Category Archives: Meditative

On meditating & feeling connected

What goes on outside the frame

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The other day as I was walking on the Greenwich riverside, I saw a bunch of guys shooting a film. It was only a small group: two young men behind a lightweight camera and three actors in 1940s costume, maybe doing a student production. They didn’t have any gear aside from a few props, so most people walked past without even noticing.

I sat on a bench for a while, listening to the waves coming onto the beach below. I could barely hear the actors in the background. Between each take a handful of tourists went by; next to me a young couple was making phone reservations. Down below the tide was coming in, gently depositing bits of wood and the odd plastic bottle on the sand. Life went on as usual.

As a self-confessed addict to TV series, I’m the first one to get sucked into what goes on inside the frame, as if my life depended on it. I hate to think that the characters I’ve come to see as friends are actually actors who may have nothing at all to do with each other off screen. I don’t like that whole worlds are just a set – or worst, special effects. I’m still a bit upset from when I found out the entire pirates show Black Sails was shot on green screen (as if it wasn’t bad enough they’re not real pirates!).

So seeing this simple film being made – which to its viewers, will look like the life of real people in 1940s London – brought home the true meaning of that old expression “you need to reframe the problem”: that is, you need to look beyond what’s in the frame, because whatever you’re focusing on isn’t the whole picture. It may not even be real, and just like my actors working on the riverside, life goes on around it regardless.

In the TV show of my life at the moment – the one where I’m the writer, director and main character all rolled in one – the main plot this season is about financial security, and the ups and downs of being jobless.

In one sub-plot, my character is scared of what will happen when her ex-partner stops supporting her financially. It’s not the main story, but one you know is there somewhere in the background, waiting to reappear and create chaos. Will she be broke, will she need to move out, will she be homeless? In the latest episode, it finally happened: the support stopped without any warning. One day she gets a call from the estate agents saying that half the rent wasn’t paid. *Gasp*. The ex-partner isn’t answering anyone’s calls or emails: not the agents’, not hers.  It’s not explicitly said, but the viewer understands they will probably never speak to each other again.

In actual life, this is how the plot unfolded: precisely nothing happened. Nothing at all changed other than I stressed out for half a day, after which I decided a bit more debt or a bit less wouldn’t make a huge difference, and I went on to have lunch with a friend, who kindly invited me on her expenses account (bless her employer).

It was a good reminder that my own personal drama, probably like yours, only ever happens if I’m so sucked into my own story in the small “frame” in front of me that I forget there’s a whole life around it. If I reframe, I always know that nothing is that disastrous. More often than not, rigorously nothing is really at stake.

As my former boss used to say in rare instances of major disasters: “oh well, nobody died”. And anyway as we all know, even when someone does, life will go on regardless. The only show we really shouldn’t get addicted to is our own.

 

 

When you don’t know what to do, do nothing


What is required is actively doing nothing... 2
As mentioned previously, I recently quit my job of 7 years.

This had been a long time coming, since although I liked it there (at least most days), I’d become desperate for some time off, and it felt as though a long break was overdue.

As decisions go, it wasn’t very rational – reason would have dictated that I don’t quit my job without having a new one lined up. But since every cell in my body told me otherwise, I opted to check out and give myself time to basically unplug, stare at the wall a bit, then surround myself with nice things and nice people, and figure out what to do next.

If you’ve already made a decision on instinct rather than reason, you may be familiar with that feeling of floating – accompanied by a slight panic – that comes when you know you’ve made the right decision, but you still don’t know what to do next. Like you’re still expecting the rest of the guidelines.

Imagine following a trail of pebbles in the forest – you probably don’t see the end destination, and you may go through long periods of not finding the next pebble. At this point you’re better off slowing down until you find the next step.

This is rather what it feels right now.

To use another hackneyed metaphor: when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, it doesn’t just loses its tiny legs and grows a pair of wings. No, what happens is that every cell of the caterpillar dissolves inside the cocoon to form some sort of goo; which will in turn become a new being.

I currently feel in the goo phase. It’s a bit of a bummer, but rather than freaking out I’ve decided to make the most of it; if that’s how it works, then so be it.

Embracing nothingness is harder than you’d think – for me it means repeated efforts not to run around like a headless chicken, checking job listings all day (tempting), or binge-watching Netflix series (even more so).

It turns out for it to work, what is actually required is actively doing nothing – vacating yourself and your thoughts through whichever ways are available to you, meditating, walking, singing, whatever. That’s the only way you might hear answers from the tiny voice within.

For me what works is a long walk or dancing around my flat (though don’t tell anyone); baking or boxing or playing with your dog may do the trick for you. If you don’t know what does it for you, trying to figure it out will be time well spent.

At the moment though, I’m still looking for the next pebble.

I’ll keep you posted.

Good advice from wise people

IMG_0367_editOne nice thing about breaking up with your partner is that you instantly receive compassion and support from everyone around you, including some unsuspected places.

In the last few weeks I’ve relied heavily on my mum, my best mates, and supportive family members. But I’ve also received immense kindness from strangers, colleagues I don’t know that well, friends I hadn’t seen in years, and random articles from the Internet.

Breakup advice is pretty much the same everywhere: focus on yourself, take it one day at a time, don’t think of the past, don’t get obsessed, take up a new hobby. Most of it is common sense, really. But some of those powerful tips have really become helpful mantras.

“Breathe” said a friend who knows me well. In those first terrible days when I felt like the floor had disappeared under my feet and I just wanted to cry non-stop, that advice was salutary. Because it’s a fact that if you focus really hard on the feeling of your breath going in and out of your nostrils, your belly inflating and deflating, all sense of worry disappears. At least for a few minutes.

“Put your own mask first”, advised one Internet blogger, in reference of what you’re supposed to do on a plane the unlikely event of loss of cabin pressure. If ever there’s a time to focus on yourself and be a little selfish, until you feel like a “normal” human being again, it is now.

“Don’t shrink”, said another wise friend, and I found this a powerful reminder. Because it’s true that in any situation, we always have a choice between shrinking with fear, regret and self-loathing; or expanding and relaxing to fill our lives with love – even (and especially) in the places that hurt. So if shrinking leads to self-pity, fear and more hurt, I’m happy to do anything to actively avoid that.

A word of hope came from the interim guy at work, who I’d barely spoken to since he joined, even though he sat next to me. He was the first person I saw on the morning after the breakup, and I opened my heart to him like you only can to stranger. It turns out a few years back he’d been through a horrendous breakup himself. “Focus on yourself”, he said. And also: “Other doors will open”.

Last week I went for coffee in a place that sold pretty gifts and home furnishings. I spotted some light-hearted little fabric signs.

“Be Brave”, said the first one. “Be Bold”, said the second. “Be Kind”, said the third.

I couldn’t have decided on just one to buy, although if they made it into bunting with all three, I would certainly have bought one.

A cute birthday tale

IMG_0107 LROkay, let me tell you a cute story:

One of my Mum’s best mates turned 60 recently.

Like most people who turn 60 (or me when I turned 30), she didn’t like the idea one bit. She refused to have a big party, and her husband had booked a table for two at their local restaurant.

When the actual day arrived, she felt pretty gloomy. (Which reminds me of the day my Mum turned 60 – although she’s usually the most upbeat person I know, she was pretty low. She half-joked she would go down to the market to “see if they sell some magic powder to make you look and feel younger”. I still laugh to imagine what powders she might have been offered…)

Anyway.

As every woman knows, just because you say “I don’t want any presents” doesn’t mean you actually meant it. For all the wanting not to make a fuss, my Mum’s friend felt a bit deflated and lonely. Especially as her husband had some business to attend that day, and my Mum had things to sort out in town, so no one was around for company; her only plan was to lunch with her elderly mother.

The dreaded day was turning out to be just another day.

I’m not sure if she felt a bit wronged by the entire universe, but she sure felt wronged by her husband. Self-pity can make the best of us a little bitchy sometimes, so she phoned my Mum to complain about him – had he cared a little more, he’d have arranged to make her day more special that going to the stupid local for dinner!

Meanwhile, said husband spent his day “away” smuggling food and drinks into my parents’ kitchen down the road, in order to cook a big party meal unnoticed.

He planned the whole stealth operation so well that she didn’t suspect any of it.

So when the evening came and she was ready for dinner at the local (coat, scarf, had and gloves, checking her watch as they were going to be late), she grew increasingly annoyed that he wasn’t ready yet. What too him so bloody long? “What shirt shall I wear? Does it go with this tie?” he asked, as if he usually even noticed.

Of course she didn’t know he was just playing for time, because the guests had been delayed.

It wasn’t until they were finally ready to lock the front door – by now in full grumpy mode – that she heard someone call out greetings from the garden.

She turned round to see familiar faces, a handful of loved ones inexplicably smiling to her, bearing bottles of wine and dishes in casseroles… including her children who looked like they had just dropped by for dinner, even though they live hours away.

 

 

Cheering on the success of others

P1060554 low resTwo weeks ago I went to the London Marathon.

When I say “went” – it runs past the end of our street and I’d forgotten about it like every year, until I was reminded by helicopters hovering over the house while I was having breakfast. So I finished my muesli in haste and went out with bed-hair and no make-up to see what was going on.

Outside was a glorious sunny Sunday, and streams of visitors in team t-shirts poured down from the train station onto Deptford High Street, all fresh and chirpy, ready to cheer on their friends and family with all sorts of banners and balloons. I felt seriously under-dressed.

Walking along the road with the merry crowd, excitement was building up in the air, the type of joyous anticipation you find in stadiums and concerts, or at carnivals or fireworks.

As I joined a group of onlookers to watch hundreds marathonians run past at what seemed to me the speed of light (and I’m not even talking about the pros, who were probably half-way to Central London by the time I left the house) I had a nice surprise.

Among the mixed crowd of sports enthusiasts, families, and locals like me who just stood staring, slightly incredulous, I spotted a group of older children leaning on the barriers waving arms, clapping and shouting encouragement: “C’mon guys! … you can do it!”…you’re doing great!!”. Many adults were also having a fantastic time, some watching in wonder with a big grin; others shouting and whistling almost as loud as the kids.

The beauty of it was that none of those people were cheering on anyone they knew – God knows if they even got to see the people they painted banners for, since over 30,000 people were running. Rather they were encouraging the entire sweaty colourful lycra flow and rejoicing for every single person in the race, from the pros that came first, to the fit amateurs that came later, down to the breathless and out-of-shape that came last.

A cynic would say that it’s a bit pathetic to run a marathon if you aren’t fit and seem in danger of collapsing less than 3 miles into it. But of course anyone who has run a marathon, or accomplished any sort of noteworthy achievement, will remember that they all started from zero, sometimes looking a bit pathetic themselves.

So what the non-cynics were cheering on wasn’t the performance as much as the effort, the collective endeavour – with respect and admiration for the great, and perhaps respect and compassion for the not-so-great (who in truth deserve our admiration too, for having the sheer balls of running in the first place; I wouldn’t!).

I felt overwhelmed by a warm fuzzy feeling, and comforted by the happy fact that given half a chance, we humans will wholeheartedly rejoice for the success of others… even though we often feel compelled to jealousy or sneering, or putting them down if it makes us look better.

So as I looked at the cheering kids thinking that they will be the colleagues, bosses, partners, parents and citizens of tomorrow, I hoped they’ll remember how good it feels to cheer on the success of others.

Not least because by putting our petty grievances to the side and encouraging the success of those around us, we are really cheering on ourselves – both as individuals and a species. By encouraging our fellow human beings to be all that they can be, we push the limits of what is possible for us to do (to infinity, and beyond!). We also give ourselves a chance to become a positive and supportive person.

And since positive supportive people are everyone’s favourite people, we’re all the more likely to get all the encouragement back.

See, how we’re all linked to each other- you, me, and everybody else?

I eventually left the crowd and went to buy a coffee with a spring in my step, all warmed up by the April sun and the knowledge that what goes around comes around.

And it’s all for the best.  

Happy Easter!

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It’s my favourite time of the year in London: chocolate bunnies have been creeping up in shops for weeks (following from Valentine’s Day chocolate hearts, and soon to be replaced by Pimm’s and disposable barbecues), and the sudden influx of tourists from the Continent gives us a taste summer to come.

Spring is in full swing, days are getting longer, skirts are getting shorter, and the Londoners who aren’t flying out for the long weekend are in a great mood as they look forward to four lazy days of parties and (weather permitting) picnics.

I’m not a religious person and I don’t have children, so I have no particular reason to rejoice at Easter for either the resurrection of the Lord or the prospects of egg hunts. And sadly I will miss my eldest nephew’s first epic hunt, seeing that he’s 3 and I’m not sure last year he really knew what was going on.

But just  because I won’t be with my family doesn’t mean I won’t be thinking of them – in fact I probably will be, as I walk around Greenwich Park admiring the trees in bloom and, much to my boyfriend’s annoyment, cooing at the new “baby leaves”. 

As I see children looking for hidden eggs I will probably be thinking of the children I know, and by extension of the children of Europe and beyond, who will collectively at the same point in time be engaged in so many egg hunts with their respective families.

Because I like to daydream, this might lead me to think of the children of generations past, who might have celebrated in a similar fashion, back in the day when eggs were real eggs, and would have been hard-boiled or hollowed and decorated by hand… a tradition which I had no doubt endures in some parts, but not here where eggs are most commonly Cadbury’s.

This will probably take me back to the egg hunts of my own childhood, and the one time I decorated eggs at school, with limited success. And also back to our old Sunday school, when a poor lady of saintly patience tried to explain Easter to a group of kids set on making her life miserable (“Miss, if we have to forgive, how come God sends people to Hell?”), and the story of Jesus being crucified on the day of Jewish Easter (“Pâque Juive”) which is the French word for Passover.

As I contemplate over two millennia of history starting in Jerusalem and fast-forward to the millions (billions? trillions?) of families celebrating so many Easter and Passover holidays following traditions that have endured centuries all the way to today’s Cadbury’s eggs, and the cherry trees in pink blossom that remind me that Easter is also a feast of renewal and spring, I might begin to feel a little dizzy. 

Well it’ll either be that or the Pimm’s…

Cheers, and wherever you are, have a great weekend!

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Turner & the Sea (How to become great)

Turner & the sea RNM poster

I recently went to the excellent Turner & the Sea exhibition at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (down the road from our house), an exhibition of paintings by JMW Turner of – you guessed – the sea.

I am not much of a painting specialist, but this exhibition was hugely inspiring on many levels, which is why I wanted to share it with you:

First of all, the art was stunningly beautiful, and anyone could see why Turner is considered one of the greatest British painters. From his early works which were vividly descriptive scenes of sea wreckage (and must have been quite the sensation at the time – imagine nowadays someone painting scenes from a plane crash) to the poetic impressionist seascapes of his late career, it was a breathtaking display of imagination, beauty, and extraordinary skill and precision which never ceases to amaze me in old figurative paintings… another reminder that in spite of technological progress, we haven’t got much in terms of intellect or skills on the guys who lived centuries before us.

But the show was also interesting in other respects. It displayed Turner’s works along with paintings that might have inspired him: masters of previous centuries as well as contemporary competitors – younger painters that copied his style and became famous by emulating, and ultimately improving on it.

So it was a brilliant way of understanding how inspiration happens, and also what makes a good artist. As we learnt about Turner’s personal and professional circumstances, we were reminded that genius doesn’t happen in isolation, and that it is in fact shaped not only by the artists’ personal vision but also material contingencies such as fashions and market demand. We were also reminded that success, in art as in anything, requires not only talent but hard graft and a good dose of business acumen.

I discovered that Turner wasn’t born by the seaside as I might have assumed, and his ancestors weren’t fishermen. His father had been a barber and wig-maker in Covent Garden, and much of Turner’s trade had been learnt on the banks of the river Thames.

Because his family wasn’t well off, young Turner had needed to make money quickly, and so as his marine paintings proved popular at the time, he pretty much created for himself what marketers today would refer as a “niche” from which to make a good living.

And pretty good he was at marketing too, and PR – creating fame for himself by exhibiting in London’s biggest show at the Royal Academy, and later on in his own purpose-built showcase gallery.

Like all great successes though, he didn’t do it alone – he enjoyed great support from his father, who was his biggest fan from an early age, and went on to be his studio assistant for 30 years (an arguably bizarre father-son relationship, but support nevertheless).

In the end, the part of the exhibition that fascinated me most was an extensive display of Turner’s sketches and studies – notebooks upon notebooks and small format of drafts and ideas for larger paintings.

Here you took the measure of the artist’s capacity for work, but also his obsession with his craft. It shows us a man who was fascinated with the sea and must have spent hours by the coast or on sea journeys obsessively watching and tirelessly sketching, capturing his ideas again and again and again until they became perfect.

But there was also sheer genius, in the precious moments where art worked its magic and left you enchanted and speechless. As I stood contemplating small sketches of three or four brush strokes on plain paper, for a few seconds I actually saw a violent tempest, or a peaceful sunrise. Or did I? I rubbed my eyes and saw only a few brush strokes on letter paper again.

At that point, I truly appreciated how an artist’s life and and experience results in that amazing ability to create such pure emotion with such few brushstrokes, so that the viewer is not longer looking at a fixed scene on a canvas, but at an actual live scene from the past through someone else’s eyes.

So, much as I was impressed by the paintings, I was truly in awe of the man behind them. Because what we come to see as works of arts represent a lifetime of hard work and sweat, clever business planning,  and the sheer love of your craft that will keep your going even when things aren’t going your way.

As I wiped the ocean spray off my glasses and returned home, this is what remained with me: enormous inspiration resulting from having met a great artist, a visionary and a great mind – as refreshing as a day at the seaside. There are worst ways to spend an afternoon.

If you happen to be in London, the show is still on until 21st April at the National Maritime Museum.

You’re lucky!

P1040475 low resA month ago, I had the pleasure of being a witness at my friend’s civil wedding ceremony at her local town hall; after which, the bride and groom and their two children invited us (me, the other witness and a third friend) to lunch at their local pub.

The place was cosy as they come – wooden floors, comfy sofas and fireplaces, mouth-watering smells floating from the kitchen and the livery chatter of people having a good time. The sort of place where children are welcome to run around and hide under the tables as they please, and adults may conceivably spend an entire Sunday drifting lazily from coffee to lunch to afternoon pints, while reading the papers all along.

Like you do with good friends you don’t see very often, we made the most of the event and the celebration, although simple, felt truly special. We had a wonderful time relaxing, laughing and enjoying a gorgeous meal. It was in all respects a perfect day.

At the end of the afternoon, as we put our coats back on and prepared to leave – a little tired, nicely full and red-cheeked from the celebratory food and wine – I felt as though I was walking on clouds and the entire world was just made of pure love.

On the way to the exit, I noticed my friend’s baby looking attentively at a small, friendly-looking collie dog. I reached down to pat the dog’s head and heard a loud voice above my head: “You’re lucky, you know”. I looked up to see who had spoken and saw the dog’s master, an elderly, probably homeless gentleman, grinning a toothless smile.

I was surprised at the incongruity of the comment (and if I’m honest, at finding a homeless man in a nice pub), but he didn’t seem to notice. He repeated a second time: “You’re really lucky, you know. She doesn’t like everybody.”

I looked back down at the dog which by now was wagging its tail frantically at both the baby and me. I replied something about the dog being cute, but the man kept repeating the same thing several times over “You’re lucky, you know”, in a way that made me wonder if he perhaps wasn’t entirely there himself.  “You’re lucky you know!” he said one last time as I was turning away to leave, “You have a very lucky life.”

It wasn’t until we came out onto the street that it stroke me how right the man had been. The truth is, I am lucky – to be able to spend days like this with great friends and their healthy children, to eat delicious meals in fancy pubs, to live a comfortable life in a vibrant city, to be making friends with cute dogs… while it’s cold outside, and some people have no homes to go to. 

The whole scene had felt slightly surreal, like something out of a Hollywood film, where God would be speaking to me directly through a kindly homeless person, to remind me of the things that truly matter in life.

I returned home feeling half-shaken, half-amused. Later that day I recounted the story to my boyfriend, who joked that the only way to have known for sure if the man was indeed a divine messenger would have been to go back inside, and check whether he had vanished… 

Of course I never thought of that at the time, so I shall never know. But in a way it doesn’t matter, as magic or not, this was a powerful message. I am lucky, in fact much more so than I realise.

And I am not the only one, you may be lucky too. 

If you are ever reminded of it by a toothless man with a dog in strange circumstances, please get in touch… 

My Dad and the pear tree

Libourne 041_2005 cropLet me tell you a cute story:

When my parents bought what became our family home over 30 years ago, my Dad planted a pear tree in front of the house. Neither he nor my Mum being great gardeners, many plants have withered in their care since – but not the pear tree, which still grows strong outside their living room.

Every season over the years, the tree bore a great many fruit which for some reason were always juiceless, hard and bitter. Still my Dad cherished it and, out of some sense of pride, or perhaps loyalty towards the tree, we kept tasting the pears every year in the hope that they might finally turn out nice.

Last summer a neighbour came for dinner, and as we were enjoying dessert, the conversation turned towards the mysteriously bitter pears. The neighbour, who happens to be a farmer, had a good laugh and said no wonder the pears never tasted very good: they’re not an edible variety. In the old days, they would have been fed to the pigs, hence their common name of “pig pears”.

My father was a little offended, never having heard such a thing; but the simplest explanation often being the likeliest, we had to admit this sounded about right – for the past 30 years we had been placing impossible hopes on those pears to be something they weren’t.

Oh well.

Last Christmas I was staying with my parents again, and my Dad talked to me at length about his nearing retirement. Many of his friends have retired already, and much as he looks forward to slowing down (“you don’t have the same energy for work at 60 as you had at 30”), he sounded a little apprehensive about the passing of time.

“By the way”, he said as we were driving through the garden, “I almost took down the pear tree.”

“The one with the pig pears?”

“Yes, that. It’s never produced an edible pear, and it doesn’t look great anyway, so I thought we might use the space for something new.”

“So the other day”, he said, “I took a shovel and started digging the roots out. But then I thought about it – what has that tree ever done to me? I watered it for 30 years and now I take it down because it’s not productive enough?”

“It made no sense” he said, “so I planted it back in.”

And so I bet the tree will still be there in a few years time, when my parents sell the house to move to a smaller home for their retirement.

 

February: No Imaginary Conversations

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I tend to live in my head a lot (you don’t say!) so in February I picked a challenge that I felt would make a big difference in terms of stress and general wellbeing/sanity: limiting imaginary conversations.

If that sounds crazy, let me clarify that I don’t hear voices or anything – I just daydream lots.

In fact, I go by entire hours paying only remote attention to what is going on around me, because I’m too busy fantasizing about things that have happened, may happen, or I wish would happen, and as I’m not a visual-type person, I get a lot of internal dialogue.

While some are pleasantly entertaining, others are downright toxic.

Remembering a good moment or planning future holidays probably doesn’t do much harm, but unproductive conversations typically include:

  • decision making: arguing my case endlessly about a real life decision
  • doubt: going over past or future situations wondering if I could have done it better
  • venting anger: usually things I would never dare say in real life to whoever annoys me
  • justification: if I feel guilty about something that happened; entirely pointless and usually unnecessary
  • worst case scenarios: need I explain? I bet you get them too

The Buddhist tradition calls our endless train of thought the “monkey mind” – it goes from one thing  to the next without concentrating on anything, being at best distracting, at worst unproductive and frustrating. I tend to think of it as a washing machine, because whatever the idea, it never comes just once – it just goes round and round, over and over again.

The plan:

The rules for February were simple: if I caught myself having an imaginary conversation of any sort, I was to snap out of it immediately and focus on the present moment.
This was never going to be an easy one…

What actually happened:

I mentioned this challenge to my colleague William, who is also bit of a dreamer, and I loved his candid response:

“Why would you ever want to do that? it’d be 90% of my life gone!”

Indeed.

While refocusing on the present wasn’t actually hard in itself (in fact, it was surprisingly easy) I found that the present wasn’t necessarily always as appealing as it sounds. There is nothing glamorous about being stuck in a public transport, or in line at the post, or in a dreary conversation.

What I’ve learnt:

I’ve learnt several things

  1. It is tremendously helpful to be able to stop toxic worrying, panic attacks and guilt trips when you spot them. Not only does it dissolve the nasty thought literally into thin air, but also it helps you realise HOW MUCH unnecessary anger/ guilt/ worry you have in a day – and how much time you could save by avoiding them altogether.
  2. On the other hand, I would agree with my colleague that daydreaming actually DOES improve your life. As any dreamer knows, thinking about something is pretty much tricking your brain into feeling you’re actually there – so between packed public transport and Benedict Cumberbatch…
  3. Lastly, this is something I keep finding over and over again:We all have, as we say in French, “the flaws of our virtues” – what makes us great most of the time is also what makes us not so great in other respects (the way self confident people might sometimes be too proud, or caring people too overbearing). And so I strongly suspect that the time I spend in my head, while allowing for needless worry/ doubt, is also where I get all my creative ideas; in fact, some of my happiest moments when I actually ENJOY life to the full are moment spent thinking and daydreaming. Eventually, like it or not, I might have to accept that I need to spend a lot time up there, even if it makes me a little neurotic. 

    Perhaps it’s just about training my monkey to behave.

Top tip for those who might give it a go:

Go for it – you may not be able to stop over thinking, but you’re guaranteed to learn a lot about yourself. Good luck & let me know how you get on!