I send a text to my son. It’s about the tenth I’ve sent in the last week, all of which have gone unanswered. I could so easily take it personally, or I could do what I’ve done in the past, set out in search of him.
A day later, the youngest member of our household takes off again in search of freedom and fun in lockdown. It’s not the first time she’s run away so I am hoping she’ll return home safe and well as she has in the past.
It would be so easy to sink into ‘Why me?’…
“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” —
Truer words were never spoken etc. by the Irish scribe, though perhaps it’s better not to rely on others for happiness. Some of the greatest advice I’ve heard for being happy is ‘to plan your actions, not your results.’ That’s a motto I try to follow, though admittedly it’s easier said than done.
Our writers had much to say about happiness: Some submissions made me smile, others made me laugh out loud. Which are your favourites this week? …
I bet you didn’t know there’s clean pain and dirty pain. Neither did I, until I listened to a podcast featuring Resmaa Menakem, in which he explains that clean pain is what we experience when we work through difficult issues, such as racism.
Dirty pain has little value whatsoever.
Of course, we all know that pain can take different forms — falling over and breaking a leg doesn’t compare to losing a leg through injury or illness.
Or as the hero in The Equalizer 2 puts it: “There’s two kinds of pain in this world; pain that hurts, pain that…
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle
I still remember the shock I felt when our marriage counsellor asked my husband and me what we did together for fun. Fun! Why the hell would we need counselling if we knew how to have fun?
What I’ve learned since then is that fun — and by extension, happiness — can be cultivated. The first thing we needed to do was notice when we were having it. It wasn’t self-evident. After all, when last did you say to yourself: This is fun…
Taking control of my thoughts was one of the best things I learned in the three-month-long mindfulness training I took a few years ago. It wasn’t a new concept to me. I’d been meditating for years, which taught me to observe my thoughts, much the way I watch passing clouds. A powerful exercise in itself.
Mindfulness showed me how I could choose to treat my thoughts like trains — aka trains of thought — and decide consciously which thoughts to engage with, the way I choose train journeys based on my destination.
It shuts down overthinking, allowing freedom from obsession.
She hadn’t realized she had left her baby to die until the tutor told them that their projects were like babies, soft, mewling, dependent, living beings. Muses actually, waiting to be fed, needing to be nurtured and kept alive by their parents, who were meant to spend specific amounts of time with them each day, even that was just ten minutes. A time that should be sacrosanct. If the commitment was 9 am to 12 pm she needed to show up at 9 am, not 9:05 or 10 am, and write until 12. She hadn’t understood that.
She also hadn’t…
15th February 2021
Today you turn seven years old. I am so excited for you. I know your thoughts will be full of fun and presents, and the desire to see your friends. But it is 2021 and we are in the second year of a worldwide pandemic, so parties and get-togethers are on hold.
I am so proud of you, the way you have managed these weirdly different times in the past year. You have remained calm and tolerant, despite the strangeness of canceled classes and playdates. …