As I sit here wondering what to talk about my mind keeps thinking about dancing and how I haven’t been doing much at all lately. My body has this odd disconnected yearning when I tune into it and there is nothing that my mind is doing at this moment that makes any difference at all to this physical sensation. In fact the mind can help the body to relax by using it’s capacity for understanding but there are times when talk is cheap and the only thing to do is to dance! My Beloved and I are no longer running a monthly dance and our local musical co-op closed down at the start of the year so the possibilities for going out and dancing have been less in our town.
That of course is no excuse and barely makes it in as a valid reason even, dancing can happen anywhere including when we are at home all alone. A FB friend just had a dancing challenge where she danced for half an hour every morning with her kids, what a good idea I thought to myself as I clicked on ‘going’. You can guess where I am going with this, I did not do one formal dance session in the two week period. And I LOVE to dance, when I manage to have a really good movement session I feel AMAZING! This is starting to sound a lot like a recent post on meditation and how I wasn’t managing to get myself on the cushion in spite of how beneficial it is to my health. Well I have made it to at least a couple of meditation classes since then but as for a regular practice, forget it.
So what to do? The first thing that comes to mind is that it would be useful to talk to my Beloved about this issue and see if we can come up with a buddy system that supports regular movement for us both. I’m thinking dancing here, it’s usually sensible to do one thing at a time and as a deep lover of the transformational energies of dance I know that if I create the space my body will adore moving the energy in this way. The other idea I’ve had is to run a weekly dance class that goes for an hour and call it “Dance For Joy!” I can’t be the only person who has this problem and I love the vision of a room full of people laughing and dancing to an eclectic mix of tunes old and new. If you have a look there are often plenty of meditation classes for people to attend but dance classes where you get to do your own thing are not so common. So this will be my next focus for a class but in the meantime I will see what I can do about moving this gorgeous body of mine a little more often.
The spirit in motion heals, expands, circles in and out of the body, moving through the layers of consciousness from inertia to ecstasy. Open to the spirit, and you will be transformed.
And I will continue with my gratitude practice because that helps with pretty much anything and everything! I’m noticing as I feel gratitude and visualise my body in motion that my mood is lifting even as the body’s yearning becomes more pronounced. So what kind of incredible transformation might be possible when I actually dance in real time with an open heart and mind. I’m smiling and feeling very excited at the prospect!
On the edge of a cramp my belly craves chocolate and sugar which is surprisingly delivered at 8.30am in the glove box of my car as I return the driving sunglasses to their home. No breakfast at home and now artificial stimulation is glaringly there just as my willpower says “You’ve got to be kidding!” and promptly eats a row before I settle into five minutes of meditation. This is no clear space of light and clean with mindfulness sparkles gleaming out into the urban landscape. There has been no natural organic segue from sleepiness to waking alertness on my more traditional nine to five day. The trees and sunshine do their best to draw me back into the earthly realms as they wink and smile at me but part of me feels quite disconnected.
Part of this feeling is my reluctance to come back after a five day holiday that my Beloved and I took at the beginning of our house sit almost two weeks ago. So lovely to let go of the everyday world and especially the online one, a wonderful convenience but it does impact on our organic selves in ways that are not always helpful. The more sensitive I become in the world the more I notice when I’m not feeling connected to the natural world. It’s easy in modern society to sometimes forget that we are natural beings and that much of what creates happiness for us comes from inner resources. It isn’t so easy in front of a computer in an office to reconnect with that place so I tend to focus on my body as a doorway or bridge from one realm to another. When I arrive at the car park I consciously connect with the trees and the birds and if it’s too wet to sit for my meditation I at least spend a moment with my hand on the trunk of a tree.
And even then I can fall prey to unexpected windfalls of chocolate and get caught up in the concrete and steel, the humming of lines of energy, seen and unseen. So the first part of navigating days like this one are just about practicing mindfulness and not giving yourself a hard time when your actions are not always peaceful. If you notice sensations of disconnection then that may be a victory in and of itself! Even if you can’t seem to get back into the flow be grateful that your inner growth has fostered deeper understanding and the ability to see more clearly what is happening in your body, mind and spirit. If you persist with this process you will improve the quality of your life. I can say this with great certainty as this has been my experience so far, the more I bring awareness to me and to my life the happier I become overall.
Don’t Belong Here by Alena Beljakova is part of a series of images that deals with the increasingly insulated and disconnected nature of modern urban life. This particular image is an effective allegory of the modern condition- it shows human disconnection from each other and also from nature
The time before we forget!
But there always seem to be times of varying energy levels in life’s tapestry and the trick is to ride the waves whatever the speed, to wherever it is that life wants to take us to next! I for one would like to take a moment to thank Life for all that it brings to me and especially for the gift of my dear Beloved who brings a song into my heart every day in every way. Aho!
The world is a very noisy place these days and silence something that many people actively avoid. I consider myself a reasonably conscious human being and yet I find myself doing the very same thing even though I know perfectly well that being silent is a great way of tuning in to deeper feelings and sensations. So what is so hard about simply sitting in silence? On my lunch break when I work a full day I usually go out to the balcony where I can breathe fresh air and see the sky and feel the wind on my face. And I know that once I’ve finished eating that the best way of spending the rest of my break time is to sit in meditation. Then the next thing I know I’m looking at Facebook on my phone and getting caught up in all of that stuff and I only manage a few minutes of actually sitting in stillness.
And yet sitting silently with deep feelings has been a huge part of my healing and growth. I know how valuable it is from my own experience but it is still a struggle to make myself stop and just sit. Our society doesn’t place any value in such an activity and we are indoctrinated at an early age to get out there and do things rather than spend time sitting around daydreaming. The phrase “Silence is Golden” is about being quiet while you work hard at what you’ve been told to do. The idea that there might be some benefit in the space created by silence gets lost as we pursue the next goal or task. Houses are full of the sound of television and our roads resound with engines and brakes and horns.
So how can we rewrite this programming? How can I deliver on my promise to myself to do more regular meditation? Force of will is not a method that appeals to me but as I get more and more frustrated I am ready to try just about anything! Making a witnessed commitment in the last few posts has also been a failure up to this point. I’m feeling tired as I write this and my brain feels completely stymied and yet an answer floats up almost immediately. It consists of one word, gratitude. When you feel grateful your mood shifts and thus it is an elegant way of moving from one state of consciousness to another. So if I am wanting to be quiet and am meeting resistance the best response I can make is to fill that space with all the things that I am grateful for. It almost seems too good to be true but it does give me an easy technique to apply in my quest for inner peace and outer prosperity.
It’s worth a shot anyway, maybe even a gratitude diary where I write down all the things in my life that I am grateful for. As a lover of improvisation I will probably make it up as I go along ! And who knows what will happen as I spend more and more time in meditative spaces, many of the thorny issues I’m currently facing may turn into beautiful roses smelling sweet!
Hooray! At last I am properly organised to offer online and phone readings for those who are not able to come and see me in person. This has been one of those things my Beloved and I have been talking about for ages and ages and finally it is done. Do you sometimes have the experience of knowing what to do but somehow finding it impossible to do certain things however simple they may seem in practice? Well that’s how it’s been for me with this particular enterprise. I can’t give you a formula for how to achieve this but I do know that for some of us this sort of change can only come through a deep shedding.
My Beloved and I spent a few weeks living in a fearful space where it ‘felt’ like our survival was being threatened. We took responsibility for our part in creating the situation and then made our plans to get out as quickly as possible. In this process we both had an enormous shift and for me it had a lot to do with letting go of my fears of being able to survive in the world. When we found a great place to move into straight away it felt like a reward for our response to the life lesson being presented. Even so it is taking quite a bit of processing and constant mindfulness to keep going with the momentum of this big shift. Just because you have let go of stuff doesn’t mean that everything suddenly becomes ‘easy’.
This is the point at which it is easy to get frustrated because you know you have made progress but it doesn’t ‘feel’ like it. You look around yourself and wonder if all the effort you put in to make the shift was actually worth it. This is where the one step at a time policy is absolutely invaluable, identify what tasks need to occur and then tackle them one at a time. So I guess you could put that bit into some kind of formula, but if you have deep issues that are in the way of where you want to go then you will have to go within and find whatever is creating the obstruction. It helps if you can be content without cut and dried answers to your questions too. When connecting to inner realms we are moving within a space where our logical left brain will struggle to make sense of things.
Meditation in some form will help of course but in order for it to work you actually have to do it! I promised myself at least two formal sits after my post last week but I have to ‘fess up and admit that it hasn’t happened. But there have been a few informal moments of going into stillness and even that has helped enormously. So I now solemnly promise that I will sit to meditate for at least two twenty minute sessions in the next week. Being witnessed makes it that much more powerful! And if you are curious about having a reading with me check out the all new Intuitive Counselling page!
How I would like to spend Winter!
I’m looking for inspiration at the moment, what to write, what to do, how to go forward in a world that often seems to be completely insane. If only my society valued being compassionate and caring about others as much as it does a six figure salary! All the wishing in the world won’t change my immediate experience however, so how to find motivation for myself in my own small part of the world is the challenge. With Winter finally having arrived the desire is to burrow inward and stay out of the big bad world as much as possible. Where I am there has been some rain followed by days of gusty wind and I have noticed that this kind of weather has me feeling quite disturbed. It’s like the wind has a voice and it sounds just a bit like a howling ghost from some terrible horror movie.
But time moves on apace as Shakespeare would no doubt have said and I have a life to get together, funds to raise, a wedding to organise. My strong desire to curl up under the doona with my Beloved will have to wait as I forge ahead patiently doing one task after another. This is without being attached (yeah right) to the outcomes of what I am doing. Oh I wish I had achieved that level of enlightenment but I rather think I have a bit of a way to go on that front. Last week one of my tasks was to put together the playlist for the Ecstatic Dance that I run with my Beloved once a month and I was really delighted with the fruits of my effort. Then on the morning we have one person turn up who is obviously uncomfortable being the only participant who leaves before the first song is over. I managed to avoid going into deep depression and even stayed fairly positive considering, but I was definitely not detached.
Even as I feel the frustration and a sense of helplessness I get answers streaming through from the realm of Spirit, or from God or Goddess, whatever name you have for such things. It tells me to meditate and to go within, to connect with the deeper reality that lies beneath all our surface thoughts and actions. Whatever answers I may require are all to be found in that place, the source of creation, the still place that lies inside us all. I know this so very well but still I get stuck in the loop of negative thoughts going round and round in the same old place they always have. It isn’t nearly as bad as it has been in the past, feeling hopeless is a much smaller part of the whole shebang but the frustration is much greater with the passage of time. My realisation in my last post about the mind needing reassurance comes to the surface of my consciousness. Meditating and being still would help my poor mind feel more optimistic about the future for sure!
We often search for clever looking answers to our big questions, but the truth is usually simple and generally not particularly glamorous. Not sure how many times I may need to hear this to truly get the message through my thick skull but let’s hope for zillionth time lucky shall we! Looks like it’s back to the drawing board (I mean cushion) to dip into the depths of life, the universe, and everything. Aho!
It’s been a long journey of integration since we returned from Vipassana, and I have not felt like writing much. I’ve enjoyed doing some drawing and often with my Beloved, so nice to share a flowing, creative and spontaneous process with each other. I had a day in the flow as I shopped online for a blender and handed out some flyers, and felt the butterflies in my belly as the first “Buddha Meets Your Body” class here in our home town is on tomorrow. Our Facebook event link is: https://www.facebook.com/events/676253365851284/ I went shopping for dinner and sent my hard working man off to his men’s group with a belly full of baked fish, potato and carrot mash, and a salad. Veggies all organic, feel very happy where I live, beautiful people in this community who are kind and who care and embody that quality in their lives. I felt as I ate dinner tonight as if I had truly arrived in this funky little space of ours, after a deep, deep voyage that it has taken some time to come back from.
My Beloved and I at the door to our little hobbit home! Photo by Ulli Hansen.
So I think I will try to publish a post a week but it will come when it comes, I need motivation to do things regularly and it doesn’t come from routine for me. For me creativity tends to flow with the sweet chaos of the feminine and I love to improvise and be in the moment, and in my body especially. I have been having a super interesting time watching my thoughts, I can see how there is a tendency for them to flow in a not so supportive way. The more formal practice is starting to come, the plan is to do 20 minutes a day as well as starting every morning with 5 minutes of focusing on the breath. It feels like I am developing the facility of being informed about great injustice in the current system without adding unnecessary mental anguish to the equation. Just as the mental attitude adds more pain to the experience of pain in the body, we can be in really intense emotional pain that is part circumstance or situation and part mental. What we think about our situation really has an impact on how we feel, observe the sensations and let go of the story, then see what is left. Doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do, it is not a recipe for being passive. It’s just up to you what you do, nobody can do everything.
At the moment it feels like I need to focus on “The Love Bubble Presents”, running classes with my Beloved is a lovely way to work in a group. I can do what I do well and leave a lot of the talking to him, I hold space and connect people to their bodies. The more we do the less nervous I may become but there is often an anticipation before stepping into a performance space which can help with the focus. And I really have had a lovely flowing day, the butterflies were simply a sensation I noted quite strongly earlier in the morning. There is a trace there now but it is just a sensation and it will pass, and that will leave the excitement at the unfolding of my Beloveds and my creative vision for a purposeful, prosperous life. The Facebook link for “The Love Bubble Presents” is:
This is me at Woodford on New Years Day 2016. Photo by the amazing Ulli Hansen.
The silence on this blog has stretched on for somewhat more than just ten days, perhaps it has provided a welcome relief to all the noble chatter that has gone on in the three years since inception.I say noble chatter with the greatest respect, it has been the most wonderful place to express my thoughts and feelings with honesty and being as open as I can be. And it will continue, this is not a preamble for a dissolution, but some things have been dissolved and so as I continue in all aspects of my life it will be interesting to see how that letting go has made a difference.
I have done long retreats but never one like this Vipassana and I am truly impressed with not only the process itself but also with the organisation that keeps it going in the world and that makes it available to all completely through donation. It does not matter how much money you have or how little, whether your status in the world is high or low. Are you prepared to renounce the life that you live for ten whole days and to live as a monk or nun might, hours of meditation and bells telling you where you are meant to be at certain times. I always felt a great attraction to this life and so when the opportunity presented itself I threw myself in at the deep end, by the time I got half way through I must have been doing between 6 and 8 hours of meditation every day.
It was not easy, especially on the physical side of things, sitting for many hours in stillness is not something my body is used to. And yet the pain was such an amazing teacher, even in the moments when I wanted to scream with the intensity of the sensation I felt gratitude to the experience. That has to be a sign of spiritual maturity surely! When you can be thankful in moments like that your eventual understanding is assured. Watching this pain over many hours I couldn’t help but notice that it wasn’t always the same, and the less importance I gave it the less intense it became. So when in the discourse the teacher spoke about adding our mental pain to the physical sensation I understood what he was saying with my body not just with my mind. When I simply observed without reacting the intensity of the sensation became so much less. I was observing the sensations in my body as they were in each moment, sounds like such a simple thing and yet it has had a profound effect upon my deeper self.
The process we went through was described to us as being like a surgeon operating very deeply into our minds, the part that is left untouched by the majority of people in this culture. So I am different as a result but what that will mean in my life is something that will unfold over the following months and even years. There will be another 10 day retreat in there at some point. and a regular sitting for my Beloved and I once a week for an hour. And the increased awareness that I now have of bodily sensations can be a part of every moment that I experience. There will be more reflection on all of this for sure but that will do for now, enough that I am happy and well and enjoying this wonderful life on Earth! Namaste.
As I searched for images for this post I found a hilarious account of a Vipassana experience, you will laugh even if you’ve never done it, if you have please check out this link, especially if you could do with a good belly laugh!