Is this it?

10 June 2018

Is this it? All that life has to offer?

My door gives a satisfactory clunk as I pull it shut and turn the key. I let the railing take my weight as I go up the stair.

A few years ago, a carpenter from the Black Isle laboriously removed decades of paint from those stairs and railings. The house was build c. 1890.

Thirty-three cups of builder’s tea later we both stood in awe, enjoying the simple beauty he’d excavated from generations of white gloss. He wondered out loud why someone would have put such an ornate banister in such an ordinary small house.


I forget to remember this story as I slump on my bed, phone in hand and start scowling on Facebook. An hour later I emerge from social media feeling irritated and empty.

When I tune into my feelings I realise I feel very alone and with a sense I’ll always be so.

More than that, I have a sense that my looks and body are slowly but surely moving on a downward trajectory and there’s nothing I can do but watch.  When I tune into my thoughts I recognise that I’m in ‘Is this It? – Land’.

‘Is this It? – Land’ is a pretty dodgy place…

It’s a place where I attachment onto things that are beyond my control. It’s looks a bit like a murky stone cellar in a badly made BBC kidnap drama. It smells damps with a hint of an old ladies rose talcum powder. Despite the discomfort and darkness I’m overstaying in this cellar. I’ve let these very binary and closed thoughts seduce me. There can be a strange comfort in misery. It’s known, familiar and strangely safe.


10 July 2018

My door gives a satisfactory clunk as I pull it shut and turn the key. I let the railing take my weight as I go up the stair.

I love my stairs as they remind me of the beauty of ageing things.  

Today’s my birthday.

I’ve trained at the gym and want to cry with joy that my Achilles heel feels different. I slowly, tentatively took a lap of the track, like an infant learning to trust her legs for the first time.

Whilst working I feel connected,present and like there’s no work I’d rather be doing.

During lunch Scott texted me , asking me if I’d like to meet for a drink.

My meeting with my sister and little nieces tasted of hot freshly brewed coffee, felt like warm, soft ‘child’s pudding arms’ and sounded like kind and silly words and laughter.



It’s taken me most of my 41 years on this planet to learn how to manage my thoughts.

Knowing I choose what I let my mind rest on changes everything.

Knowing that I don’t need to be seduced by the ‘Is This It?’ thoughts.

Our circumstances don’t need to change for us to feel gratitude, contentment, possibility, hope and joy.

Psychology shows us that evolutionary all emotions have a purpose. There’s great benefit in allowing ourselves to feel the full range of emotions. Indeed as an ACT therapist I teach people the importance of accepting our internal experiences.

But at times we can get stuck. I certainly can. I get seduced by thoughts that aren’t helpful and that keep me stuck.

But when I notice I’m there, I can let my beautiful old banister hold me as I let the feelings move through me.  I can remember that I’m not my thoughts and feelings. They don’t define me and with practice at being more conscious I can notice them without being seduced by them. They can move through me whilst I get on with the business of living a meaningful life.


So, “Is this it?”

For me, it’s it for now and it’s pretty good.

And there’s an unwritten future that I haven’t even imagined yet.


As a counsellor and coach, it’s my joy to help others learn to manage their thoughts and to allow feelings to come and go. To dream again and to make those dreams real.  ‘Freedom’ and getting ‘unstuck’ are some words that describe part of what I do.

Find out more about counselling and coaching with me if any of this resonates with your experience and you’d like some help in getting unstuck.

4 thoughts on “Is this it?

  1. Kate Bacon says:

    “‘Is this It? – Land’ is a pretty dodgy place…

    It’s a place where I place attachment onto things that are beyond my control”

    What a great insight Shona – it’s so easy to forget that how we view ourselves and the world around us completely depends on what’s going on in our own mind. Thank goodness we all have the capacity to change our thoughts and therefore how are world appears.

    Happy Birthday! x

    • Shona Macpherson says:

      Kate, thank you so much for your comment. Yes that goodness we do! I find I need to keep reminding my self of this though – so easy to slip back into default mode! xx

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