Seasickness & tortilla chips

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Seasickness & tortilla chips

Seasickness & tortilla chips

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

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A note for you

A note for you

Your absence  brought me silence. Silence brought me  presence.   This is the simplest way  I can think of  to say  Thank You.

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Why are we scared of making progress?

I’m about to go to bed after a good but tiring first day back at school with the children, but I wanted to post briefly about something that’s been on my mind…  It has struck me recently that sometimes I actually hamper my own progress because I am frightened.  I am talking about spiritual progress, or essentially about coping with a particular difficult life circumstance.  I think that many of us do this.  In the particular, personal situation I am thinking of (moving on from a complicated relationship) I feel sometimes that I am actually doing a lot better than

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Christmas presence

I just wanted to wish every single one of you a very happy Christmas.  As you know, this is a tough one for us, but we are doing our best to enjoy the season and bask in the warmth of family and friends.   Thank you so much for reading and commenting on Minimal Belle, and I look forward to hearing much more from you in the New Year! And remember, while we enjoy the gifts under the Christmas tree, the most precious gift you can give another person is your presence.  I hope you have a wonderful Christmas.  ♡

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A poem for us, about you

​Our wild sea is white in your absence though dogs leap and roll on the shingle, knowing nothing of our grief.   Of course, you are not really absent,  and the leaves, now withered and cracked, will grow again, emerald in the spring.   These songs we sing with tears in our throats will rise beyond this simple roof and be carried upon the clouds to your quiet, eternal heart. Lovers, daughters, friends and mothers shall never truly part.   Your kindness and grace, bestowed throughout the years, has given comfort and inspiration to us all.  Of all the words you

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Thoughts on living and dying

It is easy to forget, in the rain and the routine, the aches and pains of each day, what a tremendous privilege it is to be alive.   Proximity to death brings a kind of urgency about life that one can quickly lose in the humdrum of work, commuting and making dinner.  Having just witnessed the passing of my beloved grandmother, I am feeling a range of emotions from sadness to gratitude to emptiness.  But, within the grief, there is also an overwhelming urge to live.  To stop worrying, stop complaining, stop being fearful, stop clinging onto things not meant

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Monday morning mindfulness

Monday morning mindfulness

Sometimes, whether because of a difficult week, an upsetting conversation or just a general, existential feeling of sadness and ‘flatness’, we need to narrow down what we are focusing on and giving our time to, just temporarily.   This is where going back to the basics and keeping it simple really helps.  It’s a cleansing experience, a necessary and often reassuring one. Today, focus on the everyday tasks or habits, in your work day or whilst at home, and try to carry them out with consciousness.   Whether you are rinsing out a mug, filing papers or drinking a cup

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The struggle after acknowledgement

The struggle after acknowledgement

When we’re talking about behaviours we want to change, habits that are no longer helpful to us, acknowledgement is the first step and, for some people, the hardest.  Noticing our behaviours, our emotions and our triggers is absolutely vital if we are to make positive changes. But I’ve realised, through my own experience, that acknowledgement doesn’t automatically equal change.  It seems to be a facet of human nature (or at least my own!) that we can absolutely know that something is unhelpful or even harmful, but we continue to do it anyway.  Sometimes that is necessary, for a while, until

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Don’t stay on the park bench for too long

Don’t stay on the park bench for too long

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

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I have wanted to be with you for so long

I have wanted to be with you for so long

I have wanted to be with you for so long. The dream of you diluting my days into perfunctory conversations and people and chores I could do without. But these autumn weeks have been strange. Changing my focus onto more pressing things, less wishing I were far away. The boy stood up today and recited his first poem. Someone I barely know hand-delivered a card with the sweetest words scrawled in blue. The sick girl fell asleep on my arm. And the woman I love above all else squeezed me tight and said Thank God you’re here, Thank God you’re

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