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Crowded House – Jake Russell – Cobsalad

A couple of thousand years ago or thereabouts the Roman Stoics practised a mental exercise (as in, for the mind; not as in, my mate Jonny puts ketchup on everything—he’s so mental) as an antidote to what’s much more recently been termed ‘hedonic adaptation.’

We’ll return to the Stoics shortly, via an age-old fable, but first, hedonic adaptation is, essentially, the phenomenon of wanting something new, getting it, and then pretty quickly getting bored of it.

It’s something I’m sure everyone’s familiar with.

Wanting a new car/house/job/relationship/whatever.

That whatever becomes the object of your desire, the answer to your prayer, the moly to your holy grail:

The shiny new Mercedes; the 4-bed semi with kitchen side return; the Marketing Director promotion; the beautiful woman who stirs your loins and emotion. And sometimes you’re lucky enough to get what you want and it’s every bit as good as you’d hoped.

The car eats up the tarmac like a beast; the galaxy of stars displayed through the symmetrical skylights of your swanky side return has never seen such successfully presented soirées; as the Marketing Director you have an assistant who brings you coffee and respect; the beautiful woman who stirred both your loins and emotion isn’t only beautiful, she’s also the first person to truly, finally, get you.

Ahhhh, at last, life is good…

And then, comically quickly in fact – absurdly so given the force of importance previous placed on the attainment of the object of desire – you start to notice:

The little rattling sound coming from the rear panel when you accelerate that makes you think I bet that doesn’t happen on a Porsche; a polished concrete dinner table that’d suit the new space much better; that the Managing Director gets croissants with her coffee, goddamnit, that’s true respect; that I do like my new girlfriend, but I wish she wasn’t so patronising with her assumptions about who I am.

And so on.

And on and on. Never, ever satisfied.

But it need not be so, said the Stoics. They twigged this bug in the human system, this forever-wanting mind, and they figured out some ways to counter it, to drop the constant wanting and to feel contentment and tranquillity instead.

One such way is the mental exercise of negative visualisation. The idea with this is to periodically consider what your life would be like if conditions were worse than they currently are. So, for instance, rather than getting frustrated that your mid-range Mercedes isn’t a Porsche, consider what your morning commute would be like on the bus; instead of coveting the polished concrete table, imagine if your house were flooded, ruining your whole ground floor; rather than coveting croissants with your coffee, imagine if some terrible trauma took away your ability to swallow; instead of wishing your girlfriend were different, consider how lonely you were before.

And so on.

And on and on. Little by little becoming more content and satisfied with things exactly as they are.

The idea of negative visualisation is rather nicely, if inversely, illustrated by the fable of the crowded house. Credit must go to LS who told it to me recently and who I can only hope won’t mind my remixed version:

A man lives in a small, cramped dwelling and his lack of space is making him miserable. So he goes to the local Wise Woman and says, “Look here. I’ve got a tiny little shit’ole of a house and it’s not half getting me down, old Wise Woman. What say you to that?” And Wise Woman says, “Get a chicken.”

Bit weird, he thinks, but she’s not been wrong yet, so he gets a chicken. Now it’s him and a chicken in his tiny hovel and the chicken’s squawking, shitting and shedding feathers and the miserable man feels even more miserable than before. He goes back to Wise Woman and he says, “I got a chicken like you said but it’s made things even worse.”  

“Get a goat,” says Wise Woman.

This bint’s lost the plot, he thinks, but he gives her the benefit of the doubt and gets a goat. Now it’s him and a goat and a chicken and the goat’s an angry, spitting bastard and the chicken’s still fowling (geddit?) up the place, and the man’s even more miserable again. He goes back to Wise Woman in a right old huff, and he says, “I got a goat to add to the chicken but now I’ve got even less space!”

“Get a cow,” says Wise Woman.

You nutty old broad, he mutters to himself as he walks away, but still, he follows her counsel. Now it’s him and a cow and a goat and a chicken inside his little shack and the stink and racket and chaos is quite literally driving him up the walls. He goes back to the Wise Woman, his eyes mad from lack of sleep, his hair on end, all covered in animal crap and he says, “Now you listen to me, Wise Woman, I got the chicken, I got the goat, I got the cow, all like you says, and not only am I not less miserable, I’m the most miserable I’ve ever been!”

“Now get rid of them,” says Wise Woman. So the man gets rid of them.

And never has he loved his dwelling more. 

As I say, credit goes to LS. Since I’m in the credit-giving mood I’d like to give my mum her due credit for trying to get me to think this way while I’ve been unwell. Things could always be worse. Be grateful that they aren’t. Sorry mum if I was grouchy when you tried.

And since, one paragraph later, I’m still in the credit-giving mood, I’d like to point your attention in the direction of someone else who deserves a whole load of it. My friend, Tom Lawton, is an inventor, an inventor with movie star looks no less, and his latest project, Wonder, is a thing of sheer beauty and artistry. It’s a “kinetic, ethereal, meditative sculpture” which took its inspiration from my dad, and Tom’s good friend, Stephen, practising Qigong. Tom has a Kickstarter campaign going here, with a beautiful short film about it, and I’m sure he’d be grateful for any pledge you can afford if it takes your fancy. And if you feel like reading more about the whole idea, Tom’s story of Wonder is here.

And with that I wish you week of chickens, goats and cows. And love and wonder.

Jake x




*Original Post By Kind Permission Jake Russell*


Featured Food For Thought Healthy Mind Lifestyle Motivation Personal development

300 – Jake Russell – Cobsalad

Hello again.

You’re probably aware of the 10,000 hours “rule” made famous by Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. Practise something for 10,000 hours, the theory goes, and you become a master. Well, it turns out, a little disappointingly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, to be a big old oversimplification.

Ten thousand hours of practise doesn’t guarantee mastery.

Not for everyone, anyway, and so while it’s a nice, neat sounding number, it’s not a rule. And when you think about it, how could it be? We’re all so different from one another, wired so differently, informed by such diverse experiences and environments that one simple number simply can’t apply universally. It’d be like saying we all sneeze 47,000 times.

Which isn’t to poopoo the point of practise. I love the idea of dedicating yourself to something. And if that something calls you to practise for ten thousand hours then whether you emerge a master or not seems secondary to me. Because if you’re fortunate enough to be called, to find a calling, then you’re already winning, you’ve already won.

To be called to practise in this manner requires diligence and humility, and it is, by necessity, ego-transcendent. Dedication to the pursuit of practise and improvement, no matter the skill, gives you no choice but to get out of your own way: To make mistakes, to repeatedly fail, to repeatedly try again, to know that however good you think you’re getting you’re never the finished article – and to know, as the practise develops, that that isn’t the point anyway.

Because, really, there is no finished article. But there’s always the beginnings of one.

And for some, simply beginning is where all the trouble seems to lie.

If beginning is your problem then consider this other, far more palatable, number: 300.

Forget 10,000 hours and becoming great and all the rest and focus on 300 instead.

Because, the neuroscientists figure, it takes roughly three hundred repetitions of something new to form its corresponding neural pathway. In other words, it takes just 300 reps of anything to start becoming reasonably good at it. Or, put another way, it takes 300 repetitions to begin, quite literally, to embody the practise. And when you’ve begun to embody something – taken an externality and integrated it – then those 300 reps may turn into 10,000 hours yet.

So, a happy 300 to anyone thinking of beginning.

Jake xx




*Original Post By Kind Permission Jake Russell*


Featured Food For Thought Leisure Lifestyle Motivation Personal development

Gibberish and Neep – Jake Russell – Cobsalad

I can’t remember now if he preferred to call it gibberish or gobbledygook – I’ve gone with the former because I like how it makes my title sound like a fancy beverage or an incompetent law firm – but my dad, Stephen, liked to conduct full conversations in nonsense.

We’d be sitting on the tube rattling under London, the decibels from travelling through tight tunnels at speed all but drowning everything else out, and so he’d lean into me and rather loudly and in perfectly recognisable intonation, say, “Eshplag torria tiahnshaama florrgstahias?” or something to that effect.

And, under the covering din, I’d respond – a little sheepishly, but happy to play nonetheless – “Aflushgorriatia berrifycaca.”

“Huh,” he’d return, as if genuinely considering my response, “Tihbdu jrereh adghetrefrvm spludge.”

And so it would continue, this back and forth of made up alien gabble punctuated with real laughter, him testing the limits of how loud and expressive he could take things, me not being nearly so brave, until the tube began to slow as it approached the next station, and I could all but pray he’d quieten down before the decreasing clatter and clang of carriage on track revealed to our fellow passengers that he – and reluctantly I – were completely, utterly nuts.

He came to meet my last girlfriend for the first time and gave us a lift in his car, and he turned to her, not an hour after meeting, and asked if she spoke Gibberish.

“Gibberish?” she asked.

“Waftherzlip agshdathgwa,” he responded, deadpan.

“Quicjdhjdteb hcbnvsfdarwpqqs agqtrwben” she wholeheartedly concurred.

And for the next 15 minutes they conversed like a pair of merry loons while I prayed for a sinkhole to appear up ahead.

His other, perhaps primary, calling card was Neep. Maybe the oddest little sound you’ve ever heard. It was a bit like the “Ni!” that the Knights Who Say Ni from Monty Python say, but more nasal, deeper, a little more resonant, and so peculiar that when he said it – which was always entirely out of the blue, for no discernible reason whatsoever – you wondered whether you’d heard anything at all.

And he actively enjoyed saying it in precisely the most inappropriate places.

Like a packed and self-consciously quiet lift. Or in that moment of pregnant silence at the cinema just before the film starts. Or in the Whispering Gallery at St Paul’s Cathedral.

And every time he’d do it, it’d take me (and, presumably, everyone) by such surprise that I had to channel my entire point of focus into not exploding with laughter. And although I could never look up at him to check, because if I did it’d surely send me over the edge, I’m pretty certain he was watching to see how funny I found it, smiling.

I wish everyone a lovely, laughter-filled week, with love,

Jake x




*Original Post By Kind Permission Jake Russell*

Diet Featured Food For Thought Healthy Body Healthy Mind Lifestyle

5 Powerful Natural Anti-Aging Shortcuts

Years ago, the word “anti aging” seemed to come only from science fiction movies. People joked about the Fountain of Youth and miracle medicines that were supposed to reverse the aging process to make one look 10 or 20 years younger. But today, anti-aging is more than a myth. Through scientific studies and the new cutting edge science in genomics, women are discovering that, by taking just a few steps, skin beauty and bodily cell health can indeed be encouraged. Here are 5 powerful anti aging tips for women:

1. Check Your Lifestyle

A lifestyle filled with health-threatening habits can be detrimental to your skin’s health and beauty. Smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages in excess, eating poorly or overeating, sunbathing, etc. all can speed up the aging process. Even taking anti-aging supplements may not help if you continue to do these things regularly. Remember, just as your bodily organs are affected by everything you eat or drink, so are your skin cells.

2. Eat for Good Skin Health

Good women’s health starts with eating healthy foods. Be sure to eat balanced meals with an abundance of leafy green vegetables and fruits. Eat protein-rich foods such as nuts or eggs to maintain good bone and joint health. Healthy eating and weight loss are both major contributors to good women’s health as well as beauty for the skin. The anti-aging process is much easier when you provide your body with the nutrients and vitamins it needs to repair cell damage and build healthy new cells on a daily basis.

3. Drink Water

The diet programs always cry aloud, “Drink water!” That’s because there are so many benefits to drinking water. Water is needed to help the body function properly, inside and out. Water brings life to all your body parts – and your skin as well. It brightens your complexion, helps rejuvenate skin cells to promote anti aging, and adds moisture to your body. You’ll be a well-oiled machine if you can commit to drinking plenty of water daily. Water is probably the most readily available anti-aging product you can get your hands on! So, replace those sodas (and diet sodas) with a healthy dose of water.

4. Stay in Shape

Staying in shape with exercise will also help with the anti-aging battle. Exercise encourages good bone and joint health and helps with the flow of blood through your body. That’s why many people say that exercise “gets your blood pumping!” The blood carries oxygen with it through your body, which is necessary for good overall health.

5. Use Anti-Aging Supplements and Creams

Through the cutting edge science of genomics, anti-aging products are now being developed to aid in cell rejuvenation, which is needed for slowing down the aging process.

Genomics is the study of the complete DNA makeup of organisms. The recent discovery that is crucial to those interested in anti-aging products is that the repair of cells and the creation of healthy, strong cells is a major key to slowing the aging process. The new anti-aging products are all-natural and come in pills, creams or patches. Anti-aging products based on genomics help to provide the right amount of ingredients (vitamins and nutrients) needed by the body to repair cells and build new, healthy cells.

These five tips combined can help maximize the results for your anti-aging efforts. You’ll feel and look better than ever as you pass through the stages of life. For even more anti-aging tips, check out the Natural Anti-Aging shortcuts guide which features simple ‘life tweaks’ that will help your body to slow down the aging process!

To Your Health,

Dominus Owen Markham




Featured Food For Thought Healthy Mind Lifestyle Motivation Personal development

5 Ways to Declutter Your Mind

5 Ways to Declutter Your Mind

When it comes to decluttering your home, there’s a simple solution: put everything on eBay (this is a bit oversimplified, but it’s possible, isn’t it?). Yet, when it comes to decluttering your mind, it’s not really possible to unload your thoughts onto eager internet buyers…or is it? Here are a few ways to declutter your mind.

#1: Declutter your space. We are what we eat…and what we see. While people may argue about whether or not violent movies can raise a generation of messed-up, angry kids, let’s just err on the side of caution and declutter the space around us. With less things in our field of vision, we have less garbage to stew over and worry about…freeing up the space in our mind.

#2: Declutter your schedule. Another thing that can drive us crazy is the constant rush from one activity to another. Take a look at your schedule and start eliminating things that aren’t necessary. All they’re doing is adding stress to your day and giving you more food to throw into the ever-sprilaing mental stew of stress.

#3: Unplug from the party. Would you be able to sleep and rest easily if you were attending a party of several thousand people—say, like Times Square on New Year’s Eve? That’s pretty much what’s going on with your smartphone, tapped in as you (probably) are to several social media networks. The pings, dings, and rings from various contacts, along with the thrill of finding a new message are all adding small but unhealthy doses of stress to your day.

#4: Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is all about engaging with the present in a fully, alive way. There are lots of ways to practice the skill of mindfulness, from meditation to just staring at an object (like a candle) and contemplating its existence. Mindfulness will help you learn how to push relevant concerns out of your conscious thought process, leading to increased concentration and a decluttered mind.

#5: Let go. Remember that scene from Titanic where Kate says to Jack, I’ll never let you go? Well, sometimes it’s best to let old memories die. From broken relationships to diabolical bosses, we tend to have a whole lot of backstory spinning in the back of our mind. Just let it all go, and like a computer that suddenly operates faster, you’ll find your mind in a much more free and easy state.

Until Next Time

Dominus Owen Markham


Featured Food For Thought Healthy Mind Lifestyle Motivation

Rupture + Repair – Jake Russell – Cobsalad

Rupture is an inevitable part of life. In fact, life can’t fully begin without it: the primal rupture of the baby from its mother. Until birth, the baby and its mother live in a state of symbiosis.

And then from one emerges two.

But almost immediately, as long as both are well and healthy, the mother takes the baby and holds it close. The two re-connect, the rupture is repaired.

And from these opening moments of life the pattern is set.

Rupture + repair.

It comes in all different forms. Physical, emotional, relational, societal. We’re in a state of societal rupture right now.

But the rupture isn’t the important phase of the pattern. Significant, of course, but unimportant compared with the repair.

It’s whether we repair, and how we do so, that’s important. Because repair, unlike its preceding rupture, isn’t inevitable. It requires conscious choice, action, humility, willingness. It requires an openness of mind and heart, an availability.

Rupture left un-repaired leaves an open wound, which, in time, scars over. The scarring might do a decent job of protecting the surface area of the wound from the world, but the original trauma, just below, remains. The area of trauma is sensitive and consequently well defended. A point of weakness and disconnect.

The state of repair, on the other hand, is a state of attuned connection.

When two people are attuned to one another, for example, the bond of connection grows strong. And so any (inevitable) rupture between them can, probably, be repaired. In fact, the shared experience of repair can make the connection more special still.

The pattern of rupture + repair repeats from birth through life to the final rupture from life itself (or put differently, to the final re-pair—back to the primal One).  

So, with each new rupture, consider the opportunity for beautiful repair.



Jake x




*Original Post By Kind Permission Jake Russell*

Featured Food For Thought Healthy Mind Lifestyle Mind Motivation

Love Actually – Jake Russell – Cobsalad

Hi everyone,

This week’s piece has been on my mind for a while. I’ve known I wanted to write something to mark the year since my dad died, but I haven’t known what. The temptation is to go all Richard Curtis and sentimental. And he’d have liked that. He couldn’t resist a bit of schmaltz.

But what comes to mind today as I think about things, about these sad, mad, but not all bad 12 months, is something that’s been slowly circling through my mind for a few years now and has gained a certain solidity since this time last year.

It’s a really quite simple observation, nothing ground-breaking or show-stopping, and I’m not the first to have it, but it feels important to say today. It’s that pain – or, perhaps to be more precise, the suffering that comes from pain – is simply the other side of love. It’s the denial of love, the refusal, the rejection, the absence of love. It’s that wherever pain exists, love is what’s missing.

And that therefore, just as hot is to cold or light is to dark or Curtis is to Cubric, the cure – perhaps the only cure – for pain, is love.

And therefore, furthermore, that if we’re all, as I think we all are, beings in pain – to some degree or another – we’re all also capable of being in love.

I’m sure there are a few cave-dwellers dotted atop some mountains who’ve been meditating almost constantly for 35 years that exist in a state of blissful free awareness, unattached contentment, but for anyone who wants to live in society, with people, in relationship, performing tasks and ventures, objectives and adventures, pain, it would seem, is an unavoidable part of the deal.

But I’m convinced, completely, that wherever pain is found, then below its surface, maybe just below or maybe hidden deep, is a well of love waiting to be tapped.

And in that, as some great philosopher-filmmaker once wrote, love actually is all around.

There you go pops, that one’s for you.


Jake xx




*Original Post By Kind Permission Jake Russell*



Featured Food For Thought Healthy Mind Lifestyle Mind Motivation Personal development

What Are You Thinking?! – Jake Russell – Cobsalad

Do you ever think about how much time you spend thinking? Or to be specific—how much time you spend thinking without thinking you’re thinking?

Because when we begin to examine it, we quickly see that we get so lost in thought we don’t even know we’re thinking.

Which has got me thinking.

That whether we’re engaged in fully conscious thought or lost in the fast current of unconscious cogitation, our thoughts materialise from somewhere just off camera, just beyond our frame or field of awareness. We don’t direct them into existence. There’s no central subjective Self, some Mini-Me of the mind, sitting somewhere just behind the eyes, pulling all the strings and levers of our faculties.

That might be a troubling thought to think: that we’re not in charge of our thoughts.

You would’ve thought, wouldn’t you, if there was anything at all we were in charge of in these infinitely complex lives of ours, it’d at least be the content of our noggins.

But as anyone who’s spent even just a minute in meditation will tell you: not so.

If you sit and close your eyes and attempt to focus on your breath, you’ll inevitably, invariably and almost instantly be buffeted and bombarded by thoughts. Try it.

All manner of thoughts will come. Some might even feel quite relevant like, “I’ve never noticed how hard it is to stay focussed on my breath.” And before you know it you’re thinking when thinking was exactly what you didn’t have in mind.

So yes, when you get down to it, it’s really quite clear that we have pretty much zero say in our thinking.

And again, that might be a troubling thing to contemplate.

Because it leads, in one direction at least, to the question of free will: If I don’t control the thoughts I have, and if all action is the manifestation of mind, then what exactly, if anything, am I in charge of here?

But since free will, it seems to me, seems to be one of those rarefied dinner table conversation topics, like voting conservative or going vegan, that provoke heated debate then ire, I’ll leave it for another day (a decision which to some will prove the existence of my free will and to others will point to its absence since I didn’t author the thought or feeling that precipitated the decision…). As I said, best left for another day.

Not having control over the thoughts we think isn’t the same as saying we don’t have control over what we believe or say or do or don’t do. We might not control the moment-to-moment thoughts that arise in our mind’s eye, but we can choose our response.

This, I think, is the level of consciousness in which our agency exists.

And it’s in this agency that (whether or not we have true free will), we truly do have freedom. And in it’s in this freedom that we can choose to make our lives, and the lives of others, as pleasant as can be.

It’s a little like the weather. We can’t help it if it rains or shines, we have no say in the matter at all.

But we can take an umbrella and choose a lovely pair of boots.

And with that I wish you happy thinking.

Love, Jake x




*Original Post By Kind Permission Jake Russell*


Diet Featured Food For Thought Healthy Mind Lifestyle Survival

How To Raise Your Own Backyard Chickens – FREE EBOOK

What You Need To Know About
Commercial Poultry Farming And

How To Raise Your Own
Backyard Chickens

Commercial agriculture is an essential infrastructure, providing billions of people with daily sustenance. In this regard, poultry production is no different.

However, chicken factory-farms have a long history of abuses, violations, and questionable policies.

The alarming state of the poultry industry has more and more families opting to source chicken products from smaller, healthier farmers.

According to the World Watch Institute, 74% of the world’s poultry meat and 68% of eggs are produced intensively, i.e., produced with the chickens completely confined to tiny cages.

At just a day old, hens are debeaked to prevent pecking. Scientific studies have shown that beak trimming is likely to cause both acute and chronic pain for the birds.

When hens naturally reach the age where they no longer produce eggs, some farms attempt to restart the chickens’ ability to lay:

Factory-farms starve the birds for up to two weeks, forcing them to lose their feathers and a third of their weight.

This painful process is called Force-Moulting. Many commercially farmed chickens are put through the torture multiple times. In 2003, more than 75% of all flocks were moulted in the US.

Since the 1950s, factory-farms have used antibiotics to increase production. As a result, a quarter of commercial chickens are resistant to five or more antibiotic medications.

Due to the use of antibiotics and the disgusting condition of industrial farms, disease is a major concern with commercially available chicken.

Studies have shown that up to 99% of supermarket chicken meat tests positive for E. coli. In 2012, nearly half of all retail chicken was found to include fecal matter.

Because factory-farms allow chickens to be saturated in their own waste, most commercial egg producers are forced to wash the eggs before packaging. This removes the protective cuticle, leaving the egg more vulnerable to disease.

If insufficient refrigeration occurs during any extended length of time during the packaging, transport, or display of store-bought eggs, the infection of salmonella becomes almost inevitable.

The United Nations reports that factory-farms provide ideal conditions for the Avian Flu to spread and mutate into a more dangerous form.

Studies have shown that small scale, backyard chicken keeping reduces these potential disease risks.

Access to your own urban poultry is the most reliable way to know how healthy your family’s chicken products are.

Moreover, by managing your own flock, you can help to reduce the social reliance on unnecessary cruelty found in commercial factory-farms.


More info like this real soon

Until then,

Dominus Owen Markham

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Featured Food For Thought Healthy Mind Lifestyle Lifestyle Mind Motivation Personal development

Help, Again – Jake Russell – Cobsalad

Way back in the summer (remember then? It was, genuinely, remarkably, somehow, a simpler time), I used this weekly piece to offer a free coaching session to anyone who wanted one. The response surprised me delightfully, and I was honoured and fortunate to speak with a considerable number of people and I’ve felt even more honoured and fortunate to continue working with many of you.

And now, as we shift into a new year, a new time, I’d like to make the offer again. So, to anyone who didn’t respond then, or did and we didn’t manage to connect, or we did connect but only did one session and for whatever reason didn’t carry on, or to anyone reading this anew, if any of you would like a free session, my offer stands again. If you’re reading this on you can contact me here otherwise just reply to this and we’ll arrange it.

Here’s a bit about me and how we might work together.

I’m training to become a psychotherapist – I began a few years back, took a break, and I’ve returned to it to train in a modality that goes by the name of Neurosomatic Psychotherapy. The approach combines neuroscience, physiology and psychotherapy to help people gain emotional insight and alignment by understanding the body and the brain’s contributions to the processes of living in relationship to oneself, the world, and others.

To bridge the gap to the time that I qualify, I’ve trained and gained certification in a form of coaching that predominantly uses a cognitive-behavioural approach to helping people form and work toward goals and to surmount the inevitable obstacles that rise up along the way.

The work of therapy and coaching is, in large part, to uncover or recover those things in life that are of greatest value to you and to understand how to attain and maintain those things of greatest value, both spiritual and material.

When we begin to gently clean away the surface layer of psychological defence and protection, what’s revealed is pure and near universal: I believe what most, if not all, of us truly want is greater tranquillity of mind, connection, contentment and compassion; less anger, sadness, isolation, hatred, blame and regret.

The work of counselling and coaching is to orient oneself further away from the latter and further toward the former. It’s to prioritise what matters most while we’re still alive.

It’s to learn how to stand again from inevitable setbacks and to roll and rise with the vicissitudes of living, to win the things of greatest and deepest meaning to you.

It’s to see or frame our setbacks from a new perspective. To understand that the list of things in daily life that we have no control over is long (like, for instance, running out of milk for your coffee when all you want is a milky coffee, or, I don’t know, a massive bastard of a pandemic), but what we do have control over is our response to the setback. Admittedly, thinking philosophically in those moments of crisis is difficult and the difficulty increases linearly or perhaps exponentially with the severity or longevity of the setback itself. But it is precisely this that’s the work of living meaningfully and well.

It is the work of transforming oneself from victim to Stoic, from prosaic to poet, from helpless to heroic. And watching, as we do so, how life flourishes and becomes beautiful.

Living well isn’t easy, nor is it, I believe, a permanent state. It requires continuous practise. And the way to get good at something, to become successful, is to do it repeatedly and thoughtfully.

Successful people do difficult things often and routinely fail. And it is their willingness to risk failure that leads to reward. Their “failures” become sources of fuel for renewal, to go again stronger, wiser, kinder, more open, more flexible, and with greater resilience, and it is the repetition and thoughtfulness – the conscious practise – that leads to success.

Success doesn’t necessarily mean fame or fortune or lots of milk. Success, simply, practically put, means finding good solutions to the problems that present themselves; to experience life as it comes and to work creatively with it (to minimise anguish, anxiety, unnecessary suffering). In short, to live a life worth living. To live fully.

Many people avoid doing hard things precisely because the fear of failure is too great. The work of coaching or therapy for a client is itself hard. It’s why it’s work. But it’s why it works. It’s an opportunity to take risks. To try new things, to speak, to open up and expand, with a companion, in the safest of environments without fear of judgment or recrimination, but with support, trust and enduring empathy. And thus, to begin to succeed.

If you’d like to give it a go with me, I’d certainly like to go with you.

Contact me here or reply.

With love,

Jake x




*Original Post By Kind Permission Jake Russell*