughter too shrill and the colours too bright. Bored glanced in their direction and sighed. Nothing of interest there. Lonely watched them for a minute and felt only the old, old ache inside.

Closer now and it was clear, they were not young women. In fact they could have been twice the age of our first companions. Their grey hair was flowing out behind them and they were skipping and dancing down the path.

On seeing Bored, Judgemental and Lonely they cried out, ‘hello, where to on this fine day?’. None of the three spoke, waiting for one of the others to say something first. Truth was, they didn’t have a destination in mind. They met on this path most days and usually just turned round when they were tired or hungry. Their feet had created three deep tracks in the path as they trudged along.

Bored, Judgemental and Lonely simply stared at the approaching trio. By this time, they had stopped their singing and dancing for the path was not wide enough to pass three by three. They stood smiling broadly and looking inquisitively at the other three. As the pause lengthened, one of them spoke up. I am Animated and these are my friends Acceptance and Bountiful. Won’t you join us? We are heading for a picnic by the river.

In some confusion, Bored Judgemental and Lonely looked at each other and then at Animated, Acceptance and Bountiful. All of a sudden the scene froze with three faces looking at three faces and those faces looking back. From behind a heretofore unnoticed bush a little sprite with impish grin appeared. He danced around the six and whispered a magic spell. Then giggling to himself he slipped away out of sight.

The scene began to move once again. All six shook themselves as if freed from some unseen bonds. They looked at each other once again and were struck with recognition. Animated looked at Bored and Bored looked back at Animated. Both together began to exclaim, ‘don’t I know you from somewhere?’

And the very same exclamation was uttered by Judgemental and Acceptance and Lonely and Bountiful. It quickly transpired that here were three sets of distant cousins. The recognition was of their family features. Three from the north; three from the south. With that the six turned off the path and headed for the river, deep in conversation.

And strange to tell, when they reached the river, the pairs began to look more and more like each other. Bored looked animated and was that a hint of boredom on Animated’s face? The deep frown lines on Judgemental’s face had softened and Acceptance seemed to have more fire about her. Lonely seemed to fill out, her hips and breasts now brushing her clothes while Bountiful looked a little more bashful.

Yet the overall effect was one of great harmony. They picnicked for many hours, taking dips in the river to cool off and catching up on all the family news. When it was time to part, so engrossed in conversation, they absent-mindedly picked up the wrong shawls. They all roared with laughter to see Bored, Judgemental and Lonely dressed in the brightly coloured garments covering their dowdy dresses. While Animated, Acceptance and Bountiful played hide and seek in their drab shawls.

They vowed to meet again soon and all six set off for home with smiles on their faces.

© Juliet Fay 2018

Photo credit: Antelope Canyon, Arizona Source:

Juliet Fay is a Three Principles facilitator working with individuals and groups sharing an understanding of innate wellbeing and wisdom to help people navigate life and work with more ease and creativity. She also writes poetry, stories and articles and teaches Creative Writing. Find out more.

Lessons from watching wildlife programmes

Lessons from watching wildlife programmes

A recent event for World Mental health Day turned out to be heart warming, fun, uplifting and hopeful with phrases such as ‘spiritual awakening’, ‘recovery from within’ and ‘looking towards what’s right’ uttered from the podium.

During the event I was struck by something.

The transformative power of where we look from

Many of us enjoy watching wildlife programmes on TV. There seems to be no end to the fascinating, weird and wonderful creatures on our planet. When a narrator invites us to look closely at these creatures through the lens of wide-eyed curiosity, we discover magic in the most unexpected places.

What if we approached human beings in the same way? What if we approached our own minds the same way? Celebrating diversity of being rather than holding judgements about what is lacking or wrong.

Wonder + curiosity = magic + beauty

When we open up to the wonder of humanity in all its guises, we find the world begins to transform. Different ways of being become not problematic or pathological but instead a source of awe and we begin to notice the unique ways each us serves the world.

  • The neighbour who brings round surplus tomatoes.
  • The young boy who sees unique patterns in numbers
  • The mother of 8 who clothes and feeds her children on next to nothing
  • The young carer who shops for her Dad
  • The inpatient in a psychiatric unit who lends an ear to a fellow sufferer
  • The woman with a life limiting illness who feeds and cares for her cat
  • The delivery man who smiles as he delivers a parcel
  • The man who makes a cup of tea for a colleague up against a deadline
  • The child who day dreams weaving fantastic tales
  • The community members who donate time, food, equipment and money to help those flooded by storms

These moments rarely make the news. They are happening all round you. The funny thing is: the more we notice the wonder of everyday moments, the more wonderful everyday moments we notice.

If we don’t ‘see’ or experience these things it is only because we have become temporarily beguiled by what’s wrong (with ourselves) and the world.  We can’t see the magic and awe of others when our own wondrous nature is covered up with thoughts of lack, dysfunction, judgement and worries.

Being in this human theatre, you are animated by the divine.

Rather than wondering what that statement means or what the implications are for your life or how you don’t get it: what if you simply wonder at that fact. Is it true? What if it is?

Just as the close up movements of the tentacles of a jelly fish captured on film can hold us mesmerised as we are moved by something beautiful, mysterious and new, so too, within each of us, is magic and awe but for our thinking that tells us otherwise.

I’d love to hear your reflections. Please comment below or email me.


© Juliet Fay 2018

Photo: Jellyfish at Monterey Bay Aquarium by Paul Murk 2017


Three Principles Facilitator, writer & speaker on wellbeing, creativity and enterprise

Helping individuals, groups and teams find more resilience, ease and joy in life and work. Find out more

Freelance Facilitator for Llanelli Mind. Accredited Wellbeing Mentor Coach for Wellbeing Coach Certification training for Wisdom & Wellbeing Consultancy, London, UK

“If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world.”

Sydney Banks