I Can – A Guest Post from Jackie Walker


in Happiness,Personal Growth

Jackie is one of those people whose insights pierce to the heart of the matter. I have enjoyed her wisdom in writing and in precious conversations that are over all too soon. Her laughter has the ability to fill me with lightheartedness. When I asked my friends to write about a phrase from my manifesto, she quickly chose “you can do it.” No wonder, since that is the way she lives her life. As can you.


I Can

My Dad was dying,
I watched him crying –
‘what was it worth
- my time on earth?’

‘I’ll tell you’ I said,
Waiting for a nod from his head,
‘your love and respect,
your lack of regret.

Many will say
In the cold light of day
I loved that great man
Who taught me ‘I can’

Compassion and laughter
Were things that did matter
To a life once led
Outside the confines of bed

For all the odd grumbles
And occasional tumbles
You always stood true
To your family and crew

As one voice we unite
To support your big fight
Move on with our blessing
And stop your distressing

This time is for you
One day we’ll come too
For now our dear man
We’ll remember ‘I can’

Jackie Roberts, 2006

And, this is how it happened. Just two weeks before his unknown departure date, my father had asked me, “What was my life for Jack?”

I’d never written poetry before, and have only done so a couple of times since. But, I did.

I hadn’t really spoken in public before, and I read this at his funeral. I said to the minister, “I can’t do it.” He smiled, benevolently, in the way ministers do, and reminded me the piece was called “I Can.” I did.

Some people rarely give a thought to what they can or cannot do or achieve. Obstacles simply don’t cross their minds, or paths. For others though, the obstacles range from the irritable, like sand in your shoe to the unnavigable, like, hmmm, I don’t actually know what they’re like! If you take a look at the fabulous post Cigdem Kobu shared here on this very same subject, you will find many of those seemingly unnavigable areas being navigated. They did.

In truth, as long as you are still breathing you can navigate your life.

It’s always fascinated me that we are only ever given what we can deal with. The reason for this is that we created it in the first place and anything we can create, we can obviously un-create. You can.

We can strip a problem down to its component parts and put it back together differently, creating something brand new. There’s no rule which says you must use each of the parts; this is the opportunity to leave out those worn, spoiled or harmful bits. Yes, you can.

As we navigate our lives, we get to meet so many interesting people – you do notice them don’t you? They may be on the train beside you, on Facebook or Twitter, or even sitting across the table from you – look up, look out, get to know them! They’re in our lives so we know we’re not alone. There is no need for you to be them; all you need to know is that someone else has done it. So that you can.

When we’re faced with things which are so outside our field of knowledge or experience, it’s easy to panic, or pronounce “I can’t.” We might feel that things are out of control. “Things” are fine. This is the time for you to be in control, of yourself, your emotions, feelings, thoughts and actions. Just breathe, slowly. And you can do it.

The biggest tip I can give for those learning to navigate from ‘I cannot’ and ‘I can’ is this:

From wherever you are standing right now, even though it doesn’t feel like it, there is a time delay between here and there. The gap in what you think you know and have experienced and what you think you need to know and have experienced closes as quickly as is necessary.

Trust me! You can. I did!


Jackie lives in the beautiful Scottish countryside which gives her much food for thought! She loves observing herself and others to find the patterns which make people tick. Currently she’s working on The Mothering Revolution, a project which addresses how to unblock any stuck mothering love.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Arrow September 2, 2012 at

Wow, what a powerful piece Jackie, thank you for sharing it.
I muse upon what point we lose the “I can” that we are born with and take up the hesitant “I can’t” instead?
Sarah Arrow recently posted..Is consistency important when blogging?


Jackie Walker September 8, 2012 at

I think there are various points at which we develop the ‘I can’t’ mentality Sarah, and it’s facing them and really asking ‘is that true’ or am I just making it up which helps us make new choices.
Jackie Walker recently posted..Mothering is Abstract


Tash Hughes September 3, 2012 at

Thanks for sharing that poem and your story, Jackie.

For someone who hadn’t written poetry, that is incredible – your use of words was spot on for rhythm and meaning. For someone like me who doesn’t often like poetry, it was a pleasure to read.

I teach my cubs to ‘do your best’ and don’t accept ‘I can’t’ from them very often – just got to apply it to myself more often :)
Tash Hughes recently posted..Consistency over stats


Jackie Walker September 8, 2012 at

What lucky cubs you have! Isn’t it often the case that we teach what we so need to learn – it is in my case!! I’m cvhiffed to bits you like the poem too, thank you :)
Jackie Walker recently posted..Mothering is Abstract


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