Category Archives: DungeonPrompts

secrets of the soul (haibun)

This week at Dungeon prompt we are asked to write about one of the more wilder things we’ve done in our life that looks a little out of place when put up next to the rest of our life’s journey. Or take it in another direction and write about our monsters, or demons.

boul St Laurent Montréal Street art, ’17

I think the worse monster I may have is self-doubt and questioning my own self-worth. That is not something that family and friends close to me know…more or less. It has its strengths and its weaknesses. In strength it emits humility. In weakness it chips away at my spirt and elicits inertia.

Some things, however, are best left unsaid. Have you ever held on to a deep dark secret for years and finally share one day out of sheer vulnerability? Perhaps you were tired or experiencing too many layers and layers of stresses in your life that that last drop made you spill some of it over. Maybe you were so raw and drunk with grief, it trickled out, only to discover later it may not have been the right person to dump on.

Maybe a priest, a therapist, a minister, a rabbi or a guru are appropriate recipients but is a friend the same? Is a spiritual guide better? Some things seem worse spoken out loud. Don’t they? Fantasies may be harmless until some are shared or acted upon. What about secrets deep inside that may shock your friend(s) or family? We all have demons, don’t we?

rarely share
secrets of the soul
hidden deep inside

all its dips and rises
every single day

always try to share
power of your faith
fullness of the heart

rarely share
secrets of the soul
hidden deep inside

most don’t really care
too busy with their dole

start in darkness
brighten thru the day

ups and downs
a fact of life
taken all in stride

caring is so easy
giving also pleasing
looking outwards

feeling all their pain
comfort and appease them
letting go of  self

never  share
secrets of the soul
hidden deep inside

dare not to confide
mysteries that confuse
merely cause unease

only wish they’d ask – instead,
keep my thoughts confined

death awaits us all
patient – unassuming
dark before the light

death awaits us all
some may rather choose
not to wait

patient and unassuming
spirits of the night
floating orbs invite

dark before the light
lasting and forbidding
demon of the night

demon of the night
asks not for forgiveness – lures
with empty promise

lasting and forbidding
clinging to the fabric
ripping at the soul

mending seems so futile
hopelessness a trend

dark before the light
demons sweeten my demise
cravings of an end

never  ever share
secrets of the soul
hidden deep inside

like a valley
days bump in the night

darkness seems forever
climbing insurmountable

never ever share
secrets of the soul
hidden deep inside

praying lifts the soul
defying troubled times
builds protective shields

praying lifts the soul
demons kept at bay
harmless deep inside

defying troubled times
teasing Satan with his fire
smothering it with faith

builds protective shields
containing scents of weakness
fragrance of despair

writing keeps me sane
faith puts out the fires
praying is the same

never ever share
secrets of the soul
hidden deep inside

hasty revelations may
alienate and scare

judge and jury
etched upon their faces

I shall never share
some secrets of the soul
hidden deep inside

some things
better left unsaid
only He can see

healing with His love
waiting for that moment

drying all my tears
opening my eyes – finally
see His blessed light

best to never share
secrets of the soul
unless through your prayers

© Tournesol’17/09/23

enduring time (troibun)

Dungeon Prompt – No Matter Time nor Place

Which truth do you hold no matter the time nor place? This isn’t a prompt about whether you believe in God or not, or in science or not. This is a morality question. For example, most of us can say that we believe in the commandment, thou shalt not kill, regardless of religion, but would you be able to stick with that even while witnessing your mother or sister being raped? Would you feel that it was wrong if another person, in that kind of situation, killed an attacker to save someone else? So the question here is, which of your values do you hold so strongly that it wouldn’t matter the time or place? Explain.

Here is my response I have made into a haibun.

This will be a 2 part  response to the Dungeon’s  prompt. It was the only way I could be truthful to myself.

1- Which truth do I hold no matter the time nor place?

I still believe that God loves everyone no matter what they may have done. I think about really evil people who murder, rape and destroy families and communities and still I am sure God still loves them. Why? Because we learned as a young child, that God is perfect and God is love. I found that difficult to believe as a young child and yet now, I find that comforting to know that even if I behave like a total badass, God will forgive me even if I don’t.

I struggle with forgiving myself more than anyone even someone who has greatly hurt me. They say forgiving is letting go and so it is actually liberating to do so; and still, I struggle forgiving myself. That is probably another story or prompt…loving myself enough to forgive.

2- Which value or values still hold true no matter what?

I will not list the commandments but I know I have broken a lot of them…let’s see, swearing, yep…especially in French and Quebec French uses many religious words when swearing and they have a whole list to choose from compared to the English language, which basically uses mostly the F word. There are so many that they just roll off the tongue especially when driving and getting cut off, I may spew out three or four words in one shot…to give you an example translated word for word I might say “Tabernacle, chalice, host, pyx, sacrament.” Now doesn’t that sound silly? But said in French sounds very different.

This was the hard part of the prompt; I still believe killing is wrong yet, I struggle trying to imagine if my children or grandson’s lives depended on me killing another person, I think that is a no brainer. But is it killing if it is self-defence…defending the lives of innocent people? Still, taking another life even under that circumstance, must be a mix of relief for my loved ones, yet eerie feeling to take another life.

If someone had tortured, assaulted or killed my children, would I want to kill him or her? That I would hope I could let go and let God deal with that person. I hope I would not be the judge and crucifier. I don’t believe killing would relieve me for my loss. How could it? But in the heat of the moment would I react differently? Would you? Who knows really, in moments of crazed anguish.

And then there are those who kill for sport…

hunting season
ducks follow the leader
a killer sport

hunting season
killers toast their kill
trophies hang on walls

ducks follow the leader
if only they would stop

a killer sport
if the game feeds families
nature may forgive


Daily Moments -May 12, 2017 – blessed day (Troibun)




Awakening to the bright sunshine allowed her to take this to mean it would be a hopeful day. Finally a pleasant spring day in May, compared to the cool damp day the days before.


sun shining
belated sprouts triumph

sun shining
with good intentions

belated sprouts triumph
respecting delicate ties
reborn again

building strength
weathering storms

As she walked out the door to catch her bus, the sky was overcast. Slightly disappointed, she sighed and checked her mailbox and a glow of sunshine reappeared.

avid reader smiles
a poet, writer…
long distance friend
turning to the first page
she takes a deep breath

Whispering the first line… “Don’t forget to breathe”. BLUR, by Sreejit Poole, 2016


Blur by Sreejit Poole, 2016Amazon – Canada Amazon – USA

Sreejit Poole is also a poet and blogger you can visit at TheSeekersDungeon

Image may contain: 1 person, text, outdoor and nature

Daily Moments -May 12, 2017 – blessed days (Troibun)

Think, pray, love and live (haibun)

On living and dying…365 days a year

written for Sreejit’s 365 Days on Living and Dying

published June 22, 2016 – Happy Birthday, Mom!

me by the water

Since a very young child, I often wondered where all the dead  went. Notice I say “dead” as it includes all things living that die including all of nature.  

Some  believe in heaven, purgatory and hell. Yet what if the first few moments after a death there is a limbo where spirits linger  – stick around for their loved ones for as long as needed? What if there is a dimension invisible to the human eye except for those who have reached enlightenment?

Where will I be? Will I be in limbo a long time, passing through waiting in between?

passing through
floating in third dimensions
pending revival

© Tournesol ’16

We are travelers in life and in death, according to The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche.

Growing up as a Catholic, I have never doubted that we all went to heaven, hell or purgatory after we died. I was a bit confused as to limbo and thought it was when a living person could not let go of the person who died or that the dead person was in between places until either the living person let him go or that spirit in limbo had a task to do. I know it sounds silly! It makes me think of those shows and movies about angels coming down to help some people on earth and yet, I do believe in that too.

Of course I always hoped my life would lead me to heaven but having been infected with the guilt of Catholicism,  I gave in to the idea that it would most likely be purgatory because I never felt I was good enough or deserving enough.   How could I?   I did not recite the rosary every day like GrandMaman, I was impatient, did not like sharing my chips or sweets as a child.   As a young child I often felt this rage inside that was unexplained.  Perhaps it was the era of “children are seen and not heard” but still lots of people my age acquiesced to this rule. Nonetheless,  I was sure I was closer to hell than heaven with such bubbling anger inside my little body as a child that fermented over time.

I grew up and grew apart from the church but not from God. I still believe in a higher power as well as some sort of heaven or paradise. My grandmother had explained to me at a young age not to fear thunder and lightning for they were the rumbling sounds of GrandPapa bowling for money to send to her as a widow’s pension. The lightning was the sign that he won…He sure won a lot, I thought and it made sense since my grandmother did not have any money except for the very little she received as a midwife making home visits and a border renting a room in her house.

Death still scared me especially when I became a mother.   I was not afraid to leave this earth but afraid to leave my young children. And  yet,  I believe having children helped me to live to live longer and healthier. Of course it was in the 70’s where you just followed the flow. We had a large vegetable garden which allowed me to also can many of my vegetables for the winter. Making home-made yogurt was the “in” thing then. My son still tells me to this day he remembers how he did not enjoy it and yet, I found it so much better. It was not tart or sour like store bought yogurt but then again, memory and perception can be quite confusing. I was reading more on letting go of the ego, meditation and the aim in finding enlightenment. How little did I know that I was on the right path in those days? And then, life happened on an alternate path.

Volunteering with young mothers just did not satisfy me enough, nor did being on many school and community committees.   My long awaited desire to study and work took over especially with more time on my hands with the children in school. I first worked in home care. I saw death every day for two years. Bathing the dying in their homes and comforting their caregivers seemed like such a privilege that they let me into their homes. But I had a hard time setting boundaries and each time a person died, I felt a little of me expire as well.   We were not taught nor supported in those days on how to debrief or get help…so I went back to university to get my degree in helping the “living”. By being a Family Life Educator, it allowed me to refocus on living and improving life around me as well.

Being preoccupied with death defeats the purpose and meaning of living, doesn’t it?    I am trying to be the best person that I can be. How privileged am I to work in the helping profession and “be” what I love. However after a decade of studying and preparing for my last career (before retirement , that is, I hope my health will always allow me to serve) I am seeing light and goodness despite the hardships and suffering around me.  Are my lenses tinted or is my perception on life changing?  Well, I would rather not argue this and sit back and enjoy it,!

How can I not notice the soldier who is seen petting a dog in the midst of war or comforting a young child among the rubble!   A child getting up in the Métro to give me his seat, a homeless person watching me walk by crying shouts at me with his toothless smile to not worry because tomorrow is another day. Despite the horrors of the world where the media make more money by portraying and assuming the human race is hooked on gore and misery, I like to turn to kindness blogs and sharing acts of kindness. Goodness sells too, if only it was shared more. I am not the only one who cries of joy seeing Ellen or Oprah giving people gifts and especially hope. I’ve seen thousands weep of joy after being embraced by Amma who is the embodiment of compassion and goodness. Try to convince me that love and compassion is not contagious? I will only bow in silence and chant a mantra wishing love and happiness to you and the world.

Tell me I am just being naïve and I will simply explain that it is my way of searching for the light. What a delightful journey to seek inner peace and feel love! I see images of that smile on the face of an old man sitting with his legs crossed, eyes closed for hours humming with a look of utter bliss on his face…that IS feeling truly alive.

And so, in my humble living and awkward passing through life, stumbling often, I find my step softens and my body feels lighter when I am chanting. How is that? When I recite Hail Mary’s as I did as a young child, a sense of peace wraps me as if to say, “there there” not to worry.

chanting as I walk
one hundred eight wooden beads
reaching quietude

walking home
sighs at a good night’s work
chanting softly

head on pillow
whispers like old times
three Hail Mary’s


The Tibetan word bardo  literally means transitional state or “in-between state”. In Sanskrit the concept has the name antarabhāva. It is a concept which arose soon after the Buddha’s passing, accepting the existence of such an intermediate state after death before rebirth. In other words, the term “bardo” refers to the state of existence intermediate between two lives on earth.

I suppose life can also be seen as bardo, a passing in time before death and our next life. I like to think that moments in time either during deep meditation or when we are in a dreamlike state, there are experiences that can be felt but too difficult to put into words.

Here is a Tanka I wrote trying to describe this term “bardo” and eventually reaching the light. Of course I think I am influenced with the memory of my GrandPapa hours before drying, smiling on his deathbed at me. I remember my mother saying he had whispered, “Oh la lumière, qu’elle est si belle, la lumière blanche!” (Oh the light, how it is so beautiful the white light!)

rocking gently
sinks in a deep slumber
lull of the water
between sudden arrests
slips in the shimmering abyss

© Tournesol’16/02/19

When my mother died, I knew then that there had to be what Rinpoche calls “bardo”, a place tween places. The soul leaves the body but still lingers for a while. A few days after she passed, I remember sitting in the kitchen late at night and felt a cold draft coming near me. I sat waiting and saying in my mind, “come and hug me, Mom, if you like, I am not frightened.” At that moment I felt cold air approach me and pass right through me. I felt her presence in my home for a few months. Where is she now? I take solace thinking she is reborn each spring as that little butterfly I have been seeing since last spring.





gazing with awe
wings of a butterfly
my new-found-friend

gazing with awe
peaceful repose
flower to flower

wings of a butterfly
colours and patterns
Divine’s creation

my new-found-friend
blessed from the heavens
sent by an angel


I remember reading Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl in the mid ‘80’s. I was going through a lot of soul searching on what I wanted to do with my life.   Frankl lived through the concentration camps during the Holocaust. This book was originally entitled From Concentration Camp to Existentialism in German editions.

Frankl had hidden his manuscript in the lining of his coat for many years and I will not share more for those who have not read this book. I recommend to many youths and  adults who are struggling with the purpose and meaning of life.

I hear this struggle when speaking to older teens and adults.   And even if there was ONE simple answer to the meaning of life, one has to experience living to find their true purpose.

I believe fumbling and making mistakes are opportunities and free life lessons. I just reread that Frankl’s own “logotherapy,” created from his book, Man’s search for Meaning, views suffering not as an obstacle to happiness but often the necessary means to it, less a pathology than a path. How true that is! That old cliché “no gain without pain” is spot on!

I knew somehow, since I was a teen I would someday have a university degree and a career helping people. Although I went through different paths to get there, that desire fed me along the way.   I feel so much love within, not only for my children and family but l believe that love is life and without it, a person is dead inside;  one must love oneself, too,  as others in order to truly grow in mind and spirit. We talk about encouraging youths to believe in themselves and do the best they can in life and this interview with Frankl confirms the importance of just that…

Rinpoche tells us to do what you love to do ; unfortunately, we often have a bucket list, because we are too busy. I have spent many years suspended in time being too busy to do what I truly love…times I doubted myself but found that confidence again which was my fuel to continue…so I can  live life as I love.

Writing is another activity I kept on hold until I would be less busy. In the past three years, writing has actually allowed me to appreciate life and grow more spiritually. I find writing waka (Japanese forms of poetry such as haiku) is a spiritual way of living…like praying and chanting.  Since we often write about nature and Mother Earth, what better way to be close to Our Creator.

Compassion rules

burgeoning love
une grandmère spares little
worm curls in rich soil

worm curls in rich soil
bed of fruitful promises
compassion grows

compassion grows
like a field of golden rod
ruling God’s earth


How can life exist without compassion? I am not the only one drawn to self-less acts of kindness. I write often about this, perhaps, like a broken record but if I truly believe in something, does it not make sense to share this as how I want to live and aspire to get better at it day by day?


icicles of compassion

icicles melt
tears of mistreated children
searching sun’s glow
listening with compassion
pillars shimmer promise
©Tournesol ’16

Life is about living and savouring each moment…it passes by so quickly as many older people, like myself, will often say. My daughter’s son will soon be twelve and here in Québec that means, he will be entering high school in the fall. That time in my children’s lives just flew by and as a grandmother, I want to be able to see these times…be part of his life more before it is my time.

As I am entering my 17th year at the youth line where I work, I repeat to managers each year they are training new staff: “Use and abuse me” with a chuckle. I am never sure what I know that can help them but what I want to do is help  to mentor them as they start their careers helping youths.  Although,  I am filled with flaws and imperfections and that’s okay …it just makes me real.
When I walk to work and hear only chatter that upsets me in my mind , I chant the 3 km walk and look at nature around me.

© Clr'16/02/21
© Clr’16/02/21


blues skies,
clouds in formation – hillocks
catch my breath

blue skies
lift my spirits
exude inner peace

clouds in formation – hillocks
captivating and halting
leave me breathless

catch my breath
holding nature’s pure essence
in my heart

© Tournesol ’16

Listening to youths in crisis every evening, I have to find some balance in my life so I do not live with stories of abuse, suffering or sadness. Reading was once my sole escape for many years until I rediscovered writing.  Now, I am able to defuse pent up emotions and other times rediscover the beauty around me I can write about. Waka has added the beauty of nature soaking in my whole being with sights, sounds and scents.

I take away so much strength from the power of the firmament…the blues, the greys, the curves of clouds as well as sunsets I often view on my break on the rooftop at work.

Rinpoche sees life as a bardo and it shows us that our consciousness has senses, lives in a world, observes, starts relationships, living life. Rinpoche says: “Life is to discover the goodness of life, an exercise to realize that life is good and that also means … accepting dead as part of our life.”

I  must look at myself with compassion from the depth of my consciousness. I must practice what I preach and tell myself, “I’m okay.” Whenever I find myself out of balance, my body breaks down and I need to take time off and rest. Often these were times I discovered the value of true friends and sometimes just being alone puts things in perspective…balance.

© Clr'15 Rivière Richelieu, Chambly, Qc.
© Clr’15 Rivière Richelieu, Chambly, Qc.

river rapids flow
listen to the babbling current
seagulls laugh at life
© Tournesol’16

As I walk along the path in this last season, I cannot help but see beauty all around as winter clears the view. Living is often slower in this season  as well, which gives me time to think, pray, love and live.

cropped-sunflower-bud-282-x-448.png© Cheryl-Lynn aka Tournesol’16

Poems I write on Compassion

An interview with Victor Frankl at Ninety

My Lessons shared with Chèvrefeuille at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying pdf download

More Haiku at my mentor Chèvrefeuille at CarpeDiemHaikuHai

On Living and Dying Day 16 by Kristjaan Panneman

Our haiku master and mentor, Chèvrefeuille from Carpe Diem Haiku Kai,  has written a beautiful and though provoking post at TheSeekersDungeon where Sreejit Poole is inviting people to write on his series 365 Days on Living and Dying.

365 Days of Guest Posts at The Seeker’s Dungeon…read on

Taken from The Seeker’s Dungeon

by Sreejit Poole

365 Days of Guest Posts on Living and Dying.  Get involved and share your story.

All things born must die a physical death.  This we all know. Whether you believe that we fade to black or merge into the light, view death as an end, a new beginning or a transition, plays a major role in how you live.  Do you try and experience everything you can knowing that you are going to die and be gone forever?  Does this cause you to embrace life more fully or does it fill you with fear?  Or do you believe that the way you live sets before you a path towards heaven, hell, or future births?

For 365 days, starting from May 1, 2016, we will have a meditation on Life and Death here in the Dungeon. I want to hear about how you embrace life.  What makes you feel alive? What gives your life value? I want to know about how you deal with death.  When did you come to really understand death?  How has that affected your life?  Does death make life more meaningful?

All bloggers, writers, artists, live-ers and die-ers are welcome.  Send your prose piece (600 – 3000 words) along with a short bio, a profile picture, or picture that represents you to be featured with the bio, and a header image (2000 x 640 pixels recommended) to and enter On Living and Dying as the subject.  Be sure to also give the blog, webpage, Facebook, or Twitter address that you’d like your name to be linked to. (If you don’t have one of these, and live totally off the grid, that’s cool too.)

365 days means there are a lot of voices being involved.  If you have a friend that you think has a good story to tell, invite them to join.  If they don’t consider themselves writers, tell them that you’ll proofread it for them and get it up to par.  We want to hear from everybody.

All submitted content should be the original work of the author.

Other notes: Don’t be scared to proofread before submission.  Feel free to share your best material! There is 365 days, so no need to stream of conscious it, take a day and reread, refresh and rejuvenate your post until it’s fantastic.

On Living and Dying Contributors:

© Sreejit Poole, The Seekers's Dungeon
© Sreejit Poole, The Seekers’s Dungeon
365 take one
©Sreejit Poole, at The Seeker’s Dungeon
take 2 365 days
©Sreejit Poole, The Seeker’s Dungeon


Read more at The Seeker’s Dungeon


Joy recalled (haiku – tanka)

© Clr ' Rougemont apple blossoms
© Clr ‘ Rougemont apple blossoms

moments of delight
yesteryear or yesterday
joys reborn

bitter cold winters
darkness shrouds light of day
recalling blossoms
budding on apple trees
visions bring me back to joy

all those firsts
hearing “Mommy, I wuv you”
brings such joy

sun kissed skies
dewdrops on soft white petals
early dawn of joy

dips beneath blue azure
fluid hues of joy

© Tournesol ’15

Using our words for spreading joy at The SeekersDungeon

rather be (troiku)

I’d rather be…is the prompt at The Seekers Dungeon this week:


rather be
living with less pain
lightening my days

rather be
poor and starving
than selfish

living with less pain
may not have been as caring,
empathy is gained

lightening my days
hearing music to my ears
love you Mom…Nana

© Tournesol ’15

Believe in you (haiku)

Stop the Stigma

“The woman who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has ever been before.” ― Albert Einstein.

Fear not dear one
 you know no limits
the world awaits

learn, flower like a lotus
risk loving

world`s here for you
help to mend your broken heart
cheer you to go on

no boundaries
no limits that will bar you
believe in you

your potentiials
your power to rise
undying love

love amply
you will be loved

follow your heart
not the crowd who’s stuck
march further

seek curiously
live life like no tomorrows
believe in you.

© Tournesol`15

View original post

The message I am selling

2014-04-14 20.21.10

What am I selling? Well, when I first started my blog Stop the Stigma it was to get on my soapbox and bitch about stuff. You know, those who used politically incorrect words to identify people with special needs and people with any kind of mental health condition. I had followed a few blogs on various topics and the first one that stirred me to start this was Herding Cats.

I am not an expert but yes, I am an advocate and realized Stigma went a long way and I wanted to also talk about racism, bullying, sexism, homophobia and any label we put on anyone to discriminate them. And whether it is intentional or not…it is still NOT okay.

We often talk about the misunderstanding of mental health because we do not see it but there is also the misinterpretation of chronic pain. There are so many physical ailments and conditions that cause pain to people at various degrees. Unfortunately, these people are often misjudged or have little or no sympathy because no one can see scars or physical proof of the debilitating condition. So that too is included in this blog. And this latter item has touched me for suffering myself, with chronic pain, I feel supported here. I also admire these heroes that suffer so much more than me and share positive posts of support and encouragement to their readers.

If I were to choose a word of what I am selling, I guess it is awareness…creating an awareness on such issues that are important. I often read in comments, “Gee, I had not thought about that.” That is my bonus.

I never realized that I had joined a community that was so caring and the interests varied so much. Poets, writers would comment here and there and that gave me a glimpse on other possibilities to write. So that is when I started my other blog, Cher Shares. This was a place to express myself in writing with narratives and poems. I learned and am still learning from amazing and generous creative writers here to improve on what I do have a passion…writing. Thanks to interesting blogs that offer prompts to tickle my muse, I have produced more. What am I selling at Cher Shares? Nothing, really, I am just sharing with friends and WordPress friends my thoughts in stories and poetry.

I love to talk about things
that are close to me,
mean something to me,
and that is my message
at Stop The Stigma;
I enjoy writing
in prose and poetry
sharing my humble narratives
with WordPress relatives
at my blog, Cher Shares.


© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/04/24

Submitted for: The Dungeon Prompts, Season 2, Week 17.  The message we are selling