The Power of Vulnerability

Redefining masculinity A few years ago, soon after leaving the military, I attended a Remembrance Day parade in a small village near where my parents were living. At this time, memories of Afghanistan were still a daily experience for me to endure but I had always welcomed the sombre tone of the parades as an opportunity to mourn collectively. When the time came for the wreaths to be laid down I duly stepped up and paid my respects, reflecting on the loss of so many of my fri

FEAR

How facing our fears increases our capacity to love Love is the opposite of Fear. Hate, jealousy, doubt, anger, violence are all the progeny of Fear. If you feel hatred, it is because you fear the subject of your hatred. If you feel jealous, it is because you fear not having something. If you doubt, it is because you fear what comes next and so on and so forth. All of these feelings are perfectly natural in our human experience and should not necessarily be denied but we can

The Principles of Joy

How acknowledging, focusing on and practising activities that bring me joy leads me to peace These Principles of Joy are my own. I do not believe in collective dogmatic approaches and it’s not my intention to introduce another spiritual dogma here. We each have our own process that works best for us. Here, I share my own, with the intention of highlighting just how transformative this process can be. High Quality Rest. For many many years, I have been an insomniac, sleeping a

Be Brilliant, Be Lazy

The Virtues of Laziness In 1933, the Chief of the German Army, General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, is attributed with a wonderfully insightful and original method for selecting his officers. “I divide my officers into four classes as follows: The clever, the industrious, the lazy, and the stupid. Each officer always possesses two of these qualities. Those who are clever and industrious I appoint to the General Staff. Use can under certain circumstances be made of those who a

"Baby Body, Baby Mind"

How a supple and flexible body leads to a healthier mind When I first approached my GP and asked for help with anxiety, I was offered two things: Drugs and counselling. At the time, I accepted both because it was all that was on offer but the truth is there are countless other tools for combatting mental health. We needn’t rely solely on pharmaceuticals and talking therapies as our only options. Of course, drugs and counselling have their value and can be lifesaving in some i

Appearances Are Deceptive

Those who appear toughest may be most in need of help The photo below was taken at the end of my tour in Afghanistan in 2008. What words come to mind when you look at it? “Hard”, “dangerous”, “violent”, “aggressive”, “tough”, “unapproachable”? It seems a fair assessment and, in this case, the camera doesn’t lie, I was all of those things. But what if I told you I was also desperately in need of help. My experiences in Helmand Province were profoundly life changing. While I’m

The Power of Compassion

How my experiences fighting in Afghanistan became the catalyst for peace Between 2004 and 2012 I served in the UK’s elite Parachute Regiment. The “Paras” are a highly trained, highly motivated and highly aggressive combat infantry unit that form the spearhead of the UK’s Armed Forces. They are shock troops and are excellent at what they do – defeating the enemy. During my time in the Paras, I fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the widespread destruction and devastation of