When to push, when to surrender: the concept of right effort

I haven’t had a night out in 166 days… It’s given me a lot of thinking time! Next week marks the one year anniversary of our return to the UK and the life lesson I’m reflecting on (yup, kicking and screaming again) is the concept of ‘right effort’.

There is much to be grateful for – baby Teddy’s safe arrival and blossoming (the reason for my evening house arrest), Charlotte’s happy adjustment to the UK and school life, beautiful new buddies, and precious time with Dave’s family… and yet there is also some serious unfinished business. It’s not for lack of trying and that’s where the lessons have come hard and fast.

There has been a lot of trying, a lot of what I call ‘efforting’. What I’m learning is that sometimes, regardless of great intent, preparation and diligence, the things we really need don’t come off when we want them to. It’s just life. The art is in learning when to push and when to surrender… (more…)

7 ways to cultivate the healing power of FORGIVENESS:

Of the 12 happiness-boosting strategies I introduced in “Self-Care Part 1”, practising forgiveness can be the most difficult – but also the most life changing. Please remember that in choosing which strategies to work with, you need to consider appropriateness, life circumstances, timing and your personality.

Given the moral and ethical issues involved, deciding when to use the strategy of forgiveness is a very personal choice. There may indeed be some events that are in fact unforgiveable. Only choose to work with the strategy of forgiveness if it resonates for you.

Central to the notion of practising forgiveness as a method for boosting happiness is an understanding that we practise forgiveness not for the benefit of our transgressors but to free ourselves.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at defining it, understanding its value and identifying some strategies to develop your capacity to forgive if you feel it is appropriate. (more…)

Double your joy by learning to SAVOUR

Last weekend I had the great privilege of attending a friend’s wedding which turned out to be one of the happiest, most jubilant celebrations I can ever remember. Just reflecting on it now instantly buoys my mood.

It’s got me thinking what was it that made this particular wedding so joyful? While there are a number of different underlying reasons, the one that leaps out at me most was the quality of “savouring” evident in the whole day, from the beautiful religious ceremony to the stunning reception at Luna Park on Sydney Harbour. (more…)

The Silver Lining to Suffering: Post-Traumatic GROWTH

A handful of dear friends of mine have recently experienced some extraordinarily challenging and painful life events which has prompted me to write this article. While most people will be familiar with the condition post-traumatic stress disorder far less well known is the concept of post-traumatic growth.

When I was facing the crisis of my father’s terminal illness coupled with the birth of my first child I turned to positive psychology – the study of all the things that make life worth living. In the growing field of positive psychology I found some tremendously valuable solutions and discovered the concept of post-traumatic growth.

Just reading about it at the time was a tonic to me and now 2 years later I can really see the blossoming that has occurred as a result – the silver lining so to speak. I hope this article may provide some help in the same way, perhaps in time to come. (more…)