Stephanie Dorwick | Author | Your Name Is Not Anxious

Key Themes

“Stephanie Dowrick’s writing and career are characterised by motifs of renewal and re-imagining.. Dowrick’s work is eclectically informed and pioneering…” Felicity Plunkett, Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

“Simultaneously we can cultivate self-love, love for others and love for life itself. Energy and vision arise from this great trinity of experience.”

“Our true life lies at great depth within us.”

Some of the themes and key issues that underpin all of my work are:

the great humane virtues, social as well as personal wellbeing, relationships (personal and social), psychological and spiritual development, spirituality, religion, faith and interfaith inspired by the wisdom traditions, the power of belief and the need to question and examine those beliefs for their effects on ourselves and everyone around us, intimacy, ethics, peace-making, social justice, forgiveness, generosity, happiness, tolerance, kindness and compassion.

On Love

Love is not love except when it is generous.  Love is learned and developed through the way we live, how we make our choices, how we think about and treat other people. Love is often learned in tough moments, or in the face of suffering.  If it is not lived out through behaviour, love is nothing more than a nice idea.

It is empowering to live lovingly right now.  No need to wait for the perfect circumstances – or people.

Love is completely “natural”; but the skills of living lovingly – showing concern and respect for other people and for ourselves – often need to be learned.

Love your precious gift of life – then allow yourself to look around and value life in all its forms.  Appreciating your life (rather than complaining about it), may be the only change you will ever need to make.

The wellbeing of our communities and societies depends on each of us recognising that what we have in common is greater than what divides us.  That also makes our differences far less frightening.

On Generosity

Try for a single week assuming the best always – not looking for faults, not making other people “wrong”, not blaming. This will dramatically improve your connections with others, it will also make you feel easier about yourself.

Speak out loud the praise you might otherwise hold back.  Look for what you can appreciate and praise.

It is difficult to feel gloomy and thankful in the same moment.  Even in the midst of suffering, there will be moments of illumination, beauty, kindness,good humour.  Noticing them, and allowing yourself to receive them, is the finest emotional tonic you could have.

See yourself as a source of happiness for others. Think about what will lift other people’s spirits.  Do that. It is unfailingly empowering.

Watch out for those who are excluded and bring them “in”.  This might be small social situations, or at work, or in how you think about those on the margins.  It takes confidence to be an “includer” and it builds confidence.

“Considering others” is essential to maturity.  Listen closely to how you speak to other people; watch how you listen.  Liberate yourself from endless self-focus.

On Thinking

The thoughts that most preoccupy you absolutely shape your life. Get to know how you think as well as what you think about.  You have choices. Notice what you are choosing to talk about, read, listen to and believe.  Is enough of this uplifting, expansive, challenging?

In the face of sorrow, anxiety or panic, look at the situation with a more expansive and compassionate vision.  What can I learn here? What is needed?  How best should I move on?

Your moods and emotions are driven by your thoughts.  And thoughts can be changed.  Notice what draws your attention; notice how you can exercise choices.  Use your journal to deepen your thinking and to make most use of the great resource that is your own life’s experience.

On freedom

The greatest freedom you have is to choose your attitudes and responses – whatever the outer circumstances.

You are free to behave well whether or not other people “deserve it”. Waiting to see who deserves your kindness or thoughtfulness, you give away your power.

Behaving well – thoughtfully and with real interest in the wellbeing of others – you develop the only kind of power that really counts. (And no one can take it from you.)

On inspiration

See the goodness that is in the world, despite the suffering. Give yourself every chance to experience your positive connection to the experiences and reality of other people.

Experience how awesome nature is, even when it can also be indifferent.

Do things for the sheer joy: singing, walking, gardening, and eating with friends.

Cultivate freshness. Open to wonder and awe.  That involves internal permission and mindfulness in a deep way: “pausing”, looking and receiving (taking something in through your senses) is the place to start.

Tune in to something greater than yourself: meditate, sing, pray, trust, love. Let yourself experience that you are part of a wondrous universe.