Guilt – Sat Nav for the Soul


Playing the “Guilty” Card.

I wanted to do a series that embraced all 20 cards from mood-measuring Moodscope (see  Today, it’s the turn of the “Guilty” card, which Moodscope defines as, “feeling regret for doing something wrong.”

Is our guilt real, or imagined, or somewhere in between?  This is where the rational approach can be so helpful – guilt must justify itself to be taken seriously.  Inappropriate guilt, shame, and blame are an unholy trinity that torment many.  Imaginary guilt that cannot maintain its case in the face of honest cross-examination must be banished immediately.  Is this feeling based on your values, or someone else’s imposed standards?  How many people have you met who are carrying guilt imposed on them by others?  Again, this kind of guilt must be thrown out of court.

Guilt’s positive intention vs the power of learning

If ‘feeling guilty’ – such a dominant human emotion – had a good intention, it would surely be to help Society and relationships function.  In many senses we should feel regret for doing something wrong.  However, many of us feel regret for errors of judgment and even misdeeds that were committed way back in the past.  When this persistent guilt paralyses positive action in the present, it needs to go.

There are many pathways to free yourself from genuine, good, honest guilt.  The most logical one is restitution – to do something to ‘balance’ the books.  Whilst deeds cannot be undone, and words cannot be taken back, we can always introduce new deeds and words into our future history.  I am a great believer that it is how we finish that matters more than how we start.  When we are young and inexperienced, we are still learning – and I don’t think we should ever ‘punish’ anyone while they are learning.  Since I never intend to stop learning, I don’t think I should ever punish myself!  The flip side of the deal is to keep learning and to keep changing.

If restitution cannot be made to the parties we may have wronged, doing good to someone else is good for the soul.  It is a healthy direction to go in.  A fresh destination for our soul’s Sat Nav.

I really don’t like it when people say to me, “You haven’t changed a bit!”  I have.  I am not the person I was even two months ago.  I am constantly transforming.  Nowadays, I treat guilt with as much respect as my Sat Nav.  Sometimes it’s accurate, and so I follow its guidance after checking the evidence.  Other times it’s just simply wrong!  Many times I know a better way – and I take it, because, after all, “I” am more than the guilt I may feel.

Poem: Musing Oak

Acorns and Oak (Moku Hanga)

With sedulous care

I stopped to stare

At the details of the Oak;

The other people

Just hurried by

‘Twas lost on busy folk.

Their haste,

Such waste,

Had blinded them

To this miracle in wood,

But I stood still

To drink it in

As any poet would.

From little acorns

Might Oak Trees grow

Just like a thought given form;

So I returned

To pencil and paper

And thus this poem was born.

First pause for thought,

Breathe deep, inspire,

Your muse will kiss your inner eye

Then move your hand

And words will flow

With a heartfelt, satisfied sigh.

Poem: God and Mammon


You cannot serve God and Mammon,

There can be no compromise.

It’s like serving greens with a side of gammon

As a “Vegetarian Surprise”!

You cannot serve God and Mammon,

I think I get that now,

It’s like saying Nut-Roast is perfectly fine

When served with Golden Cow.


This tongue-in-cheek poem came to me this morning after laying awake from 4.30 worrying about money (writers sometimes do that).  I think it was the impossiblity inherent in the word “cannot” that struck me.  You cannot be a slave (it’s a stronger word than servant in the text) to both God and material wealth or money.  You cannot serve two masters.  When you start losing sleep worrying about money, that’s a sign of slavery – or at least a sign of lack of freedom.  Here, it seems, is an alternative option – become a slave to God and forget about your old master… at least you’ll get a good night’s sleep.  The alternative is to press on with an awkward double-standard, and double-life where the suggested consequence is that you will end up clinging to one and despising the other.  The image at the top of the page (from Wikipedia) is of Eve clinging to Mammon personified.  The verse quoted is from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 6, verse 24.

Poem: Matt Baker

Matt Baker’s on the Box again

He’s ubiquitous, you see?

They’ve not enough Presenters

Down at the BBC!

He’s like that Jamie Oliver

His face is everywhere…

I half expect to see him grinning up

From the label on my underwear!

Poem: Father and Son

Dawn Poem for Joshua

Yesterday, I enjoyed the simple pleasures of Father and Son time.  Nothing too deep, though I’m sure we put our toes in the deep water.  We are both at crossroads in our lives, so it was lovely just to share the simple pleasures of a pizza out together, a rumage through Charity Shops, shopping in Waitrose for fresh salad, then supper together and time on the Wii.  Of course, we did do something posh: visited the Chained Library in Wimborne, but one is not allowed to take pictures of that.  We discussed what really brings us joy, and I can share that it wasn’t material stuff but rather expressive art and people.  Times like that are so important for recalibrating one’s values.  This morning’s sunrise was rather spectacular, and it blended with yesterday’s memories to inspire this gentle verse.

Father and Son

Just having fun;

Tales from our past

That passed by too fast;

Hopes for tomorrow

With new paths to follow;

And when our day comes to its end,

I wonder…

…when shall we meet again?