"It is troubling how many people expect applause, recognition, when they have not even begun to learn an art or craft. Instant success is the order of the day; 'I want it now!' I wonder whether this is not part of our corruption by machines. Machines do things very quickly and outside the natural rhythm of life, and we are indignant if a car doesn't start at the first try. So the few things that we still do, such as cooking (though there are TV dinners!), knitting, gardening, anything at all that cannot be hurried, have a very particular value." (May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude, W W Norton, 1973, 15.)

Let's remember what Christmas is actually about to counter the stress and sadness

Simon Smart
JChristmas Prayer
A psychologist friend told me recently that she and her colleagues are always overbooked at this time of year.
Make a note, if you need some time on the therapist's couch in December you'll need to get in early.
Conversations with friends this week certainly evoked a sense that, even when cognitive behavioural therapy isn't part of the mix, gritting teeth to endure the festive season is. Often rueful jokes about in-laws or wayward brothers mask a profound sadness that life hasn't turned out the way we'd hoped.
How did this happen? Where did the magical Christmases we enjoyed as children go? Read more