Reading Lives

You meander back after a long bus ride
When something catches your eye
From that charity shop window

And a mat shakes hands with your shoes

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Shelves burst with wallpaper samples
That swallow chunks of intricately shattered porcelain
Showing skillful limbs or perceived skirts

Then you see droplets
Marked with words like “Huckleberry Finn”
Whilst, somewhere,
Clusters of other letters dissolve into a grid

That canvas bucket can carry each drop
But it doesn’t hold the aroma of royal silver

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Your feet create the latest dance craze
Born between those display cases
And kindled by the looks of tired assistants
The calcium in your arms turns blue

Finally a plastic bag cradles a clear conscience
Anticipating only the journey
Unobstructed by personal greetings
To the reader who thinned the pages

Once home your new book falls open
To reveal an abyss 
From where Twain returns a ticket
To the city of Yellbormoon

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You claw for the box
Where an envelope addressed “…”
And a faceless group image
Both specked with red wool
Scrunch the train ticket to Y….moon
With the energy of 4,000 giants
And they will for 40 years

Like stranded boatmen
At times bump a buoy
Familiar strangers
Gently graze your history
Requesting in lieu of your gratitude
A mere time capsule

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By A.L. 

This poem is about collecting together the old train tickets, messages, and even photos, which are sometimes found in books that are bought at charity shops. Though I certainly do not keep things that aren’t mine, my poem here aims to hint at the notion that by putting each of these things in a time capsule one could hypothetically preserve the existence of strangers (who have floated into an out of one’s life) for years. I contributed this poem to Leeds Wellbeing Web, because I felt the above notion was an interesting concept.

Christmas Well-being! Thoughts, feelings and numbers to call.

Wishing everyone well this christmas

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Maybe because Christmas is *supposed* to be a happy family time is the reason it may be difficult for some, in fact for many!   Whilst some people may be in a position to really enjoy christmas and embrace it, some of us will struggle and others may simply put up with it.

Here are some ideas if it all gets too much !

Christmas is short-lived, it’s just one day or if you count the whole thing it’s a week at the most.   Putting things in perspective is a good idea if you feel any distress.  Remembering that feelings may be heightened during this time and that you’re likely to feel very different once christmas is over is helpful.

Taking a brisk walk and getting some exercise can often make people feel better and help to reduce negative thinking.

Use tricks to distract a troubled mind such as watching a christmas comedy, reading, knitting or doing a crossword. If your thoughts and feelings are escalating and you are struggling to manage them try focussing your mind by using techniques such as counting backwards or playing ‘I went to the shop – the alphabet game’ in your head.  I’ve been there and done it, in fact I think I played the alphabet game for an hour once!

Try to Identify or name your feelings and thought types as they arise and see if this works for you.  When you feel distressed name the feeling or thought,  for example: ‘Anger,’  ‘Sadness, ‘ ‘Loneliness, ‘  ‘catastrophic thinking,’  or ‘jumping to conclusions,’  this can help you to remain objective.

Try not to drink too much alcohol

Remember: It’s just a day, like any other day!

See what’s going on in nature – take a look at the world around you. The photo of the Robin makes me smile, sometimes nature can really help me put things into perspective!

Remember life isn’t perfect.

If you need to talk to someone and feel distressed there are many numbers you can call and people want to help!  The numbers are listed below.

TELEPHONE NUMBERS IF YOU NEED TO TALK !

Samaritans:  08457 909090 or email jo@samaritans.org

Dial House is somewhere you can visit if you can’t cope – Open Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Call to make an appointment 0113 260 9328 (Leeds)

Connect Helpline: 0808 800 12 12 Provides up to an hour of emotional support by telephone.  Open 6pm -10.30pm every night of the year. (Leeds)

Saneline: 0845 767 8000 1pm – 11pm Offering emotional support and information

NHS Direct; Health advice and information:  0845 4647

Thanks for reading, keep well and warm xx

If you have any  tips or ideas to keep well please leave a comment !

Thanks Vicky 😉