Read our posts about soul

Culture tip: The Reason I Jump

Culture tip: The Reason I Jump

Knowing what we’re really thinking is an elusive enough goal, knowing what someone else has on their mind is harder still, and what if that person thinks in an entirely different way? That’s often how the minds of people with autism are depicted: qualitatively different and impossible to understand. The Reason I Jump breaks through a lot of the misconceptions surrounding autism and gives an insight into how the author, a person with autism himself, sees the world. Translated, and featuring a forward, by acclaimed author David Mitchell, the book is a combination of...
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Four Thoughts on Anxiety About Ageing

Four Thoughts on Anxiety About Ageing

1. Why are some older people described as 'still beautiful', as though age mostly erases beauty? Banish the words from your vocabulary, along with other self-deprecating remarks about ageing bodies, and admiring comments about people who don't look their age. Train your eyes to recognise and your language to include 'old and beautiful'. 2. We read so often about frail old people yet resilient, engaged, vital and outraged ones surround us. If they're not in your family seek them out as your friends, especially if you're young: it will help dispel the...
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Culture Tip: Searching for Sugar Man

Culture Tip: Searching for Sugar Man

Perhaps it’s because I am trying the sugar detox plan that I reached so readily for the DVD of Searching for Sugar Man this week. I am glad I did. It is a heart warming documentary following a quest by two fans to find out what really happened to their American musical recording hero of the late ‘60s, Rodriguez. Lauded at the time as writing lyrics to rival those of Dylan, Rodriguez performed only in North American dives and, despite the attention of celebrated producers, his records bombed and he disappeared into obscurity. That was in America. The story was very...
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What Lena Dunham's Girls Can Teach Us About Female Friendships

What Lena Dunham's Girls Can Teach Us About Female Friendships

In popular culture female friendships have often been portrayed either as giggly gossips or as catty and competitive, while girls (and women) themselves are on a quest for an ideal girlfriend - a soul mate who always understands them, with whom they share all intimate secrets and with whom they never argue. For giggly, think of the Sex and the City quartet doubled over in wicked laugher at the men they take to bed; for catty, think of Lady Edith doing her best to ruin Lady Mary’s chances for happiness in Downton Abbey, for the ideal, think of sweetness between...
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How to Access Your Creative Side

How to Access Your Creative Side

Creativity is one of the things that defines all human beings. It’s what got us out of the trees and it’s helped us change our world (for better or worse) ever since. So why is it often absent from, or pushed to the peripheries of, our lives? Mark Cass, founder of art shop chain Cass Art, has a plan to unleash the creative in all of us. “Everyone has an innate creativity, it’s what the right side of the brain is for,” Mark told us effusively. That belief has inspired him to open six London stores with the aim  of giving everyone the means, motivation and opportunity...
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Teach Yourself Empathy

Teach Yourself Empathy

Everybody’s suddenly talking about empathy, from the Dalai Lama to agony aunts, from business gurus to happiness experts. And it’s not surprising, since in the last decade neuroscientists have discovered that 98 per cent of us have empathy wired into our brains. The old story that we are basically selfish, self-interested creatures has been debunked. Our selfish inner drives exist side by side with our empathic other half. We are homo empathicus. The problem is that most of us haven’t yet learned how to switch on our neural circuitry and fulfil our empathic potential....
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The Restful Mind

The Restful Mind

“It is with our mind that we create our world.” That’s the philosophy that underpins The Restful Mind, a new book by His Eminence Gyalwa Dokhampa that aims to show readers how to “open it up and let the world in.”  Dokhampa has earned an international reputation for making the life-changing parts of Buddhist thought approachable and easy to understand. In the introduction to this book he makes the case that there are so many things in the world that we can’t control and they are usually the things that get us down, why not forget about them and focus on the things we...
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Let’s Do Lunch – in a Graveyard

Let’s Do Lunch – in a Graveyard

When I tell people that, for four years, I have spent most of my spare time in graveyards, they always look a little alarmed. They shouldn’t. In the process of writing and researching my book Finding the Plot: 100 Graves to Visit Before You Die, I have visited scores of graveyards: grand and tiny, Victorian and modern, manicured and tumbledown.  Not depressing, nor weird, they are fascinating places with so many things to notice: those names (like Myrtle, Ethel etc) you’d forgotten existed, intriguing epitaphs, and some amazing monuments which, in places such as Highgate in...
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Culture Tip: The Circle

Culture Tip: The Circle

I was racing through Dave Eggers' The Circle over Christmas and enjoying it so much, I just had to tweet something about it. But what? "Am loving the way this book makes social media sound like a totalitarian state #1984"  Or "Mister Cool Dave Eggers is acting like a technophobic dinosaur" Or simply "Step away from the screens!"? To explain. This novel is about a young woman, Mae Holland,  who gets a job at a Google-(or is it Facebook?)like company and gets drawn further and further into a technological takeover of her life. What starts out as social...
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CULTURE TIP: Christmas Films

CULTURE TIP: Christmas Films

Christmas movies are the Stilton of the seasonal cheeseboard. They’re big and smelly but it wouldn’t be Christmas without a slice of their sentiment. Our familiarity with them  builds a wonderful sense of continuity. Like  Christmas itself, you know what to expect. And if the Christmas that lies ahead may not be all that you hoped,  or you are feeling low or lost or wishing you were anywhere else, they are a wonderful distraction.  Here are Welldoing.org’s top five mincemeat-flavoured cinema treats   It’s a Wonderful Life: the incomparable James...
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