Café Crem

Art, Music and Words around The Coffee Table

“Power is…..”

In some ways today and not yesterday was the first day of the New Year for me and if it seems as though I am shallow because I went shopping, then sorry!

I took one of my oldest friends into our nearest city, which is Norwich (England) because though she’d been there for conferences she had never visited the city itself. We went first to the Cathedral which is a rather splendid piece of Romanesque architecture; both she and my husband in turn walked the Labyrinth they have put in the Cloisters, and found it very helpful. I met the chef from the Refectory scouting for herbs in the Cathedral Herb Garden; we had a great talk, a real brief meeting of minds and maybe souls.

Then we went to the town centre and had a coffee before embarking on a bit of shopping. Before Christmas I had resolved to buy a scarlet covered journal in one of my favourite shops if it was still there when I went. It was; it’s red leather with an embossed pattern of Mayan hands. It’s a gift to myself to remind myself I am worth it; I have always found it hard to buy and use the beautiful(and expensive) journals because I doubt my ability to write anything worthy of them. I was keeping a promise to myself here.

But something else caught my eye; a little basket of charms, shaped like a simple, stylised goddess form. The arms are raised to form a heart shape through which I can pass a thong to wear it as a pendant. What I didn’t realise until I had a look at it over lunch was that it had a message carved into it.

The message reads, “Power is the ability not to have to please.”

I was somewhat taken aback, as if the universe had sent me a deliberate message.

I’m a funny sort, really, but to be told that I do not HAVE to please people/God/whatever all the time, is a bit of a revelation today. So many things I do because I know they will please or delight someone else and I take joy in this too. But I have the choice because I am aware of it. I do not HAVE to do it; but I do choose to do this. Most of the time, I would rather please someone else than myself and to know that I do it from choice and not compulsion is rather liberating.

You may have come across the concept of Random acts of wanton kindness. I’d like to get really wanton this year….


by Viv


January 2, 2009 - Posted by | culture, events, family, friends, fun, God in our life, health, life, love, personal, psychology, random, religion, writing | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Such a potent message too, and full of truth. Since I stopped trying to impress record companies, and (in my solo shows at least) play whatever the hell I want, regardless of the audience, I am happier and more fulfilled as a performing artist and songwriter. I believe the possibilities for success are far greater if one is operating from this perspective, rather than blindly chasing a dream via other people’s signposts. Such an interesting read, Viv.

    Comment by kevmoore | January 2, 2009

  2. A great Post, Viv! I deeply enjoyed to follow your steps… starting with looking on a UK map where is Norwich! I was tempted to look how the cathedral looks like, but then I thought, I better wait until you show us your views of it…

    I wished I could see your new journal too, it sounds fabulous. I love books, I mean the objects themselves, empty books, handwritten books, machine written books…they are such beautiful sensual things!
    And of course, the story with the charm and the message carved. I had to ask Kevin what a charm is though, I just knew “charm” in the context of “somebody having charm”.

    And indeed what a great message, never read such a definition of power, has certainly some truth! It is very difficult to find the balance in this matter… but I think that I understood quite young that it is basic for my own happiness to choose to please, and not to have too. Most people would call it “egoism” though 🙂

    I had also to let me explain what “wanton” means… If I understood it well, I think I am quite wanton myself… would be fun to declare 2009 as
    The Cafe Crem Wanton Year

    Comment by Miki | January 3, 2009

  3. The cathedral was rater lovely this time of year as it was still decorated for Christmas, and was utterly elegant with it. Not something decorations usually achieve. There were angels hanging from the arches in great gold wire spheres as well as sculptures of the Holy Family, and a massive tree. As I walked round, I found the Crib scene being repainted in situ by the (now) elderly lady artist who had built and created it 18 years before, and admired her work and chatted for a while. Norwich is unusual in still not having an admission charge to enter; many if not most Cathedrals have this fee. It annoys me a lot as as far as I am concerned, as a member of the English church, I don’t wish to pay to enter a place of worship. So Norwich pleases me for many reasons. Because I take students there, I know some of the regular staff and so feel quite at home. I shall take some pictures next time I go, assuming I get my camera sorted.
    My new journal has joined a great company of journals. My husband bought me one for Christmas, with a picture on it painted by John Singer Sargent, the pre-Raphaelite painter. I use different books for different things, which might confuse some people, but at least I have a feeling when I use a book what shape the work will take.
    My friend has now gone home and so we shall walk the dog on the beach and relax.

    Comment by viv66 | January 3, 2009

  4. I’d also like to add that I have been too long a pleaser. Many of my choices in life have been because other people pressured me into them; all meaning absolutely the best for me, of course. Heaven knows where or what I would be now if I had been allowed to choose things I wanted.

    Comment by viv66 | January 3, 2009

  5. Although not a worshipper, I find it at odds with the faith it symbolises, that many Churches, Canterbury cathedral in particular – charge a fortune to enter. I wrote a song about this kind of thing called “The heretic’s song”, and it will surely prevent me from entering the kingdom of heaven, with or without a door charge!

    Comment by kevmoore | January 3, 2009

  6. I have been think about the word wanton and its many meanings. I went away and worried that I had used the wrong word to explain something but now I have gone and looked up the word properly, I am convinced of its rightness in this context.
    My Oxford Handy dictionary says: “Sportive, capricious, luxuriant, wild, unchaste(!) purposeless and unprovoked”
    OK, then 2009 shall be a wanton year!

    Comment by viv66 | January 5, 2009

  7. ….I think I’ll make 2009 a won-ton year, as we have a good value Chinese restaurant nearby!

    Comment by kevmoore | January 5, 2009

  8. I was waiting for someone to make that joke; it had to be you Kev.
    I was working on something to do with Wampum but I guess I’ll give up on that as too obscure.
    We have a super all you can eat Chinese buffet in town; only trouble is, we tend to take that as a challenge to get our money’s worth and eat far too much. And I get joint pains afterwards from ODing on monosodiumglutatmate. There is a rather wonderful Thai food stall on the market place who also deliver the food to the nearest pub, which coincidentally has its own micro-brewery or you can eat the food at the tables on the market place. Nice when the sun shines, not so nice on days like today when we have flurries of snow…

    Comment by viv66 | January 5, 2009

  9. Thai food….now, we’re suffering withdrawals over here as we’ve been struggling to locate pots of Sharwoods’ Thai green curry sauce -Once had, never forgotten. It’s at the stage where we will clean out which ever shop has any of their entire stock!

    Talking about alfresco in inclement weather, I was stunned when in Bristol city centre recently following a gig, people were sat out in antarctic conditions happily sipping coffees and eating sandwiches! I guess I’ve lost some of my “hardiness” since opting for warmer climes…

    Comment by kevmoore | January 5, 2009

  10. To be honest we’re a hardy race generally but I do object when friends insist on sitting out for hours in pub gardens just because they want to smoke! As a lifelong non smoker I really dislike this, as I end up getting smoke in my eyes regardless. I have to really like someone to put up with it for long, especially at this time of year. And yet I lack the neccessary self assertiveness to do anything about it beyond whinge afterwards.
    My friend who was over for a few hours after Christmas has spent the last nine months in South America and he was really struggling with the cold here, as he was on a motorbike too. He was so bundled up in layers(including a rather wonderful jacket made of Patagonian black lamb skin) he could barely move and I do think he’d never get up if he fell over.
    Has to be said, I am wearing four layers right now, staring with a thermal passionkiller of a vest and ending in an olive green arran wool sweater. Maybe I ought to put the heating on….
    Best Thai curry I ever had, was at the Black Bull in Walsingham(of Pilgrimage fame). They took in a stray Thai guy and he turned out to be a fab chef. It’s just such a weird place to find a Thai chef…

    Comment by viv66 | January 5, 2009

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