Staying sane in this connected world


I took an in-person meditation course recently and there was quite a bit of talk about how addicted we are to our phones. I definitely pick up my phone far too often during the day but after chatting with some of my fellow students I realised I’ve developed some pretty healthy phone habits. One woman told me she allows notifications from news apps so that when she wakes up the first thing she sees is the news — unless you’re an actual journalist or working in politics, why would you do that? I honestly couldn’t get my little head around it. In my late 20s I worked as a journalist at several national newspapers and was in the newsroom of one of the biggest here in the UK when the twin towers went down. I’ve had my fill of news to last me a lifetime and gave up reading newspapers and watching TV a few years back — the amount of emotional energy and empathing I gave to it all took away from my ability to create my own work. The news still filters down to me, of course — I’m online all day and don’t have my head in the sand, but this way I also don’t go searching for direct hits of worry, stress and disappointment. My ability to take care of my own emotional health and effectively do my work in this world has increased tenfold.

As someone who’s prone to depression I try to start (and live) my day as mindfully as I can. For what it’s worth, here’s how I manage my tech:

1. I’ve turned off ALL notifications from ALL non-essential apps. No news, no Facebook, no Instagram, no OKCupid, no nothing. The only notifications I see on my home screen are text messages from friends and family who have my actual phone number. Lately I also allow messages from Bumble (but they’re from men I’m chatting with so they’re welcome) and Uber. Everything else is OFF.

2. I have my phone on silent at all times. This means it makes no sound — no dings, pings or chimes. If someone calls me my phone vibrates. I often miss calls but I don’t mind that — I’m happy to call back at a better time. The only exception to this is when I’m with family and we might need to contact each other when we’re out of the house or if I’m meeting up with friends and I anticipate a “where are you?!” call. But during my regular working day the sound is off. Of course, this means other people’s bells and chimes drive me nuts — I’m not used to the sound so the constant dings just sound obnoxious to me, especially on a train journey ;-) #sensitivesunflower

3. In the same vein, my computer does not notify me of anything or make any noises. If I receive an email I will only know this when I open my email program. The only sounds I hear are from Spotify playlists. Oh, and I’m getting better about only checking email until 7pm. Being self-employed means my boundaries are pretty lax when it comes to my email availability, but I’m working on it.

4. I charge my phone in the kitchen. In my 14 months of living in this house it has never been taken into the bedroom (quite proud of that!). If I ever need to use an alarm I have a little clock I can use.

4. I switch my phone to airplane mode at 9pm every night (and I loved learning that Tim Ferriss aka Mr Productivity does this too). It all began when I got serious about my morning meditation practice. I use the Insight Timer app, which is obviously on my phone, and I soon realised how easy it was to fall into reading text messages (and let’s face it, hoping for Bumble replies) when I unlocked my phone to use the timer. Solution? Airplane mode. That way I’m not tempted to use my phone in the evening (better for the pre-sleep wind down) AND I don’t see any messages when I pick up my phone in the morning. It’s heaven, I tell you! I can meditate and do all the morning rituals I love, have breakfast and then turn off airplane mode when I’m ready to begin my day. I should add that I DO have a landline but only family members have that number.

So there you have it. Obviously this is just what works for me. I don’t have kids and I’ve no doubt my way of relating to my phone would be very different if I had schools and tweens and even bosses who might need to get hold of me urgently. But I still believe that no matter what you do and who’s dependent on you, nobody needs to get world news notifications on their phone. Save your attention for messages from the people you love. Start your day from that place. <3

Related reading: How to unhijack your mind from your phone

You can be woke without waking up to the news


The August Break returns!


It wouldn’t be August without the August Break, am I right? What started as a blogging pause back in 2009 has turned into a community challenge I look forward to every year. As always I’ve put together a list of prompts to turn your August into a photo treasure hunt and there’s a Facebook group, an Instagram hashtag and a blog roll too if you’d like to share your photos with the group.

It’s all happening over here, loves! xo

Something for the weekend


I humbly request your blessing for my intention to ghost your daughter

Obsessed with Dear Sugar Radio (related to above: Haunted by Ghosting)

Affirmations bra (my immediate thought was Meg will like this)

“It needs gentle treatment, much the same as a machine needs lubricating.” How to open a new book

You may want to marry my husband

Apparently there are four kinds of introversion

[video] Alain de Botton on Romanticism

The Power of Me Too

“It doesn’t matter whether you have a huge group of friends and go out every weekend or if you’re in a “perfect” romantic relationship (as if those exist). It’s the quality of the relationships–how much vulnerability and depth exists within them; how safe you feel sharing with one another; the extent to which you can relax and be seen for who you truly are, and truly see another.” [A 75-year Harvard study on living a fulfilling life]

The most listened-to On Being podcasts of 2016

Had so much fun chatting to Brigit about tarot on the Biddy Tarot Podcast!



Speaking of tarot, my new course, In Our Element, is now open for enrollment!

I’ve been asked many times if I do tarot readings for other people and my answer is always no, I don’t. Instead, I prefer to teach you how to use the cards yourself to connect more deeply with your own intuition. In Our Element is my third tarot-related course but this time we’re using just four cards to inspire our personal excavations. Out of the 78 cards in a tarot deck it’s the four Queen cards I search for most often when in need of inspiration. These four archetypes have become invaluable guides for me as they represent the absolute embodiment of each of the four elements — Fire, Water, Air and Earth. The Queens have SO much to teach us about sensuality and creativity, emotions and empathy, logic and wisdom and being grounded in our own bodies.

In this 4-week course we’ll study the light and shadow aspects of each element, journey to meet the Queens within us in guided visualisations, create personal practices to bring more elemental balance into our every day lives and learn what to do when the elements are out of balance. It’s not unusual to instinctively identify with one element over the others and being able to recognise when you’re too “in your head” or “drowning” in your emotions helps you maintain balance internally so you can navigate the external with more ease.

You don’t need to know anything about the tarot to take this class as I’ll be introducing you to the Queens in weekly videos. If you’re keen to understand more about your own elemental nature and learn new ways to harness and use this powerful energy in your daily life, this is the course for you.

Class starts on Monday May 8th and registration is happening over HERE.

Come play with us! x


Something for the weekend


One skeptical scientist’s mindfulness journey

Brooklyn bar menu generator (thank you Leonie)

A love letter to Neil Gaiman

Peeps doing cool things: Caroline’s Digital Declutter live workshop (it’s free) | Anna’s Curvy Yoga book | Tammy’s contributing to A Simple Year

[video] Every country in the world

“We’re still pretty traumatised about our periods, even though we’re now 40. Being a woman doesn’t make “being a woman” any easier. All that womb-shit is nuts. It’s like having an exploding, insane blood-bag of pain up in your business end — nothing really prepares you for when it all kicks off. One day, you’re just a kid on your bike. The next, you’re suddenly having to wedge a tiny Barbie mattress in your knickers, crying while you watch Bergerac, and eating Nurofen Plus like they’re Tic Tacs.” — I love Caitlin Moran

1,500 people give all the relationship advice you’ll ever need

[podcast] The Guilty Feminist on not having kids

Empathy cards for illness and loss | Amanda Clark’s beautiful work

7 ways to reduce anxiety in your home through design

Happy weekend, loves xo