Keep CALM and carry on

One of the great skills in life – perhaps even more important than learning new ways to respond to difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations – is being able to apply such learnings in the heat of having those difficult thoughts, feelings, and sensations.

I think it’s why I love mnemonics, such as Tara Brach’s RAIN;

Recognize what is happening;
Allow the experience to be there, just as it is;
Investigate with interest and care;
Nurture with self-compassion.

Continue reading “Keep CALM and carry on”

Sowing seeds

The weather forecast predicts the return of cold weather but, as I write, spring is in the air – together with a desire to be out in nature.

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that I’m not an outdoorsy person. I tend to feel the cold so like to be dry and warm, with bathroom facilities and food in near-constant and reassuring proximity.

Continue reading “Sowing seeds”

Love and hurt

As I’ve said before, given that ‘love’ is in the title of my website, I’m kinda contractually obliged to write about the subject when the month of February rolls around. And it’s one I’ve written about a lot.

But I confess that it’s been a subject that’s been playing on my mind recently. One I’ve actively wrestled with over the last month.

Continue reading “Love and hurt”

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.

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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.

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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”