Category Archives: Articles

No New Years Resolutions for Me!

No New Years Resolutions for me this year! Resolutions are often just a set up to feel like a failure. Instead, I’m going to let the beauty of what I love be what I do. For me that is something inexpensive, uplifting, and even life changing. I’m going to spend more time reading great poetry. Poetry is the most universal language of the world in my eyes. When I read it, I know that I am not alone in my human longing, vulnerability, sorrow, hope and joy. Last February here at London’s Sotheby’s, a single painting of Lucian Freud by his friend Francis Bacon sold for more than £23 million.

Yet poems are extraordinary immortal works of art and they don’t cost a penny!

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Getting Lost Enough to Find Yourself

Most of us at one time or another in our lives have been lost. I don’t mean lost in a city with a map in the daylight. I mean lost in the mountains, the forest, the desert, or an unfamiliar city at night! Or perhaps as a child, when walking in a crowd, you let go of your mother’s hand and found yourself being swept away in a sea of strange people. Last month I was hiking in the mountains for many hours. Suddenly the bliss I was experiencing turned into panic and confusion when I discovered I was truly lost. There was no longer a friendly communion with nature. Instead the environment became austere and hostile. I also felt a deep sense of guilt as the beautiful Brittany Spaniel that accompanied me was also dehydrated and losing its stamina.

I took the wrong path when coming back down the mountain and ended up at a dead end at the bottom of the waterfall’s gushing stream. Frantically running up the long path again, I was propelled by fear of the dark night advancing and no reception on my mobile. The disorientation created an eerie sense that all the paths seemed to look alike. I was confronted with the pain of stinging nettles, blisters on my feet, and a few scratches and cuts from sliding on rock debris.

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Do You Pay Regular Visits to Yourself?

The poet Rumi asks the question “Do you pay regular visits to yourself”? Day after day in my work as a clinical psychologist I am acutely aware of the stress that people are faced with. I often ask them, do you take time out to be alone with yourself? Do you connect with a deeper stillness when giving your undivided attention to your inner self? This appears to be a ridiculous question to ask busy exhausted parents. However, with the many pressures, demands and responsibilities people have, they often become driven to be outwardly focused and hijacked by obsessive/incessant thinking. Regular visits can help you to spontaneously experience a fundamental transformation in the way you think about yourself, others, and the world. There are many ways to do this, and for me it is through meditation, which can create a groundedness and resilience in the midst of chaos.

A few years ago I was faced with a life-threatening illness. It was a shocking wake-up call from my body as the body never lies.

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Looking Deeper at Living with Conflict

We all live in this world with a number of conflicting thoughts and questions inside our heads, and it takes patience and courage to look deeply into their nature. We might know what we want, but we are unsure about how to get it. We might have an idea about how to persevere to achieve what we want, but it isn’t easy because loved ones may feel wounded by our decisions. We might further be confused about how to search for what we truly want if it means upsetting others whose lives are intrinsically woven into our own. Anyone who has a full life must deal with some kind of balancing act in order to maintain self-respect and self-esteem. Many women feel this strongly when they try to give quality time to their family, their careers and themselves. How can we go about pursuing our dreams and also remain flexible enough to not hurt those around us?

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What Can We Learn from HH the Dalai Lama about Dealing With Depression?

If there was ever a man who had a reason to be depressed, it would be His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. Exiled from his beloved country, he witnesses the continual suppression of the peaceful Tibetan people and their traditional way of life. Despite this painful reality, he lives his life with hope and dignity. We can see that it is not so much what happens to us, but how we interpret our circumstances. We can get lost in fictitious thoughts that generate bitter unhappy feelings; and those thoughts become memorised emotions in our bodies. If we allow negative thoughts and emotions to sweep us away and we somersault into illusions, those beliefs can become our life stories. Criticism and judgmentalism of self and others always accompanies depression, as the sufferer believes that these projections in their mind are real. Disconnecting from our greater self into false refuges can lead to depression. Why do we avoid searching mindfully inside ourselves for that humanly divine presence which is here, real, precious and vast?

Patrul Rinposhe said “You leave your elephant at home and look for its footprints in the forest.” If we tame our mind of its distractions and delusions, we can actually re-wire the brain through the guidance of love, forgiveness, compassion, prayer, meditation, chanting, mind training, dancing and many other ways which transform our thoughts and emotions.

In his article below, originally published in the Hindustan Times, India, on January 3rd, 2011, the Dalai Lama explains that “one of the mind’s most marvelous qualities is that it can be transformed.”

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Curiosity as the Key to Lifelong Learning

Curiosity begins at an early age. Children are naturally inquisitive about everything they see. Adults often find humor in the curiosity of children because once we learn certain answers to childlike questions; we develop confidence in our knowledge. But what really creates the path to further and further learning is an adherence to a continuation of that original childlike curiosity. It is those who continue to ask questions, to reach continually into unknown territories, who are responsible for the intellectual and psychological development of the world as we know it.

How do we help our children never to lose their curiosity? How do we help them accept what they are told but also to question what they are told?

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Writing as a Journey Towards Awakening

We have previously written about mindfulness by naming our days, as a metaphor to help us become more conscious of our natural surroundings and ways to create intimacy in relationships. In this way, we can decrease our distraction by consuming thoughts and increase the bodily “felt self” of the wonder and mystery of life in the present moment. Now it is time to offer some ways to pay attention to you, in a way that can bring insight, connection, and genuine self-love. We include two powerful methods: writing and meditation practice. We start this week with writing, a way to meet with yourself authentically again and again.

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Gratitude as Huge as a Whale

Although lots of people came across this story several years ago in the San Francisco Chronicle, I only read it for the first time recently, and was really moved. It’s a true story about a humpback whale that was rescued off the coast of San Francisco on the 11th December, 2005. Basically, it said that a female humpback, 50 feet in length and weighing an estimated 50 tons, had become snared in crab pot lines while traversing the usual migratory route between the Northern California coast and Baja California

A rescue team was hastily assembled, and it was determined that the imperiled whale was so badly hurt and entangled, the only way to save her was to dive beneath the surface and cut the nylon ropes that were ensnaring her.

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Making the Decision to Change: Once and For All

Today I am feeling absolutely inspired. This past weekend I attended a workshop by Dr Joe Dispenza, (Neuroscientist, researcher, and teacher) in which the goal was to learn how to change your biology, beliefs, perceptions and energy in a positive way. There was a focus on how to be willing to make the decision to change, especially when we have been stuck in the same familiar patterns for months, years or even decades.

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How to be Fully Present with Those You Love

In our last article we discussed the idea of naming your day by paying attention to the small or great events in nature that kindle your wonder and admiration. We talked about looking at nature as if through different lenses to see the tiny delicate designs or to expand our vision to view how those small parts create an interlocking whole picture. In this article we will discuss how developing mindfulness in our interactions with others is the key to all healthy relationships.

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