…a life in libraries

18.— From the age of 8 to 12 a mobile library stops outside your house. You remember the smell of dust and rubber and paper, and the ridges of wood that edge the shelves to stop the books from sliding out. You borrow a book about boys marooned in the jungle who survive by buildingContinue reading “…a life in libraries”

…case studies

17.— In 1997 Janis Schonfeld, a Californian interior designer, volunteered for an antidepressant drug trial. She had suffered with clinical depression for many years and was desperate for a cure. She took the drug for eight weeks and felt significant improvement, although she did suffer with nausea, the side-effect of the drug. The EEG recordingsContinue reading “…case studies”

…the festival-goers

16.For many years your sister works as a nurse at Glastonbury Festival. She and her family camp in their yurt in the field reserved for medical staff, which is clean and spacious with an abundance of toilets and showers. In the hot years she treats sunstroke and dehydration. In the rainy years she treats hypothermiaContinue reading “…the festival-goers”

…things you’ve inherited

15.— Acceptance of people as they are. Your mother lives her life this way, her face young with the kindness she shows others. She runs a social club for the elderly, organising quizzes and lunches, speakers and performers. She is in her seventies herself, and can also be feisty. This is another trait you’ve inherited.Continue reading “…things you’ve inherited”

…break or be broken

14.Have you ever been in a relationship where the pressure builds incrementally until you want to tear it apart, just to see what remaining fragments are important to you? Have you ever picked a groundless fight, or maintained your rightness when you knew you were wrong, or pushed and pushed to see how far youContinue reading “…break or be broken”

…still life with Frida

13.Each morning you visit the cupboard to fetch the things you need for physiotherapy. If you’re away from home for more than a day or two you take them with you, but otherwise they stay tucked away, out of sight. Some of them you’d have to explain, some are perfectly normal things that you’d findContinue reading “…still life with Frida”

…sewing for self-isolation

11.You have been wearing the same clothes for most of your life, but now they lie torn and tattered across the floor, no longer recognisable as clothes at all. These were the clothes of a mother and a teacher, clothes to keep warm in a draughty cottage, clothes of a certain kind of friend, aContinue reading “…sewing for self-isolation”

…to be human

10.Anyone who is currently ill, afraid or anxious, whatever the reason, this is for youIf you’re experiencing loss, separation or loneliness, whatever the reason, this is for youAnyone who is angry, frustrated or bored, whatever the reason, this is for you Allow yourself to feel these things, allow yourself to be humanthen step away, observe,Continue reading “…to be human”

…insights on inner listening

9.‘The stress of attaching to the experiences of all our days since birth keeps the attention confused, entranced, bewildered.’ You read this in the small square book you brought home several weeks ago. The beauty and truth of this sentence prompts you to look up, to pause and sit for a while. You’ve always believedContinue reading “…insights on inner listening”