How to beat loneliness without actually seeing people

This time last year I was bragging about how much lockdown suited me. I was writing my novel, learning the guitar, doing puzzles and accessing the Hay Festival by Zoom.  I had the whole flat to myself, acres of time, a million things yet to watch, tons of books to catch up on, and all my clients via Zoom so I didn’t even have to keep the place all that tidy.  Smug, is the only word to describe my state of mind last April. Now, though, it’s fair to say [...]

I can’t be defined by a donkey

One of the ways my daughter made my recent lockdown birthday special was to arrange a surprise breakfast zoom with my sisters; there we all were, croissants, coffee and flowers in three different houses. My sisters had prepared a little game. I had to work out some clues which would lead me to their gifts. The clues related to images, items and icons from my childhood. One of the clues was about my grandparents’ car, another was about push-along donkey, and a third referenced a pair of stilts; all, as [...]

The Wrong Jam

There is a pot of jam that has been in my fridge a very long time.  It’s delicious, Bonne Maman.  It’s full flavoured, blue black, firm and smooth.  Blackcurrant jelly.  So why haven't I eaten it? The problem is the label.  The label says it’s Gelée Framboises. There is no way this jam is made from raspberries.  I know I should be able to ignore the label and simply enjoy the taste but instead I find I’m suspicious. I’m not really sure I can trust it. I’ve noticed the same [...]

Sixteen things I didn’t know a month ago:

Even when everything’s closed, there is still slightly too much to do; Starting any new project – making curtains, writing a novel, learning the guitar requires will, determination, routine – not just time; I knew I was an introvert, but I hadn’t realised how much of my happiness depended on not having to go out; What furlough means. My guess is like tsunami after 2004, we'll find it popping up in every other sentence from now on; That face masks protect other people more than the wearer - using one [...]

Active Listening in Difficult Times

If you've volunteered to be a listener through the NHS Scheme or locally through a Mutual Aid group, this video should might help you collect some tips up your sleeve for the more challenging calls. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=006KdNQrKog              

How to live with difficult people during a lockdown No 2

Continuing in my series on how to talk to difficult people, especially those who insist you are the difficult one: In the previous post I talked about the benefits of asking the difficult person how they’re feeling and the importance of listening to the answer; how to check and demonstrate you’ve understood them, and if you haven’t, to listen again until they know they’ve really been heard. All this time, though, you haven’t had a look in. Now it’s your turn. You can’t wait to launch in with your much [...]

the power of coincidence

I was driving down the coast towards San Francisco in the summer, stopped for a sandwich in a little town, popped into a secondhand bookshop and bought this: As you can see, it came highly recommended, by the Dalai Lama (not just recommended, he actually wrote the preface) and several reputable writers. It turns out to be wonderful.  I have it by my bedside and the chapters are long enough to be interesting and short enough to get through before I fall asleep. Each chapter describes and reflects on a [...]

2019-01-17T17:44:24+00:0017 January 2019|Uncategorised|0 Comments

A divorce is for life, not just for Christmas

I read in last Saturday’s Guardian that thirteen people filed for Divorce on Christmas Day. Christmas Day can be tough for a lot of people, but that’s a hell of a way to spend the afternoon. It’s my theory that these divorce petitions had little to do with wanting to end a marriage. They are more about hitting out from a place of pain; hurting someone who’s hurt you. And pretty effective, if that’s what you’re trying to do. That need to wound someone who’s hurt you – it’s an [...]

Resolutions don’t solve anything

There is a flaw in the New Year Resolution system. It’s not just that the emphasis is on what you didn’t do very well last year – and that’s always going to be a bit negative; it’s not just that the commitments are unrealistic – if you haven't been reading a novel a week for the last 20 years, you’re probably not going to in 2019; it’s not just that you leave the list until a couple of days before (or after) January 1st, the one time of year you’ll [...]

No such thing as a bully

Bullies have been on my mind lately.  A few weeks ago we had the headline in the Guardian about a ‘bullying culture’ in universities.  I work in this sector, so the story was both interesting and familiar and prompted me to a direct marketing campaign – I can help employers with this kind of problem. Next I conducted a mediation where both parties were complaining about being bullied by the other.  This isn’t as unusual as it sounds.  My job (successful in this case) was to help each party hear [...]

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