No Need To Prove Myself

Friday 31 July, 2020

Someone asked me what I do. I was hesitant at first, but engaged the question with a few lines of familiar introduction. Then someone else sat down between us, interrupting our conversation just at the point where I usually move up through the gears and talk enthusiastically, if not passionately, about my work. At first I was annoyed, but the interlude gave me a chance to return to my initial hesitancy and observe – perhaps for the first time – what it felt like to step back from selling myself.

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The Harmony Of Acceptance

Sunday 26 July, 2020

As I wrote in Shared Experience, it felt like the other two had not changed in the intervening 16 years. I wondered whether I had changed at all. In their eyes probably not, but I know I have grown since I first met them. But then I wondered whether any of us ever change. Maybe we just spend our lives layering over who we really are, and that any improvement we achieve is either just an appreciation of the layers themselves, or a gradual revealing of our original essence.

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A Toddler’s Mantra

Wednesday 17 June, 2020

The story I wrote about in Finding Common Ground was influenced by two things: something I tell my three-year-old regularly, and something about the polarity of argument I have learnt from Charles Eisenstein. This post is about the former. It’s a record of how saying the same thing over and over again came to influence my response to anger. My response was not to defend myself, nor to hit back, nor bite the other person as most toddlers do at some point in their development. It was to come from a place of love, because that is what I want for my son.

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Finding Common Ground

Tuesday 9 June, 2020

I am not one for courting controversy (not any more, at least) and have little interest in posting anything political or contentious online. My writings are, in some measure, influenced by a lesson I learnt in my early 20s – that when people judge you, confirmation bias will drag your past behaviour, comments you made, even unrelated factors, into an unfair and unwavering condemnation. And so it is that I have been content to write about the strength of personal development and offer my contribution to a better world that way.

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A Conversation About Dying

Tuesday 19 May, 2020

Two days ago I talked with someone about death and dying. It was an open, accepting and honest conversation full of liberation and beauty. The person with whom I spoke has suffered so much for so many years that, even at their relatively young age, they are ready for an end to it all. If life happens to improve soon, then great, that’s one way for the pain to end. But they are no longer holding out any hope, having already sailed over that particular horizon. Another way for the pain to end is death, and the more we talked about it and embraced the idea as a realistic possibility imbued with permission and blessing, the lighter and more beautiful the conversation became.

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Make Peace With Your Truth

Wednesday 22 April, 2020

This is the second assignment from the course mentioned in the previous post. The session itself was entitled, Navigating Uncertainty, and the main message of the lesson was not necessarily that we need take any action, nor that we can passively expect something to come our way, but that we are more likely to act ‘when we make peace with the truth‘. The assignment, therefore, was this:

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It Was Never Just A Colour

Wednesday 25 March, 2020

Pink has always been my favourite colour. But for decades, paradoxically, it wasn’t. At some point in my childhood, I chose a different one. At the time, I didn’t realise any of the significance of what was happening. I just thought to myself, ‘Okay, people seem to have a favourite colour, so mine is red.’ It was only much later – 30 years later – that I fully reclaimed my true colour. This post is the story of how the innocence of a simple colour became the basis for a stifling injunction. It is also highlights how our treatment (good or bad) of each other can have staggering effects.

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When Trust Is Present

Thursday 30 January, 2020

Scrolling through the blog archive, I came across an entry called ‘It’s What You Say, Not How You Say It’. It addresses a small element of a much broader experience highlighted by Karaj during an intense day of forensic feedback. I remember the lesson well and the title is correct, but every time I encounter it, I am always left questioning whether the elements of that line should be reversed.

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Beyond Caring

Thursday 7 March, 2019

I recorded the second episode of the Tile9 podcast this week. In each episode I read from my book, stopping to relate the entries to all 9 Tiles of The Instruction Manual. During the recording, there were a number of lines which reminded me of something Karaj had said to me during a phone call two days earlier.

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One Instruction: Let Go

Wednesday 27 February, 2019

This post is an intriguing example of what happens when you let go. It reaffirms the old issues of how easily the mind can dominate; how convinced we can be by its stories; how it takes effort and intent to release ourselves from their entanglement; and how life really looks when you see the truth beyond the veneer.

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Courage In The Darkness

Saturday 22 September, 2018

Whenever I see something growing through a crack in the pavement, I remark on life’s incredible ability to flourish in places you might not expect. That thought occurred to me again, the morning after a lunch experience in a pitch-black restaurant and a talk by a man who had gradually lost his sight. In the absolute darkness, after enjoying an unseen meal with a roomful of voice-only strangers, Joost’s own voice rose up above the general chatter.

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Astonishingly Simple

Tuesday 11 July, 2017

Standing on my head, looking across the room at the empty wall, I wondered whether I might put a poster there, upside down, to remind me of a few simple things I forget to do on a daily basis. Simple but powerful practices which, when done regularly and in a focused way, can improve my life. A couple of days later I thought about it again and three things came to mind: smile, breathe, and let go. This post is about the astonishingly simple things which can transform our experience of ourselves and of life itself, and how important it is to practise them whenever we can because, when we need them most, they can be slippery and elusive.

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It Is What It Is

Thursday 15 June, 2017

In 2001, during my recovery from back surgery, the physiotherapist explained, ‘You will have good days and you will have bad days. On your good days, don’t overdo it!’ There is so much wisdom in that advice because, indeed, there are days when things work, and there are days when they don’t. Equally, just as it is important not to get too excited and carried away on the good days, it is also wise not to allow yourself to get too down on the difficult days.

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We Think We Know

Saturday 27 May, 2017

We think we know, but we don’t. We think we have a good idea of how life should be – our own life, other people’s lives, life in general – but we don’t. Given the magnitude of it all and the small scales we operate on, how can we possibly think we can see the biggest picture? From our narrow perspective it’s unfathomable, and with our arrogance of assuming we know, we restrict ourselves and make life unnecessarily complicated.

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