Keeping it Real?


mannequin-head         Photo: Mannequin Head by Peter Griffin 

Our connection to the outside world is governed by our senses. The human brain can process as much as 400 billion bits of information a second, but we are consciously aware of only about 2,000 bits a second. This means we filter out most of our ‘reality’.

The data we’re left with, is what our brain considers to be important. The information it thinks we need to thrive and survive. But our brain takes shortcuts based on generalisations. What was once important to us stays there unless new connections render the old ones obsolete.

Over time, we establish thought patterns and beliefs that determine how we expect ‘reality’ to behave. Anything confirming that view is allowed through, but conflicting information is generally disregarded. Constant conditioning.

But we don’t have to keep the same modes of thinking. It’s possible to consciously reset some of our filters.

For instance, if you tend to look on the negative side of things, you can make a deliberate practice of not worrying about things beyond your control. Stuff happens! Your challenge is to make your situation better, whatever your starting point.

Try and look for solutions rather than being stuck with your problems. Find a few things to be grateful for each day. Sometimes this can be tough, but if you’re reading this post, you’re probably more affluent than most people in the world.

For a few minutes, you can ‘live in the now’, focusing on your senses and nothing else. It can give you a chance to choose a better version of your own reality. Why not give it a try?

Design for Life

Trees Photo: Sakura Trees by Petr Kratochvil


It’s been another hot summer’s day. Walking along a tree-lined pathway, it occurred to me that in nature, things effortlessly follow their own blueprint. I’m sure that trees don’t doubt their ability to grow tall and strong. A stalk of grass probably doesn’t compare itself to a neighbour.

Do we have our own “Design”? I think if we’re guided by our intuition, we know when something feels right. But we don’t have to follow it, and often Life gets in the way to drown out our inner voice.

We have the ability to rewrite our plans, over and over – which can be a blessing or a curse. Having the freedom to create our own life, means that if the doubts creep in, we can end up settling for less than our best. 

It’s an obvious statement, but Life is all about Creation. I used to believe that we have to take whatever Life throws at us. I now see that we actively co-create our experience together with Life. We are deeply involved in the process, every second of every day. Whether we’re aware of it or not.

Surely, we have a responsibility to ourselves to find what lights us up, and pursue it, to the extent that we can. Even if it remains a hobby, rather than a career. But more than that, if we lift ourselves up, we pass the benefits on to those around us, and subconsciously give them permission to do the same.

So, you know what to do… Find your talent. And shine your light.

Spiritual Lessons from a Broken Tumble Drier


Photo: Socks by Peter Griffin

I’m learning lessons from some unlikely situations. But I shouldn’t be surprised really. Isn’t that generally the way of things?

It’s a few months ago now that our reassuringly rumbly old tumble drier turned into a shrieking banshee. Because of its age, it wasn’t economical to repair. I unplugged it one last time…

Worse was to come, as we weren’t able to buy an immediate replacement. Why are all the best driers taken?

What to do? It was too wet to dry anything outside. So out came the clothes drying racks. ‘Old school’ drying at its finest. The spare bedroom became a drying room. Waiting a day or two for our clothes to dry. The horror!

But despite not being ideal, we coped. The world didn’t stop turning. And it made me realize that I’d never once given a thought to the drier when it was working. I’d never taken the time to appreciate what I had. It was just a functional appliance that I took for granted.

So two lessons for me here:

I should value what I have, now matter how ordinary it appears. And when life throws a spanner in the works, I can always improvise and find a way to cope.

We’ve now welcomed a brand new drier into our garage. And what a wonderful tumble drier it is!

Placebo or Nocebo?


Photo: Medical Pills by Vera Kratochvil

Placebo (Latin: “I will please”) Nocebo (Latin: “I will harm”)

Most people are familiar with the “Placebo Effect”, positive health benefits brought about purely by a person’s belief in the healing effects of their medication. A placebo, or “sugar pill” contains only an inert substance that has no independent healing properties.

It is purely the person’s belief in the medication, often coupled with the reassurance of a trusted medical professional, that kick-starts the healing process.

The effects of this process are so significant that it is commonly factored into the testing of new drugs, before they are released onto the market.

Less well known is the “Nocebo Effect”, where people receiving a placebo report negative effects – worsening of their symptoms. This is not through any chemical side effects, but purely through their belief that the tablet will not be effective in treating their condition.

The evidence shows that the key to our physical wellbeing lies with our mental attitude, brought about by our thoughts and feelings. If we don’t direct our thoughts, they may drift between positive and negative, or be predominantly one or the other.

We can choose our thoughts by practice and repetition. No matter what our current circumstances, the answer lies within us.

Which effect do you choose to nurture: placebo or nocebo?