The Gift of Presence

I’m writing this a week after Black Friday/Cyber Monday, the US discount-frenzy that’s firmly planted itself into British culture. I’d like to say I was immune but, with Christmas fast approaching, I bought a couple of gifts for friends and loved ones. Hey, I’m human.

It’s hard to know what to give people, though. Most of us have too much stuff already. And, because it’s been hard for us to meet up for a while, I know that I’m in danger of exchanging physical objects with some friends in lieu of physical presence. Continue reading “The Gift of Presence”

From me to we: supermarkets, singing, Sufism and sobbing strangers

In a world which can feel more and more disconnected, it’s important to have a place of refuge for true connection.

For me, one of these places is an Awakin circle or retreat held by ServiceSpace.org, an “incubator of gift economy projects”. Continue reading “From me to we: supermarkets, singing, Sufism and sobbing strangers”

Does this “ping” ring a bell?

For the first time in over four years, I’ve bought a new mobile phone.

Unlike my old one, which moved at the pace of a dial-up modem, this one is lightning fast. Blink of an eye fast. It also tries to be helpful. So helpful, in fact, that I was buried under notifications for the first 48 hours.

It pinged with new emails, new updates and new messages. Did I want to know what the weather was like, it asked. You want to know what the traffic’s like right now, though, for sure. Why don’t I tell you about the restaurants near here, yeah?  Continue reading “Does this “ping” ring a bell?”

LoveWeek #5 – For those who’ve lost hope

So it’s been a week of love – a #LoveWeek, if you will. And I hate to be a Debbie Downer on the last day, but I need to acknowledge the elephant which may or not be residing in the room.

To wit: love isn’t for everyone.

Now don’t get me wrong, it clearly is. Come on. Love makes the world go round.

(OK, at the moment it’s money, which probably explains the shit creek we’re in.)

But when I say love isn’t for everyone, I mean: some of us have given up on love. We’ve lost hope. Continue reading “LoveWeek #5 – For those who’ve lost hope”

LoveWeek #4 – When the going gets tough…

In an ideal world, of course, relationships would be easy. You’d find someone, fall in love with each other, and POW! – the “happily ever after” of fairytales comes true.

(The clue why they don’t is in the word “fairytales”, FYI…) Continue reading “LoveWeek #4 – When the going gets tough…”

LoveWeek #3 – You’ve found someone. Now what?

So you see love as a “collaborative work of art”. You’ve been discerning about who to spend your time with and found someone generous and giving, someone with whom you can be your truest self.

You’ve won! Here’s your medal! You can relax now!

Of course, life’s not really like that: nor is love. Continue reading “LoveWeek #3 – You’ve found someone. Now what?”

LoveWeek #2 -Looking for love

If love and relationships are a “collaborative work of art”, some of us need a partner to create with.

With the acceptance of online dating and the rapid rise of apps, we have more choice than ever. And with that choice comes indecision, disatisfaction and for some of us, overwhelm.

Between the advice to ‘settle’ and “marry him already” and the endless advice on how to “find your soulmate”, how do you choose who to spend your time with? Continue reading “LoveWeek #2 -Looking for love”

A dirty job

Loving ourselves is a dirty job, which is why so many of us outsource it.

It can feel tough to wholly love and accept ourselves, made as we are of both light and shadow. It can feel vain to own the former and positively uncomfortable to be reminded of the latter. Continue reading “A dirty job”

Risky business

Today’s New Year’s Day: a fresh blank page of a year stretches before us, ready for us to write whole new stories.

Stories which, if they’re to be truly new, involve the unknown, take us further than we’ve gone before, involve the risks of both failure and reward. Continue reading “Risky business”