To hell with gratitude – call this a life!

Recently I was asked to present a mindfulness seminar at a big organisation and was warned not to talk about “gratitude and positive psych stuff.” I really “get” that warning. For many of us, life does not feel comfortable, fulfilling or joyful. To suggest to anyone that what they need to do is ramp up … Read more

Working with Impulses, Urges and Cravings

This morning as I was meditating, I was grabbed by an impulse to get up before the meditation had finished. There was energy in that impulse as it attempted to propel my body away from meditation and into the tasks of the day. Impulses, urges and cravings are interesting phenomena to explore as we cultivate … Read more

Mindfulness and Compassion – What’s the connection?

Mindfulness has been brought from its traditional origins in Buddhism, into the main street of 21st century western societies as a way to help people respond more effectively to the challenges, pressures and stresses of modern living. The motive of Dr Jon Kabat-Zinn, a key player in the translation of mindfulness from contemplative practice to … Read more

Mindfulness – supporting people in crisis

Almost all of us would like to be that reliable friend, relative or colleague who is the calm amidst the storm and able to support others when the proverbial hits the fan. What is it that supports some people to do this well? Is it something that we can all get better at, or is … Read more

Chasing after Happiness in all the wrong places

Philosophers have been exploring the question of what makes humans happy, and even more fundamentally, what happiness is, for thousands of years. Sidestepping much of this debate, as I discuss it here, a happy life includes times of dissatisfaction, hurt, pain and even despair. The human condition makes these experiences unavoidable. How we relate to … Read more

The Gift of Presence

Humans need each other. The biologists say that human beings are one of the most social of species. We cooperate, support, share, empathise and look after individuals who are unable to look after themselves. Care and empathy are hard-wired into the human psyche. Several years of altruistic behaviour are required to ensure the survival of … Read more

Getting out of the way – for your own good

Scenario: Leaving the house for work, you walk outside and into an amazing sunrise. The sky is painted with splashes of bright orange, crimson and pink. You pause and drink it in for a few moments, astounded by its brilliance [awe]. At the bus stop you pull out your phone. What messages might there be … Read more

Musings from the South Pacific

Australians looking to escape winter may find themselves taking a break in a Pacific Island country. This was my good fortune last month. Rather than working at the computer with the heater on, looking out on grey skies, there I was, meeting more tropical fish than I could ever hope to remember. That was amazing. … Read more