Times long past, new memories ahead

2017 is nearing its close.   As the clock ticks over onto a new day, a new date, a new calendar year, I usually love the reflection that this time brings.  For the last few years, I’ve made a real effort to spend time alone plotting out the year ahead and looking back on the year just passed.

But this year it’s been a bit different.

This year, Cyrus our dog died. He was such a profound part of our lives and the most gorgeous, loving boy. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to him.

Loss definitely throws into sharp relief where one has been squandering one’s energy on the unimportant.

In fact, in the days after he died, I felt strangely, manically energised by his death – as if life were in extreme high-def – where the normal everyday compromises I make out, of laziness or weakness, seemed like a profanity.

But overall, once that feeling settles, grief is an exhausting, ruthless emotion to contend with.

I’ve definitely been conscious of trying to outwit grief at times, simply because it’s such a deeply uncomfortable emotion. My experience of it is at best an all- pervasive, destabilising heartsoreness and at worst a feeling of physical, paniced choking. Continue reading

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Bliss. What does that even mean?

“Follow your bliss” is an oft quoted phrase which I’ve always thought sounds great in theory, but meaningless in practice.

This is because the pressures of modern urban life can sometimes make existance feel like an endurance test. Continue reading

7 tips on how to shine on despite the winter gloom

It’s that time of year when, as soon as the clocks go back, everything seems to get plunged into gloom – both literally and metaphorically. Along with less light, lurgeys proliferate, energy levels plummet and the drive to hibernate becomes overwhelming.  I find it can take real effort to stay upbeat.

So I thought I’d put together a list to remind myself of what to do when SAD threatens to take over:

Continue reading

“Take Ownership of your Condition”

I went to the amazing Port Eliot festival this weekend.

One of the lovely surprises I happened upon, as one does at festivals, was a talk by the physiotherapist Clare Fone. This was after a very idyllic yoga practice next to big clumps of pampas grass, while looking out onto the banks of a river and the silhouettes of gorgeous thriving trees in the distance. Such a welcome contrast to London!

Anyway so Clare Fone gave a very vivicious and uplifting talk about exercising at work (subtext: be holistic – aka sensible – in how you approach your health. Keep your cells healthy: give them enough oxygen, nourishment and hydration.  If you are emotionally well, it’s easier to be physically well. If you eat healthily and get enough sleep, that will support your effort. Don’t sit down for long amounts of time).  There was nothing extremist about her message – although sometimes these days being sensible can sound extremist! Continue reading

Pranayama AKA getting high on your own supply

There’s a line in the song “Mouthful of Diamonds’ by Phantagram that goes ‘you’re getting high on your own supply’.

Although the song wasn’t referring to the yogic breathing techniques collectively known Pranayama, it might well have been, as these techniques definitely are a fast and effective way of getting high on your own supply, and in the process shifting your mood.

And what a supply!

The word “Pranayama” is composed of two sanskrit words – “prana” and “yama”/”ayama”.

“Prana” refers to the animating life force that sustains all living beings, and is similar to the eastern concept “chi”.

“Yama” means restraint and “ayama” means a lengthening. Thus, very broadly, pranayama can be understood as either ‘restraining or mastering the life force’.

Either way, in my experience, practicing pranayama feels damn good. Continue reading