A surprising key to intimacy

Whenever February appears, my thoughts turn to love.

(To be fair they often turn to love, regardless of the month, BUT HEY.)

I’ve recently picked up again my copy of psychologist George Pransky’s The Relationship Handbook: A Simple Guide to Satisfying Relationships.

As I dip into it I’m once again challenged and soothed by the ideas it shares, which include that our struggles come from our insecure thinking rather than what’s happening in our lives, that our moods are simply a reflection of the quality of that thinking, and to not take low moods – ours, and those of other people – too seriously (or to take action during them).

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Purpose, peace, and pleasure

Hey there. Happy New Year 🙂

After my last post, which spoke about exhaustion and the need to rest, I took my own advice and have taken the last two weeks off from, well .. everything. No work, no studying, no meetings. It’s been wonderful as I’ve given myself the space to decompress from, well .. everything. We’re almost two years into a pandemic, and I remember thinking (and hearing from Brene Brown) that this will be a marathon, not a sprint. I don’t know about you, but it’s felt a lot like sprinting too much of the time.

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Be more Dwayne Johnson

Just a quick one today inspired, I kid you not, by a recent interview with Dwayne Johnson (AKA The Rock).

It’s a great read. Johnson is a larger than life figure in more than just the films he’s starred in after his eyebrow-dancing success in WWE, but what you find here is the personal history of the man behind the tattoos and muscles; a history full of trauma, petty crime, and family dysfunction.

But what really caught my eye was this;

Johnson’s friend Oprah Winfrey detects something distinctive at work here. “Most people have the ‘Do you see me?’ gene,” she says, “but he truly has the ‘I see you’ gene.”

Dwayne Johnson Lets Down His Guard
Vanity Fair October 2021
Continue reading “Be more Dwayne Johnson”

Top dos and don’ts of tender conversations

Enjoying meaningful conversation with those we love and care about is one of the great pleasures of being human, and two great – and perfectly dove-tailing – articles giving ten top tips apiece have crossed my radar recently.

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Words to silence

Loving someone can be, by its very nature, a vulnerable act; at any moment, the object of our affection can change their mind, reject us, disappoint or leave us.

For many of us, silence has become our way of knowing that something’s ended; from dating’s ever-present ghosting to the dearth of conversation between long-term partners.

The cruellest silence of all is the one that follows a beloved’s death. But what if you could still talk to them – and have them answer back?

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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.

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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”

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.

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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 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”