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Choose Love

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Yes! We have finally said goodbye to the four builders who spent the past nine weeks refurbishing our small London home. While most of our belongings were safely tucked away in a dust-free storage cube down the road, we were to waltz around settling clouds of dust before bedding down for the night.

At 7.30, like clockwork, the four men would arrive on our patio. We had to time our kitchen sink wash just right to avoid making a spectacle of ourselves in front of the four-men crowd. Sometimes there were five or even six, if the job of the day required extra hands. When it came to leaving at the end of the day, they were a little less punctual. But usually we would have the building site back to ourselves from around 4.30 in the afternoon.

Normally, whenever I am not teaching or presenting away from home, I tend to return to write, study, practise and spend time with the kids after school. I love the simplicity and warmth of being at home. It is the place that makes me feel safe, that fosters my physical and mental wellbeing. It is where I practise yoga, which grounds me. It is where I meditate, which allows me to grow. So where was I to find home when the physical space that represented my habitual home, was constantly invaded by strangers and loud noises?

During the past nine weeks, a large chunk of my non-teaching time was spent in comfortable coffee shops with fashionable hot drinks. I would go for a swim followed by a sauna and a proper wash at the gym. There was my friend’s cozy place to which she had given me the key so I could make myself at home during the day. Or I would simply choose to wander through the London streets and discover new places. How lucky was I? Yet this lack of a familiar home still managed to cause me some degree of stress.

On one such ‘forced’ London wandering, I happened across the Choose Love shop in Soho and was drawn in by their tag line: “Imagine a world where you can shop your heart out, leave with nothing and feel great about it.” A mindful minimalist’s dream! Choose Love (https://choose.love/) turned out to be a pop-up shop with gifts that could make a real difference to someone’s life.

There are approximately 65 million people in the world today who are literally forced to leave their home, and this without the prospect of ever returning. These are people who have been driven out of their home and country due to persecution, war or violence. Their leaving was not a choice. Nor do they have access to warm coffee shops, hot showers or their friends’ cozy homes. Imagine the degrees of stress they must be experiencing. It simply makes sense to buy gifts that don’t come home with us but are sent directly to the uprooted refugees who truly need them. What’s not to love about that?

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