To choose or not to choose

Pardon the Shakespearian touch, but do you find you can get so “caught up” in something that’s going on in your life that you forget you have other options as to how you might respond and deal with it, that you can choose again? I’m thinking of how we can be so impacted by something that happens that, despite what we’ve learned, we are quickly back in the midst of our “knee-jerk” reactions, succumbing to the familiar numbers we can run. Then, like Hamlet, we no longer “be”. Let’s say you not long ago left a job you had decided … Read more

What do you regret?

It’s a useful question to ask, and many of us hit occasions when we do just that – on the last day of your life, what do you regret? A palliative care nurse recently compiled a list of the top 5 things the dying stated they regretted. These might not surprise you: 1.    I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me 2.    I wish I hadn’t worked so hard 3.    I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings 4.    I wish I had stayed in touch … Read more

Remember to see the choice in a situation

When we’re caught up in some drama or challenge, we might feel we are totally up against it and feel unable to take the bigger picture and recognise that we have choices. It’s as though the issue and the dilemma has obliterated choice, that instead we “have” to do or not do something. The choice, if there is one, can seem quite stark or it can be obscured. The polarity is very black-and-white; there’s a lack of middle ground. This is often where it pays to talk the matter through with someone who is skilled in helping you review your … Read more

It’s crucial to be dealing with stress by exercising choice

As people come back off their summer holidays, back they can come to the same old issues and the same old pressures. Hopefully you’ve come back refreshed and with a new outlook, which can potentially help you respond differently. And in dealing with stress, how you respond is crucial, as is the extent to which you exercise choice over how you manage the situation, as a recent study has reinforced. Researchers have shown that where people have little or no control over the situation, there is a small but increased risk of a heart attack. The connection between stress and … Read more

We can move on

It is curious, were it not also so painful, to see how absorbed we can get in our own misery. It gets a perverse fascination, such that we keep on and on at it, even though we know, in part, that it doesn’t do us any good. I was reading a story about that great mythical Indian character, Sheikh Nasruddin. Stories about him are often told by gurus, to illustrate a point they are making. Here’s one from Swami Muktananda. Sheikh Nasruddin had noticed people buying chillies in a market and had seen that they were very popular. In fact … Read more

Tied to how to look good

I noticed a certain conflict of loyalties in me on reading this article about the wearing of ties. As one male who hated “having” to wear a tie, and over the moon when finally large numbers of men in work decided to abandon the wretched attire, I usually find myself having strong personal views (to myself) about this aspect of the male dress code in more formal situations. So, I notice, do certain women. I used to be aware of the potential irony in the word “tie” with implications of being tied to how to look good as conventionally perceived. … Read more

Having courage to follow your passion

A guest blog by Robin Wyatt, humanitarian, environment and travel photographer I often write in this blog about the courage it takes in personal development, especially when you choose to follow your passion. So I thought it might be useful to read this. What follows was posted by Robin Wyatt, first for the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers (IGVP) I recently wrote a guest blog post for an organisation I’m a proud member of, the International Guild of Visual Peacemakers (IGVP). Its title was ‘Reflections on following one’s passion: My first 15 months in humanitarian photography’. You can either read it … Read more

Applying the utility test to your choices

People often ask me whether something they are doing or thinking of doing in life is “right”. I often reply with another question, “Does it serve you?”, or “Is it useful to you?” Reference is made numerous times in this blog to the phrase “what serves you” in assessing whether something is suitable as a strategy in life. I call it the utility test, whether it is useful or not. It brings thinking round to the outcome desired and whether the action, thought, feeling or behaviour will produce the desired result. And is that result serving you, being of use? … Read more

Where are we all going?

When we’re stuck and “down in the dumps” it’s an important question, what’s the point of all this, where are we going? Apart from the stock, usually religious, “answers” which are other people’s ideas anyway but which you get invited to believe in and which you’re perhaps struggling with, otherwise you wouldn’t be asking…and (huge, deep breath!), what’s your idea of where you are going? That’s more pertinent, since it draws it in to you, and away from the abstract and other people’s perceptions and closer to home and your goals, plans, intentions, dreams and purpose. Crises of faith test … Read more

When you’re totally and utterly stuck

Psychological growth can occur after periods of feeling stuck. When we’re stuck it’s as though we can’t see a way forward or a way out. We’ve still got the problem and it continues to get to us and be getting in the way of our life. In Gestalt terms, we have some awareness and but are immobilised at the point where we’re seeking options and choices as to what to do. Stuck phases can seem enormously frustrating, if not depressing. Physically it can feel like we’re rooted to the spot, weighed down, lacking fluidity and ease of movement. There can … Read more