Marian @ Krysan


Planting golden seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham



I have walked through many lives, some of them my own, and I am not who I was.

Stanley Kunitz





In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers, 
not on the litter.”




  1. SWEET CONVERSATION - Moves mountains
  2. STORYTELLING - Surprised by tenderness
  3. MAKE ME CARE - The gold standard


Planting Golden Seeds

(The unexamined life is not worth living)

This website can be likened (unusually!) to an enormous garden where I happen along now and again to plant a golden seed - or two - or (even) three.  It was Socrates (via Plato) who famously cautioned anyone who would listen that the unexamined life is not worth living.

This is - of course - debatable.  

The golden seeds I plant are similarly sourced from the heady, emotive and highly-charged world of ideas. So, my virtual friend, the plan today is to re-visit the concept of 'a common humanity', this in relation to the oft-hidden stories around (1) disability, (2) ageing, and (3) creativity.

I invite you join the dots - your way.  

Read on.  Maybe a bit of poetic wisdom can help.  Or, the trilling of a trio of songsters will inspire.  Or, perhaps our old friends at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) will precipitate firm action.  But, first, consider my brief report on a disturbing documentary into the very private world of the mind.

A minefield for the unwary.

A Common Humanity

(Conversing on the preciousness of people)

"Our sense of the preciousness of other people is connected with their power to affect us in ways we cannot fathom and in ways against which we can protect ourselves only at the cost of becoming shallow. There is nothing reasonable in the fact that another person's absence can make our lives seem empty. The power of human beings to affect one another in ways beyond reason and beyond merit has offended rationalists and moralists since the dawn of thought, but it is partly what yields to us that sense of human individuality which we express when we say that human beings are unique and irreplaceable. Such attachments, and the joy and the grief which they may cause, condition our sense of the preciousness of human beings. Love is the most important of them."  - Raimond Gaita 

  • Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
  • Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
  • Just walk beside me, and be my friend

The oft-hidden story of disability

(An entry in the abiding book of life)

A second occasion where I was to shed tears occurred at a special Christmas celebration of the Durham Hearing the Voice Special Interest Group. Once more I found myself in the position of a participant observer, this time of a short documentary film. This told the oft-hidden story of disability through the experiences and eyes of a group of men who each, in his own way, suffered from the extreme symptoms of Schizophrenia. 

This film was not for the faint-hearted and throughout the screening one could have heard a pin drop. All the suffering, all the pain, all the heartbreak and fear was felt and in the raw. There was nowhere to hide as the hidden story of disability caused by 'voices that others do not hear' was revealed. Nor was there any let-up from the harrowing experience of rage, anguish and distress played out before our eyes. 


On careful consideration of this film on Schizophrenia - the extremes of its sufferers and the pain of their informal and formal carers - I (with others) came to the opinion that this was a very brave attempt to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And, once again, we were thankfully allowed time at the end of the film to ask questions and were finally encouraged to discuss our own private feelings in groups of two or three. A Conversational Film ... ? 

Clearly, a piece of documentary research that explores the inner world of vulnerable people who hear angry, often abusive voices day-in and day-out is privileged viewing. No doubt about that. And, indeed, it should also be noted that this was a private showing to a niche audience, people already well-versed in how Schizophrenia plays out at the far end of the spectrum. 

See A PEOPLED WOUND for more 

But, before I move on, I will say again that feelings of tenderness were felt towards the service users, their carers, and also towards the film-maker, himself. We learned that this documentary was made over a three-year period by someone whose tenacity and courage in exploring unchartered waters one had to admire. Thinking outside the box here. 

As said, it was raw and it was risky, but for many people in this country and across the developed world it is the sad and distressing reality of their everyday lives. In concluding this account, I was glad to be part of this unusual experience in Durham University's Joachim Room last Wednesday night. As for all the people in the film,

'I am cradling the hope meanwhile, as in the light of a flame'.

  • A Common Humanity.
  • Surprised by Tenderness

"I believe the greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be seen by them, heard by them, to be understood and touched by them. The greatest gift I can give is to see, hear, understand and to touch another person. When this is done I feel contact has been made," - Virginia Satir

The oft-hidden story of growing old

(An insight into a prize-winning poet's very soul)



I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe
out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

Source: The Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz, 2002

The oft-hidden story of creativity

(1)  RSA Short Video - last showing

The 21st century presents us with huge challenges. How can we empower people to be active participants in creating a world we want to live in? In this extract from his annual RSA Chief Executive's Lecture, Matthew Taylor offers a vision for the future - a world where every individual has the freedom and opportunity to develop their unique capabilities to the full.

(2)  Youtube Music Video - first showing

The Rose: 

 An Inner Journey:

I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

T S Eliot




Buy A Common Humanity: Thinking about Love and Truth and Justice by Raimond Gaita (ISBN: 9780415241144) from Amazon's Book Store. Free UK delivery.

Buy The Collected Poems of Stanley Kunitz, 2002 Pub.  ?





1,357 hits @ 2015-11-16

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