Dearest Fellow Explorer,
How are you? I hope as you read these words you can connect to that quiet, still, unconditionally loving space inside of yourself, wherever you are.
As it is the season of giving, I thought I would share with you an interview I have recently had published in Ecohustler magazine. The subject of the interview is the art and science of kindness. It is with one of my heroes, a Consultant Psychotherapist at the Tavistock, Graham Music, who has done some groundbreaking work in the field of mental health and child development. Here is a link to the interview.
I hope it gives you some inspiration.
If anything, doing this interview made me wonder why the spirit of giving needs to be limited to one highly commercialized week in the year. Is that the total extent of our capacity for giving, 7 days in every 365?
The interview also made me wonder whether, in societies where our basic material needs have by and large been satisfied, where a gift can be purchased at the click of a button, whether there might be other forms of giving that are actually more valuable for the receiver. Take a moment to think about the people you feel moved to give to in 2015. What kind of an offering can you make to them that would actually benefit their emotional, psychological, or spiritual self? Below is a list of 5 gifts for the soul that can be fun to experiment with:
- Giving someone your full attention for one hour: I imagine this is one of the more difficult gifts to give these days, given the level of distraction constantly surrounding us. But just see if you could gift someone one hour of your full attention, totally free of any expectation or agenda. Pure attention or pure listening is a practice that is not only an amazing gift for the person you are attending to. It is also an amazing practice for yourself. It is one of the best methods to quieten down your ego.
- Teaching a skill to someone who needs it: no matter what your journey in life, you already have a skill or some knowledge that someone else could benefit from. Maybe you are good at cooking a particular dish, at doing a specific yoga move, at fixing computers, being a good friend, or writing poetry. Whatever it is, think of someone in your life who could really benefit from this skill and offer it to them, no strings attached. On this note, I am offering 3 free life-coaching sessions (worth £180) to the first person to send me an email with the subject line ‘Life-Coaching please’.
- Giving someone a genuine compliment: giving compliments is an art-form. The true artist tunes into another person so deeply that they can appreciate the subtleties of their personality. It is kind of easy to say ‘I love your shoes’. It is more tricky to say something intimate about another person’s finest qualities. A great coaching tool that you can use to stimulate your Compliment Artist’s mindset is called ‘The Gifts I See In You.” You can use this simple statement to get thinking about the gifts you see in another person. Then you can help to strengthen these gifts in that person by describing these gifts with detail, insight, and love.
- Give someone an inspirational postcard: it is so easy these days to create your own cards. Most computers have an app you can do some basic image manipulation with, and if you can find an image and a quote on the internet that you think someone else would appreciate, it will be very cheap for you to print it off and give it to them, perhaps with a nice personal note on the card. Here is a card I have been giving to people I think would appreciate it
- Be Yourself, Love Yourself: this may seem counter-intuitive, but as far as you can accept every part of yourself, loving yourself unconditionally, so do you simultaneously give permission to others to do the same. This is a really key point in the art of giving: time spent working on yourself, embracing yourself warts and all, unpicking the years of conditioning that had you believe that only certain parts of you were loveable, this work is truly one of the greatest gifts you can give to others.
Intensive Weekend with Ray Menezes
January 3rd-January 4th 2015 - London, N1
We are hosting an intensive weekend retreat with the legendary Zen teacher Ray Menezes, in the first weekend of January. Thisis going to be an outstanding way to kickstart your 2015. Ray has had anumber of experiences where he has stared death in the face, and each time he has found he has dropped loads of the conditioning and belief structures that he had inherited and which were causing him to suffer. Several years ago, he had an experience in India where all his beliefs just dissolved. He is a very challenging teacher, because he is so very direct with the truth. So prepare to be challenged! There is more info here.
That is all for now. Wishing you peace, love, and wisdom, and here's to moving into 2015 with a commitment to finding more quiet spaces so we can, individually and collectively, see the truth directly and free ourselves and our Fellow Explorers from suffering.