I have had a long and rich career
in journalism, working in all
kinds of roles for all kinds
of publications. At the moment
I am writing a weekly column
in the Daily Telegraph called
write to me with their problems.
I take one letter and look at
it in depth and I invite readers
to write back to me, which they
do, particularly when an issue
affects them deeply. So far
the issues which have aroused
the most controversy have been
the way we treat our servicemen
and women when they return home
from conflict, the problems
fathers face in staying in touch
with their children after divorce,
and the effect of internet porn
on individuals and their relationships.
I also write a monthly column
for Easy Living, gentle reflective
pieces in the style of my books.
Here is an extract from my
introductory column for Lifeclass.
You can find the full archive
of Lifeclass columns on www.telegraph.co.uk.
If you want to write to me with
a problem for Lifeclass, send
it to me at email@example.com.
I apologise in advance for being
unable to give individual replies.
Daily Telegraph August 1st,
What is bothering you? Something
is bothering you and whatever
it is you are not the only one.
Life changes at high speed and
millions of us are making up
the rules as we go along. The
language of human rights and
consumerism has come into the
arena of personal happiness
and not made us any happier.
Do we have a right to children?
To a work life balance? To great
sex? To a bit of life where
we can put ourselves first,
instead of the partner, the
children, the family, the job?
Should our adult children still
be living at home? Should we
forgive adultery? Do we have
a right to choose the time of
our death? There are no simple
answers, but I love putting
my mind to the problems….The
older I get the more I understand
how many of our dissatisfactions
are down to the way we think
and interpret the world. But
we can learn to think and interpret
differently and, when we do,
we find that the work looks
Even the worst situations
can be negotiated in an inspiring
way. That is what the Lifeclass
is about, learning to ride the
waves and not get swamped. The
waves are going to keep coming
no matter what we do…
I have learned that sometimes
there are no immediate answers
and that there are some situations
in our lives that never get
cleanly resolved. I have learned
that it is the unhappy times
in my life that have actually
pushed me into stretching myself
and learning more. I wish we
could learn through happiness
and ease, but pain and discomfort
are excellent teachers if you
pay attention. I have learned
to pay attention to all the
good times and to salute them
as they pass….
I can’t answer every letter
individually but I hope you
will write in a spirit of generosity
and contribution to the common
good, because even if you don’t
get a direct answer your letter
will not be wasted. The more
we all share our life experience,
the more everyone benefits.
The worst aspect of any difficulty
is that we feel so alone with
it, but someone, somewhere,
has gone through what you are
In this spirit, I would also
love to hear from people who
have done something that worked
– if you saved the marriage,
mended the relationship, found
the perfect job, made a successful
life shift, please tell me,
and us, how you did it. Together
we can create a collective wisdom.