Vigilant of the shadow

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How quickly it can come. Balance seemed only a moment ago. A wrong turn or without cause, the blame game, plunging into darkness with rain on the way. Rain can turn to hail, and down, down, down I go.

In a curious way, I wonder about the cause of my blame. I ponder that it is my inner critic that is trying to hijack my life. I know I’m a good person, but why am I falling, going from low to lower? Surely I can intervene to stop this plundering. Surely I can be more vigilant and skillfully counteract this destruction. I also wonder about the state of my heart. Is it in turmoil? Is it dead? And I wonder about my sense of peace. Did someone rob it? Did a vicious dog or its owner attack me all of a sudden? Perhaps I can turn back in time. Perhaps I can reconcile what needs to be reconciled. Continue reading

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Vigilance of vulnerable moods

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Mood is best understood, I think, when we look to its Old English origin, mod, meaning ‘frame of mind’. It is about perspective, balance, harmony, presence, and so on. Today, I’d like to introduce the topic of vigilance of vulnerable moods, which I believe is an essential matter if we are to live well, with ourselves and with others. Over the coming weeks, I will look to five frames of mind which cover a range of mental health experiences: depression, low mood, dysphoria (intense unease and agitation), hypomania (elation and overactivity) and mania. I will also write about these in creative terms: being vigilant of the ultimate gloom, the shadow, intolerance, the speed limit and total disconnect. Continue reading

One big Hallelujah!

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Let your life be one big Hallelujah!”

How lucky we are to be on this planet and how ungrateful we are too. I mean, if you think about it, we are presented with so many gifts each day – people, places and things – but we clearly do not fully appreciate that we have more than enough, more than what is needed to be healthy and happy. I am a desperately miserable person in this regard. At the end of the day, I give thanks for as much as I can think of, but the list seldom goes beyond my number of fingers. Yet, when I am truly connected, I see my life like a whole department store of blessings and graces each and every day. Continue reading

Our delightful fragrance

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Outside of the tree there is no fragrance” – Zen saying.

I ponder that when a tree is unified with all its parts – roots, trunk, branches – it emits a delightful fragrance. Similarly, when I am unified in mind, heart and body, I emit something sweet. For me, this fragrance is a stillness that is nurtured through regular meditation and has positive effects on my being. When I meditate, my back is straight and my breathing rhythmic, my mind is focused and quiet and I feel peace and gratitude. Continue reading