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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Watch Yourself

Saturday 30 May, 2020

The title of this post is usually an instruction to take care, or look out for something which might be about to happen. However, in the context of this post it’s about exactly what it says: watching yourself. Specifically, it is about observing yourself from a distance, in the same way you might casually observe someone across a crowded room. It’s fascinating, at times mesmerising, and the feeling it generates is a mixture of the ordinary and the mind-blowing.

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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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The Richness Of Not-Knowing

Wednesday 29 April, 2020

What if you abandoned everything you thought you knew, relinquished your beliefs, and became more acquainted with not-knowing? It’s not a commonly expressed idea, but every time I hear it, it stands out, offering an enticing alternative to our conditioned way of life. It’s a sanctuary, but we treat it like a taboo because from a very early age we fear being mocked or punished or disadvantaged if we don’t know.

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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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A Better World For Everyone

Tuesday 31 March, 2020

The world is increasingly in lockdown and life as we have hitherto known it is breaking down, yet my recurring thought amongst all the fear and uncertainty is that transformation often comes through suffering. The potential for change is always there, awaiting action or awareness, but as long as we’re comfortable nothing is likely to change. The pain wakes us up and motivates us to move. It screams at us that this cannot be the only way.

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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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A Childlike Curiosity

Thursday 20 February, 2020

Immediately after posting the previous piece, I took to my mat again. My body was just as stiff and painful as it has been for a few days now, but the same Qi Gong exercise turned out to be the easiest it has been so far. And when I opened my eyes, the clock read a very unexpected 25 minutes. Longer and easier than yesterday. Not only that, there had even been clear, slightly extended periods of peace, in which I felt almost pain-free. Those brief interludes were sufficient for it to seem as though I was actually lying down. That’s a big deal for me because lying down is the closest I ever get to being free of pain.

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If Space, Then Time (Pt. 3)

Friday 27 December, 2019

This post concludes the series of three pieces, all of which are inspired by the poem below. It was written by my dad, and when I read it for the first time two weeks ago, I cried intensely. I was deeply moved by his words, his love for his wife, and for the desperately sad fact that she cannot read what he has written about her. She died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2011. As a result, there is nowhere for his words to go. Others will read them and surely be moved by them, but the real recipient is not around. The only other person who fully knows what every syllable means, can no longer be touched by his love and his pain. He bears them alone. Except, of course, that love connects across all dimensions of space and time.

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If Space, Then Time (Pt. 2)

Friday 27 December, 2019

In Part 1, I looked at the pain of a child lost in the reality of human frailties. This part is about how survival strategies allow us to continue to function so that we may heal when we have more of what we need (time, support, distance, wisdom etc.). It is also a reminder that others are in pain, too. The conclusion is that love holds the key to our healing. Sadness and love may seem very different. But they are not. They are allies in our growth, each a reminder of the other. And although we may risk the former through the latter, we must somehow find the courage to continue to love completely. Life is empty without it.

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If Space, Then Time (Pt. 1)

Friday 27 December, 2019

The previous entry was all about the simplest of gestures influencing the whole world (and beyond). In any given moment our love, generosity and compassion can touch everything. This post (and the next two in the series) take the same idea and apply it to healing our past. If a smile can inhabit the infinity of space, then healing can inhabit the infinity of time.

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We Change The World

Saturday 21 December, 2019

When I smile my world changes. When I smile at another person, their world changes too. Even if they don’t smile back, there is a difference in the relationship between us. What’s more, the change is permanent. I’m not saying either of us remain uplifted after the smile has gone, but the imprint remains. It becomes a part of us. Integrated into the whole.

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Our Connection With Nature

Tuesday 8 October, 2019

We were only there for two days, but it took less than two seconds for nature to find its inevitable way to the core of my being. The experience moved me in a substantial, unshakeable way, filling my body and mind with a reassuring sense of oneness and homecoming. There was neither room nor need for anything else. I hadn’t visited the Lake District for more than 30 years, but that immovable, eternal place once again exerted its influence in the deepest way possible.

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The Nine Tiles

Friday 1 March, 2019

The core contents of this blog, distilled from the work I have done over the last 20 years, make up nine areas. Those areas, or Tiles as they are depicted, guide you through what you will encounter – or what you need to be aware of – as you write your daily journal of observations.

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