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If This Was Your Last Day

Just consider for a moment, how would today be different if you knew it was your last?
How would you be? What would matter? What might you notice?
Maybe you would take it slow. Maybe you would savour each moment. Maybe you would tell those that mattered that you loved them. Maybe you would resolve an old and now meaningless conflict. Maybe you would watch the sunrise. Maybe you would taste each meal and be grateful for each meal you’ve failed to taste. Maybe you would just watch. Maybe you would embrace what truly mattered. Maybe you would smile or laugh, taking yourself just a little less seriously. Maybe you would sing at the top of your voice without a care in the world. Maybe you would be kinder or more compassionate towards yourself and others. Maybe you would finally give yourself a break. Maybe you would listen to the birds. Maybe you would meet someone fully and without judgement. Maybe you would notice the subtle in/out of the breath that will soon desert you. Maybe you would…
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Haiku

Just sitting, 
Breathe in, breathe out, 
Breathe in, breathe out. 

Blossom falls, 
How picturesque!
Settling on the deck.

Knotted trees
With faces 
Of wise men.

The birds that wake before me
Call me gently
Toward the day.

Dwelling in the space 
Where thoughts arise,
Untouched by night or day.

Luminous!
Moss covered bark.
How strangely beautiful.


Snow falls. 
Or is it rain?
Still, my heart melts. 

What joy! 
Muddied like a child. 
Carefree. 

The wind is known
By the swaying 
Of the trees. 

Rain falls, 
Puddles gather, 
And so reflect their source. 

Shhh, can you hear it? 
Listen carefully, 
Tumbleweed.




Being With Mum Part.2

Seeing my mum off after her visit was so incredibly difficult. Over the past few days I have seen her settle into a way of being that I have never seen her inhabit before. I met a new mother in so many ways. It sounds strange but her condition has softened her edges and allowed her to be present in a way that perhaps she was unable to be in the past. I have seen joy, contentment and love in her eyes, as well as the odd bout of confusion or restlessness, but these were few and far between for the most part and when they paid a visit we were able to settle her quickly without too much drama. A quick call to her husband or a nice cup of tea. I watched as she connected deeply with the force of nature I know as Bonnie, my dearest friend and a very special being. She met my mum at every turn and loved her without a second thought, as if her own. Often she was a trusted companion to my mum where perhaps I couldn't be. Amidst it all my mum's instinct remained to protect my brother and I…

Being With Mum Part. 1

I feel compelled to share the journey of this week in some way. Perhaps in order to speak openly about a condition that is not often discussed publicly or as part of my own catharsis. At this juncture I am not entirely sure. Perhaps both. A year ago my mum was diagnosed with early onset frontotemporal dementia. This is a shrinkage of the brain that causes, among other things, memory loss, confusion, and a loss of empathy. My past year has been coming to terms with much of what this diagnosis has stirred in me. The reality of impermanence, the fragility of life, being present with heartbreak, loss, to name but a few. What's made it doubly tricky is that my mum lives abroad and so our communication has largely been limited to awkward, disjointed phone calls and a handful of skype calls. (my mum is something of a technophobe) This week my mum turns 64 years old and so my brother and I decided to fly her over to see many of her friends and family that, to be honest, she may not get the c…

Shattering The Great Doubt

I have just returned from a quite beautiful week in Wales.
Still very much re-entering the space we refer to as 'normal'.
It seems anything but.

The retreat I attended was called 'Shattering the Great Doubt', also known simply as a Koan Retreat.
For those you unfamiliar with the term 'Koan' it is a short story, statement, dialogue or exchange between master and student, that is used as a form of practice in the Rinzai tradition of Zen. We are asked to meditate on , and merge with the koan, observing how it 'triggers' us or prompts and provokes habits, patterns and ways of being.
It is something that must be experienced to be truly understood but that is a brief and simplistic overview.

I met with 18 other curious souls to investigate and come face to face with ourselves in a rustic, electricity-less farmhouse in the middle of the welsh countryside.
The schedule would involve a week of silence, meditation, great food, working for the bene…

Being With What Is

Every now and again life delivers a 'game changing' event.
One that challenges us and shakes our very foundations.
It is in these transcendental moments we have revealed to us the true value of our practice. We are given a very real and meaningful yardstick for where we are at.
It can be all too easy to adopt a philosophy or belief that acts as a pacifier, to retreat into language in order to hide from our true feelings because the feelings are just too much to bear - To simply talk a good game.
Our work is not to arrange life so as to avoid feeling pain or sadness but to re-examine our relationship to these valid and inevitable emotions and feelings.
We have been taught to run from or distract ourselves from painful emotions instead of embracing them and investigating them, allowing them to appear as they are, giving them space to arise and impart upon us their profound wisdom.
To maintain an open heart and willingness to learn takes great practice and …

Love or Attachment?

Attachment can show up in any number of ways. Sometimes very obviously and other times quite subtly.

If we are willing to look deeply and observe our motives, expectations, desires, we can see clearly where we are being snagged by some form of attachment.
Just lately I have become acutely aware of this in my own experience.

I have a loved one that is trying to find her feet and work through some of her 'stuff'. As much as I can I am trying to support her through this journey and yet with some honest and compassionate words from a very dear friend of mine I was able to see that I was becoming attached to the desire for my loved one's well-being.
Now, on the surface you may say that wishing another well is perhaps a reasonable or normal thing and yet it has become abundantly clear to me that it is simply a rather subtle form of attachment and actually is not an expression of unconditional love but instead a demand or expectation placed upon another. You see, each time i…