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  • Writer's pictureHazel Mutch

Fault Lines


What do you tell yourself about your faults?

I can be very self critical about my faults when I fall into my old thinking habits. It took me a long time to recognise the voice that says ‘you need to get rid of that’ as coming from a part of me, not the truth. It’s a part of me who repeats early messages about how to be good and belong, and for years and years I believed it, not realising the disconnection and hurt that was being perpetuated inside me.


Today, finding myself beginning to get caught up again in the old pattern, I was grateful to remember that everything in us with an emotional charge just needs kind attention and gentle guidance; the very qualities that, for most of us, were denied to our rage, fear, jealousy (and more) when we were young. This inner connection with these aspects of myself is an ongoing practice. It transforms my life and informs so much of my work.


I found myself thinking about the word ‘fault’ and geological faults which are fractures between two rock masses, and ended up creating a found poem as I explored these ideas. The process of creating is an exploration, not just an expression; and I found it really useful to more deeply understand how what I have historically called my faults are reactions to pain, attempts to cope and protect, and natural reactions which were shamed. They all need healing, and healing is inclusion.


Found poems can be fascinating to create, allowing words and ideas which are different to those you might usually turn to. These in turn can bring new ways of seeing or crystallise learning. If you haven’t tried found poems, here are my tips:

  • Choose a couple of contrasting texts (here I used a scientific paper explaining geographic faults, and a business article discussing organisational fault lines)

  • Copy and enlarge before printing them out

  • Cut out words and phrases that that feel connected to what you have in mind, or that just interest you, take your attention, have double meanings, or sound pleasing

  • Gather a few common and connecting words too

  • As you do this some words and phrases might naturally gravitate to each other. Start experimenting with what goes together and let it evolve

  • Don’t stick anything down until it’s all done; there can be surprise connections at any point! (work away from breezes, curious cats, excitable dogs etc.)

  • You don’t need to use everything you cut out, and you can write in any words you really want to add but didn't find

  • You can stick the pieces down or just create a digital copy by photographing it before dismantling and recycling


Here is a transcript of the found poem I made today . . .


What is a fault?

A fault is the overwhelmed part

below the blocks in between fractures

lingering in the middle of the displacement

The fault has come to a standstill to try to avoid accepting outside contact

to stay in control and manage the crisis

the sad thing is it reduces the feelings which move

because they are focused on preventing hazards

from cracking these more detrimental than having help, as that seems

to make them worse

They are (perceived to be) different

in the way and may suddenly flare up and strike

distancing, withdrawing and sheltering

not very open to experience and a changing world

The parts perhaps mistrust each other avoid new opportunities

overwhelmed trying to manage the crisis

Not able to help each other because of different perspectives ways to keep safe


At the same time, the other being a lone hero

very small overloaded struggling to know what to do to help

would like to connect

is looking for satisfaction motion blind following compression

Or may creep between either side

This movement to the surface oblique repeated leads to conflicts and

dividing lines that split a fracture suddenly split open

because they are not “like us”


Probably there always have been tensions between the parts

What needs to be done to understand the situation?

Faultlines need help to reduce tensions and repair

You have a connector, a connector can heal

And what are the offerings that need to be put in place?

It is absolutely true that contact creates a binding effect

Awareness of the natural home




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