Getting COVID off my chest—a testimonial

Getting COVID off my chest—a testimonial

My personal experience of having covid


I’ve been holding back from sharing this because I don’t want to frighten people who are already scared. When you’re infected with a dangerous illness, your best defence in terms of attitude is calm courage. That’s how I’ve dealt with the last eight weeks of my life. However, it’s got to a point where I think I need to say this because I’m despairing of the mentality I’m seeing from a lot of people around me. I have a degree in science and what time I have spent on social media since the lockdown has largely been spent explaining science to people, in some cases because they don’t trust ‘the experts’ but they might trust a scientist they know, especially one who is currently ill with covid. Being a scientist, I’m not given to hysterical headlines but it’s got to a point where I have to speak out, not about…

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We Are All Human. A poem for International Women’s Day 2019

For International Women’s Day


To all the men who call us ‘man haters’ when we stand up for equality, who smugly shine their gaslight upon us, abusively mocking us, telling us to sit down and shut up, whilst so kindly reminding us we are all human.

We Are All Human

A divisive mindset, incites hate,
sets complaint, declaims our solidarity
with the marginalised society is, ironically, divisive.
Is it not ok to specialise in supporting women
or people of colour, disabled, queers or refugees?
The divisive mindset sees this as a threat, insists
we cannot target our support, though you can target your attack,
brazenly, in disregard for disenfranchised humans.
Simultaneously you chant your gaslit spin,
your empty bullshit, framed, reframed,
this disingenuous refrain,

‘We are all human.’

You don’t say?

Where is your human decency when you fear that recognition
of humanity in others will jeopardise your own?
It sure as hell wasn’t…

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World Suicide Prevention Day


For World Suicide Prevention Day I’m resharing this poem I recorded earlier in the year. It looks at how mental health problems are not just an individual issue but a societal one, and not just in terms of the individual’s impact on society. The way our society is structured has a huge impact on mental health. The pressures and expectations of society, values in education, employment, relationships, media portrayals, the state of the environment, the economy, wealth inequality, health issues caused by modern living-all these are huge factors in the mental health of individuals. The current neoliberal ideology, and the predominance of the capitalist economic system, with its emphasis on maximum production, consumption, profit and material wealth, promotes an unhealthy and unsustainable way of life on a global scale. Faceless corporations have massive power and freedom to trade while individuals feel disempowered and are treated as cogs in a machine…

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It’s not my job to fill that hole you’ve got. On codependency.


It’s not my job to fill that hole you’ve got. Nor is it your child’s job. It’s yours. My daughter is a huge and important part of my life but she’s not my everything, my reason for living, although she has enriched my life beyond measure. I respect her as a person in her own right. When she leaves home, of course I’ll really miss her, but my life won’t end. A new phase will begin. Because I am centred in myself. I am anchored in myself. This is the fundamental thing. I’ve had to work hard to get to that place. To not be dependent on others for my sense of self-worth, or to fill a hole. That doesn’t mean I can’t love other people. It’s the opposite. It means I am free to love other people without attachment and neediness. So I can love them appropriately and properly…

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Accepting the Reality of Infant and Toddler Sleep

Well said!

Grubby Mummy and the Grubby Bubbies

Imagine if we, as a society accepted normal infant and toddler sleep.

I mean really accepted it, in all its glory.

Every part of society, from every generation, every family, every profession, every community, every culture, every religion.

What if we knew and accepted it as expected and respected elements of a child’s development?
What if everybody knew well before having their own children that their child would need night time parenting for the first few years of life?
If everybody knew that waking frequently to nurse was the biologically normal way for an infant/ toddler human to sleep?
If everybody knew that we are in fact ‘carry mammals’ and that our young require near constant contact with a caregiver for the first few months to continue their growth and development outside of the womb?
If everybody knew that a baby’s and toddler’s sleep can fluctuate a lotover…

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Lessons from Nettles

Here’s a post I wrote about nettles over on my other blog.



Nettles flourish on disturbed ground or highly fertile land, liking high levels of nitrogen, so they grow in abundance where human activity such as intensive farming or waste dumping has enriched the soil. The more we artificially fertilise the soil, the more nettles will grow. Every child quickly learns to recognise nettles through the experience of being stung, and is taught to seek out dock leaves to rub on the sting for relief. This is a lesson that nature provides comfort as well as pain, and that beings that complement and balance each other are found in the same vicinity. It reminds me of what has been said about disaster situations, ‘look for the helpers’- a life lesson that reminds us to see the hope and the connection when we are in despair.

Nettles are also highly nutritious once cooked or dried out to neutralise the toxins, providing iron and…

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A Message for Girls

Girls, when you are finding your feet in this world, on the cusp of being an adult and looking for ways to show it, you have no idea how beautiful you all are, in your individuality. Don’t let the world tell you how you need to change; remove hair here, paint it in there. Do not judge each other harshly. What is most beautiful is your soul shining through, expressed in your unique shapes and gestures, the sparkle in your eyes, and your fresh faced youth. No need to hide behind a mask. Beauty is greatest in self acceptance, for then our souls truly inhabit our bodies and make us glow with life. This is not just platitudes, it is truth. Enjoy who you are now, for youth does not last. Our bodies stop growing, but if we allow it, our spirits just keep on expanding.

© Janey Colbourne 2017

also published on my blog

My new book ‘Growing with Gratitude: a poetic journey of healing’


At last my new book is out! ‘Growing with Gratitude: a poetic journey of healing’ is available in paperback from Amazon.

Growing with gratitude

Gratitude is a most powerful force for healing. Whether it brings physical healing or not, it can be truly transformative in our lives. This book is the story of a healing journey told in poetic form. Janey shows us how her cultivation of gratitude transforms her experience of disability. Gratitude for the simple things in life carries her through the challenges of chronic illness and helps her to find the courage to face surgery. It is possible to find the source of inner healing, irrespective of the state of our physical health, and we can begin with the daily practice of gratitude. This book is intended to inspire you on your own path. Look around and see the gifts you have. The more you look the more you…

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Poetica Botanica

Medicinal plants inspire me to write.


I submitted a poem to the Poetica Botanica page of the Ledbury Poetry Festival.  It’s a lovely idea, inspired by the Physic Garden at Hellens Manor, and anyone can join in. It’s not a competition. Just pick a plant from their list, write a poem, and they will display it on their page.

Here’s the link:
Poetica Botanica

And here’s a screenshot of my poem about Plantago, along with some of the other entries,  on the Poetica Botanica site:


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