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.

Continue reading “What problem are you really trying to solve?”

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”

For a friend who is struggling

This month, I’m going to share something very different.

One of the first pieces I ever had published was a poem, and yet I rarely read them – and the last one I wrote was five years ago. But a friend who lives overseas was struggling recently, and I wanted to keep in touch through loving voice messages.

I didn’t want to add to his mental load by chit-chatting about my day, though. So what could I say that would be short, helpful and meaningful? Continue reading “For a friend who is struggling”

Letting love in

It was my birthday last month. And, like many people, I usually feel a bit flat in the run-up to celebrating another revolution around the sun. There’s nothing like getting a whole year older to remind you of how short life can be!

As someone who lives alone with only a couple of friends and zero family members living nearby, plus everyone’s busy work or family schedules, finding a way to celebrate with others can feel tricky. Continue reading “Letting love in”

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 #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…”

Amidst the darkness

In the Western hemisphere, it’s Winter. The days are short; the nights, long.

As I sit and write at dusk I can see the darkness descending outside, the landscape enveloped in a fog so dense, so deep, that familiar landmarks have been lost. It seems appropriate, somehow, given the year many of us have had. Continue reading “Amidst the darkness”