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.

Continue reading “Top dos and don’ts of tender conversations”

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”

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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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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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?”

If you want to go far, go together: Lightbulb to Launch with The Happy Startup School

My inbox is out of control. I mean, WAAY out of control.

(Like everyone else’s, I know.)

I have emails about things I have no interest in, from things I signed up for but have long forgotten, from people who assume that I recognised them by their first name alone.

I occasionally have a cull, chop the number down, have an unsubscribe session. But it often resembles the grass verge on a motorway: full of debris from past travels, unidentified random plants, and weird stuff that wants to take over the general ecosphere.

But sometimes – just sometimes – my benign form of neglect pays dividends and I get an email about an opportunity that I just wouldn’t hear about otherwise.

Continue reading “If you want to go far, go together: Lightbulb to Launch with The Happy Startup School”