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From me to we: supermarkets, singing, Sufism and sobbing strangers

In a world which can feel more and more disconnected, it’s important to have a place of refuge for true connection.

For me, one of these places is an Awakin circle or retreat held by ServiceSpace.org, an “incubator of gift economy projects”. Practising love, community and connection through applying one’s head, heart and hands, both its circles and retreats are full of love, beauty and big-hearted people led by a desire to be in service to others and the world.

I had the tremendous honour of being asked to be one of the opening sharers on Sunday the 18th of March at the Awakin London One-Day Retreat: From Me to We which was about cultivating Ubuntu;

“Ubuntu speaks of the very essence of being human…. you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, ‘My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours.’ We belong in a bundle of life.”— Desmond Tutu

I was kindly asked me to share my words on the ServiceSpace blog (another request I feel honoured by!), but I’m sharing them here, too.

May my words be of service to you 🙂

Continue reading “From me to we: supermarkets, singing, Sufism and sobbing strangers”

Does this “ping” ring a bell?

For the first time in over four years, I’ve bought a new mobile phone.

Unlike my old one, which moved at the pace of a dial-up modem, this one is lightning fast. Blink of an eye fast. It also tries to be helpful. So helpful, in fact, that I was buried under notifications for the first 48 hours.

It pinged with new emails, new updates and new messages. Did I want to know what the weather was like, it asked. You want to know what the traffic’s like right now, though, yes? Why don’t I tell you about the restaurants near here, yeah?

Stemming the tide was technological whack-a-mole as I unearthed and extinguished all these ever-so-helpful attempts to engage with me.

However, the most invasive ping I face is the one Todd Henry writes about in his excellent book, The Accidental Creative: How to be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice;

Continue reading “Does this “ping” ring a bell?”

LoveWeek #5 – For those who’ve lost hope

So it’s been a week of love – a #LoveWeek, if you will. And I hate to be a Debbie Downer on the last day, but I need to acknowledge the elephant which may or not be residing in the room.

To wit: love isn’t for everyone.

Now don’t get me wrong, it clearly is. Come on. Love makes the world go round.

(OK, at the moment it’s money, which probably explains the shit creek we’re in.)

But when I say love isn’t for everyone, I mean: some of us have given up on love. We’ve lost hope. Continue reading “LoveWeek #5 – For those who’ve lost hope”

LoveWeek #4 – When the going gets tough…

In an ideal world, of course, relationships would be easy. You’d find someone, fall in love with each other, and POW! – the “happily ever after” of fairytales comes true.

(The clue why they don’t is in the word “fairytales”, FYI…) Continue reading “LoveWeek #4 – When the going gets tough…”

LoveWeek #3 – You’ve found someone. Now what?

So you see love as a “collaborative work of art”. You’ve been discerning about who to spend your time with and found someone generous and giving, someone with whom you can be your truest self.

You’ve won! Here’s your medal! You can relax now!

Of course, life’s not really like that: nor is love. Continue reading “LoveWeek #3 – You’ve found someone. Now what?”

LoveWeek #2 -Looking for love

If love and relationships are a “collaborative work of art”, some of us need a partner to create with.

With the acceptance of online dating and the rapid rise of apps, we have more choice than ever. And with that choice comes indecision, disatisfaction and for some of us, overwhelm.

Between the advice to ‘settle’ and “marry him already” and the endless advice on how to “find your soulmate”, how do you choose who to spend your time with? Continue reading “LoveWeek #2 -Looking for love”

Holding onto what hurts us: what’s your pain protecting you from?

Let’s face it; who wants to be in pain?

It’s accepted wisdom that we want to avoid pain and suffering in our lives. And so we medicate the physical with a fistful of pharmaceuticals and the emotional with a fistful of, well, what’s your fancy; food, drink, sex, drugs, internet, a hellish schedule, maybe all of the above?

And yet, from time to time, I find myself in a chance conversation. I become honoured by someone’s trust and hear what only whispers in their heart; how quietly, deeply, unhappy they are.

I hear how painful their situation feels: how unloved, how unmet, how unheard or unfelt. How it racks them and fills them with hurt and confusion.

And almost every time, after all this pain has been laid bare, I know that they’re staying. That they are choosing, consciously or unconsciously, to remain in their pain. Continue reading “Holding onto what hurts us: what’s your pain protecting you from?”

A dirty job

Loving ourselves is a dirty job, which is why so many of us outsource it.

It can feel tough to wholly love and accept ourselves, made as we are of both light and shadow. It can feel vain to own the former and positively uncomfortable to be reminded of the latter. Continue reading “A dirty job”