Tuesday 29 November 2011

Love heals

Our fears reflect our hurts, according to Marianne Williamson.  The parts of ourselves that we want to hide, to protect, to cover up and defend are those parts of ourselves, of our character, where we have been hurt in the past.

This makes perfect sense to me; the characteristics that I was praised for, I accept and allow to shine.  The characteristics I was rebuked for or that were made fun of by the people who mattered at that time, I tend to hide.  Yet most of those characterisitics are not necessarily 'bad'; they were just not acceptable then.

When they are pointed out now, I get defensive and either pull back or react unconsciously, attempting to distract my 'enemy' with a smart comment, joke, or an equally wounding observation about them.  After all, we do know where our loved-ones buttons are located too.

The way to heal our wounds, thereby healing our fears, is through love and acceptance, Williamson says.  When we are seen and accepted, without judgement, the wounded parts we hide seem to soften and, over time, they melt and disappear.

This is one of the spiritual purposes of intimate relationships, healing through love.  When we provide a safe space for our loved ones to be, without censure or judgement, we create a healing space for them and for ourselves.  When we accept them as they are, not for how we want them to be, we create a healing space for them and for ourselves.

I have to admit that I'm not there yet.  I still give out to Dirk (thereby creating a wounding) for the most mundane things.  But at least Williamson's perspective has given me a vision of how I would like our family life to be, a vision of a safe, loving and healing space for all of us.  And it is towards that vision that I strive now, even if I haven't made it yet.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Miracles do happen

I lost my mobile phone on Saturday.  I only realised it when Dirk rang the number so I could find it!  I couldn't find it.  But someone did answer the phone.

"Are you looking for your phone back?" they asked.

Dirk quickly handed me the phone!

"Em, yes please...?" I replied, somewhat sheepishly.

"You must have left it here, at the coffee kiosk at the Christmas Fair, come and collect it," replied a very warm and helpful voice.

Here's the anomaly, while we were at the Christmas Fair, I was no where near the coffee kiosk.  How ever my phone left my bag, it made its way through at least one helpful person who handed it into the lovely lady at the kiosk.

London living can be quite taxing: the crowds, the speed, the stress... but in moments like this, when a chain of kind strangers reunite me with my smart phone, I cannot help but be impressed by the kindness of strangers.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

New dawn, same path

I love being a mother, but when everyone else has jobs as well as motherhood, I wonder who am I to be so lucky that I can spend this time with my son.  I know it's because I haven't got any of the jobs I've applied for, so it's a double edged sword.  On the one side, I'm delighted to have the time with James and on the other side, I wonder how I'm so unemployable.

Thank goodness sleep cleanses the mind.  I'm not feeling so forlorn or failing as last night.  I am on my path.  Patience.

Recently, facebook suggested as a 'friend' a teacher I really admire.  I would never have thought of friending her, as I simply assumed she was too far outside my league but, according to facebook, we had two mutual friends.  Who could they be?

When I checked, I could have laughed.  Of course it was them!  They are my successful friends, the two who are known internationally in their chosen fields.  But, as I thought about them, what struck me is how different they are from each other.  One uses every ounce of her will power to achieve all that she has achieved.  The other is constantly surrendering every situation to a higher power, waiting for her intuition to show her the next step.

If I'm like one of them, it's the Surrenderer.  That is my path, my natural way.  I believe that the spiritual path must surely be one that calls forth and amplifies the best in us, not forces us to be what we are not. Applying this to my fear of not living up to my potential, of not being 'enough', brought two insights.

First, I realised that the divine isn't looking at me thinking, 'she's so lazy'.  No, that's me.  That's my ego.  That's my fear speaking.  It's not the thought of divine love.  Seeing myself from a different perspective, outside myself, I realised that I'm not being lazy, and God is not judging me harshly: I'm the only one doing that.

The second thing I realised was that my path is where it is right now.  I may wish for a path that has more social status, higher visiblity, or a more socially endorsed contribution, but that is not where I am.

With time, this too will change, and I will know what to do and when, by surrendering and listening for the voice of intuition, feeling for the tug of soul.

Monday 21 November 2011


When I die, what would I like to be remembered for?  Why would I have made a difference?  What would my legacy be? 

Perhaps it's full-time motherhood, perhaps it's not getting a job yet, but I'm wondering what's the purpose of my life.  While James is the most incredible blessing, I just can't help wondering what I have to show for my life... perhaps at this point, I should buy a red sports car!  Oh yes, no job, so no sports car - darn it, I thought that might help!

I would like to be remembered for making a real contribution to making the world a more peaceful and loving place.  That's what I care about: love and peace.  That is what matters to most people, once they stop thinking about the bills... or sports cars.   Every one of us has an internal homing beacon, quietly calling out for peace and love.

We are looking to feel peaceful, whether that's deep self-acceptance, or trust that the universe will provide for us and that our needs will be met.  And we are searching for love, to give it, to receive it and, to experience deep self-acceptance, self-love.

Identifying what truly, deeply matters to me is wonderful.  But it's just a first step.  I have no idea how to apply that in this world.  And, more disappointingly, I find I have difficulty even summening these qualities in my own life at the moment. 

Is it because society values work above all other occupations?  Possibly.  Being a full-time mum isn't given much kudos in society at present, which is typical of a society that undervalues what is of true import. 

I have lost myself to the 'outer world' and that's the wrong place to search for love and peace.  What matters, I'm learning, is the inner world.  It is only within that I can create peace and love for myself, regardless of what is happening in the external world.  No one and no thing can ever do that for me.

And again... Breathe in... Breathe out... Breathe in...

Thursday 17 November 2011

Inside out

I think I have lived my life on three dimensions.  Indeed, I continue to do so, for better or worse.  There is the external world, the world of coming and going, doing and achieving, acting and reacting.  That's the every day world that I get lost in, time and again, day in, day out.  I get lost in it and think it's real, that the slings and arrows that abound can hurt me.

Then there's the internal mind world.  That's where I think about the external world: I plan, I dream; I fear, I regret; I act and react. I'm thinking about what's going on, about the slings and arrows, lost in the drama of it, all this glorious doing and thinking.

The third world is the internal heart world.  That's where I be.  That's the space of peace and of love, of acceptance and surrender.  This is where I reconnect with the person I am becoming, it is where the best of me resides.

It takes so much mindfulness to return to this world, the inner world of the heart.  It is from here that I draw strength and optimism, insight and compassion.  I believe that heaven on earth is when we move from our heads to our hearts, from fear to love.  When we live from the inside out.

Monday 14 November 2011

Transforming the Path

There is not one friend of mine at present who is not facing a significant life challenge.  My life is no different.  Indeed, in almost every life, there will be one theme, one aspect, one drama that keeps on playing itself out in various guises, time and time again. 

This is our archtypal quest.  The path that provides us with the greatest opportunities for growth.  For most of my life, I've tried to change the world outside, to deal with the challenge, to find the solution: in short, to get rid of the problem.  Because once the problem is gone, I will feel better.  Yes? 

No.   That is the logic of the mind and fear.  I'm no longer convinced that this is the solution.  Rather than resist our Dao, our Way, our Path, perhaps it is in accepting and embracing our Path that the breakthrough happens. 

I am increasingly inclined to believe that transformation occurs within, not without.  Transforming my Inner world is what will lead to transformation in my Outer world.  Tapping into forgiveness, patience, kindness, peace or even love, any positive emotion, brings us one step closer to living through our hearts, to living through love.  We may even have to forgive ourselves for being so very harsh with ourselves every time we have walked the path up to now.

We are all faced with challenges.  If we can remain open, if we can respond with curiosity, kindness and patience, then we can begin to generate deep transformation in our Inner world.  Then the happenings of the Outer world affect us less.  And ultimately, I believe, the Path will become effortless, because the learning will be complete, so it will have served its purpose.  And its purpose is our healing.

Sunday 13 November 2011

Just one step ahead

I've read so much about manifestation and the power of positive thinking and I've come to the conclusion that, clearly, reading is different to doing or being.  Or even manifesting, in this this case.  We still live in our 'bijou' one-bed flat and somehow, the eight-bedroomed Georgian country house has not manifested!

I realise that I have been feeling an undercurrent of guilt that I have not managed to manifest a job or a house (not even a two bedroomed house with potential).  I have been supressing a small voice that has worried that I have somehow 'not done it properly' or that I must be too negative a person if our life circumstances haven't changed. 

Today, Sam, suggested that nothing in life is about going from A to Z in a single bound.  At best, we can from from A to B.  And then on to C.  Society appears to be obsessed with instant change at the moment: instant fame, instant house make overs, instant millionaires, instant body changes.  For a very small minority, this may happen, but for most of us, life is more gentle, more incremental and less radical.

So Sam's idea, to focus on the next small step; to imagine the next possible good thing in life is a much gentler approach, a much kinder approach. 

Keeping hope alive is good, because I believe it helps us stretch ourselves to our next point of growth.  Paradoxically, this is juxtaposed with my own belief that accepting the present, rather than trying to force the future, may just be my path.  While the instant millionnaire makeover is possible, gently appreciating what is, is where true peace is found, not yearning, wanting, guilt or fear.

Monday 7 November 2011


I'm not sure how it got there, but lying under our bed, was an angel card.  If it were our bed at home, I could understand it, but the bed in a holiday gite in France?  That seemed a little special.

When I turned over the card, it read "Transformation".  I was excited.  I thought this heralded a new start, wonderful happenings... a lighter brighter me.  I was wrong.

I feel as though I have been living in a hall of mirrors for the past two months.  Every negative thought, word and deed has been mirrored grotesquely back to me.  Last night I told Dirk that I used to think I was a nice person, but all I can see right now is the less-than-beautiful knots in my character.  It has started to wear me down.  Where does all this meanness, lack of forgiveness, and sarcasm come from?

I felt as though I was going backwards: that is if there is a backwards or forwards in the spiritual journey: until today.  This morning I read that when we invite the divine into our lives, when we pray to be transformed so that our light shines more brightly - as I have done - it is not the beauty that comes forth. 

It's the muck that lies below the surface that bubbles up, for those are the spots outside comfort zones, the points where we live in fear, not love. 

The process of transformation is to burn through those shadows, like the sun evaporating the early morning mist.  The ride is bumpy, but the secret, they say, is not to believe in the illusion of the shadows and to focus on the light.  It's form of mental discipline to keep returning to the heart, to love and acceptance, each time I stumble into fearful thoughts.

It is a comfort to know that I am on point ... all appearances to the contrary! 

Tuesday 1 November 2011

The Velvet Revolution

Our world is broken on so many levels that the challenge of healing the hurt and pain that oozes from every aspect of our society can feel overwhelming. Society globally is calling out for a makeover.  Not the external kind: an internal makeover.  A shift from head to heart, from fear to love, from cynicism to trust.

No prophet has ever preached fear.  They come in love, they offer us love and they invite us to love.  It could not be simpler, it could not be kinder and it could not be gentler.  It is a velvet revolution of the heart.

None of us are asked to get from A to Z, to change the world single handedly.  We are, however, invited to change our corner of the world, to step from A to B.  The easiest, fastest way to do this is to open our hearts.  Moving from fear to love, from despair to hope, from cynicism to kindness is the most immediately impactful action any of us can take to begin healing our planet.

I know from my own life that moving out from behind my armor is not always easy, but it is rewarding, I finally feel that no matter how minute a contribution my kindness may make, it is indeed that: a genuine contribution to the velvet revolution of love that is swaddling our hearts and swaddling our planet.

The Velvet Makeover

Television is obsessed with makeover shows.  Their appeal lies in their ability to bring out the inner beauty that we all believe resides deep within us.  If only someone could see it...

Our inner beauty is not a figment of our imagination.  It is real.  Each and every one of us has a unique beauty, but most of us have erected walls around ourselves and our wounds, preventing others from approaching us honestly, genuinely and openly.  In guarding ourselves from possible pain, we hide our own light and deprive those around us from the warmth and comfort our light could offer them.

While we cannot all appear on makeover shows to reveal our inner godess, we can all reveal our inner goodness.  We can allow the light we have hidden for so long to shine on others.  This is the light of charisma and genuine charm. 

It is our inner light, our kind gaze, our compassionate listening that allows others to feel nourished and beautiful in our company.  In creating our own inner makeover, we automatically call forth the deep inner beauty of others.  As we reflect our light, from one to another, we enlighten ourselves and our world.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Under the covers

I've been hiding.  From world, not from myself.  No indeed.  I've been going through a horrible process of transformation.  I've heard others talk about it, but had never experienced it myself: when we sees only our faults.  Over and over again.  Day in, day out. 

I wanted to go deeper and deeper I went.  Below the sugar coated, nice-girl image I have of myself and into the shadowlands.  I've seen a lot of my own shadow.  So much, in fact, that now I'm ready to surrender it, to bless it and release it.

It is the synchrony of a sublime intelligence that, at the same time as this process was unfolding within, I started reading a book that told me exactly what to do when we meet our shadow side.  Marianne Williamson is probably the authority on A Course in Miracles; in A Return to Love, she says that we are unable to turn our shadow into light ourselves, that is the job of the divine.  How right she is, if I could have done it by now, I would have. 

Here I am, decades after starting my spiritual journey, and still airing the same mean, fearful, tight thoughts.  Getting past them is not my job; thank goodness because I don't know how and, in fact, I'm fed up of trying to figure out how.  She suggests that all shadowlands thoughts can be transformed by offering them to the Divine, in the form of the Holy Spirit. 

This means I'm praying nearly all day as each time I recognise those repetitive, tight thoughts, I pray for their transformation and then I surrender them.  Thoughts that have plagued me and shamed me for decades, I can now surrender to a power beyond myself.  I no longer feel I need to 'own' them or punish myself for having them: I can let them go, knowing that one day, they will dissipate and eventually dissolve.

Walking the spiritual path isn't always light-filled.  Sometimes we dip into our own darkness, into the crevices we'd rather ignore; rather than pretending those thoughts don't exist, letting them go with love must surely be a wiser path.

James first word

After careful consideration, our year old has finally pronounced his first word. 


He's said it not just once, but many times.  And on many days.  He obviously knew what it was: it just took us a while to catch up.  And the first word is...


What a random choice!  He loves looking at the squirrels in the garden, but for that to be his first word?!  He knows who Daddy is.  He can even say Dada.  But he hasn't stuck the label 'Dada' to Daddy.  I'm not sure he's linked Mama to me.  I thought he had one day, but the next day it was gone.  But squirrel, that has stuck.  He knows exactly what it is, day in, day out.

Sometimes, you just have to love the curveballs of life.  Six months breastfeeding counts for nought when juxtaposed with a cute wee squirrel!

I guess that won't be the last time my son reminds me I'm not the centre of his world!

Tuesday 7 June 2011


I used to love writing this blog but, recently, I can't seem to find the words or the ideas to express myself.  What I say here seems too bland, too superficial. 

As my journey progresses, I'm discovering that going deeper, both internally and spiritually, requires much less, not more.  Less words, less busy-ness, less concepts, less struggle, less chatter...

The silence and peace within seems too deep to express.  My writing here seems too shallow.  So, I'm not sure when I'll write again, or indeed what there is to say. 

Until then...

With love and infinite blessings...

Friday 27 May 2011

I'm not my thoughts

I used to think that I was my thoughts.  I thought that my thoughts and my consciousness were the same thing.  It turns out, they're not.

Even after years on the spiritual path, I've found it very difficult to separate out my thoughts from consciousness.  It is only recently that I have begun to discern the Awareness behind my thoughts.  I am conscious of my thoughts but they are not Me.  That Awareness, that consciousness is Me. 

I still exist, even on those rare occasions when I'm not thinking.  The Awareness is Me, not the thoughts. 

This comes as an enormous relief because I have spent so long trying to have the 'right' thoughts.  I've attempted to cultivate the thoughts that make a 'good person' and banish the thoughts that didn't enhance my idea of what a 'spiritual person' thinks. 

It's a weight off my mind, quite literally, to discover that it really doesn't matter what I think because I'm more than my thoughts.  I can let the thoughts come and go, I don't have to like some and dislike others, I don't have to disown some thoughts and encourage other thoughts.  I can simply let them ebb and flow, like the tide.  They are not Me and I'm not judged by them.

I am the awareness underneath those thoughts.  I'm pure beingness.  The thoughts are the voices of my ego, trying to entice me back into drama, fear, guilt... The awareness is peaceful.  It is devoid of drama, ven as my thoughts create one soap opera after another out of my life.

Now those soap operas are no longer my identity.  I can watch those thoughts play out and I don't have to embrace or reject them.  I can just watch them as they ebb and flow. 

I still get caught up in them, but they are no longer 'me'.  I know that I can become aware of them and then I slide below them into pure beingness.  That is where I find peace now.

Monday 23 May 2011

Making decisions...What would love choose?

When you make a decision, what do you consider?  Do you think about the pros and cons or maintaining the status quo, or even escaping a difficult situation?  As we get older, I've noticed that most of us make 'safer' decisions.  But 'safe decisions' limit us.  What if there was another way, a way of discerning the decision that would free up our energy, enthusiasm and vitality?

Rather making decisions with the mind - which is ruled by the ego, that voice in our heads that wants everything to remain the same - we can also make decisions with the heart.  And by the heart, I don't mean the romantic heart, our emotional centre, which can sometimes be lazy and selfish.  What I'm talking about is the Universal Heart, our Soul.

Making decisions that are aligned with our Soul and our greatest potential can unlock enormous riches, from creating new opportunities to expanding our world beyond the self-imposed walls our desire for safety has created. 

So how do we make decisions that have the potential to transform our lives?  First, let me say that the mind is a wonderful and highly useful tool.  By all means, write out a list of pros and cons.  At least it will help you clear out your thoughts which may distract you.  Then, take the opportunity to go a level deeper, to simply sit in silence with your question and see what subtle answers begin to emerge.  These subtle answers may be crisp and clear, or soft and almost ephemeral.  They way to distinguish them from the ego is how they make you feel. 

Soul decisions have a unique quality to them: they will always leave you feeling energised and excited.  That's not to say that you may not also feel doubt at your ability to see the decision through, or apprehension at changing the status quo.  But you will always have a sense of release, as if your Soul can suddenly breathe freely and deeply.

It may take a while to able to discern the Soul's 'voice', whether that is a sound, an image or a sense of knowing, but hang in there because it does get easier.  You may discover that your Soul is suggesting the same decision your rational mind had arrived it - in which case, aren't you lucky to live in such an aligned, authentic and integrity-filled manner!  It may be that you don't get a clear sense of what to do, in wich case, don't strain to grasp for a clear answer.  Trust that your Soul voice will emerge more clearly and quickly over time.

Making decisions in this deeper, more connected manner helps us break free of our worn out limitations and limiting thoughts and patterns; it allows us release our Best Selves and live fuller, richer lives.  Sure it takes courage, but isn't it better to call forth our courage, than to feel we are living a life that is choked and stiff?

Thursday 12 May 2011

We are inspirational in our Imperfection

Yesterday afternoon James and I went to toddler group.  There I saw a woman with an infant and a four year old daughter: I was so impressed by how she interacted with them, as she juggled the needs of two very different children, that I went up to her and told her that I'd been admiring her mothering skills. 

"Oh,  it was very different behind closed doors yesterday!" she said sheepishly.
"Well, at least you know now you're inspirational on a good day!", I answered.

It seems I'm weaving a thread about the people who inspire me at the moment.  Reflecting on those people this morning, I realised that being inspirational to others is truly accepting who we are.  It's more about embracing our imperfections, than about being perfect. 

Perfection is both boring and unattainable (thankfully).  Our so-called imperfections are just quirks, aspects of are character that are neither good nor bad, unless we judge them. 

The people who inspire me do so because they are comfortable in their own skin.  They accept themselves.  They may be self-centred, but they wear it lightly.  They may be generous, but they quietly.  They may be judgemental, but they know it's a reflection of their own prejudices. 

On the spiritual path, I've put enormous pressure on myself to iron out my own creases, to try to perfect my own imperfections.  In fact, I've been in the position  - as have so many others -  that all I've been able to see are my imperfections.

I could benefit from being less earnest about my own imperfections; the more I can just accept them gracefully, rather than creating a drama around them, a diatribe that runs along the lines of, "Oh, there I go again... When will I ever..."  That drama is just a story and as such, it can be a little fable or a high octane rollercoaster ride.  The choice is mine.   And I think I'd rather tell The Story of Me more gently.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Beyond fear and embracing imperfection

They say there are only two forces in the world: love and fear.  Neale Donald Walsch says that fear is "the thought that we are not going to be able to have something we think we will need", therefore "if I don't need anything from you, I don't need to fear you".

How often have I looked from approval from another?  Too many times would be an overly simplistic answer!  And that fear, that need, has distorted how I have interacted with those people. 

I met one of my greatest teachers years ago.  He was a facilitator on a summer camp.  What struck me so forcibly was something that I was not able to identify until recently... he wanted nothing from us.  He wasn't trying to impress or play the victim.  He was 'empty' - there was no feeling of being pulled or pushed when he spoke.  He was simply being, needing nothing.  His lack of need, his fearlessness, was the first lesson he taught me.

Years later, by a twist of fate, I worked with him.  I discovered he too had flaws, he wasn't perfect.  But perhaps that's the genius of life: we don't need to be perfect to inspire, uplift and enlighten others.  We simply turn up and be ourselves.  His second lesson.

Monday 9 May 2011

Overcoming the bumps on Life's road

In my last blog I talked free will being the ability to choose the roads we take on life's journey, while the towns en route are our destiny; no matter what road we choose, we will always visit the towns we planned to see.  But what happens when it feels as though we've taken a wrong turn?  When life is a mess?  Is it our fault?  Is it fate?

It's too easy to fall into victim mode.  I know that from personal experience!  It's also too easy to blame life, God, fate, whatever... and remain angry, bitter and resentful.  The fact of the matter is that there are always bumps on the road.  The unexpected will always blindside you at 11am on a Monday.  We never get it all right.  Why?  Growth...

This life is about experiences, it's about growth... it's not about bank balances, big houses or eternal youth.  It's about what's on the inside.  It's about who we are, not what we are.  The bumps on the road enable us to grow, to see beyond the walls we build around ourselves.  Those bumps are invitations to expand our beingness, our humanity, and develop characteristics and values that we are lacking.

It's very easy to think 'only I've suffered this much'.  It takes compassion to understand that terrible things happen in many people's lives.  It takes courage to embrace and accept our own pain, and use positively, for ourselves and for the betterment of society.  If we allow Life's bumps to close us down, then we have missed out on a potential gift.

The people I admire most are those who have had the courage and compassion to use their pain as a catalyst for change.  Their stories remind me that I be more than I currently am, that I too can dust myself off, and that I too can expand my heart and make my corner of the world a little better.

Where does free will end and destiny start?

It's a question that has been around for centuries.  Where does our autonomy stop and destiny take over?  Are we in charge?  If so, how much control do we have?  Or are we simply puppets acting out someone else's script?

The most convincing answer I've found in my search to understand these opposites comes from Neale Donald Walsch.*  He likens each human life to a car trip with a GPS: it's an evocative image!  We have free will to choose any direction, any road that appeals to us.  And, we also have an end destination, that end destination is the experiences we chose for ourselves before we incarnated.

On route, we can choose to go down country lanes or stick to the motorway, yet we will always drive through the towns that we had planned to visit before we left home.  The wisdom of the universe is so subtle that each time we make a new decision, our soul recalculates our route to ensure that we have both the experience we have consciously chosen in that moment, as well the experience we chose prior to incarnation.

This seems like the best of both worlds to me.  We have complete freedom and yet there are no mistakes.  We can't miss our destiny.  We don't have to blame anyone else or any unseen forces for our lives, nor do we have to limit ourselves.  We can make the most of every moment of life, fearlessly and joyfully.

*The Mother of Invention, 2010

Friday 6 May 2011

Notes to my son: Destiny will find you

Dear James,

If there is one thing I would to pass on to you, it's that your destiny will find you.  From this moment on, stand in the full confidence of knowing that the tide of life will flow towards you, effortlessly and gracefully, if you do just on thing... follow your intuition.  Always decide with your heart, with your inner knowing.

Too many people live lives of quiet desolation because they have chosen with their minds; they have chosen the 'logical', the 'sane', or the 'sensible' option.  Life is too precious to be so bland and boring.  You, like each and every one of us, have come forth from the great expanse of the universe to this tiny planet, to this unique moment in time and it is a rich opportunity to touch, taste, see, hear, feel... to live life lusciously and abundantly.

Your inner knowing is the truest guide you have.  It will escort you on your path and bring you the opportunities that your soul envisioned when it chose to incarnate.  So be respectful of this inner knowing, of the quiet voice that nudges you gently but firmly. 

Grace and balance are at the very heart of this inner knowing. Sometimes it will take courage and you will be stretched to become more than you imagine you are capable of being; sometimes it will require patience and you will know that you must wait, even though you are fed up of waiting.  But always, it will bring you the greatest sense of well being, of knowing that you are living your life in the fullest way possible. 

So from the start, cultivate your inner knowing.  Discover if your inner knowing speaks to you in images, sounds, feelings, or words.  Become adept at listening quietly, deep inside, to discern your next step, for you can have no truer guide through life than the wisdom of your own soul.

Wednesday 4 May 2011


There is a famous story from an Indian Guru about prayer: a farmer prays to God for rain while another man prays to God for dry weather so his daughter's wedding will be a success.  Whom should God respond to?  For most of us, prayer is a wish, or perhaps a last ditch plea for help, or a supermarket list of things we believe we need or want.

The Guru taught that it is the person who's will is most in line with God's will whose prayer will be answered.  For me, aligning with God's will is about moving into the flow of life and its ever growing, ever evolving pulse.  It's what I mean when I write about letting go of my story, of accepting and embracing what is and letting go of what I think 'should be'. 

And who, by the way, is God?  The way I see it is that God is like light: it's all around us but we don't see it until it separates into the rainbow of colours.  Those colours make light visible.  Humans (and all creation) are those colours: the invisible made visible, through the prism of matter.  So, if I am an aspect of the Divine, God's will is also my will.  And here I add a caveat: by my will, I don't mean my limited personality, I mean the the bigger me, my soul.

For me, those moments of complete clarity, of passion, of insight, of knowing - those are the moments when my mind has stilled long enough for intuition, the knowing of the soul, to filter through to my consciousness.  I suppose that's why meditation is a form of prayer because it helps my 'chatter box mind' to quieten enough to hear my soul's wisdom.  And in those moments of stillness, I gain flashes of insight, then I am in dialogue with the Divine. 

So, for me, prayer is a dialogue about being in the world, it's about becoming more aligned with the deeper wisdom of my soul and letting go of my supermarket list of wants and desires; it's about seeing the beauty of the present moment without judging it to be good or bad. 

And it's an on-going dialogue, because staying centred doesn't come easily to me - I keep getting distracted by my shopping list!  So I have to keep refocusing on the bigger picture and deeper wisdom.  This dialogue helps me pare back life to the essentials, to the here-and-now, and gives me the faith to trust that even when events are unfolding in a way that does not please me, they are unfolding as they should, in harmony with a greater wisdom. 

What my son teaches me

He's only 6 months old and perhaps that's why he's so wise: he hasn't begun to over think life.  Everything for him is simple, fresh and pure.  Seeing the world through his eyes reminds me how much fun there can be, if only I'd notice it.

So here are James' top three tips for a good life.... so far!

1. Love everyone
James hasn't yet met a person he doesn't like.  He's open to everyone, curious about what they are doing and interested when they talk to him.  As a result people respond to him joyfully.  For me, this begs the question - have I really become too busy to be warm and welcoming to others when our paths cross?

2.  Be passionate
Life is joyful when you're 6 months old!  But that's because he sees the joy in what he's doing.  His powers of concentration far outstrip mine.  He's constantly 'working' at the business of learning, nothing is spared from his quest for knowledge.  Such all consuming passion seems to fade as we get older.  But should it?  Am I on the wrong track if I'm not feeling excited, uplifted and passionate about what I'm doing?

3. Have fun
If it's not fun, James stops doing it!  He's not interested in being bored, he's always searching out something new to see, touch or taste!  He's more likely to exhaust himself through over stimulation than nod off in front of the tv!  It's so easy to get stuck in a rut, to become anesthetised by the familiar and lose my sense of fun and adventure.   Perhaps I should consider some small changes, just to bring back that heady sense of fun and adventure.

Thursday 28 April 2011

Of melt-downs, meditation and the gift of wisdom

I had a minor meltdown this morning.  I can offer reasons why - the lights in the bathroom fused, I broke a wineglass (not mine, I hasten to add!), I spent ages on hold with Inland Revenue, a crying baby, lack of sleep... The thing is, in every life, there will be an accumulation of little things that suddenly bubble up and we feel overcome.  So what then?

Several hours later, James feel asleep and I got a chance to meditate.  For me, meditation is about trying to soften the relentless chatter in my mind.  It's a break from myself!  Simply refocusing on my breathing, over and over again, eventually brings a sense of distance from the internal disquiet and, with it, a greater sense of calm. 

It's only then that I can go a level deeper and become curious about what wisdom is waiting patiently to reveal itself to me.  I don't chase the wisdom.  I simply sit - still breathing! - knowing that I will gain an insight into my situation that will provide comfort and deepen my understanding of life. 

Nor did Wisdom disappoint me.  The insight I gained was that the real reason for feeling overwhelmed and unhappy was the gap between the life I'm living and the dreams I have for myself and my family: a job that is meaningful (my most recent job application didn't even make it to the interview stage) and a home to replace our rather 'bijou' flat. 

The Aha moment!  So I'm living in the shadow of my own dreams - how many of us are doing that?!  Walking the path to the future does require patience.  It also requires, above and beyond all else, respect for the present moment, of who and where I am right now, even while I cherish the dream of who I wish to become and where I dream of living. 

It's a paradox, loving the future vision even while cherishing the present reality, because this present was once a dream I aspired to and am now living.

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Light quenches darkness

Like a spider's web, we are connected to people across the planet.  People we don't even know.  Two hundred people have contributed to top I'm wearing: that's the statistic.  Although we may not realise it, how we act affects countless people, worldwide.  People we don't even know.

We can imagine that we live in a relatively small way, cocooned in our homes and workplaces, but our influence stretches far beyond the people we see and know.  Have you ever noticed how a single traffic accident can affect 1000s of people's lives, cancelling meetings, missing flights and family get togethers, and wasting hours in tail backs?  Yes, we are more powerful than we imagine ourselves to be and our actions ripple far beyond our own lives.

All of which reminds me, yet again, that we can choose our actions, we can choose the influence and the affect we wish to have on others.  If we are words and actions are sloppy and careless, we contribute to a more chaotic, uneasy world. 

If we allow ourselves to indulge in pettiness, meanness and even small-time revenge, we are adding to the darkness.  While such small, unnoticed thoughts and actions may seem invisible, they leave their mark both externally - upping the 'anti' - and internally, deflating rather than enhancing our sense of who we are.

Equally, by choosing the best in ourselves and looking for the best in others, we enhance our world.  In an infinite variety of ways, we can make a difference.  We can choose to make decisions compassionately, from buying fair trade and organic, to driving carefully and speaking kindly, such minute decisions extend far wider than we are aware. 

They say you can't 'it' with you.  If 'it' is wealth, they're right.  If 'it' is character, then I think they are wrong.  Who we are and who we becomes infused in our spirit, into the Essence of ourselves, and all positive thoughts and actions, according to A Course in Miracles, ripple out infinitely.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

My journey with envy

I haven't always been willing to see my own shadowside and the less pleasant aspect of my character.  I've wanted to be a 'nice' person, a 'good' person.  And nice, good people don't feel envy, rage, jealousy, anger and a whole raft of other 'negative' emotions.

Perhaps I was afraid those emotions would swamp me; if I was envious it would somehow void my compassion, love, and humour.  But I'm not yet an enlightened being, so I have a shadowside!  And I now count it as a massive step forward that I no longer have to pretend to myself that I'm only sweetness and light.  I have a wide variety of emotions and they aren't all 'good'.  What is good is that I can now accept emotions that I have ignored in the past.

Acceptance is, however, just the first step.  Curiosity is the second step.  What is this emotion telling me about myself?  It's shining a light on some part of me that seeks to express itself and, if I am respectful of it, I can use this insight to heal a part of myself that has been ignored, that has lingered in the shadows.

I've been exploring why I feel envy towards this person with a degree of excitement because I'm no longer afraid.  This is not about her, it's about discovering a new part of me and giving fuller expression to who I am.  All of me.

Among other things, I have learnt is that I create barriers to intimacy.  I hadn't realised it but I had erected 'his' and 'mine' barriers.   I wasn't always playing on the same team as Dirk - I was playing on my team!  I needed to win.  Marriage isn't just about love.  Sometimes it can be about power and I've chosen the power route from time to time:  I've wanted to be Right.  Being right means he must be Wrong.  How is that a good or kind way of treating another human being?

None of this is easy to see in myself.  But it is honest.  Being right is not necessarily inappropriate, but what is important is the How.  Am I right because I am factually correct?  Or am I right because I want to win?  In the subjective issues of life, there is no right or wrong.

When two people are very different, the challenge is to make it less about right, wrong and the journey of power, and more about dialogue and the journey of respect, negotiation and compassionate understanding.

Wednesday 20 April 2011

The bigger truth

The truth is out there!  But there is a bigger truth in here - inside.  I find it can be very easy, if not downright lazy, to label, blame or even envy others.  They are this... they don't do that... they have...  But for those of us who have chosen a path of consciousness, such emotions are just signposts from the Universe flagging up areas of my life where I am blocked, where I am not in harmony, areas that I need to understand and gently heal.

So it is with some degree of discomfort that I admit to being envious of someone else.  Why?  What has she got?  On the surface, it could be the intimacy of her relationship, or the esteem in which others hold her.  Those are the two characteristics I've identified so far.

But, and it's a big but, those are just the start.  What is more important, is that I begin to explore what intimacy means to me, not so much how I receive intimacy, but how I share intimacy.  Where is her life showing me discord in my personality? 

Equally, on the issue of esteem, I cannot control how others view me.  Their opinion is theirs.  But what this may show me is my desire to be a person of such calibre that others respect and like me.  They may already do so, but I'm 'caught', which means that there is something still left undone, some area of myself that needs to be seen and accepted. 

The downside of the personal journey is that the inner work has to be done and it's not always fast.  After a week of wondering what's 'catching' me, I'm still not clear.  But I trust that, with time, I'll come to understand what I see in her that I feel I lack in myself. 

Envy is always about ourselves, never about the other person.  I'm hoping that by accepting it, rather than hiding from it (as I did in the beginning), I can embrace a bigger truth.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

The pull of intuition

My brother Luke is 27.  Last week, he had to make a choice between continuing in a job he didn't particularly like and moving country to another job that was more exciting but a move downwards and into a different industry. 

He had people giving him so much advice that he didn't know which choice to make.  He was confused. 

Often, we are so afraid of our own confusion and not knowing what to do, that our bodies go on the offensive: our shoulders are tight, we stomachs are tensed, we physically harden ourselves against our 'unknowing'.  But these reactions block the 'knowing'.  They close us down and limit our decision making abilities.

By relaxing into his confusion and by accepting that he was confused, Luke was able to free himself of the tension that blocks us from our intuition; that deeper knowing of what is truly in our best interests, of what will serve our highest good.  Once he was relaxed, Luke was able to give his intuition space to speak.

Intuition doesn't speak in words, it communicates with a 'pull', a sense of knowing, that calls to us repeatedly.  It becomes clearer over time, and it is the decision that feels 'right' deep down within us.   It's not the decision that we think we should take to please anyone else, or even the decision that we secretly know is an avoidance tactic.  It is the decision that is most closely aligned with our highest potential.

In short, our intuition pulls us towards our future selves and the greatest version of who we can be.

The luxury of the present

I just got an email from a friend of mine.  She's in her early twenties and just finishing her degree.  She was frustrated at how hard this year had been; she felt that because she lacked a vision for her life, she had floated through the year, without passion, purpose or drive.

It's true, having a clear vision can inspire us and give us all the energy we need to transform that vision into reality.  But it's a luxury we don't always have.  Sometimes, we have live life without the benefit of an inspiring vision.  Where's the gift in that...?

If we knew our future, I suspect that most of us would have one of two reactions.  Either we'd be so excited by that future that we would be unable to concentrate on putting the foundations for that future in place right now.  We'd want to be out there living it. Now!  And by failing to put the foundations in place, we could jeopordise that exciting future.

Or, we may utterly intimidated by that future vision.  It may seem far too big, far too brave and far too wonderful for us.  And so, we may shy away from making decisions that would bring us to that future.  Decisions that, had we taken them with no foreknowledge, would have easily brought us, step by step, to living that big, brave, wonderful life.

Living in the present can be seen as a luxury. 
It allows us to focus on this very moment, free of distraction. 
It invites us to make decisions that are based on our intuition, our passion, our excitement for the sheer joy of revealing ever more of who we are.

Friday 8 April 2011

The evolutionary push

James is just learning to roll onto his stomach.  It's the precursor to crawling (and the end of any last shred of an 'easy life'!)  What's amusing is that each time, after enormous effort, he ends up on his tummy, he cries in distress, as if to say, "how did this happen to me?"

Evolution, a deep and unconscious need to grow and extend his skills, is pushing him forward each day.  It is as if he is running an internal programme that calls on him to be more than he currently is, to achieve his greatest potential in this moment.

The funny thing is that evolutionary push isn't just for babies.  I'm experiencing it too.  There's a part of me that is now excited by the idea of going back to work, of making a more 'intellectual' contribution to society.  I imagine it's a deep unconscious urge because most of my rational self is upset at the thought of leaving James for any significant length of time: "How did this happen to me?!"

No matter what our stage in life, I think Life is always calling to us, inviting us to become more than we consciously think we can be and to leave behind our comfort zones.  It may take me a while to move past my reluctance to leave James, but it is interesting that my personal growth is following the same direction as his, as we both respond to an inner impulse to go beyond who we currently are.

Sunday 3 April 2011

Debbie's wisdom: The 3 secrets of life

There is much written about the theory of abundance, but I know only one person who actually lives abundance naturally, effortlessly ... my friend Debbie.  She is able to manifest unlike anyone I know: from the small - the right offices for her business - to the large - a BMW X5! - her ability never ceases to impress and inspire me.  So how does she do it?  Her philosophy rests on three pillars.

1. Decide in the heart. 
Debbie lives and works through her heart.  It's very easy to make a list of pros and cons for any decision.  Making decisions through our heart requires us to dip a level deeper and feel for 'the pull of intuition', that deeper knowing that comes from the soul and shows us the decision that supports the highest good.  It's not always the easiest decision, nor is it always the most popular decision, but it is a decision that sits peacefully within us because it is in harmony with All That Is.

2. The Bumps are the signs of Expansion
We often want life to change, to get better, but as soon as it does begin to change, we shut down... we want to go back to the comfort of old familiarities.  Debbie believes that those 'bumps', when life starts changing for us, are a good sign.  They show there is movement in our lives and life is changing: possibilities are opening up.  The Universe is meeting our desires for improvement in new ways.  So, rather than fear these changes, she believes we should take them as postcards from the Universe, telling us that our manifestations are beginning to materialise.

3. Keep your eyes on the horizon
Just as these changes start to manifest, our natural tendency (or mine at the very least!) is to look for all the possible down sides... to see how this could go wrong.  This may be the social norm, but according to Debbie, it is at exactly this point that we need to keep focusing on the vision we are manifesting, rather than the bumps along the way.  Getting sidetracked by what could go wrong will only bring us down and limit us: being focused, enthusiastic and committed to our Big Picture helps us remain open, positive and accepting. 

Though there is much more to her philosophy than this, I find that the basics - deciding in my heart and 'not looking down' at the potential problems when things get bumpy - are quite difficult to implement consistently.  I'm still practicing!  And I thought I'd write about them for anyone else who would like to give it a go.

Tuesday 22 March 2011

Why climbing into the trench doesn't work

"You can never feel depressed enough to help someone else feel better."  I don't know where I heard this phrase first, but it contains a nugget of wisdom that eluded me for many years.

I used to think that by living small - whether financially, emotionally, or mentally - I was somehow 'in solidarity' with friends or family members who were having a tough time.  I would go down into the trenches of their suffering with them.

How wrong I was.  It has taken me years to learn that feeling depressed will never help my friend who is feeling depressed.  It's far more important - and of infinitely greater service - to feel as good as I can so that I can be of genuine service to a friend who is in need, rather than recreate their pain so that we both wallow in that pain.

The twist is this: if I'm not living small because I think that comforts those around me, I have to live for myself.  And who do I choose to be?  It's a question I'm revisiting and, as we can all reinvent who we are so that we embody our highest potential, it is a question that is always relevant. 

Friday 18 March 2011

Life's semicolon

I haven't gone away!  I'm still here.  But what I write seems trite, so I'm just not publishing it.  I suppose I'm in one of life's semicolons; a pause but not a full stop!

I shall be back when the writing flows true - not trite.

Friday 4 March 2011

The wisdom of the heart

I normally give up on New Year's resolutions because I forget, sabotage or just plain ignore them.  This year, although I have done most of the above, I'm still here.  I'm still 'doing' it.  That said, it might work infinitely better if I were to be 'it' rather than do it.

The 'it' in question is non-resistance.  I'm not at the level of acceptance which, to me denotes a level of active welcoming.  I'm still working on being neutral, much less positive! 

And, as I stumble through this year, forgetting, ignoring and perhaps sabotaging (which is always harder to see in oneself than in others), I am learning.  I'm learning to let of the mind.  My mind is constantly chattering, analysing, arguing and undermining.  I've realised it is simply incapable of non-resistance.  Resistance seems hard-wired in it - or into my mind at any rate.

So I've had to take a different approach.  I'm non-resisting (!) its chatter and shifting my focus to my heart.  My heart, I have discovered, is infinitely more compassionate, gentle and forgiving.  It is the very embodiment of non-resistance.  When I take the time (i.e. remember) to ask my heart how it feels about anything, I get the same answer: a feeling of peace. 

My heart just be.  It offers me glimpses of peace that wash over me briefly.  Once it stayed all day!  But, in general, I find I need to remember to dip into it, to slide below the mental chatter and feel my way into my heart, into non-resistance.

My heart is much wiser than my mind.  And, in a true sign of its wisdom, it is also much quieter than my mind.  I have to seek out that wisdom, underneath the shouting and parading of my mind.  And every time I do remember to touch into it, I am enriched, even if only momentarily.

Thursday 24 February 2011

Reality check

This is just a brief post - you guessed it, James is asleep!  I have about 30 minutes to write this, answer emails, check my bank balance (with all the security steps, that alone takes 17 minutes!) and ... oh yes, run to the toilet!

James is now 17 weeks, a tad over 4 months.  I'm exhausted.  I haven't really felt it until now, but it's really hitting home.  And in exhaustion, I get a chance to glimpse who I have become: it's rather like being in a pressure cooker.

There's no where to run or hide - who I am, rather than who I wish I was, comes to the surface because I lack the energy to be 'polished'.

So, am I tolerant of others?  Do I lose my temper quickly? 

What I see is that I have more patience than I expected, especially with James.  If I get short tempered, it is with Dirk and, I think, that rarely happens.  I must check with him though!  I'll add that to the list of things I want to talk to him about over the weekend - if I don't write them down, I forget what I want to say!

And my personal 'fault line', chocolate, currently plays a rather big role in my life.  It's because I see chocolate as self-nurture, as care and love when I feel alone.  Not that this is a reflection on Dirk, but more a reflection of the fact that he's gone from 6.30am to 8.30pm.  I'm up from 5.30am to 10pm, not including the night shift - my family live in Ireland, and none of my friends live nearby, so the days are long and do feel lonely.

On the plus side, there is chocolate!  We also have some sort of rhythm, day to day and week-to-week. 

When I was in labour I prayed throughout the whole process and it gave me an inner reserve of strength.  Now I dip into that daily, asking for help with chores, insight into how to best support James (there are a million questions I have from 'should I wean him off his soother?' to 'why did he wake up crying uncontrollably last night?') and patience, so that exhaustion does not become bad temperedness with James or Dirk. 

Prayer gets me through the day.  It helps me feel that I'm not alone, and that there is wisdom and comfort available to me.  Mostly I try to pray for grace and peace, rather than a specific outcome, as I don't really know what the highest and best outcome is in any given situation: I just need to be gracious enough to accept the process and the outcome.  One prayer at a time!

Monday 21 February 2011

The Archangels' Visit: Day 5

The Last Day

Would I recommend this process?  Definitely. 

It has been a subtle, yet deeply transformative process for me.  As I made a list of all the unexpected events and changes that happened during the week, from small to large, I noted at least 15 gifts.  And there could be many more that I just haven't recognised yet, or that have yet to come to fruition.

My three greatest gifts from this process are not dramatic, but they enhance daily life in a profound way.  I feeling more peaceful and content within myself.  Both Dirk and I have noticed a different lightness in our relationship with eachother with more laughter and ease in our time together. 

However, the greatest change must surely be this: I welcomed the Archangels at the beginning of the ritual on my own, but we both did the closing ritual.  Who would have imagined it?!  Not me.

If you are interested in hosting the Archangels for five days, please contact Jo, at:

Friday 18 February 2011

The Archangels' Visit: Day 4

Light and Shade 

Life carries on as it always has.  There are no miracles in the traditional sense.  But that said, the daily rhythm seems lighter than before.  I'm happier than before.  There are even moments when I feel joy welling up inside me for no real reason.

In telling the story of our Archangel visit, feeling happier and lighter are unlikely to convince skeptics!  And, if I'm honest, perhaps the skeptic that is searching for proof, who still wants to be convinced, is me.  I do love a good story!

But I am brought back to the Zen teaching: "before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."

There is a lot of the humdrum to life.  So, perhaps learning to see the light alongside the shade, to experience joy as I 'chop wood, carry water', though subtle, is a both quiet and profound.  It reflects our daily experience - life can seem quiet and uneventful, yet the very fact that we have a life is utterly profound.

The Archangels' Visit: Day 3

Small Miracles

There hasn't been a lot of difference over the past few days - well none that's very noticable at any rate.  But then, to focus on 'glamorous' transformations and miracles may well distract me from noticing the small changes that are occuring around me.

For a start, I feel better in myself.  I feel lighter and happier, for no apparent reason.  When people used ask me how I was, I'd respond with an unenthusiastic, "I'm good thanks".  I've noticed that I now reply with an energetic, "I'm great thanks"!

A more remarkable event was a phonecall, out of the blue, from a friend.  An old business venture that I had thought was gathering dust may be about to flourish.  Now that would be terrific if it came to pass.

But perhaps the most amazing of all is how Dirk has experimented with this process.  I can't help laughing as this cynical businessman says, "Hop on, Guys" as he leaves the house in the morning!  In fact, he's had quite a few miracles at work, lucky fellow!

So, if I were only to focus on the big-ticket glamorous miracles, I would miss out on the small (and potentially not so small) changes that are occurring.  And perhaps there's something to be said for slow, steady change that discretely improves our lives.

Thursday 17 February 2011

The Archangels' Visit - Day 2

Ask with your heart

As I sat there writing questions and imagining replies to those questions,* I couldn't help wondering if it was my imagination or if I was really tapping into some greater wisdom.  Perhaps the wisdom was the Archangels': or perhaps it was my own.  Either way, I learnt a lot in my early morning session with them. 

I asked about our difficulty in finding a home.  The response I got was a suggestion to ask with my heart, not my mind.  Asking with my heart was easier than I thought.  They explained that I just had to shift my attention from my thoughts to my heart, which had no thoughts!  Then I imagined our new home and concentrated on how that would feel. What were the emotions?  How would having a new home enhance our lives?  My immediate feelings were of freedom, deep relaxation and coziness. 

The Archangels then suggested that I focus on these emotions when I wanted to pray for a new home, every time I thought of our new home and on every aspect of our current home that creates those emotions.

It's definitely a different way of praying and asking!  It by-passes the 'ifs' and 'buts' of the mind, and it feels more natural somehow.

As I applied this principle to several different areas of my life (finances, body, career) I saw that freedom was an underpinning emotion or value in more than one area.  So now I'm practicing feeling free, and noticing the moments of freedom already in my life (and there are many, many moments that I was ignoring).

After that, it's just a matter of time before my prayers are answered!

*Automatic writing is one of the tools Jo (who coordinates their visits) suggests using to connect with the Archangels.