You can do it… Eventually

We sit together as she reaches for her sock,

her aged, tired hands searching

until one grasps the cotton garment

and steadily brings it to her bony foot.

We talk about the weather.

How the weeds are taking over,

how the pond has gone green.

She strains to get the sock

to receive her offering,

bending awkwardly while

staring at the offending article.

I want to help, but to take away control

would render her useless,

and she is stubborn as a mule.

She speaks of Gandhi,

while going about her task,

then India and…


And Love Yourself Instead

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.”

Mark Twain

Twain’s observation makes sense. If you don’t approve of yourself, no one else’s opinion of you will make a jot of difference to your self-regard. Similarly, if you don’t have self-compassion and love yourself unconditionally, no one else’s love for you will fill the void and give you what you need to feel whole.

I recall that in the days when I was a full-time counselor self-love was the main problem most of my clients faced. Only, they didn’t know not caring for themselves sufficiently…


And stop taking poison

Some relationships are bad for you. It’s not always the other person’s fault. Sometimes they trigger deep issues. When they do, it is a signal to engage in inner work so the problem doesn’t rise again. Difficult relationships can serve as catalysts for growth.

After all, you won’t always recognize you harbor angst about abandonment if someone doesn’t show signs of leaving or know you have a fear of criticism until you’re criticized.

Toxic relationships damage you

Certain difficult relationships, though, are poison for you. No good can come from allowing someone to mistreat you. …


You probably will be though if you stop trying

The struggle for success begins early. The moment you’re ousted from the womb, demands are yelled in your ears. You must be good. You mustn’t cry, make a mess, crayon outside the lines.

Your results — exams, certificates, what others think of you — must be outstanding by the time you’re in your youth. Plus, you mustn’t disgrace anyone associated with you (your parents) by behaving in ways that unsettle them. No yelling, answering back — God forbid you have an opinion — or want to do anything that might not look good to those around you.

As a young…


Listen to your heart

The song of the heart

beats a steady golden glow

wisdom’s melody

Agitation makes the pearl. We all know that… From this observation, and several more besides, we get the impression suffering is the way to gain wisdom. The whole picture isn’t viewed, though, only a side-angle.

Experience offers knowledge, but you don’t receive lessons while you engage in battle. It’s when you are quiet your inner sage speaks. In the stillness the smart you, who cuts through the guff, offers pearls.

Stillness, not suffering, is to be revered.

So often, I read stories about individuals who go through terrible experiences and gain emotional intelligence. The tales…


Thank you readers!

I wasn’t going to mention it. But then I realized I want to say thank you to Bolt-Hole readers. So, thank you. I appreciate all 1,000 of you!

In case you missed them, here are the latest stories:

Happy New Year folks. May you bathe in excellent health and wellbeing. ✨


It can transform you into the best version of you

Everybody has a dream, even if they claim otherwise. Sometimes they assume it’s out of reach and prefer to keep it a secret. They carry a vision of whatever it is in their head, though, and when they feel courageous enough, they take baby steps in the right direction.

Some want to be wealthy, influential, and successful. Others have smaller goals. They might yearn to date someone they imagine is above them. Or wish they were wiser, slimmer, or have another attribute they haven’t got, or hope to improve one they own.

It all comes down to craving material, or…


Hint: It’s someone you can’t get away from

Without doubt, some folks are more challenging than others. Nevertheless, the most difficult person you’ll ever meet is right there in the mirror.

It’s the same for each of us. We think it’s our partner, neighbors, relatives, or someone else who provokes grief. They might be tough to deal with, but it’s the perpetual drip-feed of critique in our heads that reduces joy, not the irresponsible driver we face on the road to work, the disgruntled boss, or snappy spouse.

The happiest times in our lives have one thing in common; they coincide with an absence of painful self-talk. Usually…


Your value is inbuilt, ever-present, and non-negotiable

It’s a chilly February morning. As rain lashes and the wind drives leaf piles into whirlpools, I consider mental health. A hot topic at present. It seems there is a lesser discussed side effect of the mass COVID-19-withdrawal from municipal life: A prevalent dip in self-esteem, and looking at the issue is relevant to anyone’s sense of value, corona-virus or not.

Before COVID-19 stopped us meeting in public places, or entertaining at home, it was normal to derive self-image from public and personal roles.

Now, the pandemic highlights a glitch in how we measure our value.

Roles may still apply…

The Bolt-Hole

The Bolt-Hole is a refuge for readers who want to curl up…

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