We are just about one week into 2015 - a new cycle has begun, and is pregnant with potential. I enjoy the (perceived) clean slate that comes with each new year. It compartmentalizes our existence into meaningful increments, into manageable time frames that help us to cope with the turbulence of life.
With just a few days until the big day, you may be feeling overwhelmed with everything that still needs to be done; underwhelmed, wondering what all the fuss is about for just one day or even, God forbid, full of Christmas spirit! However you're feeling, you may have an underlying rumbling of anxiety.
Compassion is a funny thing isn't it? Human emotions are complicated and difficult to understand; sometimes we can barely understand ourselves, let alone others. Motivations and reasons behind our actions and behaviours and responses can intersect, and finding the true root of a problem can seem impossible at times. Often, it isn't the answer we expect.
The people behind Compassion Week want to give the c-word a bit of a makeover. They have called on the City of San Francisco and the State of California "to make compassion a guiding principle for their businesses and public services", and are staging a series of gatherings and discussions from Monday to Sunday to explain what this means - and how it can be achieved.
Mindful moments can occur during the simplest of tasks - taking the register, hanging out the socks or making a cup of tea... Whatever profession you are in; whether a teacher, a nurse or an architect; you will be more effective, productive and creative when you include a mindful practice into your working and personal life.
I teach mindfulness from time to time to groups of senior executives at one of the UK's leading financial services organisations. These are ambitious people with big jobs. They have only a few steps left on their career paths and the organisation wants to help them make those. That's where programmes like my Art of Mindful Leadership training come in.
Last year, while I was home alone, I had discovered something that sent a wave of shock through me. I had ventured into the basement for a work out when it was to my dismayed surprise that I noticed a very old robin stuck in our window well. I knew he was old because he he had grey tufts of hair surrounding his head like a halo, and the poor little guy didn't move very much.
The highest form of charity, argued the 12th-century Jewish philosopher Maimonides, is when the help given enables the receiver to become self- sufficient. But our systems of state charity - aka welfare - have too frequently had the opposite effect: they have actually created dependency. It is time to re-think the way we help people.