Archive for September, 2016


I seem to have developed a fascination for eight pointed stars. I’m seeing them everywhere.

Up on the ceiling like a kind of night sky.


Or constructed from pieces of wood with emblems in the middle.


Cut into the roof to create star shaped sources of sunlight.


On the floor.

wall-star-lines star-on-blue

or on the walls.

Aren’t they beautiful? In their variation, in their detail, and in their design.

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This summer I did one of those things I’d really, really recommend anyone to do at some point – put it on your bucket list. I went to see the Alhambra in Grenada.

Many of the windows and doors in the Alhambra are beautifully arched. What struck me was that I took a lot of photos, not just of what I could see, but what I could see either through a window or a door.


Looking at them again now it seems to me that they are enticing….they spark your curiosity and invite you to go and explore more.

That got me wondering about how we frame our views of the world. Not just physically, although it does make me think about the architecture and built environments in which we all live, but emotionally. Because I think we enter each day in a certain frame of mind. Maybe we change that frame (or maybe it feels like somebody changes it for us) during the day, but I wonder just how aware we are of those frames and how much they influence what we see.

Is it possible to just pause now and again and think about what frame is active?

Is it a frame of fear, or one of curiosity for example? Because each of those frames make the world look VERY different.



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We are drawn towards the edges….

Sunsets attract us. How many of us gather at the viewpoints to watch the setting sun? There’s something deeply appealing about both the disappearance of that fiery sphere as it mutates from a full circle, to a semi-circle, to a rapidly diminishing crescent. Then when it drops below the horizon there’s a period of time when the sky can glow with shades of red, orange and pink, or some tobacco tints until gradually night has fallen. When did you last stand and watch this happen?

It’s a great meditation practice. Just to focus your attention on the changing light and try to become aware of the point where day turns into night. That’s a trick, of course, because there is no such point. The transition of day into night is far more nuanced, way more gradual than that. But keeping your attention on it is calming, delightful and connects you to one of the deepest rhythms of life.

In the second photo here (both taken one evening in San Sebastian, Spain), as day turns into night, the street lights glow in the calm sea as the tide recedes revealing the wet sand below the water. You can see a few people wandering at the edge of this transition. There’s another edge that attracts us. The edge between the land and the sea.

And that’s another edge which is not exact and is certainly not fixed.

Strolling along the ebb or the flow of the sea is deeply pleasing. As is gazing down at it from a promenade, or a viewpoint.

We are drawn towards the edges….you could say that’s how life proceeds, moving towards difference, exploring the boundaries and connections, discovering the new, playing in that “far from equilibrium” zone where growth occurs.

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I noticed this painting high up on a wall inside the cathedral in Segovia, but I don’t know what it means.

In the centre is this interesting cross of what looks like a plume and a cross with three cross bars tied together with a blue ribbon. It’s painted as if it is flying high in the clouds and surrounded by three pairs of cherub-like angels.

Have you ever seen a symbol like this before?

Can you interpret it for me, please?

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unusual selfie.jpg

I visited Bilbao recently and this sculpture of gleaming steel spheres caught my eye.

It was only later, on reviewing my photos, that I realised that I was in this one – caught in the reflection of one of the spheres.

Can you see me?

I have to say, it’s a pretty unusual, accidental selfie!

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It’s not so often you can see the edge of the weather so clearly, but there it was, the storm was on its way.

Wow! Was it a big one! Thunder rattling the windows, lightning covering the entire sky, rain hammering down on the earth, and the trees and bushes blown this way and that.

Clouds are fascinating in many ways, not least because you can’t usually really see their edges. You can at first glance, but you only have to watch for a few moments and the edges change, building or dissolving before your very eyes. A big, heavy, thick cloud like this one though holds its edge for longer. I think that’s one of the things that makes it so impressive.


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Look at the shape of this tree!

It heads up from the ground, reaching for the sky just as pretty much all trees do, then suddenly it’s taken and almost ninety degree swerve to the left, but not for long, because then it turns abruptly upwards again, only a little later to take another almost ninety degree turn to the right, after which is takes a much more relaxed ascent, bending slowly upwards.

It caught my eye.

It caught my eye because it was so unusual, so striking, and so unique. None of the other trees around it had shapes or trajectories even remotely like this one.

So what happened? What’s the explanation for the particular shape of this tree’s life?

I realise that’s a question which lay at the basis of my consultation with patients. An individual’s life story has a distinct and unique shape. Are there any explanations for that shape? Which life events made the biggest impact? What kind of impact did they make and, crucially, how did the person respond to those events?

But even without the context of illness, I think life is like this for all of us. We are gaily living in one particular way when, bam! someone happens, there’s a change, an event, and life continues afterwards but in a completely different direction.

What shape is your life story? What changes of direction has it taken and why?

I love how no two life shapes are the same, because no two lives are the same.

And there’s something else to consider when gazing at this tree…..you couldn’t predict it. If you were taken to the forest and shown a seedling, you couldn’t draw the exact shape it will manifest as it grows. DNA analysis isn’t going to give you your answer. Generalising to say most trees of this type will grow this particular way isn’t going to give you an accurate answer.

Every single life is unique, and the shape of every life emerges in the living it.

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