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You are a sunset (free download)

I wrote a poem today. (More apt, I mostly jotted down words on a scrap piece of paper and called them a poem.) I decided to share the poem because to me it feels relevant to many people’s journeys toward self-acceptance and compassion, relevant also to a significant part of the work so many people do to support this journey in themselves and others.

The writing followed a meeting with inspiring colleagues, a meeting where our practice of compassion-focused therapy was central. The writing also followed from many other things including a friend telling me at least a month ago about something she heard at a workshop, something that touched her and that she thought would also touch me. That something was presented by Dr. Kelly G. Wilson, and included the word, sunset, and related to appreciating the image and experience of that. And so, the poem, then, You Are A Sunset.


You are a sunset
and you and you and you and you
and I, too

the beauty in that,
the possibilities

And there is nothing you need to do to attain sunset,
to achieve sunset,
to accomplish this

Only the journey

to understand
to experience yourself in this way
and everyone else

to bring this out
to be inspired to pull out the notebook or take the photograph
to take good care

to become what already is

—Tracy Riley


If you would like to keep any of these words with you or to share them with others, please feel welcome to do so. Here is a pdf copy of the poem.



Photo by Andrea Krappweis. Source: Photographer’s website: