Monday, October 21

A lecture on libraries and a mother talking to her son about sex

These are two of the best things I have come across on twitter this week. The first is a lecture by author Neil Gaiman on the importance or reading; reading for fun, reading to travel and reading to escape. And how letting children explore the world of fiction will make a better world for us all.

"The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them."
Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming


The second is a letter from a mother to a son, a letter about sex and raising children who can challenge the ideals of masculinity and step away from rape culture. I think there are quite a few grown men who need to reflect on some of these issues too. 

"What’s way more important than getting laid is pretty much everything. But specifically, you have core values that will always trump getting laid."
Son, It’s Okay If You Don’t Get Laid Tonight

Now go read and learn something new. Because reading is sexy and so is intelligence. Just look at Sherlock. 

Thursday, October 17

About Happiness

I recently took a mindfulness class to manage a medical condition. It's not a hippydippy thing - studies have shown that mindfulness and meditation can be an effective treatment for things like chronic pain and tinnitus.

During the last few weeks I have been practising meditation, learned body scanning and breathing techniques. I spend a lot of time focusing on being present, the state of my body and accepting things as they are.
With that process came reflection. I began to think about my life; what makes me happy, what makes me sad and how do I deal with the challenges that we all face?

So I asked myself, if my life ended at this very moment, what scenes would flash before my eyes? At which moments in my life was I truly happy?
The moments I remembered were on horseback, I was challenged and overcame my own fears, I achieved goals, I danced in mosh pits, I failed but I did not give up. I was welcomed and appreciated for who I was. I was loved. But this is what struck me - there were no relationships, not a single "he loves me, yeah yeah yeah" (as The Beatles would say) moment.

That's not to say that those moments are not important (they are) but they were not powerful enough to make it to the top ten, if you know what I mean.
That made me think. Maybe I've going about it the wrong way all these years. True happiness does not come from a lover. True happiness comes from me.

I have been placing my happiness in other people's hands. I see that know.
But that also means that I can reach out and take it back.
Because I am enough. All I need to be happy is me.