This poem came to me today as I heard the traffic returning now lockdown is easing. I was sitting in my garden( here in the UK)  where I was looking at the beautiful plants and the bees, birds and other insects doing their wonderful thing…


“They’ve turned the volume back up again,”

said the Blackbird to his mate.

“Yes, they’re out again,”

Said the Blue Tit on the gate.


“Well it was nice while it lasted,”

Said the Spider on a leaf.

“We’re creeping around again,” said Beetle,

“Hiding in the dark, like a thief.”

“Owl said, he thought, it seemed too good

to last,” sung the Thrush.

“Yeh, I’m feeling pretty down,” said Snail,

“I don’t know – what’s their rush?”


“Then they have to pump that stuff,” said Fox,

“That really gets in my throat.”

“Yes, they’ve killed so many of my family,”

cried Hedghog, “despite our armoured coat.”

Worm popped up; “They only think of themselves ”

“It’s me, me, me,” Ant squeaked.

“Selfish b…..,”

called Cricket as he leaped.


“I’d hoped they’d realised all the pain they’d caused,”

said Badger, “all the damage that they’d done.”

“Blind and stupid, they are,” screamed Crow,

“Sometimes I wished I had the gun.”

“What and be like them?” Owl screeched,

“With their poisons and their violence?”

“Oh goodness, it was so lovely,” Deer whispered,

“The peace and the silence.”


“Trouble is they think they’re greater than us,”

chirped Sparrow, “we’ve no value in their eyes.”

“Ha! They’d be knee deep in their own crap

without US!” said the Flies.

“So what do we do?” asked the Bullfinch,

“This can’t go on again for long?”

“Nothing. Just be ourselves as always,” said the Stoat,

“It’s them that’s done wrong.”


“Mother Nature will have the final say,”

said the Starlings all as one.

“Infact, when you think of it,” said the Blue Jay,

“It’s She, the Earth who points the gun.”


by Maxine Bell @2020




Curiosity Killed The Cat – Or Did It?


I have mostly enjoyed lockdown. It is like I needed permission to slow down and have had time to reflect and take some actions and connect with some new people who have similar interests to me.

A lot of it has stemmed from my curiosity to try something new and to learn something new or dig deeper into things I think I know, but don’t. I have been reflecting what a good quality this is to have and develop and wondered where it could take me and could I use this quality to help in my soul growth – to break down some walls in my blocks to feeling all of my emotions and God?

But in a discussion with some fellow coaches about curiosity someone mentioned the phrase “curiosity killed the cat” and it sounds so contrary to what I felt so I looked it up, though the other thing that popped into my head was the 1980s pop group!

Oh there is some memories looking at that picture – yes I am old enough to remember them. I think I liked the drummer and the lead singer still wears that hat now!


But I digress… curiosity…

On phrases.org.uk is says that the meaning of “curiosity killed the cat” was that inquisitiveness can lead one into dangerous places. Then on the same website it explains the origins (stay with me – I love language and words!):

 The ‘killed the cat’ proverb originated as ‘care killed the cat’ back in 1598 in a play. By ‘care’ the coiner of the expression meant ‘worry/sorrow’ rather than our more usual contemporary ‘look after/provide for’ meaning.

But now is used to stop people asking too many questions!

It continues,

Curiosity hasn’t received a good press over the centuries. Saint Augustine wrote in Confessions, AD 397, that, in the aeons before creating heaven and earth, God “fashioned hell for the inquisitive”. John Clarke, in Paroemiologia, 1639 suggested that “He that pryeth into every cloud may be struck with a thunderbolt”. In Don Juan, Lord Byron called curiosity “that low vice”. That bad opinion, and the fact that cats are notoriously inquisitive, led to the source of their demise being changed from ‘care’ to ‘curiosity’.

That brings up some childhood emotions as we were told all the time, “children should be seen and not heard” and at church, I was pulled aside “Thou shall not question the Lord, thy God” when I put  my hand up yet again. My answer to that was to wonder why God had given me a brain. I think I stopped going to church a couple of months later.

What a sad thing to squash curiosity and yet over history we have, particularly those in power to ‘control the masses’ and the same thing happens in families, as it did in mine. Either parents/grandparents demand the child act only in a way that doesn’t upset the adults, meets their expectations of a ‘good’ child and/or just don’t have the patience to answer the millions of questions that pour forth from young children with their natural inquisitiveness and curiosity. There I said – it’s natural. We were born with it. It’s how we learn. It’s how God helps us discover more about the world we live in, ourselves and each other. 

It’s a dreadful thing to suppress that natural curiosity and it may start at home, but it also, ironically, continues through our education system and so buy the time we have hit adolescene or younger we have lost most it.

But curiosity is just one of the many beautiful qualities God gave us that we are born with and can develop over our lifetime.

Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love, says that she has a tremendous amount of fear, but that she has just 1% more curiosity and it is this that carries her through, helps her take actions and live a creative life. She also points out the wonder of just that 1% – just enough to tip the scales on her fear.

There is lot out there on curiosity – books, talks and hundreds of quotes. Einstein said, “ I have no special talent. I am just passionately curious.”

Below is a short TedX talk called “Curiosity Saved the Cat” and she says some great things about  curiosity and gives some famous examples if you are interested.

These are some of the qualities in curiosity I’ve found:

  • A willingness to look under the stone, no matter how daunting
  • Openness
  • Playfulness
  • Adventure
  • Willing to investigate
  • Ability to really listen without needing to reply
  • Creativity
  • Fascination

I see it like a dance, that you don’t know all the steps to, but you are willing to just try out some movements, move across the floor, see how it feels, but continue to want to discover where else this dance will take you and how.

But what I am really concluding at the moment is that I have mostly felt emotionally and spiritually stuck for a long time now. My resistance to emotions is so strong, but so painful too. However, lately what I have found is that my curiosity is helping me and things are popping up and I am saying yes to them and seeing what happens. In fact, I have always had this quality and it has led me to learn lots of things, ask lots of questions, but also to take a different path home or when I move to a new town I go wondering and just turn down roads to see where they lead.

During lockdown I have discovered new country and river walks, new butterflies and plants. I have recorded birdsong, curious to know which sound is which bird (still figuring that one out), foraged some plants and tried out soups and salads with them.

It could be just one thing that may start you on the yellow brick road…

So what I am feeling is that God gave us all at least one quality that will lead us out of the marshlands and mud of our pain, resistance and sin. For some it may be a strong desire for truth, for some a desire to love, for some courage, or humility or a desire to learn. The list is much longer than I am capable of understanding right now, but whatever quality it is that God has given you and there is probably more than one, but there may be one quality that is just a bit stronger than the rest; one that you can work with, develop to help you progress. It may be that for most of your life you have held back with it because of what others may think or fear, but don’t – your future happiness depends on your seeking, of growing these positive qualities in us. 

We may convince ourselves in our dark moments, fear or narcissism that we are the one hopeless case, as I have done many times, but it cannot be true. The truth is God wants us to be happy, to love and be loved. The evidence for this is that God’s Laws are constantly calling us home, constantly trying to correct our unlovingness and help us heal our error and we if pay attention it is very obvious, so logically it cannot be impossible for anyone. 

So get curious – what do you have in you that can start your journey? Or move you forward from wherever you are? Stop hiding the light within that is still there, always has been. It’s the flame that just needs fanning…

More 80’s magic… 🙂


The TedXkids talk I mentioned:

Self Worth and Attention Seeking

I had an unusual gift from my son at Christmas: a kit to grow Bonsai trees. He knows I love the big outdoors, but I’m not great with houseplants.

It wasn’t until recently in some personal reflections on what loving myself really means that I looked at that gift – still not started or planted. But I remembered my son is quite intuitive/guided with his gifts. He has Downs syndrome so leads with his heart more than his mind.

A gift he bought me 5 years ago led me to a check up and a discovery I had cervical cancer. We caught it early so he/our guides helped save my life.

So pondering on Bonsai trees I realised that growing them requires really paying attention, gentleness and  patience. They are delicate and succumb easily to rough handling or environments. In fact, growing them will be a learning experience. The penny dropped and I felt this feeling. God wants me to pay attention to me, to my soul with the same gentleness and patience and to learn from my mistakes.

And I mean real attention to what will help me grow. Not the comforts and addictions I feel are love, but what is really loving to myself: allow feelings – fear, shame, anger, grief; following desires and most importantly connecting with God – my true parent.

There was a great TedX talk on the difference between wanting attention and paying attention, that I watched recently. We often want attention from others to validate our worth, to feel ‘loved’ and acknowledged, but its very unhealthy because we are relying on sources externally for that validation. In fact, we are demanding the environment satisfy OUR unmet needs.

But paying attention is very different. Paying attention (with honesty) to our emotions, actions, thoughts is the place where real growth starts; where real self love and worth begins: it’s an internal journey we must travel and experience in our heart.

Wanting attention is a house built on sand. Paying attention is a house built on rocks.

Image from leoniedawson.com