Shared Experience

Thursday 11 June, 2020

For the first time in 16 years, the three of us sat together and chatted. We hadn’t spoken in this constellation since I left my work with Karaj on New Year’s Eve 2003. I was struck by how much neither of them had changed. It made me think that maybe I hadn’t changed either. Had all the work we did during those intense years been for nothing? It was only a fleeting thought because I know that I am different to how I used to be. I know I have improved in ways I would not have been able to, had I not spent the four years with Karaj and the others.

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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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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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Finding Activism In Art

Friday 15 May, 2020

For the third assignment (after The Space Between Stories and Make Peace With Your Truth) we were asked to seek the activism in the art we produce: ‘Describe an event where you took inspired action, and that created a result beyond anything you could have forced… not necessarily knowing how or whether it would “work,” but nonetheless operating from a feeling of inspiration, purpose, guidance — and maybe a bit of humour.

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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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The Space Between Stories

Tuesday 7 April, 2020

As part of an online course offered by Charles Eisenstein, I have been prompted to share a personal example of the space between stories. (For more information on what that means, see the post, New Journal, New Story.) Other people on the course have written about abrupt, life-changing experiences, but mine is nothing like that. It is about a comment someone made which was different to anything I’d heard before.

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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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Choose To Change Your Mind

Tuesday 17 March, 2020

The exercise was straightforward, the instructions clear. We were given a warm-up scenario, and simply asked to agree or disagree. A line had been drawn down the middle of the room, and our job was to take a position, then seek to persuade others to step over to our side. During the introduction, my attention was drawn to one instruction in particular: Don’t be too fixed in your stance. Be open to the arguments you hear from the other side.

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Exactly Who I Am

Thursday 12 March, 2020

It was a day of masks, fairy stories, and a contemplative walk in nature. A day of significant conversations and deepening connections; of listening and sharing, reflection and insight; and of daring to cross the line. It began, almost inevitably, with dancing. This was Mind Work Productions (MWP), after all. Twice before* I have taken part in one of their days, and each one has been a demonstration of how valuable it is to leave our comfort zone behind.

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Just By Standing Still

Friday 21 February, 2020

I somehow felt better in myself this morning. More relaxed. There are a number of contributing factors – it’s Friday, I’m free again today, and I wrote two posts yesterday – but my uplifted mood (in spite of my son being awake again at 05:30) had its roots in what happened in the night. Woken in the darkness by the pain in my left hip, I managed to inhabit the discomfort and relax into it, just as I do continually with the exercise. So not only did the echoes of this week’s discipline make it into my half-awake state, their resonance was solid enough for me to consciously apply the fresh experience of the past few days.

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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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