The art of expression

Last Friday, as part of my birth ”day”* celebrations, I was treated to a concert at the Royal Festival Hall. Set in the ‘brutalist’ exemplar of the Southbank Centre, the contrasting ‘gem’ of a music venue was the ideal setting to see a concert that carries much value…and the performer, “Sleeping at Last”, has come …

You’ve got to have faith

…and grace will follow; or so that is what I have been reflecting on in recent months. “Faith and Grace, Helen…I thought you were a Buddhist?” Yes, these are two words one might associate more commonly with the Christian, and indeed other theistic, traditions. And so why am I pondering on them this week? Well, …

Call to awaken

Awake early this morning; and so I start my day of writing in the (pitch) dark. There is a synergy in this situation with writing – awakening and the dark; being a buddha and a human being. With a history of insomnia, such early morning awaking does not trouble me…in fact I enjoy these early …

Stories to tell

As I complete one book’s birthing, thoughts have turned to what comes next on the writing front: I have many ideas. I sense there will always be many stories to tell along my life path as Buddhist-therapist-educator. Two ideas that I hope to come to fruition* are vying for my attention and affections. I am …

Not knowing is most intimate

As I slowly wind down toward a summer break from client work, the past two weekends have been on retreat – not a geographical move, but still a shift into (another) space. Since the pandemic, my teacher Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, has been conducting Vajrayana Buddhist programmes online. Whilst I miss the element of being-with sangha …

Nine ways of seeing

Imagine nine people standing in a circle, facing inward. In the middle of that circle stands an elephant. If we were to travel around the circle asking each of those nine people about their experience, it wouldn’t be a surprise that each account would differ. The answer given by each of the nine wouldn’t simply …

Keeping the instrument in tune

Each year on the Post-graduate diploma counselling course, my colleague Dwight and I take the trainee therapists through an exercise of reflection on self-care. Perhaps more than any other profession, self-care for therapists is a vital consideration given how ’self’ is the instrument underpinning the relationship with our clients. If the therapist is responsible for …

Flanking guards

Moving beyond hope

As I sat on the garden bench at the front of my house this morning (flanked by my two tree friends), I was able to tune in to a deeper sense of contentment; this has been somewhat out of reach for me recently. I, like many of those I spoke to last week, felt the …

opening the heart

The courage to open

I’ve taken to asking people I meet online – friends, family, students, supervisees – the question “what are you learning about yourself in all of this?” I’m intrigued by the ‘growth’ aspects that the COVID-19 pandemic is revealing. As a relative newbie to the Vajrayana path, I am appreciative of the View – that the …