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Practising restraint and keeping things simple

Restraint, self-discipline, and simplicity are somehow considered unfashionable these days.  The marketing supremos and our consumer culture entice us to spend, indulge, enjoy - we deserve it, they tell us.  Now I don't want to be a kill-joy - of course there are occasions when it's perfectly OK to do just that, but constantly giving in to temptation and instant gratification will never result in anything other than temporary satisfaction.


Opening our hearts

Valentine's Day can be a day for thinking about love and opening our hearts in general, not just the romantic exchange of cards and flowers that has become tradition on 14 February.  

Who was St Valentine anyway?  He lived in Rome in the third century AD and was arrested and imprisoned for carrying out marriages in secret.  The Emperor Claudius had banned engagements and marriages because he was having difficulty getting men to join the army for his bloody campaigns.


Taking a risk

I was so thrilled to unpack the advance copies of my new book, The Woman's Book of Joy, when the package arrived fom my publisher.  I sat and stared at it, savouring the moment.  Along with the feeling of elation and pride, however, I was surprised to experience a sense of trepidation.  Knowing that it's part of my job as an author to reach out publicly to my potential readers - those who want inspiration in their lives - made me  feel vulnerable.  I suddenly felt overwhelmed at the thought of everything there was now to do.  How was I to get to grips with social media?


Spirituality is on the increase

According to a new survey carried out in the UK*, almost half of those polled have no religion.  Hardly a surprise - given the general loss of trust in organizations and institutions, rampant materialism and prevailing liberal attitudes.

Fortunately it doesn’t mean that people don’t believe in a higher power or don’t engage in some kind of spiritual practice, such as prayer or meditation.