How do we keep our cool while everybody else is losing theirs

How do we keep our cool right now? How do we stay connected to who we are and yet also deal with the s**t that goes on in the world? It’s a very pertinent question in a world going seemingly mad. It’s a question many ask and struggle to come up with answers. Do we sit and meditate and gaze on the world in a non-attached way like the all-knowing guru or do we beat our hearts out trying to change it all and end up harming ourselves? After all, some say, it’s going to carry on like this, so … Read more

What do you take for granted that you’d miss if you lost it?

What do you take for granted which you’d miss if it or they weren’t there? We live large chunks of our lives in a “knee-jerk” way. We get on with it, carry out our daily chores, converse with others, get from A to B, earn our daily bread, complete tasks, make connections, and more. All this makes up the necessities and desirables of life. On a scale of 1 to 10, how much of all that are you consciously paying attention to? And what gets left out, that you value if you thought about it, and that you’re not noticing? … Read more

Every day we have moments of magic

Mid-summer early mornings can be times of magic. I was just woken at dawn on a hot summer’s morning by the first song of a blackbird in the cherry tree right by our bedroom window. Light was faintly appearing and its song wafted in like some welcoming celebration of another day, pure and clear. I then thought, “We live our lives experiencing suffering, when really we live in paradise. We just don’t see it.” It felt like I was being sung that as a song. A true wake-up call! I guess I could then ask, how much do you or … Read more

Do you worry about when you can practice mindfulness?

People often ask, when is a good time to practice mindfulness, or to meditate. It’s tempting to answer, when you feel like it, but there are practicalities! Like not when you’re working or traveling or cooking or being with family and friends, in other words when there are lots of distractions. Yet, it’s not as crazy an answer as it seems. First of all, we’re talking about pausing, being in the moment, aware, present, in your body, focused on your breathing, letting go, noticing thoughts rather than caught up in them, being the observer or witness. You can do that … Read more

How to be present when others are losing it

Do you struggle to know how to be present with someone when they are upset or angry, or when you are tired or going through it yourself? I’m very often struck by how people can lack the ability to “be with” people emotionally, especially those who work professionally with people in challenging situations. It’s like our buttons get pushed or we feel inadequate or lack the resources we need. Somehow, people say, they “aren’t qualified” to handle it. When people kick off I remember once on a Gestalt training course unpacking a whole load of grief around the impact of … Read more

Repetition can be good too

In the business world to be repeating something, to be going over the same old ground can seem like the kiss of death, as if repetition is inherently a “bad thing”, contrary to the incessant need for new thinking, having something “different”, innovation. Yet this very belief can in personal development terms be a barrier to new learning and insight. It’s a paradox. Here to go over the same things generates growth and change. A perhaps less well-known example of this is the Gestalt technique of the Paradoxical Theory of Change, that if you really focus on the repeating the … Read more

Manage your mind to still your busy mind and be at peace

It’s a common complaint that I hear from people, that their minds are too busy, they can’t get it to be still, they are constantly plagued by negative or unhelpful thoughts, or simple are unable to switch off. It’s no surprise in today’s very stressful life but it’s not something limited to stress situations. Your mind can take you to hell and back if you’re not careful. This is where having the skill to manage your mind is so important. The mind is a maleable instrument and we can deal with these tendencies if we choose. In yoga and other … Read more

There are always reminders of our inner presence

Yesterday we went out to visit a friend for her birthday and took the chance of this “re-birth” day too to go to a local architectural beauty, Tewkesbury Abbey. Inside the building was decorated with yellow spring flowers and it was filled with incense from the morning Easter Sunday service. The incense hung in the building as a thin mist, which gave an even more ethereal feel to the place. It was suitably mysterious but full of energy from the earlier celebration. Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection of Christ, and whatever your views about this or other aspects of Christian … Read more

Devotion to a spiritual practice may not be easy

The idea of following a spiritual practice is one that is likely to be an instant turn-off to the “I must have it now” culture. Yet, the real fruits of a turn-around at the level of consciousness tend to come after long periods of focused devotion to that which uplifts you. I say it’s a turn-off for many and it’s therefore important to ask what that’s about, since even a new devotee to adopting a practice needs to be aware of what can get in the way, so as to be able to counter it. We’re many of us used … Read more

Opening up and allowing in the new is essential to our growth

Developing an ability to open up, to allow in the new, is very important. It’s a part of our growth function in psychological terms. Hence we need change flexibility, to be able to adapt. If we don’t do this, we close off access to part of our life force. It also makes us more able to awaken, which is a facility open to all of us. Many of us have got so locked into resisting change and are focused on what’s missing and on the past that we miss this potentiality that’s there. We can spontaneously wake up every day, … Read more