Why Don’t We?
Imagine if we all acted like we just fell to Earth for the first time.
Moving through it with curiosity. Wonder. Amazement.
How we would stop and take in the smell of crushed cardamom seeds.
Staring deeply into the pinky blue evening sky.
How we would savour each touch on our skin.
Running into the rain, letting it drip down our coats.
How we would kiss in awe for hours, gasping for air.
Smiling through condensation-blurred windows at the distant moon.
How we would meet the eyes of each stranger we passed.
Bending necks to marvel at planes overhead.
How we would pause for long enough to take everything in.
Lost in presence.
Witnessing life unfold like we’ve never seen it before.
To Nourish. To Care.
We feed ourselves. Nourish ourselves.
Fill our plates. Check in with our rumbling tummies.
We feed our minds with books.
Feed our souls up with love, joy, and dancing.
Fill our hearts with laughter.
Then as sudden as the rain ceases to fall, life crashes in.
With its pain, grief and heartbreak.
Toying with us to starve ourselves of the softness we so desperately need.
That’s when we need it the most.
That’s when we need ourselves the most.
That’s when we need to take slow, warm sips of life back in again.
Slow sips of gentle care.
We forget that our stay on Earth isn’t permanent.
That the moments we experience might only happen once.
We forget that we’re just passing through.
Often making a habit out of life.
We forget that we might not meet the cat who followed us along the pavement again.
Or smell that flower in the garden before it wilts again.
We forget that we might not see that particular meme-induced smile on someone’s face again.
Or ever eat that unique jam we devoured in a seaside town again.
We forget that we might not see that specific shade of purple in the sky again.
Or hear everyone laugh at a particular joke in the cinema again.
If you treated your stay here, as if you weren’t staying forever…
What would you make time to see, do, or feel?
As We Are
You came here. On the day of your birth. As you are. Nothing more. Nothing less. As you are. Perfect. Enough. As you are. We were micro-dosed with messages that told us we must be more than we are. That we have to move quicker. Work harder. Get better. We are told that we are broken yet the cure is sold back to us from the very same places that told us we were broken in the first place. We chase the idea of becoming anything other than who we are. We beat ourselves up when we don’t grow and heal fast enough or even worse, manifest slash monetise enough. We forget who we are. That who we are, is us, as we are. As we are, when we are unwashed, undone, unbothered, crumbs cascading from our lips, with both hope and fear living in our heart. It’s time to enter the era of you existing, you being here, you breathing, you living…being plenty. Let everything else you choose to do to experience this life more fully, be the side dishes to an already whole and delicious plate of you. Just you. Just us. As we are.
In Bed We Find Home
The place we rest in.
Dream and vision in.
The place we hold each other in.
Explore bodies in.
The place we forget who we are in.
Remember who we are in.
Put down what feels heavy in.
The place we are unwell in.
The place we grieve in.
Find solace in.
The place that bears witness to all of us.
Raw. Unfiltered. You.
It’s okay to show the world parts of what your bed has the gift of seeing.
The parts that make you human.
Cute Little Human Things
The half run when someone holds a door open for you. Bus drivers waving to each other at traffic lights. Saying ‘mind your head’ when someone gets in a car. Letting someone go in front of you in a queue. Saying bless you after sneezes. Pretending to sleep to get to sleep. Kissing each other on the forehead. Covering your eyes when you get scared. The happy dance after the first bite of food. Shaking hands with new humans. Holding hands with your favourite humans. Crossing your fingers for someone. Taking a headphone out to hear announcements. Running up to each other at airports. Having colours that you love. Helping strangers carry suitcases and prams up the stairs. Telling friends to ‘read this and let me know what you think’. Clasping your hands together when you’re excited. Asking each other ‘how are you today?’
Forgetting To Walk
Let’s not forget the love in a friend saying ‘when’s the best time to call?’, when we crave all-consuming, heart-bursting romantic love. Let’s not forget the creativity in taking an iPhone photo of the sea, when we pray for the successful career filled with magazine mentions and six figure salaries. Let’s not forget the adventure in finding unique Haribos in random newsagents, when we dream of jetsetting to every corner of the world. Let’s not forget the salt and vinegar crips, when we long for seven course tasting menus. There’s magic in the mundane. Beauty in the everyday. Pleasure in the ordinary. Let us shoot for the stars while we also remember the splendour of walking on Earth.
It starts with ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’ instead of who do you want to be.
Exams. Applications. Last one at the office.
‘Keep searching for your dream job.’
Work hard. You are what you do.
That’s where you find your happiness, promise.
Productivity is a marker of your worth.
Work hard until you burn out.
It’s your fault if you burn out.
Don’t feel like you’re good enough?
Buy more, you’ll feel better.
Work harder to pay for all those dinners, holidays and green juices, that made you feel better.
Remember who profits from you not resting, reflecting and questioning.
Maybe it’s about ‘finding’ your purpose.
Maybe it’s just capitalism.
What if the harder we chase productivity, the further we run away from ourselves?
To Read and To Be Read To
Reading is a luxury in more ways than one. I was an avid reader since words knew how to form in my mouth, eyes, and mind. I found a place in books that felt like the entrance into a new world and an escape from this world. My mum would read to me and it’s a memory that sleeps tightly in my heart. Vignettes of us laughing at bedtime, me staring into her soft brown eyes and finding a nook to lay in; in her crossed arms that always felt silky smooth.
But, my dad couldn’t read. He had never learned how to. We offered to teach him but he refused. When I look back on it now, my memories of being read to feel incomplete; because he never read to me. The illustrated pages of childhood books and the blank pages of my journals never got to meet him. I wish they did. I don’t have a relationship with my dad anymore, the distance now normalised. In my re-fathering journey, I searched for ways to describe what I needed from him when I was growing up. I couldn’t quite find the painful honesty to label it as love, emotion, and support. I just knew that I wanted him to read to me.
When I close my eyes that’s what I imagine. That’s what I needed. That’s what I wish I had.
It’s what I wish he had.
Because, what a joy it is. To read. One of the greatest. Finding space to read amongst the seduction of screens and places to be; makes it such an intentional choice. Especially when it’s not a quick read while on the way to somewhere else, but just time to read, wholeheartedly. In solitude. Full attention. There’s nothing quite like it.
But, the warmth of being read to by someone we love is an extra helping of a beautiful thing. To allow someone to create worlds with us. To allow someone in to soothe us. It feels like it belongs in times of handwritten love letters and friends who write poetry for us. It feels… unfamiliar. Yet, we’re only one question away from receiving it. Sure, in an age of sending nudes instead of telegrams, it doesn’t feel innate to even think about reading to each other. But, we can ask for it.
I say, we make being read to a love language. Let’s offer to read for the people we love, unexpectedly. Maybe in a voice note to friends who are far away, or whilst sat on the grass before summer dances into autumn.
Let’s ask our friends, lovers, parents, family or even slide into someone’s DM’s with a simple question:
Would you like to read to me?
The Everydayness of Life
There’s often a tendency to dramatise joy. To make joy feel like a scene in a musical, where one minute you’re taking the bins out and the next you’re part of a flash mob wearing sequin pants. Joy can often feel out of reach, often on the other side of the ordinary stuff. That we have to receive it. That our joy is only one surprise email or call away. When the beauty and accessibility of joy is that it exists in the ordinary.
Why do such simple things like a bowl of nutty granola give us so much pleasure? Maybe, it’s because they are reminders. Reminders of people we love. Reminders of precious moments in our lives that live on in our cells. Reminders of home. Reminders of what it means to be human.
We spend most of our time here, going from task to task, friend to friend, meal to meal, job to job. Leaving the house. Coming back to the house. We’re just in our days and routines, going about it, seeing what life has to offer. The very nature of our existence is in the everyday, the ordinary, the stuff that we label as mundane.
Then we have these moments. Moments that are almost like birthday cakes. The moments we don’t get very often. These extraordinary things that happen to us, that mean a whole lot. The stuff we’re often waiting for, hoping for, get excited for. The birthday cakes. Why do you think bucket lists exist? We love a big moment.
Inevitably, just as life is pretty boring without cake, we spend a lot of energy in expectation for the loud joys. So much so, that we can forget to pay attention to the quiet ones. The ones that exist every single day.
The joys that remind us of why we’re here. The things that we look forward to each morning. They make the everydayness of this life so magical. They ask us to pay attention. To notice the beauty that exists between each breath that we take. We might only get one birthday cake each year, but every single moment is an opportunity for joy. Also, just buy a whole cake on like a dreary little Monday. As my catchphrase goes, ‘you’re an adult, you can do what you want’.
Our perspective is what gets us into these joys. It’s in us making a note of these micro moments of pleasure and being audaciously present as we experience them. Savouring every morsel of life.
Because, it’s never just a bowl of granola, is it.
It’s a reminder of something so much bigger than us.
It’s a reminder that we’re here.
Busy As A Bee
A bee doesn’t ask if it deserves rest. It knows it does. As the ultimate hard-worker, pollinating its way around town, bees aren’t burdened by human conditioning that says rest must be earned. Bees have a vital role to play, one that they didn’t ask for. It just is. Because of that, do you think a bee is questioning if they deserve to sleep if they didn’t get to enough flowers that day? Absolutely not.
That’s a human thing. One that is inherited by all the things we consume that shout at us to keep moving. One that is sold to us to keep us in a dizzying loop of working harder and harder, as our worth feels so tied up in it. While we all know that we need sleep to survive; rest and slowing down can sometimes be seen as cute optional extras with a side dish of gnawing guilt when we dare to take it.
We forget that the only condition attached to us slowing down and resting, is our existence. Just as bees exist, they deserve to rest, they are a part of the whole. The whole crumbles without them. The same is true for us. We are not the leaders sitting outside of the ecosystem. We are not separate to nature. Or above nature.
We are nature. We are vital. We are needed.
Part of the whole.
As of yesterday, there are 8,055,538,209 people on this planet. Isn’t that phenomenal? 8 billion hearts, souls and minds all existing right here on this giant blue marble. Each one having a role to play. Each having an impact on many precious lives.
Imagine if no-one fancied making art that would inspire us so deeply or becoming a dentist? Imagine if no-one fancied growing vegetables or smiling, holding or loving anyone? Imagine if no-one complimented anyone or delivered food or drove trains. Or wrote the books that move us. Imagine if no-one fancied singing the music that transcends us? How different this world would be.
We are all needed.
With all of that said, with that being part of our existence, with all of us having vital roles to play, do you really think that you don’t deserve that ten minute micro nap? This isn’t about the practicalities of rest or packed schedules. I get it. We have responsibilities and bills to pay. Time is a privilege. So, let’s make slowing down a perspective. Let’s find mini moments to rest and breathe.
This is about the foundational idea that as a human being with Earth as your home address, you are allowed to rest, because you are needed. From this place of knowing, we can then figure out the how’s.
When someone asks how I’ve been, I no longer say that I’ve been soooo busy, just to make conversation. I say that I’m here, living, learning, growing. When we change our dialogue, we change our collective narrative.
Liberation comes from us releasing the idea that we have to earn rest through ‘doing’, and realising that rest is earned from just ‘being’.
You deserve to snuggle up under a blanket like a pollen-dusted bee in a flower.
Because you exist.
Part of the whole.