I must not say no

to the things I am.


I must be open

to the moment,



To pick and choose

is partial.


To be whole

is to own

all the diverse, devious, deviant

things I am.


For only then

will I be healthy,

whole and well.


Note  This poem comes out of working therapeutically on chronic pain. There are a range of therapies that focus on evolving self-acceptance, self-approval, self-love and so on. The phrase ‘pick and choose’ is often, I note, used in Buddhist advice as a tendency to avoid. This poem is essentially a poem written to the self. I include it here with a companion poem, written in the same ‘bout’, as an example of how, just as one occasionally writes ‘epistolary’ poems (ie letter poems) to a particular person, one can also write a poem to oneself. This is a way of using the writing of a poem to think something through, formalising it through verbalisation, articulating it by taking it through the draft processes of poetic composition. One ends up with something that might also to some extent ‘speak’ to another person, an unknown reader, at another place &/or time. It is not uncommon in therapies to develop a habit of talking to oneself, one part of oneself addressing, putatively, another part. A very obvious form of this would be the conscious mind addressing the subconscious. But there are other ways of ‘splitting’ (or subdividing) the psyche which one may find in processes such as IFS, for example.