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Existential Issues Articles

Living Mindfulness And Seeing The Little Things In Life

Sunday, June 10th, 2012


Close up photo of blades of grass in the sun

All around you, they’re growing, like tiny blades of grass, if only you’ll stoop down to see them. Little moments of living mindfulness.

So come down for a moment, down from the seemingly lofty heights of ambition and theoretical knowledge and social matters. Drop out of the school of thought that teaches you there’s only one right way to be.

Drop down to earth (perhaps literally). Down to just yourself as a living being right here with other moments of aliveness running through you.

And, wherever you are, just be


How To Rest And Recharge: Bringing Balance To Your Life And Work

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

 

When was the last time you rested?

Truly just put aside some time – a minute or an hour – to do whatever it is that recharges you.

And what is that for you anyway?

What does rest look like – for you?

Is it kicking back and taking the phone off the hook and just breathing in the sun?

Or do you rest best while you’re mindfully engaged in some activity – like maybe gardening or cooking or drawing or something else – where your mind can get involved just enough in the minute-by-minute process that it can let go of holding onto everything else?

Rest seems underrated sometimes. Misconstrued. Painted in the colours of lazy or unambitious. And then compared to the razzle dazzle ‘importance’ that busyness likes to decorate itself in.

But maybe rest is at least as important as busyness…


The Story Of The Sky Within You

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Just when the storms in life seem too much, a metaphorical rainbow can emerge

 

It’s an old story. Old as the hills. And yet new every time it tells itself again.

Have you heard it told to you lately?

The clouds have gathered, thick and dark, on your skies. They’re banked up and rolling heavy to your horizon. Maybe the rains have already started, pouring their grief over everything you know and soaking it all through with shadows. And then maybe the wind starts up. The lightning. It seems everything is going wrong at once.

It’s hard to imagine ever riding out this storm.

And yet, if the story has its way, there will come a moment. A moment you might not notice at first. A moment that can start out smaller than small. But it’s enough.

Enough to invite a shift – an infinitessimal shift – that’s almost no shift at all. Except that it is.

So something tiny changes.

And somehow that awakens the next little change.

Until, gradually, all these fragile moments come together – like countless particles of light converging – almost invisible on their own. But together, slowly, they can start to pull the temperature of your day in a warmer direction. Together, they start to matter.


Forgetting Your Phone And Remembering Your Life

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Have you forgotten your phone anywhere lately? Accidentally left it behind somewhere, until you realised you “needed” it? And it wasn’t there?

(I just did).

It’s amazing how much daily living can be kind of woven through this little device. Pixellated inside it. So seemingly handy. And yet…

When you’re without your phone, are there other parts of your life that you’re more with?

If you forget it, do you remember you?

(And what might that tell you?)


What Transience Can Teach You About Holding On

Saturday, March 10th, 2012

Photo of shopfront window notice saying "all things must pass" - part of a mental health blog post by therapist Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar

 

On a day that started with torrential rain and umbrella wrestling (and weather forecasts of doom), it seemed almost miraculous to be able to stroll the street in a dry golden-blue-sky evening.

But that’s what happened. Unexpectedly. And it was exactly then that this notice on a shopfront window caught my eye (you can see it in the photo, above):

 

“All things must pass.”

 

(And they certainly seem to).

Sometimes this apparent truth about the world feels confronting. Unfair, even. Because these “things which must pass” inevitably include the things we love, and the things we celebrate. The things we might want to hold on to and never let go.

But they’re not the only things that this saying is on about…


Feel Like A Lost Soul? Taking Steps To Find Yourself Again

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Photo of a lost sole, by Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar, counsellor and psychotherapist

I was winding my way through the early morning rush hour at the station, past crowds of people blurring by, when this strange little moment of stillness opened up.

And then I saw it: a lost sole.
(In the picture, above).

A visual metaphor, reminding me of the times I’ve felt a bit like a lost soul myself. Or the times I’ve spoken with clients in counselling who felt they’d lost touch with their sense of soul and the things that really mattered to them.

Have you ever felt that way?

Where maybe some part of you was lost?
Disconnected?
Maybe covered over by sadness or grief?
Or buried alive under a pile of convention or expectation that you felt you “should” live up to?
Or maybe you just became so busy you gradually lost sight of it?

There are so many ways to lose touch with what really matters in your life – to let the everyday grind take over instead. Or to let habits or old thought patterns get in the way.

Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and reconnect with yourself. To remind yourself of what you want this life of yours to be all about. To find yourself again.

But how might you do that?


Lost And Found Love On Valentine’s Day

Monday, February 13th, 2012

I happened to spy this leaf on the path the other day.  I was on my way to somewhere else and had my mind on other things, and could easily have walked right past it. Yet there it was.

Torn.
Battered.
Lost.

And now found.

(And in the shape of a heart because of all those things, not despite them).


If “Eternity Is Now” Then What Will You Do With It?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

I came across a little piece of eternity the other day (there it is in the photo, above). Or, more precisely, it came across me. Tumbling towards me on the footpath. Blowin’ in the wind*.

Ok, so it was also just a loose page of a newspaper, blowing around the street, with an advertisement on it featuring a stone angel pointing towards a single word: “Eternity.”

Just a banal moment of dodging some floating flotsam on my way home. And a bit of a wake-up call.

What do you do when eternity comes barreling right down the street at you?

I picked it up. And could suddenly feel my heart beating. I took it with me.

What will you do with yours?
(Your eternity).
(Your heart).


Is Perfection An Imperfect Idea? Lessons From The Natural World

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

I was walking in the park this morning. Past the hundreds of thousands of millions of leaves, all applauding each other in the wind.

Which one of them isn’t perfect?

Which leaf hasn’t “lived up to its potential”?

Which has “fallen short”?

They seem like slightly ridiculous questions. (And yet, are there times that you ask them of yourself?)

In light of all of these leaves, the idea of “perfection” seems suddenly a bit lifeless and arbitrary next to the endless, vibrant variations dripping from the boughs. 


Lessons From The Book Of 2011. And Learnings For Life

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

For many people I know (and for myself at times), 2011 has been quite a hard year. It’s held times of real challenge, times of worry, times of loss. Yet there were still beautiful bits that sparkled through it in the light.

Has it been that way for you?

As we all get ready to farewell 2011 and open a new calendar for 2012, perhaps it’s worth reviewing, for a moment, what we’re actually leaving behind. And what, if anything, you might like to carry forward with you into your future.

For there are clues written into this past year that can help you uncover what’s important and fulfilling to you, how to invite more of that in, and how you want to live your life.

Let’s take a look…


The
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