Read our posts about soul

Learning to Grieve

Learning to Grieve

No-one wants to grieve. I remember a moment at the hospital with my husband, who had collapsed that morning with what turned out to be a brain haemorrhage. Things were going from bad to worse, and then worse again; it was becoming clear that he might not survive. My mind rebelled, in advance, against what I knew I might have to go through – the shock, the sadness, the painful work of rebuilding my life. It felt completely daunting and I simply did not want it to start. Grieving is about coming to terms with loss and change, and we humans are creatures of habit. We...
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Intuition: Unlock the Power

Intuition: Unlock the Power

Philosophers and scientists have endeavored to understand intuition for thousands of years, and many of the great spiritual leaders have talked about intuition. Psychotherapist Carl Jung classified our experience into thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition, and he described intuition as being like a ‘compass’ in life. Intuition also involves the input of nerve networks around the heart and gut. Modern psychology and neuroscience has identified that the non-dominant part of the brain (your right brain if you are right handed) is the site of visual,...
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Culture Tip: All in the Mind

Culture Tip: All in the Mind

I had to stop the car when I was driving home from the Tavistock clinic recently. There was nothing wrong with me, or the car, I just needed to focus on what was happening on the radio. A young woman, Sally, suffering from long-term depression and what she described as a ‘constant state of disassociation’ was telling presenter Claudia Hammond why she was nominating her friend, George, in the individual category for the BBC All in the Mind 25th Anniversary Awards. She read out part of the email she had sent to the programme in support of her nomination. Anyone who...
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How to Stop Feeling Stuck

How to Stop Feeling Stuck

As a psychotherapist, I meet people all the time who are feeling stuck. Motivation and interest elude them and they’re unhappy. I wanted to help people get back on their feet, not just to survive, but to thrive. Life gives us an opportunity to become the person we’re meant to be by fulfilling our unique purpose. But many people feel out of touch with their purpose. Instead of moving forward with energy and joy, it’s as though they’re caught in an eddy. Even if they knew how to get moving again, they wouldn’t know which direction to go. Somewhere along the...
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Culture Tip: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

Culture Tip: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

This week's Culture Tip is the first, and may possibly be the last, to incite in me an urgent need to increase dental flossing. Joshua Ferris’s new novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour follows anti-hero, Paul O’Rourke, who is a Red Sox fan, an avowed atheist and an acclaimed New York dentist with a thriving practice. He is a man who cares deeply about oral hygiene and his pain at his patients’ dental deterioration is palpable. He is impotent in the face of a prolific alter ego who, it seems, might just be a kinder, nicer and far from agnostic him. Paul...
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Why I Left My Enchanted Cage

Why I Left My Enchanted Cage

I am standing on a bench in the Green Dragon and waving a black handbag. You have to guess what three designer items I am wearing, I say. Everyone laughs as they look at my wintry gear: yak jumper, cashmere jumper, alpaca coat, zigzaggy pony skin belt. We’re at a Green Drinks night in a free house in a small market town called Bungay in Suffolk. It’s a monthly event in which my local Transition Initiative, Sustainable Bungay, discusses environmental issues within a frame of social change. Tonight I’m the ‘expert conversationalist’ and the topic is Give and Take...
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How to Surrender to Uncertainty

How to Surrender to Uncertainty

Surrender is a positive, healthy state. Being a surrendered person does not mean one is beaten down and so hopeless he or she has "given up." It's quite the contrary. Surrender is a state of living in the flow, trusting what is, and being open to serendipity and surprises. As I write in The Ecstasy of Surrender, adopting the behaviors and habits of surrendered people helps us improve our relationships, feel love and gratitude, get healthier, give up destructive people and behavior patterns, and become more successful and influential in our lives and careers. And...
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Middle-Aged Women: Ignored or Liberated?

Middle-Aged Women: Ignored or Liberated?

I do not know any woman who has not felt discomfort negotiating the shift from young to not young.  Such difficulty does not stem from superficial vanity; it registers the changed social meanings women encounter as they become middle-aged. The brilliant writer and critic Carolyne Heilbrun was the first to point out that women, once they entered midlife, were considered story less.  Past the age in which they might drive the plot of a standard romantic narrative, they disappeared with a few words into settled, fixed characters, to whom nothing interesting would...
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Why Envy is Toxic

Why Envy is Toxic

A very wise friend who was also a psychotherapist had just listened to my litany of complaints about a female colleague.  I was bothered by how little interest she took in things I had done, how little acknowledgement of my  work, and most of all by her constant put downs and snide remarks  about activities I was involved with. ‘Envy’ said my friend.  ‘Classic envious behaviour.  She doesn’t want you to have anything and what you have got she wants to spoil .’ It was obvious that  the two of us might be competitive.   We were in the same area of work, both trying to...
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Help Beat Depression by Reading Poetry

Help Beat Depression by Reading Poetry

We are sent what we need. So it proved recently when I finished an eight-week mindfulness course with the inspirational Anna Black, teacher and author of Living in the Moment with Mindfulness Meditations. I suspected she believed in the healing power of words as she had introduced several poems on our course. As I was leaving her class one rainy Tuesday evening recently, I told her that I shared her enthusiasm for poetry.  It transpired that she had written a dissertation looking at the therapeutic role of poetry in the teaching of mindfulness as part of her Masters...
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