… let me count the ways

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Au bal: Manet’s thrilling expression of love’s sizzle   in the Courtaud Gallery’s collection

St Valentine’s Day: an apposite moment to reflect that in loving someone our most doting act is to set them free.

One in Three Hundred and Sixty five days seems insufficient an allowance in which publicly to express romantic love and eros. But hold a moment: erotic love is but one of many – parental love; friendship love and agapé, the love of God for humanity.

And while perhaps not so much today, the component parts of love still matter: kindfulness, generosity of spirit, affection, tenderness, cherishing endearment. Thus, perhaps this 0.3% of a year we are given license to yodel sonnets to our belovéd ought be seen in the context of competing claimants on our time. And yet …

The vulnerability of love is as piquant as its strength.

The thing it’s easy to forget is that being kind to oneself fosters the desire to be kind to others. Lovingness is a self-fulfilling prophesy and accepting everything we are gives others permission to do the same.

If you love someone or something this Valentine’s Day, set yourself free.

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Enumeration

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© Getty                                                    Suzanne Lenglen in flying form, 1926

You know those occasions when the words you want to write are unforthcoming? No matter how you approach it, the idea upper most refuses to budge and sits like an angry spider up in the apex of your mind, just glaring?

Well, such is the case with the intended rounding off this depleting year.

To which end, rather than whinge and whine, we look ahead in the hope to get the year off to a flying start.

As I grew up, 2018 was the telephone number. Flux of life mandates it waxed in girth and now no-one remembers the streams of locationless figures, reminiscent of π – pi.

Yet it is this flux which may save Hope from Despair’s greedy arms. The world turns, the air redeems in the darkness of night, each new day an end of yesterday. In short, we start afresh.

Madeleine Baird Materials wishes all readers of these pages, all clients of the business, all new-comers to emotional intelligence bon courage for a bold and thrilling year ahead.

We’re counting on being the change we want to see.

Yes I did

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© Jack Brockwell                                    BH Obama kite-surfing off Necker

It seems reasonable to suppose everybody’s grin would be this wide if doing something from which one had been prevented for the last eight years. The image, taken in February off Necker Island, reveals not merely the man beneath the sombre suit but reminds us there is more to life than a job.

These pages have rent and torn themselves over past months’ woe while the present is, if anything, worse. It’s important to find some chink through which light can seep in order that gloom doesn’t settle, as a shroud, to inform our world view.

If you’ve ever had your heart broken, you’ll know that putting one foot in front of the other is just about all one can manage for a while. Not all of us have been caught up in current shocking events but I imagine that this slender task of just keeping going will chime.

When others tell you it’ll make you stronger and you just manage to keep from throttling them, you know that it’ll never get better and your heart will never mend. Coz it doesn’t and it don’t.

Yet somehow the resilience that lives within for cases of emergency hammocks our shattered frame while it mends. And after a long time of dark, suddenly you notice the sun’s out and there be more to life than the job of existing.

Pro tem, by simply being present, we can support. Not having to say anything but be willing to Listen. Doing this simple thing helps begin the healing of victims’ trauma and that of survivors’ guilt.

 

Kindfulness

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Greek café opens its doors for strays during winter nights

Since the beginning of the year and p’raps even longer, it’s been hard to know what to write. The litany of misfortune has cascaded around our ears, propelled by the puzzling individuals who play on the global stage and who forget that being the bigger person is not about size or volume.

Across all the world’s solemn systems of thought, this is a sacred time of year. It prizes open an opportunity to soften the heart and be kind for kindfulness’ sake.

Celebrating cyclical transcendence offers hope and a chance to let our life speak. Flopping back into that great supportive armchair – taking responsibility for actions in order to control the outcome – has the consequence of floating out kindness to others as well as to oneself.

Kindfulness is the prudent, fulfilled ambition to act with kindness in order to germinate kindliness in others. This intended symbiotic reflection cultivates a generosity of spirit to dissolve darkness, transforming its lack into light.

I’m not sure Messrs Chambers or Oxford English, Collins or Websters are ready to recognize this idea of kindfulness; not yet …