Imagine being unable to stand everything about yourself. Your voice, your thoughts, your body, your personality. I can't now. Though years ago, I came pretty close. And if Jonny Benjamin can be honest, then so can I... It's several years ago now and feels like a different lifetime. I've been a happy person, getting even happier year on year since. But back then, after hitting rock bottom, in order to survive, I drew a line under these experiences and locked the memories away. I shoved them all in a box, along with my Shadow Self, so that they - and it - couldn't hurt me or anyone else anymore.
As we sat in the middle of our mats, eyes closed, James asked us to picture our 7 year old selves sitting in front of us. And as we breathed our ujjayi breath (ocean breathing) with mouths open, each of us looked into the quizzical face of our 7 year old selves as they looked back and asked, 'How are we doing? How are we doing as an adult?'
According to recent theory, the trend of taking "selfies" is actually linked to mental health conditions, with a focus on an individuals obsession with looks and image. Studies have revealed that the majority of teenagers who are image and body conscious, have a compulsion to repeatedly take and post selfies across social media sites.
If we are ever to have a hope of rebalancing the books, meeting the future costs of the NHS, and satisfying our pension liabilities we need to look beyond capitalism. It's served a fortunate few well, but it has failed the majority. It's time to bury it alongside socialism and look for a better successor to both.
On the 4th of January, 1960, at the age of forty six, Camus had planned to take a train back to Paris after a Christmas holiday with his wife and kids. At the last minute, Camus changed his mind and decided to travel instead with his publisher Michel Gallimard. During the journey, Gallimard's car slipped off the icy roads and smashed into a tree, immediately killing Camus.
The Assisted Dying Bill is long overdue because we can't keep forcing people to die in pain and misery against their will, or pressuring the terminally ill into committing gruesome acts of suicide as a last resort. We must realise that the right to life includes the right for individuals to make an informed decision to die in the way that they perceive to be the most dignified.
I learnt a new word during a yoga class this week: 'Yama'. Devoted yogis will probably point out that it's hardly a new word, having been around for centuries and centuries, but I'm an occasional yogi, and it's been going round and round in my head ever since. According to the yoga teacher who introduced me to it, Yama means not pushing yourself too far. In a world when we're constantly told to strive for more, to push our limits and test our boundaries, the idea of it being ok - and not just ok, but actually wonderful - to find a comfortable spot and just sit there for a while resonated.
Recognising the role of evolution and having a meaningful life are not mutually exclusive, and learning about the origins of our species should not strip modern people of our sense of meaning and significance, wherever we derive it from. At the very least, it should make us thankful that nature and evolution have instilled us with brains that let us even contemplate meaning at all.