• Your favourite songs to lull anxiety A few weeks ago I shared a post about songs that can lull anxiety. And why. To refresh, this is the top ten list as compiled by a bunch of boffins from the British Academy of Sound Therapy: 1. Weightless 2. Electra (Airstream) 3. Mellomaniac (DJ Shah – Chill Out Mix) 4. Watermark (Enya) 5. Strawberry more
  • Why songs heal anxiety (especially these ones) Music can very much help with my anxiety. It lulls, it distracts, it provides a lofty, expansive perspective from which I’m able to “see” my anxiety and ride it out. Sound therapists at the British Academy of Sound Therapy looked into why this may be so and created the most scientifically relaxing song possible. Listen to more
  • How to love mindfully Oh I do love a bit of Thich Nhat Hanh. I recently discovered that the Vietnamese monk who brought us the mindful concept of “washing the dishes, to wash the dishes” has written about mindful love in his book “How to Love”. It’s a beautiful read. It hits nails on relationship heads. But I was more
  • Just do it like a motherf*cker Before Cheryl Strayed became That Wild Girl, she was an agony aunt at Rumpus.net. She went by the moniker “Sugar”, it so happens. In light of my recent posts about writing like no one cares, the joy of lowering your expectations and faking it until you make it, I thought today I’d simply run a response more
  • A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one Decisions are hard. I struggle with them. So these words from writer and feminist Rita Mae Brown are sweet salve… “A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.” God. What a relief just to hear that. I think the peacefulness that comes from JUST MAKING THE DAMN DECISION says to the world that you’re open more
  • Work beyond the suffering I take comfort in this from Friedrich Nietzsche: “Haste is universal because everyone is in flight from himself.” But, following the “I’m no Robinson Crusoe” relief that comes from absorbing Fred’s words, I immediately want to rise beyond it. I aspire beyond the suffering we’ve been delivered by virtue of merely being alive. Which, to my more
  • There’s a good scientific reason you’re neurotic Have you caught the science news? Psychologists have advanced a new theory linking neurotic unhappiness and creativity in the brain, giving over-worrying an evolutionary purpose. Bingo! Normal worry, of course, has always had an evolutionary purpose. In the face of danger, freaking out helps us fight or flight. But neuroticism – freaking out when there more
  • Great art is born of great loneliness Today, just this from Anais Nin on the connect between emotion and writing: “You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid more
  • Louis C.K. on the pain of always being “the one who copes” Love Louis? I’d be surprised if you didn’t. He’s humanely and humanly funny. By which I mean, he plants the basics of life in front of us and does little more than tickle us with our own absurdity. And pain. And reality. I trawled through some interviews with him recently, to learn more about The Guy more
  • Too much attention, not distraction, is the issue Blimey, we’re all very focused on the Distraction Problem, aren’t we. Our electronic devices ruin dinner, corrupt young minds. Our frenetic toggling is reshaping our brains in disconcerting ways. I don’t disagree with the concerns. An inability to sit soundly and in flow with ourselves and life (or a culture that drags us from this more
  • Nietzsche on haste Nietzsche was known for a few utterances. And for being a prolific walker. (When he lived in Eze, France, he made a daily habit of scaling a steep 1,400-foot mountain to reach a medieval village perched above his home.) It’s in this context of walking he shared this: “Haste is universal because everyone is in more
  • Another benefit of doing nothing for four weeks On my recent post in which I announced I was off on a break (to India) to try the art of doing nothing, reader Leonie shared the below quote in the comment section (thx Leonie!). “You will be civilized on the day you can spend a long period doing nothing, learning nothing, and improving nothing, without more
  • The Aboriginal healing gift Australians need right now There’s an indigenous practice called dadirri for healing trauma. It also brings wisdom and wholeness. Dadirri means inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness. It’s a “tuning in” experience (best done outdoors) with the specific aim of reflecting on nature to find, and connect with, our inner selves. It entails going bush. It’s something everyone more
  • Louis C.K.’s decision-making rule Making decisions is a theme on this site. It’s a theme in my life as I grapple with the confidence, laissez faire-ness, certainty and surrender inherent in good decision-making. Today I share brilliant US comedian Louis C.K.’s approach. He, too, grapples with the descent into despair that decision-making can induce. He’s developed a 70 Per more
  • Intermittent fasting for food addiction? Let’s discuss. I’m a cautious fan of intermittent fasting and have previously shared my thoughts on the best way to go about it. But I picked up on something in an interview with American integrative doctor Chris Kresser recently that stoked the fasting fire a little. As something of a side note to his ramble about how he personally more
  • Start with a big fat lump in your throat and run with it As an angsty teen I read Robert Frost’s The Path Not Taken and would feel all kinds of profoundnesses. I would also read the bible, looking for the same depth. I’ve liked to think I’ve moved on from such binary thinking. But I recently came across a reference to Frost’s approach to poem creation: “It begins as a more
  • Some advice for anyone who’s recently left a relationship English poet and philosopher David Whyte was once called on to give a friend some advice. This friend was in the middle of leaving a relationship. I’ve been there – in the position of counsel. Mostly it takes me straight back, like riding down a razor blade, to the times I’ve had to leave love myself. I don’t more
  • Have you married yourself yet? I’ve just been introduced to the poet and philosopher, David Whyte. In his book The Three Marriages, he says we need to navigate, yep, three marriages in life: one to others (“particularly and very personally, to one other living, breathing person”), another to work and another to one’s self, “through an understanding of what it means to be more
  • Your solitude is profound. In case you’re despairing. I honestly have no idea where I came across this quote. I’ve been reading a few heavy philosophy texts lately. It came from one of them, I think. Loneliness, aloneness, craving humans while also needing to flee… these are themes I explore a lot here. For me, finding the right balance between being in and more
  • Dear Friends and Family, I’m sorry I’m e-hurting you… I read the other day, in the New York Times, about the phenomenon of “hiding in plain e-sight”. Oh, yes, it’s such a “thing”. HIPES – as I’ll call it for expediency – is the act of hiding from people’s unanswered calls, texts and emails, seemingly unavailable and presumably offline, while being visible on social more
  • If you feel at odds with the world, you are a deviant. Be proud. Have you encountered George Monbiot? He’s my favourite columnist in the whole wide world. He delves in under the wounds, undeterred by the defensive scab. Then he goes in another layer, and another, and finds the root cause of the pain. Last week he wrote about how the values of neoliberalism have cheated us.  And more
  • Being creative can be a lonely path I loved reading about this new study into the connection between creativity and mental illness. It effectively found that creativity has little correlation with genius. While there is a connection with a highish IQ  (the “average” creative has an IQ around 120), the real nexus is with a touch of madness. But more specifically (and more
  • Why introverts just can’t handle you… sometimes My post last week touched on being an introvert. It brought a lot of my introverted friends out from their inner reverie to share a few thoughts they’d developed on their internal brainstorming-for-one white board. The common thread of our chats: the challenges we face dealing with (read: living with) extroverted friends and loved ones. more
  • How to let go… when you’re an A-type I’m a wholly neurotic, frenetic A-class example of an A-type. If you’re an A-type too (I know a few of you follow me on this blog) you’ll be with me on this: We know we need to let go, release our grip and chill the fork out, but…it requires clever trickery. Indeed, it’s our very more
  • living with a wobbly mind Perhaps you have a wobbly mind, too? In my experience, living with a wobbly mind is akin to being charged with carrying around a large, shallow bowl filled to the brim with water for the rest of your life. You have to tread super carefully so as not to slosh it all out. So you more
  • I’m an online dater and it changed me There are a few things you learn when you do online dating. You learn about the different faces of humanity’s heaving, aching loneliness. You learn just how lonely you are. You learn about the opposite sex. You learn about how much your ego can take (from the incessant rejections; on most sites you’re alerted to more
  • things feeling shit-full? it’s ok… I read The Art of Possibility a few years ago. It’s an odd book..I’m not sure that I get it entirely. But I like the way it’s sprinkled with little lessons, like this one below. It’s very much a “just because” read with no apology given for it’s odd format. Anyway. The lesson: Four young more
  • It’s better to feel normal about being abnormal I like Henry Miller’s mind. I’ve written about it before. He expresses without apology. His writing just…goes there; it cuts through and doesn’t pause to deliberate fruitlessly. It feels like freedom to just read his work. I came across these Henry Miller quotes just now. It’s from an essay he wrote on the musings of more
  • stay During my recent travels I visited Moustier St Marie in Provence. There I did a meditation on a hill overlooking the town and a crackin’ storm blew in. Now I realise this sounds very faux atmospherique, but I’m trusting that  you know I don’t drop such deus ex machina stunts into my stories very often. more
  • My Titanic theory on changing direction Wanting to create change in your life just now? You might like today’s musing. I’d like to say the theory is mine. But I picked it up from the 92-year-old Russian Chinese man who taught me to hypnotise myself when I was 21. Eugene Veshner was a former civil engineer who was told at age more
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