One morning, during my recent holiday in New York, my mum and I got on the ferry to take a Hop-On, Hop-Off tour of the Hudson River. Whilst I had felt fine beforehand, within a few minutes of being on the boat, I began to feel a bit nauseous. I have never particularly suffered from seasickness, but the weather was rough, the motion strong and I began to struggle with the feelings of sickness. I tried to breathe through it and focus on one thing, all of the usual strategies, but the feeling was intensifying and, by the time we
Your blankets have been hot-washed, tumbled and donated and your corner of the kitchen is clear and simply a kitchen corner again, suitable for the storage of dustpans and brushes, dinner trays and a box of emergency toys and crayons for the kids. You were my baby and I loved you and I could have sworn fifty times today that you had come trotting shyly into the lounge, seeking a warm lap or my abandoned grey shawl to hide in. Our quiet little opportunist. My heart will miss your sweetness and the contentment of your sunlit dreams. The
Only a few moments ago, I slumped on the floor by your bed like a child and pressed my thumb into the fleshy nook of your elbow and felt the last waxy warmth between your ribs and your arm, as though you were still able to hold me. And I thought then about wandering upon the wet cobblestones in Galway after dark, live music from gallery bars competing with the rushing of the sea and the stars falling one by one like shivering birds shot out of the sky. Sleep well now, my love, and thank you for
My grandma is in the very last stages of her life. It is hard to say, of course, but I can’t see that she will continue for more than a day or two. It could be hours. She is sedated now and unresponsive to touch. This is a blessing in some ways, because her breathing is accompanied by a rattle, and she sometimes appears to be trying to cough and struggling. It is disturbing to watch, but her facial muscles show no signs of agitation. The nurses have reassured us that she is relaxed and that the experience is worse
It seems I spend my life crouched in some cold kitchen with an upturned glass and a torn piece of card, trying to capture time as though it could still thrive, contained in an elegant dome of my choosing. Moments, shivering and rare, scuttle across the floor wishing not to be trapped nor admired by those who do not realise that these silver, suffocated things are ancient eagles soaring over empty mountains, wide wetlands that stretch in a shimmering curve all the way to the sky.
I went on a weekend meditation retreat a little while ago and, without doubt, the most frequent comment I received from colleagues on Monday was: “Oh, it must have been so relaxing!” Well, yes. And no. Yes, because I was away from the traffic and noise of London, away from work, away from the constant pinging of technology and away from anybody I knew, just for a couple of nights. The retreat took place in the countryside so, of course, being able to walk in nature and enjoy the stillness, the peace and the fresh air was relaxing. But
“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clouds, everything.” I love this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh. It helps me to realise that, whilst the physical form may be superficial and fleeting, it is still precious. A flower dies within days of blooming, but don’t we enjoy it, celebrate it, nurture it and revere it while it is alive? With the discovery of a newfound spiritual practice there can be a tendency, as I suggested earlier, to think that it is futile or even arrogant or shallow to take
Like many people, I have read and listened to Eckhart Tolle’s teachings for the past few years, finding them of great benefit to my own life. Yesterday, I listened to a recent radio interview with him on YouTube. He talked a lot about his early life and experiences, and his responses seemed more personal than before. I could hear that, while he says he is basically surrendered to the ‘isness’ of each moment, there are still difficulties for him–his sudden fame, busy schedule and lack of time and opportunity to hold one-to-one sessions with individuals. He also said that he