Monday, December 30, 2013


(TITLE: Quotation from Christmas card from Chris and Amy)

Basking in comfort and joy 
With family and friends.
Good food, comfortable banter,
Relaxation, and easy laughter.

Next several days full of more
Friends and more family times,
Culminating tomorrow in 
Non-remarkable-birthday party.

Rejuvenating days away from work,
With stacked tasks ever looming.
Stay in each moment, lean back
Into hours of puttering and dreaming.

Gently bid adieu to eventful 2013;
Looking forward to starting anew
In 2014's 365 glowing opportunities.
Love and joy and equality and play.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 30, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Traditional exquisite concert with friends.
One asked about our favorite passage;
So many, mostly from Isaiah, prophesies.

Good fiends, good cheer, good will.
Blessed season for reflection and joy.
Brief morning snow blankets and quiets.

Classes complete, just grading remains.
Splendid students and colleagues, one and all.
A pleasurable craft to ply in this wondrous life.

Good will to all, and to all a good night on 
This longest Solstice night of year 2013.
Onward to the next steps of the journey.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 21, 2014

Friday, December 20, 2013


Glaringly aware of time and location.
Left home at 9:22 am, 22 minutes later
Than usual, for weekly commute south 
To private practice in Olympia, WA.
Wisely-distracting tasks delayed journey
And protected from witnessing accident
At milepost 116, 11 miles from destination.

At 10:25 am, emergency vehicles 
From various directions screamed 
Past to assess, assist, and direct.
Traffic abruptly stopped to honor
Fatality 1 mile south, occurring
Just 10 minutes earlier: 10:15 am.

Had iPad, phone, lunch sandwich.
Sister Googled, found information.
Called clients to reschedule, and 
Then called to reschedule again. 

As traffic finally crept forward,
Veil thinned between realities.
Wave upon wave of sadness,
Prompting repetitive prayers.
Chanting CD played on car
Sound system: comfort, sent 
Forward through aching heart.

Detour over overpass, glimpse of
Wreckage beyond recognition.
Tears streaming, offering assurance:
"You are safe. You are sad for family.
Rest easy now. We are here with you."

Arrived in office at 1:15 pm, 
Accompanied by sadness, 
compassion, grief, and 
Gratitude, appropriately 
Permeating regular routines.

Miles of traffic remained jammed entire day,
Drivers silently honoring, cell phones buzzing.
Left office at 8:23 pm, following blue and yellow
(Sweden's colors) Franz truck creeping at speed limit. 
Listened to same comforting, soulful chanting CD.

At first, traffic normal, until flashing lights
Signaled milepost 116. Thankfully, too
Dark to see aftermath. From milepost 
116 to milepost 130, southbound traffic 
Sat stopped on Tarmac in silent cortège;
Trucks and cars, bumper-to-bumper, 
Headlights beaming, rear lights brightly 
Lit by constant breaking; confronting presence 
Of necessity to pause in face of tragedy, 
To investigate facts, to form explanations,
To honor the dead and the injured, 
To reflect upon universal vulnerability 
And ever-present closeness of death.
Teeth clenched, heart pounding, and
Tears dropping as drove northward.

Finally, at milepost143, regained 
Coherence, relaxed jaw, passed 
Guiding blue and yellow truck.
At 10:15 pm, arrived disoriently 
And gratefully home: glaringly aware.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 16, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Three loving dads with feet of clay,
Sometimes stuck deeply in mud;
Absent in wide variety of hurtful ways.

In their wake, ignored wounds in some, 
And chose badly with one other;
Alone appeared better than conflict.

Sometimes naive hope for perfection,
Seeing falsely-redemptive opposite 
By tending to idolize cultural icons:

JFK, RFK, Mandela, Obama, and 
Martin Luther King, like us all, just 
Humans with both virtues and flaws.

Now better at acknowledging and
Embracing all my own virtues and
Flaws--just another human being,

Like all of us, continuing to honestly
Grapple with awareness of walking
Gently in my own skin on this Earth.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 14, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


His Day is Done: A Tribute Poem for Nelson Mandela by Maya Angelou

"Education if the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela


Ubuntu: South African and Zimbabwe philosophical term for human-ness, human kindness; coined in mid-19th Century; popularized in 1950s by Jordon Kushan Ngubane; essential to the South African liberation movement led by Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress political party; and cited in the Preamble to the Constitution of South Africa (

Again awake in middle of night,
Puttering a bit, hungry a little.

Turned on TV at exact moment
President Barack Obama strode 
Into Soweto stadium in South Africa 
To offer his poetic, stirring eulogy
During national memorial event
For Nelson Rolihlala Mandela, 
"An icon of flesh and blood,"
The father of the nation, and
Affectionately known as 
Madiba and Tata (father).

Clearly touched, President Obama 
Similarly touched the citizens and 
Dignitaries gathered to celebrate 
Mandela's uncommon yet common
Life of dedication to individual
Rights and to service for the world.

Our President quoted 
Inspiration accessed by
Nelson Mandela during his
Twenty-seven years in prison:
Invictus by William Earnest Henley 
(See full text below):
"It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."

Thank you, Godspeed, and 
Rest in deserved peace, 
Dear Nelson Mandela.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 10, 2013

Invictus by William Earnest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Monday, December 9, 2013


Threat of snow brings out Northwest shoppers,
Stocking up on groceries and fuels of all kinds.
Cheaper gas; long lines on cold, clear Sunday morn.

Gas pumps, set aside from hustle and bustle of
Monstrous commercial store, offer haven of solitary
Contemplation and shopping solo from vehicle.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 8, 2013


Battered Del Sol, reminiscent of my beloved red version, 
But with flat-matte steel-grey paint job like late-1950s 
High school guys' 1949 2-door Ford sedan, and with 
Freight-train-loud muffler; cigarette hanging, of course, 
From driver's lower lip, baseball cap brim facing backward.

Already a test of my commitment to perceive from vantage of 
Compassion, followed by burning butt tossed from window. 
Challenge gladly accepted. Stay amused; remain empathic for
Human being in the scenario; wonder about, rather than making
Critical assumptions: What is context for motivation and intention?

And, universally and ultimately and finally, see myself in his mirror.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 9, 2013


Many trails and some trials:
Spiritual, emotional, physical.
Growthful contribution to
Meaning and awareness.

People consistently add
Value and companionship,
Nurture and intervention,
Initiating and receiving.

Continue to devote substantial
Energy to work endeavors,
Contributing both joy and fatigue.
Take time for joy, reflection, discernment.

Already mid-December, the final
Countdown, the 12th of twelve.
Birthday at ultimate end marks
Moments for pause and intention.

This life, my life, now in final 
Third phase. More clearly
Contemplative of focus and
Direction: What do I want?

Continue to seek and learn.
Continue to be open to and receptive of
Contacts, encounters, and opportunities.
Many paths taken, many roads to explore.
Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 9, 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013


Decorative and relaxing fish tank in radiation lobby, metaphor for 
Tender catching; then proudly displaying the beauty of treatment and 
Closeness of death; sadness and pride in releasing back into healthy life.

Last appointment with radiation oncology practitioners.
Tapped on wall next to curtained doorway to radiation lobby.
Warmly greeted; all acknowledging gift of final interactions.

Recognize admirable ability to forge close, therapeutic
Relationships; culminating in complete closure; followed by
Team members' once again warmly attaching to next patient.

Although grieving the safety of being enveloped in competent 
Embrace of all members of radiation oncology medical team, 
Also celebrating my release and their ability to lovingly let go.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 5, 2013


Still difficult for me when others behave in ways I dislike.
I (sometimes) still automatically and immediately react
With disgust, distrust, dismay, annoyance, anger, and contempt.

Those reactions clearly form protective attitudes of distancing,
Holier-than-thou, nose in the air--tightly closed by clothespin.
By distancing myself, I deny my own culpability and proximity.

By staying close, by acknowledging my sameness and 
My co-humanity, by consciously reclaiming my projections, 
I access self-compassion as well as compassion for others.

Continue to strive toward integrity and compassion, toward 
Loving interactions, facilitated by setting clear boundaries 
And standards, permeable by compassion and forgiveness.

All of above are simply spokes in wheel of life, pieces of whole pie.
Join human race richly comprised of culpable and lovable beings.
Continually reflect upon the fullness of love and hate, joy and pain.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 6, 2013


As I sit with my hand warming my left breast,
Spontaneous memory: Grandma's same gesture.

My reason, warming nipple against pain of cold.
Grandma's purpose? Comfort, protection, habit?

Feel humbled by poignant closeness, sad connection.
I am not alone in this process--Grandma led the way.

Wish neither had had this experience, and, if we had to,
Which apparently we did, her company consoles me.

Breast cancer, and other forms, flit though the generations 
of my family; too many children, women, and men afflicted.

Winter Holidays prompt reflection and end-of-year
Pondering, surfacing both memories and intentions.

Goodbye, God Be with Thee, and Fond Farewell to 2013;
Anticipatory hopeful energy for new experiences in 2014.

Connecting cards sent to and fro with love and joy:
Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Every Living Being.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 7, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


                                            even better.
                                 July, Karin and I began to
                       the El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage
                           Spain, but after 8 days, I returned
                        Sweden for my own family pilgrimage.
               to Denmark, Wales, and London for more adventures.
        returned home to be treated for 2 small, early breast cancer sites.
    was supported by an exceptional team of family, friends, and medicos.
    Jungian Psychotherapists Association celebrated our 20th Anniversary
    both Ann Belford Ulanov and John Bebee as presenters par excellence.
            throughout the year, almost daily writing of poems and essays
                                         Happy Holidays,
                                         Happy New Year
                                                 to you
                                             and yours
                                               for now
                                               and for
                                   Love and Joy from Ann.


Shakespeare so eloquently stated,
"To die, to sleep; to sleep: perchance 
to dream; ay, there's the rub." Hamlet.
"the innocent sleep, sleep, that knits 
Up the ravell'd sleave of care." Macbeth.

In orbit, we follow predetermined paths,
Yet, ALSO accompanied by free will,
We forge unique AND repeated patterns.

Said before, AND worth repeating:
Sufficiently facilitated, bodies heal
Themselves, as do all psyches.

Like plants, given sufficient soil,
Water, and light, we grow upward,
Even after various obstructions.

"Sufficiently facilitated:" challenging
AND simultaneously uncomplicated:
Cooperate AND get out of the way.

To stand with, to accompany, to attune:
Useful and fruitful tactics, ALONG WITH
Active engagement with self AND world.

Seemingly contradictive, yet generatively
True AND simultaneously ubiquitous;
Opposites AND essential companions.

Necessary coupling of active AND passive
Modes of healing and rejuvenation, employing
Conscious AND unconscious partners.

As my mind and body recuperate from
Recent essential interventions, along
With current reparative medication,

I take both active AND stand-aside stances:
I cooperate by providing food and exercise
And sleep and productive work endeavors.

Yet the balance, the equilibrium, the alert calm--
All necessary AND yet difficult to maintain and
Sustain--the continuing and constant goal.

Even just now, awake in middle of night,
With words needing to be written down:
Competing yet cooperating needs AND wants:

Create AND regenerate. Facilitate AND relax.
Stand aside AND be alert. Relax AND reset.
Sleep AND dream. Sleep AND repair.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 4, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


1. Challenge Fear
“Run from what’s comfortable. Forget Safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.”
2. Be Bold
“Do not be satisfied with the stories that come before you. Unfold your own myth.”
3. Have Gratitude
“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.”
4. Take Action
“Why should I stay at the bottom of a well, when a strong rope is in my hand?”
5. Have Faith
“As you start to walk out on the way, the way appears.”
6. Embrace Setbacks
“If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?”
7. Look Inside
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
8. Learn From Suffering
“The wound is the place where Light enters you.”
9. Don’t Be Concerned With What Other Think Of You
“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.”
10. Do What You Love
“Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love.”
Posted on May 4, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013


Childhood artifact: sleep
On left side, perpendicular 
To mattress and pillows.

Recovery from treatment
Interferes with habitual, 
Comforting sleep position.

Usual tossing and turning,
Now abrupt shift away from
Discomfort to default modes.

Tiredness lulls me to dreamland,
Irrespective of proprioceptive 
Positioning--sleep, glorious sleep.

Ann Beth Blake
(c) December 2, 2013


Foggy morning shifts to sun as
I approach sister's home for 
afternoon turkey 'n fixin's dinner. 

Fog blankets Puget Sound channel
Like rippling snow drifts, reminiscent
Of aunt and uncle's Side Lake cabin.

Friday, snow tires mounted, buy socks;
Yummy organic brunch with Gwen;
Northward bound to Bellingham.

Two restful, fun, productive days 
With Deena and kids and kids.
Cozy, comfortable, connecting.

Sunday, JPA Council in gracious home;
Intense and productive discussions;
Time to curb involvement, step back.

Broader picture gratitude for family and 
Friends; renewed health; soulful career, 
Moving toward shifting down in 3 years.

Four-day weekend, breath of fresh air;
People-filled weekend ending by
Alone time and napping 'til bedtime.

Thanks to everyone; thanks for everything.

Ann Beth Blake
December 2, 2013