Marian @ Krysan


Planting Golden Seeds in Northumberland, Tyne & Wear, and Durham



The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real. — Marge Piercy






A North East Storyteller


1.  Other people matter.  

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

For the purposes of this blog, I am going to refer back to the days when I edited a wellbeing magazine at an old mental health hospital in NE England. To cut a long story short, every month I included an article taken from the Times magazine. The articles were written by Dr. Nick Baylis, a Lecturer in Positive Psychology at Cambridge University, who wrote under the name of Dr. Feelgood.  

Dr Baylis was a pioneer in his field and he was also a firm favourite with readers of the Times and with readers of Reality News.  You can check this out by going to PUBLISHING on the side menu where a little detective work will lead you to a few copies of Reality News stored here on my website for old times sake.

To continue.  I'm going all the way back to 11 June 2005 and to an article I have kept safe - along with many others - over the years. Why resurrect them now?  My answer is that Positive Psychology (or the Science of Happiness) is on a roll in North East England. To my mind, it had to happen sometime. This is based on intuitive thinking when the articles were written and explains why I hung on to them.

2.  Intuitive thinking. 

The article in question, the one under scrutiny today, begins by acknowledging that decisions made in an instant can be every bit as helpful as decisions made after a far more conscious, careful gathering of evidence.  It's simply a matter of which method to use and when. 

I'm pretty good at following my nose and beefing good ideas up with a bit of lateral thinking - always have been, and hopefully always will be. Lateral-thinking psychologist Edward de Bono is firmly on my side, his research suggesting that we make more progress if we systematically adopt up to half a dozen different thinking caps to solve a problem. This may involve being first daring and then cautious; then logical and then emotional. In this way, we can learn to make better use of our snap judgements. 

For instance, here's a beautifully written poem that I came upon this week quite by chance.  I know that I adopted it for public consumption (yours) at a speed far faster than my conscious mind was able to process. Subliminal and reliant on the subconscious, this was indeed a highly effective way to start to process the wealth of data that presented itself for possible inclusion in this particular blog.

Read the poem carefully to the end and I am confident you will see what I saw - in a flash.

3.  To be of use. 


Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls. 

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again. 

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlour generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out. 

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.  

The italics at the end of Margery Piercy's poem are mine, 'the pitcher cries for water to carry and a person for work that is real'.  To be of use is all most of us want from life and this whatever our age and circumstance.  As I recounted to you in a previous blog - I WONDER ...  for twelve years of my life I was of use to neither man nor beast.  Would that Positive Psychology had been around for me.

4.  People, lives, communities.

But, it wasn't and I suffered from total despair for far too long.  Here's to change - for the better!

Strength Absence Excess Opposite
Forgiveness Mercilessness Permissiveness Vengefulness
Kindness Indifference Intrusiveness Cruelty
Hope Present Orientation Ostrich head in the sand Despair

Over the next few weeks, I will be exploring the strengths of forgiveness, kindness, and hope, touching - as I do - on people, lives, and communities.  Again, I will use the writings of the first Positive Psychologist on the scene for me, Dr. Nick Baylis.  

While you wait, have a think about why 'other people matter' and the implications of the above chart taken from Positive Psychology News Daily this very day.  

5.  We are stardust.

Finally, bear in mind that like a fine wine, we can get better with age.  As I gently transform myself into an Older Leader for Change (OL4C), I'm living proof.  And, don't be afraid to follow your inner knowing - better known as your intuition.  

I'll see you again soon with more on Positive Psychology and, of course, OL4C which, in a nutshell, 'seeks to build the confidence, skills and capacity of older people who use mental health services to lead and influence change in their own lives and in wider service developments'.  

Last word (for now).  "The only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that they didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough. Nothing else really counts at all." Ted Hughes  

Marian @ Krysan

July 2013 




(1).  Dr. Nick Baylis writing about Intuitive Thinking in The Times Magazine on 11 June 2005 (archived).

(2).  Marge Piercy's poem To be of use heard about on Conscious TV and researched using Google.

(3).  Eleanor Chin's article in Positive Psychology News Daily - Tributes to Chris Peterson (Today).




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