Annie Rimmer

Counselling and Psychotherapy for our broken world

At the time of writing this in April 2022 our world is undergoing the shock and horror of another terrible war in Europe, displaced people all over the world seeking shelter and safety, poverty and struggle for survival increasing daily for millions and real fear for our continued existence on our planet.
So many of our leaders are proving themselves incapable of holding onto truth and integrity and exercising the responsibility that comes with the power they hold. As a result we are all living with so much that is disturbing and frightening, as survival itself rises higher up our awareness on a daily basis and our primitive brain and survival systems are triggered. .
As I begin to come through the initial shock about what is happening I find myself seeking again inspiration, wisdom, hope, something that will bring some sense of cohesion or just a thread of something that might help me hold all the many different and contradictory states stirred up inside me together. I feel it’s early days in our newly broken world so my steps are tentative.
The Ukranian Sunflower picture is my first sharing.
I welcome hearing about anything you have found that has been helpful to you at this time.

2022: Our broken world. Ukraine sunflowers


Click on the picture of Ukraine Sunflowers above to hear a moving performance of the Ukraine National Anthem by our own Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall recently.
Another moving piece is that by Pink Floyd and Andriy Khlyvnyuk a Ukrainian performer.
"Hey! Hey! Rise up!" released in support of the people of Ukraine, sees David Gilmour and Nick Mason joined by long time Pink Floyd bass player Guy Pratt and Nitin Sawhney on keyboards, all accompanying an extraordinary vocal by Andriy Khlyvnyuk of Ukrainian band Boombox. All proceeds go to Ukrainian Humanitarian Relief.

This is the first new original music that they have recorded together as a band since 1994’s The Division Bell.

The track uses Andriy’s vocals taken from his Instagram post of him in Kyiv’s Sofiyskaya Square singing ‘The Red Viburnum In The Meadow’, a rousing Ukrainian protest song written during the first world war. The title of the Pink Floyd track is taken from the last line of the song which translates as ‘Hey, hey, rise up and rejoice’. The song’s opening choral parts are by Ukrainian VERYOVKA Folk Song and Dance Ensemble.

Gilmour, who has a Ukrainian daughter-in-law and grandchildren says: “We, like so many, have been feeling the fury and the frustration of this vile act of an independent, peaceful democratic country being invaded and having its people murdered by one of the world's major powers”.

Gilmour explains how he came to know Andriy and his band Boombox. “In 2015, I played a show at Koko in London in support of the Belarus Free Theatre, whose members have been imprisoned. Pussy Riot and the Ukrainian band, Boombox, were also on the bill. They were supposed to do their own set, but their singer Andriy had visa problems, so the rest of the band backed me for my set - we played Wish You Were Here for Andriy that night. Recently I read that Andriy had left his American tour with Boombox, had gone back to Ukraine, and joined up with the Territorial Defense. Then I saw this incredible video on Instagram, where he stands in a square in Kyiv with this beautiful gold-domed church and sings in the silence of a city with no traffic or background noise because of the war. It was a powerful moment that made me want to put it to music.”

While writing the music for the track, David managed to speak with Andriy from his hospital bed in Kyiv where he was recovering from a mortar shrapnel injury. “I played him a little bit of the song down the phone line and he gave me his blessing. We both hope to do something together in person in the future.”

2022: Our broken world. sunrise


Only recently did I hear this incredibly moving performance which you can hear by clicking on the sunrise picture above. It was created by West End Musical star Marisha Wallace during the pandemic as a way of raising funds for musicians who had lost their livelihoods as a result of the lockdowns and restrictions.
It’s a very familiar and often thought of as cheesy song from the musical Annie. However hearing Marisha’s gospel soulful cover of this song moved me to tears as it has many.
My thoughts move to those people around the world in such peril; in Ukraine, Somalia, Pakistan, and, equally obscene, desperate people in our own wealthy country being hungry and cold…to those many parts of the world where life tomorrow cannot be taken for granted. For those hundreds of thousands of people who may not have a tomorrow at all, but who battle on day by day to protect that which they love, or just to survive.
I hold the hope that tomorrow those under occupation or siege, living in famine, drought or flood, or being shamed by the abject poverty they can find no way out of might find freedom again, might regain control over their lives, and that all of us might look up and see the sky and the sun again, or stand in the rain and feel glad to be alive.
I hold the hope that people who are less concerned with holding power or feeding their egos and more concerned to bring about radical change and justice in the world will find the support they need to make reall change happen. I hold the hope that this can happen. I hold the hope that we can all make a small difference and that many small differences can become a big difference.

2022: Our broken world. Mum's dog Inca

All our tomorrows

On a more personal note I think of my mother whose frailty and dementia means that she has recently moved into a care home on her beloved Isle of Anglesey, the place she made her home some twenty-five years ago. She moved to her care home from hospital where she spent nearly six months after a fall. She didn’t need to be in hospital that long but wasn’t capable any longer of looking after herself even with maximum home care and so could not be discharged. She spent those many months on a hospital ward because the waiting lists for suitable care home places were so very long. When she left her little bungalow and her dog to go to hospital she didn’t imagine for one moment that she would never be going home again, nor returning to the life with her beloved dog; a life she treasured above everything. If we had a less broken health and care system she might have been able to transition more gently into her new life with a sense of some control or choice, rather than the brutal reality she had to accept, but this is not what we have. We have a broken system that those in power seem to lack a sense of urgency to improve.
Her tomorrows will never be the same again. She has bravely accepted as best her confusion will allow that her lovely dog is now living with someone else and that her house and the garden she was so proud of is being emptied and sold to pay for her care.
Making these decisions on her behalf is one of the hardest things I have ever been called upon to do, though it is also my priviledge to be able to do this for her.
Being alongside these realities with a loved one is painful and difficult.
And part of that is that one’s focus moves inexorably onto one's own old age: that which is all our tomorrows. Confronting what could be our future is part of what we all need to do. It’s our developmental task as middle age moves into older age.
I do believe that finding a way to sit with the feelings we feel when fully facing the possibilities of what the future may hold for us, good and not so good, will help us prepare where we can and perhaps find our way through what will have to be travelled. It's likely that for most of us some of that journey will not be all that we would hope for.
I love the video Of 80 year old Paul Harvey who lives with dementia listening to some music he had improvised, something he used to do regularly as a music teacher, but which he had not done for years. AT the encouragement of his son, who recorded it, he found his way back to his old talent for a brief while. In the video he is listening for the first time to a full orchestra playing an arrangement of his beautiful melody. . I love it for the possibility that ongoing love and engagement can achieve with those whose tomorrows are diminishing in more ways than one. Click on the picture above of mums lovely dog Inca to hear it.

2022: Our broken world. Apple Blossom  against blue sky

Next Door Nature

Here’s George again with a beautiful poem about our connectedness with each other and with nature. Click on the picture above to hear and see him performing it. I come back to this gentle inspiring poem at times wen what we collectively are doing to our planet feels terrifying and hopeless.
I write this in the week that António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations spoke about how urgent our climate emergency is.
“Droughts, floods, storms and wildfires are devastating lives and livelihoods across the globe.
Loss and damage from the climate emergency is getting worse by the day.
And global and national climate commitments are falling pitifully short.
The window to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees is closing fast.
Greenhouse gas emissions must be cut by 45 per cent this decade.
But as today’s emissions gap report confirms, they remain at dangerous and record highs and still rising.
Under current policies, the world is headed for 2.8 degrees of global heating by the end of the century.
In other words, we are headed for a global catastrophe.
The emissions gap is a by-product of a commitments gap. A promises gap. An action gap.
That gap must be filled – starting with COP27 in Egypt."
At the time of writing our new Prime Minister has declared he is not attending COP27 in Egypt and our new king has agreed also not to attend.
The picture above is taken in my small back garden on a sunny April afternoon. The apple blossom from my small ageing tree lifts my spirits every year. Even as I can’t see it much any more I can still breathe it in close up. Or just scent it on the air at certain times of the day, and can explore the branches and feel the buds opening. I can care for it and sit by it enjoying it’s presence. I can harvest and use it’s wonderful fruit.
To avoid being overwhelmed by the powerlessness we can feel in the shadow of the news we need to cultivate such moments, fully exploit the joy to be had from nature, and care and tend and nurture as much as we can.

2022: Our broken world. Joan Baez

Truth will set you free

On midsummer’s day, 24th June this year American supreme court reversed a decades old right enshrined in law, the right of a woman to have an abortion, Pastor Dave Barnhard of Birmingham Alabama writes an escoriating challenge to those who have worked so hard for so long to achieve this result, most of them in the name of Jesus and the Bible.
He cuts through the hypocrisy and binary thinking with devastating effect.

“The unborn” are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; they don’t resent your condescension or complain that you are not politically correct; unlike widows, they don’t ask you to question patriarchy; unlike orphans, they don’t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don’t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn. It’s almost as if, by being born, they have died to you. You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus but actually dislike people who breathe.

Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.”

We need more people like Pastor Barnhard to challenge those who would have it that life is simple, right and wrong and black and white, that judgements therefore can be easy and
Vengeful because I am right and you are wrong.

Click on the picture above to hear Joan Baez’ singing Pete Seeger’s song “We shall overcome”. After all this time of hearing this song, an anthem for so many oppressed peoples, the hairs on the back of my neck still stand up when hearing Joan’s wonderful heart connected voice.
It’s hard to sit with irreconcilable differences. It’s so very hard but it is only out of that openness to each other, from the hard work of listening rather than persuading, understanding who the other person is and what informs and drives them that we have any kind of hope of moving forward with any outcome that leads to something better. We have to find in ourselves a space big enough to allow that to happen.
Otherwise our victories will oppress others and fuel hatred and discontent and ultimately greater conflict.
We shall overcome speaks to that hope that we can walk hand in hand despite our differences and that out of that comes a truth that will liberate us all.

2022: Our broken world. George and Lenny on bench together

O Magnum Mysterium

I am currently rehearsing with my choir this wonderful piece of music by American composer Morten Lauridsen.
Click on the picture above of Lenny and George , my retired and working Guide dogs to hear it.
Though I’m not religious as such, I’ve loved it for years and it transports me emotionally to a place beyond words, and beyond thought.
But the words I realise as I sing them are also significant to me:

O magnum mysterium, et admirabile sacramentum,
Ut animalia videnerent dominum natum jacentem in precepio.

Which translates as:
O great mystery and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new born Lord lying in a manger.

In all the huge troubles of the world right now what I’m about to talk about might seem quite small and relatively unimportant. However we continue to live our daily lives, and our concerns small and large are non the less important and worthy of our attention.

We’ve just gone through another Guy Fawkes weekend and the inevitable fireworks, undoubtedly bringing joy and pleasure to many. Yet the massive percussive bangs that accompany so many of them drive my recently retired Guide Dog Lenny, as it does so many animals, small children and those with PTSD or other mental health conditions, to a place of utter terror.
He begins to tremble at the first sound of a distant bang , and as the volume locally increases he violently shakes from head to foot, his heart races alarmingly and he pants very fast. He does not know what to do with himself. He glues himself to my side though any amount of stroking or reassuring of him brings no comfort or relief. This is how he is for hour after hour until it all calms down, only to be repeated usually for another two or three nights.
We do absolutely all that we can to lessen the impact but nothing helps , and he can be afraid to go out after dark for a while following this and other celebrations involving fireworks.

It makes me think of the thousands of animals , mainly dogs that are now being abandoned because in lockdown so many people bought puppies and are now realising, as life has returned for many to a less home based work experience, that they don’t have the time to look after an animal after all. It makes me think of the war in Ukraine when so many fled with their beloved dogs and cats and rabbits etc in their arms, cages or on the end of tightly held leads..No way were those people going to leave their beloved furry family member behind. And it makes me think of the many hundreds and thousands of animals who do get hurt, terrified, lost, left behind and killed in war, flood and other disasters.
At the time of writing the RSPCA has warned that one in five pet owners say they are worried they may not be able to continue to feed their much loved family pet in the coming months..
It makes me think of the love, affection, unconditional acceptance that domestic animals offer us their human carers. The joy , companionship, fun and enriching of our lives , and in my case the freedom and safety that our animals bring to us, and what feels like the sacred trust we have to care for them in return; a sacred trust that we seem to fail to meet so often, sometimes with our hearts broken and sometimes with our hearts closed off.
This is our human condition that we are capable of such love and care, such compassion , and such carelessness and thoughtlessness or cruelty.
I think the music takes me to a place that transcends our human limitations.
I don’t know about you but I need things like this at times when holding the good, the hope, and the love is hard.

©2024 Annie Rimmer — powered by WebHealer
Website Cookies  Privacy Policy  Administration