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The power of “I Don’t Know”

I have a bit of a reputation amongst my circle for being someone who knows. Friends reach out to me for advice. Strangers ask me questions. Colleagues trust.

And, for the most part, I have an answer. While my mind feels more bric-a-brac-come-room of hidden things, it’s astonishing the amount of half-helpful stuff my intellect has acquired.

(I’m not being modest about ‘half-helpful’; I generally only remember enough to trigger a lengthy Google-Fu session.)

Continue reading “The power of “I Don’t Know””

Cultivating open hands

I spoke to a friend this week about a meditation practise I’ve just committed to, and came up with a turn of phrase which really caught her imagination (“Thank you, I’m stealing that one!”, she exclaimed). It’s a phrase, an idea, I’ve been sitting with ever since.

Continue reading “Cultivating open hands”

Attention is love

One of my favourite quotes comes from the Zen Buddhist John Tarrant Roshi; “Attention is the most basic form of love. Through it to we blessed and are blessed.”

I’ve been thinking about attention over the last month – or more, how I planned to be really focused, to catch up on a ton of projects, and how all my plans went out of the window.

My mother was admitted to hospital out of the blue, so in many ways my attention has been scattered, lurching between concerns about the present and some pretty scary thinking about the future.

But in other ways, I’ve seen even more clearly how attention can be the most basic form of love. Continue reading “Attention is love”

Hello, thought storms

Confession: I put myself through the wringer a couple of times last month. I reacted to some stuff with a whole BUNCH of insecure thinking about them, to the point where I didn’t know which way was up any more.

Continue reading “Hello, thought storms”

What problem are you really trying to solve?

Like everyone else, Covid 19’s interruption of life as normal has given me pause to stop and reflect. I’ve been thinking about what I value, the kind of life I want to live, and the kind of contribution I want to make to others.

And I’ve found a really interesting question to ask myself.

Continue reading “What problem are you really trying to solve?”

How to provide hope

Here in the northern hemisphere it’s almost the summer solstice; the day of the year when the hours of daylight are longest, and the hours of darkness at their most brief.

And yet, world events make each passing day feel ever darker. Continue reading “How to provide hope”

The Fear Dance

As March rolls straight into May (I know April was in there somewhere, but I’m damned if I can recall WHERE in the blur), I’ve been thinking about fear.

(I suspect it’s the water we’re all living in.)

As luck would have it I recently found an old handout from Gary Smalley, an author and relationship counsellor, which describes something he’d see in relationships called ‘the Fear Dance’.

Each party would have unspoken expectations. When these were unmet, their fears would be triggered – which in turn triggered the other person. A chain reaction would ensue, and a dance of dissatisfaction and anger would launch unhindered.

Gary lists a host of different fears, and a host of behaviours and responses.

But they come down to 2 core relationship anxieties; fearing a loss of power/feeling controlled, and the fear of disconnection; Continue reading “The Fear Dance”

Finding a balance

Wow. The Western world looks pretty different to when we last met on these pages.

I know that everyone and their mother is posting advice on how to keep calm and live radically differently. I don’t want to add to the overwhelm.

So I’ll keep this brief and highlight some brand-new research on HOW to engage with all that good advice; to wit, you can combine just two strategies to deal with everyday stress;

  1. Make plans
  2. Stay in the present moment

Continue reading “Finding a balance”

The kindness of the design

I’ve been walking through treacle recently.

Not literally, of course; that would be insane. But metaphorically speaking, it’s felt much the same; like walking, moving, thinking, through treacle.

It’s one of the joys of chronic illness – and the impact it can have on my emotional and mental well-being. Continue reading “The kindness of the design”