Request heals

I used to play a lot of World of Warcraft. Sometimes, a group of us would fight our way through a dungeon together. The warrior would be at the front, taking the hits; the hunters and magicians behind him, raining arrows and fireballs upon the hostile ghouls; and the priest would be at the back, healing those who began to feel the damage. 

It’s the priest’s job to notice wounds and tend to them, but he invariably misses some now and then. When someone is hurt, and the holy spells aren’t reaching him, he just says “heals pls”, and his injuries are presently attended. 

This should be adopted into real life. Take care of others’ emotional states. Heal them when they seem to need healing. Give them reassurance, compliments, and unmeasured love – each in its measure, each in its time. 

And when you need some healing yourself, just ask. Ask in a neutral, earnest, undemanding tone. For instance: 

  • “I’m feeling a little fragile right now. Please be gentle.” 
  • “I’m going through a frustrating time with this novel of mine. Can you reassure me that I’m a competent writer despite my current struggles?” 
  • “My breakup was awful. Would you please hold me and softly coo to me for a while?” 

Don’t remain silent when you’re suffering. Request heals. 


A Thousand and One

Sometimes, you decide upon a glorious new habit. “I will do this every day,” you think. “And, in time, I will excel at it.” 

A dangerous thought. Too many of our dreams lie flat, unlived. They add to the great granary of regret, swell it to its very rafters, until distraction becomes the only relief for disappointment. 

Do it just once. Today. 

See what comes. 

Cynicism is the braking mechanism of the mind.

Cynicism is the braking mechanism of the mind.

It’s really important to have some brakes when you’re going down a windy mountain road – absolutely crucial! But its injudicious application is not going to help you. You don’t want to always be pulling over to the side of the road and checking with your GPS that you’re taking the optimal route.

People spend altogether too much time worrying about being made into fools.

Drive along a road you’ve never been on before, and see where it takes you.

Spell out your fears

Every time you’re afraid of doing something new and different, describe your fear to yourself in complete sentences. Include, in detail, the worst-case scenarios.

Suppose you’re on holiday in Tokyo, you’re sitting with a travel companion in a crowded Starbucks, and you discover it’s his birthday. The obvious thing to do here is to climb onto your chair, and to rouse the assembled coffeedrinkers into joining you for a spirited rendition of “Happy Birthday to You”.

But something holds you back. You are suddenly reticent. Let us be clear – reticence is a form of fear; and fear is to be fought, always, everywhere, with all the fervour and wit that one can muster.

Ask yourself what you are afraid of. You’ll come up with something like:

Everyone will look at me. And what if no-one joins in? I’ll feel a fool …

It is crucial that you not stop there. Keep digging.

Okay, I won’t feel a fool for long. And I’ll never see any of these people again. It’s not like my ranking in my particular social hierarchy will fall. But what if it gets really bad?

How bad is really bad?

Um … we get thrown out of the store.

So you high five your buddy and laugh all the way around the block into another cafe.

What if Warner Music chases me down for royalties?

Sing the fucking song.