Joy: a poem an reflection

Joy: a poem an reflection

So often a fleeting state, seen as hard won or not relevant to the cut and thrust of daily life. A momentary dazzling of the senses, a peak experience, snapped for Instagram. Yet there is more to joy than meets the eye. A potent healer of self and others. A transformative, contagious state, where all that has been can be swept away in an instant as something new is revealed. How might we nourish joy in our hearts? If, as it seems to me, it is there, lurking, ready to break through the surface of our awareness at any moment, is nourishment simply relaxing into it, recognising the constricted, fearful thinking that takes us away from it?

And what of avoidance, bypassing, living in la-la land. That’s not joy. That takes as much effort, in terms of denial and wilful head in the sand blindness, as living in negativity. It just dresses itself up as positive when in fact it requires the same degree of dehumanising as its opposite, wilful cruelty.

Joy is something else. A willingness to be joyful is a good start. Knowing it brings healing is all the encouragement we could want, isn’t it? Joy in being alive, joy in the foibles and ridiculousness of ourselves and others, joy in the millions of unseen movements that make up this living, breathing planet. Joy in the fierceness of the human spirit, the resilience of the tiniest plant clinging to life on a windswept rock. Joy in being part of this unknowable, incredible whole. Joy in the journey with all its ups and downs.

What are you seeing?

A new perspective on perfectionism

A new perspective on perfectionism


Perfectionism has rolled back around into the spotlight. It gets a bad rap and rightly so for it tends to be used against oneself. In discussion, my partner said ‘it’s a kind of violence’. And that really landed for me. It can be violent, where it suffocates creative expression or taking action and invites us into excruciatingly, uncomfortable procrastination.

Can we expand our view of perfectionism, get a new perspective?

What even is it all about? Some imagined idea of how something should be? Holding that as the only possible outcome, seeing only how our efforts fall short of that imagined outcome? When we know, it is in taking action that new horizons appear. By letting ideas out, formed into action, new ideas occur. Mis-takes can be seen as opportunities that open up new possibilities

Perfect ~ as made

A few years ago, a dear friend told me one of the root meanings of ‘perfect’ is ‘as made’ from the Latin ‘per’ – completely and facere – to make, to do. I love that idea. Something is perfect in the sense, it has come into form, it is perfect simply as an expression of form. When we get to wondering at the miraculous diversity of form constantly showing up, then the word perfect suddenly goes far deeper.

I wonder how that would be to see ourselves too as ‘perfect’ ~ ‘as made’?

You’ll be able to hear me and Carla Royal exploring this topic on our new podcast, Riffing on Realness, launching in the Autumn. We had a blast.

What are you seeing around perfectionism?



as violence
when used
to stymie
creative action

© words & illustration Juliet Fay 2020

Reposts welcome, please just tag me and #julietkfay

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Juliet is a poet and Three Principles facilitator & mental health educator, living on a small estuary in West Wales UK, follow her Insta-poems and photograph @juliet_k_fay. Get in touch to hire her to facilitate your next poetry workshop. 

Poem: Hovering

Poem: Hovering


~ remain poised uncertainly in one place or between two states ~




Over and
Over again


© Juliet Fay 2018




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

Poem: spiral

Poem: spiral

It is the way of things
To start at the beginning
And return home
Again and again.

Journeying through
Spirals of unknowing.
Bumping up against
Lost parts of our experience

Like amputated limbs,
Ghostly presences, felt
In the body system
Unable to depart


At times the heart opens
Views the world
Through Love Goggles
Rosier by the day


Now and then the lost part
Cries out for recognition
And Fear Goggles
Turn the lights out.

Plunging the world into
Darkness, full of shadows
Perils at every turn
Waiting to consume us


The spiral turns again
Love rises embracing
The lost limb
Honouring its presence

Feeling its pain and
Desolation. Its
Howl of terror
Echoing through the night


The limb, the part, the belief
Illuminated for the first time
Shows its magnificence
The knight in shining armour

Always keeping you safe.
And now its work is done
We humbly thank and
Praise its tireless service

The iron grip releases
The lost part dissolves
Returns to source
For a happy retirement


In saying farewell
There is no triumph
Or victory song.
The spiral turns

A phantom emerged
Revealed and released
Who knows what more
Will come as the spiral

Turns and turns again.

© Juliet Fay 2018

While we continue to believe that parts of our experience (emotions) must be excluded, we will experience a painful dichotomy in our experience. It is this belief itself that needs to be loved and held and accepted as being present so that it too can dissolve and fall away.. Be seen for what it is …. a thought oft repeated that has become a belief and has guided and protected us until we no longer needed its guidance and protection. Humbly thank it and wish it farewell as it departs.


18 lessons from past creations

18 lessons from past creations

Six months ago, I published a prose piece, Leave Go on this blog (read the original at the end of this post). It marked a change of tone in my article writing, leaning more towards the poetic in style. Risky? Maybe. Yet the feedback suggested it touched people. Recently I felt stuck, uninspired. It occurred to me to take a gentle stroll through my past writing and I’m so glad I did.

A note on creativity: in case you think ‘creative output’ means art or poetry or prose. It doesn’t. Every time you bring something into form that didn’t previously exist, you create:

a meal, an Instagram post, a photo, an outfit you put together, a sketch, a song you sing, a spreadsheet you populate, a piece of code you write, a hairstyle you create, a picture you frame, a sand castle you build, a fire you lay, a flower bed you dig over, If it doesn’t ‘feel creative’ that is just the thought you’ve overlaid on to the act.

What might you re-visit?

Behind the scenes of this creative process

Here are 18, whimsical and practical, things I discovered on reviewing LEAVE GO:-


  1. The experience of reading the piece I wrote was a pleasant surprise. If you feel stuck or discouraged, remind yourself of past creative output. If it isn’t still in form (a cake, flower arrangement or beach art), perhaps look at photos, notes, sketches, or plans you made about the creation.
  2. It seemed incredible that the same ‘I’ created this piece of work because this ‘I’ wasn’t ‘feeling’ particularly creative. A great reminder of how unreliable, illusory and changeable any concept of I, me, my capacity, talents, creativity etc actually is. I.e. best disregarded as often as you can.
  3. Reading this piece took me straight back to the feeling I was in when I created it (and that was revitalising).
  4. Something created, captured and shared, is re-animated, every time someone looks at it, listens to it, watches it, shares it (and that includes you the creator of it). Why not relish what you spent time creating in the past.
  5. A fresh idea occurred to perform the poem (spoken word poetry) and record it (something I am just beginning to explore) and make a little video. INSPIRATION comes from contemplating the wonder and mystery of creation (ours, others’ and the natural world)


  1. Acting on that inspiration led to action which was absorbing and enjoyable (my mood lifted without me actively trying to shift it) LEAVING OUR RUMINATING ALONE AS BEST WE CAN
  2. I found out some new functions on a free video app called SPLICE for smartphones (LEARNING)
  3. I had FUN!
  4. Out of that activity came a fresh new creation. First a written poem, now a performance piece. NOTICING CREATIVITY
  5. The possibility for many different creative spin offs to create other version of this work suddenly seems endlessly possible and fun. IF IT’S DIFFERENT, IT’S A NEW CREATION
  6. The joy of paying close attention to different aspects: each word, line length, layout of the poem, font. Then thinking about the performance: speed of delivery, loudness, variation of tone and speed, pitch, adding music or not, what kind? Images that could be filmed to go with the work. NOTICING THE TAP IS ON


  1. By publishing it on Vimeo and Facebook, it gets the creation out of the ‘safe’ space of your studio, notebook or tablet and sets it free. CREATIONS ARE HAPPENING BY THEIR MILLIONS EVERY DAY, UNLIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE
  2. It changes form as soon as others hear/read/see/taste it and so it gets newly created each time it is heard CREATION IS DYNAMIC AND RE-CREATED AT EVERY MOMENT
  3. It has attracted fresh interest even though it was previously shared as a poem to many of the same audience. Note to self: Don’t be afraid to RE-PUBLISH/RE-POST, it gives more people the opportunity to connect with what you have created. LOOK CLOSELY, IT’S NOT THE SAME FOR THOSE WHO EXPERIENCE IT
  4. Heartfelt responses point you towards and encourage you to continue creating what helps people. This feedback gives you helpful pointers. FEEDBACK IS A GIFT
  5. Helpful guides can appear. A film-maker and fellow writer have offered really helpful feedback and tips on how to improve and how to spread the work more widely. GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT COME FROM UNEXPECTED PLACES
  6. Specific feedback, in this case on hearing the work rather than just reading it, encourages me to further explore e.g. spoken word performance. FEEDBACK IS A CHANCE TO LEARN

I’d love to hear what landed for you in this post and topics you’d like to explore further. Please add your comments.

And here is the creation: LEAVE GO © Juliet Fay 2018 written, performed and recorded by Juliet Fay with photo by Juliet Fay


For there, just out of sight, is a space where we don’t need to hold things so tightly.

Where there is nowhere to fall but into grace.

Where stories of self and others flutter like Autumn leaves, falling, falling to gently decompose as winter turns to Spring and emerge, transformed.

New shoots from the cold hard earth.

And in this ebb and flow of birth and death, of joy and sorrow, we hear another drum beat.

The deep longing expressing itself in sighs and belly laughs.

The longing to turn away from poring over the flotsam and jetsam on the shores of our awareness.

To wade out beyond our depth and dive into the ocean, down, down to the unexplored territory far below the pull of neap and spring tides.

And as we fall into that deep rest, life rises up, greets us and washes us back upon the shore.

To once again sigh and laugh
Rise and fall
Leave go and let this making and unmaking of Life unfold.

© Juliet Fay 2017

© Juliet Fay 2017

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