Which one are you feeding?

It’s the 1st of January today so I think I’ll be in some good company when I make the following confession: I picked up a pretty bad habit last year.

Nothing big, dark or scary, by the way. I haven’t developed a penchant for loitering in opium dens, or for putting everything I have on red (not being able to leave the house due to a rampaging pandemic has some unexpected benefits, huh).

But I felt pretty lonely during 2020 (not being able to spend time with other people, physically, in person, tends to do that to a gal), and I’ve found myself doom-scrolling on Twitter as a result. And for something I do to make myself feel better, I sure do feel worse afterwards.

Continue reading “Which one are you feeding?”

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”

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”

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”

An uncertain kind of loss

I’ve been thinking about ambiguous loss and grief lately.

(Yes, FUN TIMES.)

My thoughts were sparked by two articles; the first, on how middle-age is impacting Gen X women (spoiler alert: badly. REALLY BADLY). The other, a letter writer wanted to feel like her single life is enough (spoiler alert: even the ‘agony aunt’ who responded struggles and fails to cultivate this feeling).

As someone who, Venn-diagram-speaking, is slap-bang where these two overlap, they made interesting reading.

And by interesting, I mean .. the other thing. Continue reading “An uncertain kind of loss”

Does it help?

When it comes to therapeutic modalities, I’ll admit: I’m a bit of a magpie.

I spent October attending a collective trauma online summit and another on the clinical application of compassion; I have various books on mindfulness, self-compassion and connection, and am becoming increasingly drawn to Compassion-Focused Therapy.

(Basically, if it helps folks to be kinder to themselves, I’ll wander over and give it a sniff.)

So I was pretty excited to attend Rich Bennett and Joe Oliver’s introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy recently, complete with a copy of their book, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: 100 Key Points and Techniques. Continue reading “Does it help?”