Thursday 13 December 2012

Kiss kiss

Hello! And sorry it's been so long since I last wrote.  I don't know where the time has gone. 

James is growing fast.  On Monday he finally found the M in his name: he no longer calls himself Jeyes!  It's James.  James Crokaert!

He knows a little about Christmas which he calls Kiss kiss- possibly even better than the word Christmas!  He can sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Old MacDonalds Farm and a version of Jingle Bells.

I probably won't be on again until after the New Year.  We have the in laws coming for nine days so I'm preparing for that.  The windows are washed (all three of them!) and the rest remains to be done.

I wish you and your family every possible blessing in this, the time of truly epic transformation and blessing, on December 21st most notably. 

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Mum's the word!

On Monday James started calling me 'Mum'.  Where did that come from?!  I have no idea but I observe it with a mixture of surprise and humour.  He still uses Mama and Mummy, with regular sprinklings of Mum.  How odd!

He had his two year review this week.  As he's almost 26 months I thought he'd be ahead of the curve.  Not so.  I walked out very dejected.  As he's my full time job, it was rather deflating to hear that there were areas where he needs additional assistance: nothing serious, he's a little behind on speech and walking. 

As I reflected on the visit afterwards, I realised it was a perfect reflection of my attitude to parenting: surface level problems but the foundations are sound.  I feel the same way about my day to day parenting: there are many challenges and I worry a lot that I'm not doing the best possible for him, but underneath it all, it's all good.

It was quite startling to see my 'mothering world' reflected back to me so very accurately.  It's true what they say, 'as on the inside, so it is on the outside.'

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Dual core processing

As if on demand, the universe has just provided me with a situation to explore how my new understanding of personality and Self interact.

Dirk and I have just had a disagreement.  I thought he had asked me to do ABC and I had done it with delicacy as to what was important to him.  When I told him, he was annoyed with me because he wanted XYZ. 

I was really hurt because I had done my best with a genuine consideration for what mattered to him.  At the point where he was giving out, I realised it wasn't Him giving out to me, he was just running his programming.  And at the point where I was hurt and upset, it was just my programming. 

I still felt my pain, but I saw myself feeling it.  It wasn't all of me.  I was processing on two levels: the immediate feeling level and the observer level that noticed but didn't blame or judge either party.

The cracked shell

The shell of the ego is cracking.  Over the weekend, I realised that I consistently think the same thoughts, react in the same way to external events.  I even say more or less the same things, over and over again.

In that moment, I saw I have two 'selves'.  The ego self, which is almost like a pre-programmed person that consistently behaves in the same way.  Below that, quietly saying almost nothing, is the Self, which is, I assume, the Eternal Self, that exists beyond time, place and personality.

I've read about this but never experienced it before.  Now, having experienced it, I'm trying to remember the fleeting insight.  The things that annoy me don't matter.  The things that please me don't matter.  They are all just stimuli to the personality Jennifer and her pre-programming. 

All this said, I still haven't managed to change my programming!  At the simplest level, I still haven't managed to give up wine or chocolate which my programming thinks will respectively help my spiritual journey and physical appearance.

That's the thing about the spiritual journey.  Insight doesn't always equate to change.  It ebbs and flows. The shell of personality is cracked, but it has not fallen away. Nonetheless, if nothing else, it is allowing me to be a bit looser about what I think is 'good' and 'bad'.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

The chicken pox journals - Day 12

I'm calling it!  The last blister is scabbing over.  It's not the hardest scab, but it's definitely a soft scab: I never thought I'd think so much about scabs in my life.

The last scab was on his foot and would not dry up.  On Day 8 I discovered that one shouldn't bathe children with chicken pox as it prolongs the spots and increases their number.  Hmm, if everyone knows that why did no one tell me?!  Ok, they thought I knew, but clearly, I'm not everyone!  I missed that 'Life skills 101' lecture.  In the end, I left him in his bare feet to try to dry out the blister and that seems to have done the trick.

James has moved on from thinking he has stickers on his face.  He knows it's the chicken pox.  He told our friend Gina, "Jayes chicken puck" the other day!

It's wonderful that James has now had the only 'big' childhood illness (in my day we had mumps, measles, the works!).  I've been very reluctant to bring him out before the final blister scabbed not for other children, but for those with weakened immune systems.  My mum's immune system is as delicate as a fairy sitting on top of a tree in a hurricane.  I hated the thought of him spluttering and inadvertently making someone so frail ill, knowing how much illness takes out of Mum.  Now, freedom beckons.

There have been several rather cute incidents over the past days that I thought I'd share.  I am a big fan of manners, I believe they make social interactions easier in an increasingly impatient epoque.  So 'please', 'thank you', and 'sorry' feature highly in our house.

The other day I accidentally knocked him with the door, he had got between me and the door and I hadn't seen him.  "Sorry James", I said.  He clearly thought it was his cue to apologise, "Sorry de door" came the response from below!

Yesterday, he uttered his first sentence.  Correctly.  [read: he's a genius!]  Up until then - and since - he combines names and nouns or adjectives.  'Jayes, apple',  or 'how 'bout 'nana Mama'.  Yesterday he brought me a picture and said, "Mama, look at that".  I'm so proud!

He's also absorbing Flemish.  This morning I was talking about the hand towel and he informed me it was an 'aandhook' - the Flemish for hand towel.  I didn't know he knew that!

My final anecdote is also from this morning. He was playing with a mummy horse and a baby horse, but unlike other times, he was talking for them.  Here's the conversation I overheard:
"Mama, how 'bout chocolate?"
"Mmm... how 'bout apple?"

Sounds exactly like a conversation at home!

Friday 16 November 2012

The chicken pox journals - Day 7

He's still contagious!  Agh! 

I had resigned myself to no nursery day today, but I still can't even go to the supermarket.  I have said it many times, when life is going well, it's easy to think we don't need others.  When times are hard, when things go wrong, we realise how much we depend on others.  Dirk is working until tomorrow evening and won't be home tonight, so with no one to mind James while I go shopping, James and I will be sure to use every scrap left in the fridge!

A few days ago, in desperation that he wouldn't eat, I suggested he sit up at the table with me for lunch.  He jumped at the idea!  I put a cushion on the chair, covered it over with a blanket and up he clambered.  He ate all his lunch, so he's had lunch with me ever since.  This morning when I asked if he was ready for breakfast, he ran to get the cushion: no more baby chair for him!  It's so touching to see him growing and the pride he feels as he accomplishes ever greater steps of independence.

On a final note, I held a shell to his ear and suggested he could hear the sea. This morning while I was changing his nappy, he held an aloe vera cream to his ear and said, "the sea, the sea"!!

Thursday 15 November 2012

The chicken pox journals - day 6

The good news is we are both still sane.  I'm also hugely relieved that, apparently, this is the only childhood illness apart from colds and flues that children get. 

Less good is that James is although he is healing well, he won't be well in time to go to nursery, which is a shame for us both. 

He has some blisters in his ear and so far he has stuck a raisin in there to scratch them; and a stick!  In general he is in very good form and taking it all in his stride, so I am lucky. 

This morning the land lady minded him while I nipped out to get some supplies at the corner shop.  The plan for today is to make coconut macaroons this afternoon, a sweet treat and it passes some time!

Love heals all

Each one of us is afraid of ourselves.

We may brush it over, pretend not to see, or even steadfastly ignore it.  But that does not invalidate it.  In a little corner of our minds, we are afraid.

We fear our own thoughts.  Sometimes we are ashamed of what we have done - or failed to do.  Often we can assuage this feeling by thinking of someone we know who has done worse, said worse or thought worse than we have, but the relief is only temporary.

In quiet moments, I know that feeling.  I know the inadequacies of my character; the moments when I have chosen the lazy path instead of following through on my intuition. 

In meditation recently, I understood that Love judges nothing; not even our darkest, murkiest shadow.  Divine Love simply invites us to release those thoughts, those fears to its cleansing energy, where they can be assimilated into the light.  I'm so used to shoving my bad thoughts, my fears back into the box that it's taking a lot of courage not to flinch in the presence of my shadow, and offer it to Divine Love to cleanse and clear

When we open a door into a darkened room, it is the light that always melts the darkness.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

The chicken pox journals - day 4

Well, days 1-3 have passed.  We are into Day 4.  And that can only be a good thing.  It's quite difficult to see my beloved son covered in spots with blisters on top, not to mention the itchiness.  He's sleeping with his hands in socks to prevent him scratching himself. 

Yesterday he started to tell me when it was tidy-up time. When he got bored of an activity - normally 5-7 minutes - he'd say 'didyupdide'... or 'tidy up time' to you and me - and proceed to put everything way.  It amazes me how well he does it, putting buttons into their container and closing the lid, and returning books to the book area yet somehow toys he wants to play with don't get tidied up!

Yesterday he ignored the spots.  This morning he saw his face in the mirror.  'Jayes dicker', was his deduction: he thought he had stickers on his face! 

As if he didn't have enough on his plate (he also has a bit of a cold/chest cough) he decided to experiment with limping yesterday!  He walked around keeping his knee straight and limping up and down the room.  I couldn't keep a straight face.

Joyously, we are both still sane after three days indoors.  I think we will go into the garden today and catch falling leaves.  That should pass another 5-7 minute slice of time!

All in all, he's being incredibly good.  He is in great form and doesn't cry much about the discomfort or frustration of feeling itchy.  Honestly: it's not just because I'm biased I think he's so good!

Sunday 11 November 2012

These four walls

There isn't any alchemy in this post.  It's a moan.  A sustained grumble, if you will...

As you may have read in the previous blog, James has the chicken pox.  In short, that means quarantine for the next 4-6 days.

Today I went out to get the last few supplies to ensure we had enough to get us through the next 6 days.  Dirk leaves home at 6am, he's home somewhere between 8pm and 9pm.  This Friday, he's not home at all.  We'll see him on Saturday evening.  So there's really just James and I.

And so this week stretches ahead of me, from 5.30am when we get up to 6pm when James goes to sleep, enclosed in the 50 sq feet of our abode.  No play groups, no nursery, no friends.  Agh!

I once read an article by a woman who's friend was destitute, so she and her tiny son were put up in a B&B by the council.  She had just a room for the two of them.  The author noted how she never once grumbled about her circumstances, exceptionally difficult though they were.  When I am tempted to grumble about our minute living space, I remember this woman I have never met and aspire to her patience and grace. 

Not today.  Today it's just ... blah blah grumble blah.  One day our luck will change.  We will find a home and move.  There will be space for James to have his own room, instead of a corner of our sitting room.  We will have a bedroom with a door.  Not a curtain. 

While in my heart I know I am lucky, in my head I am frustrated, and apprehensive about a week enclosed with a sick two year old with energy to burn.  Patience and grace. 

The alchemical approach in this moment is to live from my heart. Not sure I want to.  It's easier to moan!

This is how it is.  I can't argue with that.  There are no 'it shouldn't be like this...' because that's fighting reality and reality always, always, always wins.

It is. 

I can accept it or fight it.  The fight is doomed, so best accept it.  And if I can come from my heart, then perhaps I can find just a little patience and grace in my frustration and apprehension.

James and the giant pea

"Pea, Mama," said James, looking slightly troubled.

You need to watch children 24 hours a day.  Especially the smaller ones.

"It's up his nose," added Dirk, in shock.
I looked up James left nostril.  Yes, there was a green pea visible up his nostril.  Immediately, images of him inhaling said pea, it causing pneumonia, or worse, ran through my mind.  Or what if he had to have an operation to have it removed from his lungs... all we did was look away from him for less than a minute to say two sentences to each other.  And now he had a pea up his nose.

Adrenaline pumping, I told Dirk to hold him steady while I ran to find his Mucus Terminator.  Okay, that's not it's real name, but I don't know it's real name; suffice to say, small children can't blow their noses, so this creates a vacuum and sucks out the mucus when they have cold.  Too much information?!

Dirk carried him over to the settee from his high chair.  I ran from the bathroom, performing practice suctions on the Terminator, just to get in the hang of it. 
"It's gone, I can't see it," said Dirk, adding to the frazzled tension of the moment.

'Oh no,' I wondered, 'what are we going to do now?'

As I prepared to get the Mucus Terminator in place, practice suctions completed, I saw it.  Shiny, slimy and verdant green: the pea.  It had been dislodged and had come back down James' nose.

Utter relief flooded through us.  I've no idea how it went from so far up his nostril that we couldn't see it to out of his nose, but I am calling it my miracle of the day.  Parenthood: it's the ultimate adrenaline ride.

Did I mention he's covered in the chicken pox as well?

Friday 9 November 2012

James' update

Just a couple of incidents that made me laugh...

A few days ago, James came up to me asking for something.  At first I didn't get it, then I realised... "A chocho road..."  Of course, make up his train set!

Yesterday he called from the bedroom.... " 'Duck Mama, 'duck'.  I went in to see how he was stuck this time.  He sat on our bed with his push car (as big as he is) sitting on his legs!  How he had managed to get on the bed and pull that up on top of him is beyond me.

It seems that he has taken great leaps in the past three weeks.  He is starting to sing along to songs and do the hand motions: his rendition of Twinkle Twinkle is very cute.  He even sings along to himself when he's playing... a sort of 'la la twinkle lidle la la' verion of the songs! 

Numbers have also emerged on his horizon.  He can recognise two of anything, three items pose problems, but he's very confident with two.  He knows the numbers up to ten, though 7,8 and 9, would appear to be his favorites as they come up more frequently than the others in any counting sequence. 

It's wonderful to see the world emerge before his eyes, a place of wonder and mystery.

Not more personal demons...

"How are you with the dark side?" Gary asked.
"Ummm...." I stalled, "what do you mean?"
"Do you go into the dark side?"
"No."  It was an easy answer.  "I prefer to believe that all things can be transformed through love and light."  Yes, really!  And I mean it.

"Well," continued Gary, "that's true and it's not.  Sometimes you have to be willing to really acknowledge a personal limitation before you can truly live its enlightened counterpart."
"Ok..." I wasn't convinced, but an hour perviously I had sat down and said a prayer for help and then Gary rang.  I hadn't heard from him in months.  If this was the help I needed, I didn't want to ignore it.

So looked at resentment: I found an image for the part of me that resents, listened to what that sub-personality feared, what they hoped to get, and what they needed to feel safe and loved.  I blessed them and asked for release.  

That night I had a deeply disturbing dream.  When I awoke I wondered if I was actually going backwards in my spiritual journey.  A few hours later, the meaning of the dream suddenly became clear. I had released that part of my dark side. The work that had to be done was done. 

Now here's the weird bit (no, not the other bits, they're 'normal'!) all four areas of my life that were not just stuck but seemed to be regressing changed over the next five days.  It was as though a new energy had been flushed through them.

The spiritual path can seem lonely and quite hard at times, requiring deep commitment, but this week I feel truly blessed.  I know I'm not alone: I asked for help and got it almost immediately.  I even got proof that it had worked in a tremendously short time frame.  And if more little gremlins pop up, I can welcome them, knowing they will unleash new joy and energy into my life.

I really see that I'm collaborating with the spiritual realms, not beseeching them for this or that insight, but working together with them.  What a blessing.

Monday 5 November 2012

My son's a genius...

"Chee" pronounced James confidently.
I looked down at the fork.
"Yes, James!  That's right!  There are three peas on the fork."

Amazement and awe flooded through me.  At the tender age of two, my son could count.  Was that normal?  I didn't think so.  Oh, my son the genius!

"Chee," pronounced James again.
I looked at the spoon, overflowing with peas and there it was, nestled in the back of the spoon: cheese.

Illusions of genius dispersed in the wind, like seeds from a dandelion head.

Parenthood is a funny thing.  We all know our children are special. We just want a definitive way to prove that to outsiders, so that they will have the same awe and wonder for our amazing children as we do.  But really, no one ever really loves and adores our little wonders in the same way we do.

Statisically, childhood genii are less likely to be adult genii.  It's far more important for children to have a happy childhood than one that pushes them not just to succeed but to excel, from earlier and earlier ages.

So cheese it is.  Not 'chree'.  And humility, Mummy.  He's precious simply because of who he is, my son, not what he can do.

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Partnership with God

I had a small car accident on Friday.  It completely shook me to the core and undermined my trust in my safety, in my relationship with the Divine and in my entire spiritual journey.

The accident broke me open.  I questioned deeply.  I felt as though I lost faith.  Now I see the blessing. 

I asked some friends for their perspective and, in general, they said to trust it was for the highest good.  Rereading Jane's reply today, a new level of clarity dawned.

I have imagined that because I love Source, Spirit, the Divine, God, that somehow my love would protect me. Not only would it protect me from all harm, it would provide for me.  I realise now that while greater love for the Divine brings greater divine love towards me, it does not make me exempt from the lessons I must learn, or the karma I must balance.

These challenges are a part of the Divine love and always arrive in the most loving way possible.  The real challenge is not living through those trying moments; the real challenge is keeping the love alive and bright in those challenges, remembering that they are conduits of increased divine love.  They are not rebukes from an angry god on a throne; they are gentlest possible redirections from the Infinite Mother who wishes the very best for me.

Jane noted that if we are all part of God then s/he feels as we do.  If we live our lives with joy, regardless of the challenges we face, the Divine feels our love and joy.  It is only then that we are really working in partnership with the Divine force of life, that we are living in partnership with God, because it is only then that we want what we have, we are moving in the same flow, the same vibration as the Divine.

I'm not saying I have to squash my natural disappointment or shock, but I can experience it, move through it and choose not to dwell in it.  Nor does this mean we cannot wish for better - my housing being an abject case in point - but if I fight what is, I am not aligned with Source. 

Surely it is much better to love what is - home or car  - and accept that if I have that, then that is what is perfect for me.  That is my perfection.  Then I am no longer identified by my home, by my driving record, or by any externals whatsoever.  Then I am defined by my love and that love is my foundation.  I can work for a better future for others from that foundation, I can create inspiring projects for myself from that foundation: I can believe that a wonderful home will come.

If this blog is circular in its logic it is because I keep coming back to the same point: all else pales into insignificance in face of the one truth.  Love what is.  There is no question to which the answer is not love.  There is no circumstance that is not the outcome of love.  Loving what is aligns me with All That Is.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

The Alchemist

Yesterday I got angry with man in a car insurance company.  I was embarrassed to have got angry with him and I did apologise but ohhh.... These huge companies have dehumanised both their empolyees and clients in order that they fit a system that, frankly, is not humane.  It's no wonder we see videos of employees suddenly throwing their laptops out the 29th floor window of a grey call centre.

At about the same time, I received an email from Georgeanne with the following quote:

"Be an Alchemist
Like an alchemist, transform something worthless into something precious.  The key to alchemy is in your perception.

Look for the limitless possibilities that surround you.  See the innate value of everything and turn lead into gold.

Focus on the pure gold within each one.  You may have to overlook the visible lead to seek the hidden gold!"

At the point when I received the email, I was too ashamed to read it.  I never lose my temper... well, hardly ever.  The other thought for the day I received was about the process of creativity and how it opens our heart and fills us with joy, from Diana Cooper.

Slowly it dawned on me.  I am an Alchemist.  I am creative every day.  I am always looking for the gold nestling silently under its leaden cloak.  From Mud to Miracles is all about alchemy.

I am an Alchemist.

I haven't found the gold in my interaction with the car insurance company.  Yet.  But the realisation that Alchemy has always been my passion, well that is profoundly... enlightening.

In the face of love

Yesterday I was doing a meditation on love and spreading love into every cell in my body.  As I explored what love is, I came to two understandings.

The first is that love, specifically divine love, is not only big, like the divine ecstasy described in many stories.  I experienced it as an infinitely gentle wave of kindness.  It was unconditional; I received this love regardless of what I did or did not do.  The intention of my highest good, my well being, was at the very centre of this incredible gentleness and well being washing over me. 

The second insight into love was that it really can heal anything.  As I felt the love wash gently through me I started to think about President Assad of Syria and send him love.  The dream that unfolded was this: if everyone were to send love to him, if even the oppressed and freedom fighters, if even the soldiers on his side, were to spend all the energy they invest in fighting in loving him, the present situation could not continue. Anger begets anger.  Violence begets violence.   In the face of love, evil is not possible. 

When we are utterly enveloped in love, we cannot hurt another.

I'm not suggesting that I go over to Syria and preach love, though I now understand why Jesus preached love. The reason I share this is because it was a profound insight into the power within love, and it made me think again about how I can love for both personal benefit and the higher good.

Love is the essence of the divine.  As I think about it, it makes sense that it would carry within it the infinite power of the divine.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

James - another jump

James has taken another leap, and I don't just mean attending nursery school for the first time.  Mind you, the bizarrest thing about that was that he smelt different when he came back.  They never tell you how strongly a newborn baby smells, and since then I've been aware that he has a scent, as we all do.  I thought it would always be the same.  Apparently not.  It was disconcerting when he didn't smell like he used to because he'd been in another environment.

Suddenly, we are back to tantrums, though those seem to be a result of tiredness.  On the more endearing side, he's now got a whole new string of words, from 'geeleelee' for jellyfish and 'docadoc' for crocodile to 'tactac' for tractor.  Yes, we do spend a lot of time in sea and on farms!

He is also starting to sing songs.  'Old McDonald', otherwise known as 'eye, eye, eye' (read: ei, ei, ei, ei oh!) is his favourite.  Yesterday he started to do 'roley poley', complete with actions, at dinner!   When he wants to ask a question, he says, 'how 'bout....?'  I didn't know I said that so often!  Nor did i know I had so many cups of tea: every time he hears the kettle boil, he says 'cupatee'.

He is also more interested in imaginary play.  We build little 'baby houses' for his teddies out of sheets and chairs or clothes horses.  We gave him a tea set for his birthday and we are now treated to 'cup o tee's all day long!

He's more fussy about food now, sometimes skipping an entire meal.  I've decided not fret over this, he'll eat at the next meal if he's hungry.  And although baking - much less walking! - is still a messy affair, I find it's getting easier: we made feta and herb scones yesterday (I thought he'd be more inclined to eat if he made it himself, which turned out to be true.)

It's wonderful seeing him develop his character and watching out for his preferences, so that we can support him in following his interests and, eventually, find his path in life easily and gracefully.

Monday 22 October 2012

Fumbling along the front line

Remember when I wrote that I could love myself and what I ate for one week?  Well, I was wrong.  I couldn't.  It's too big a life pattern to love right now.

I realised, in my avoidance of loving what is, that food is not just nourishment for me.  It's fear, pain, comfort, anger and rebellion. 

My body isn't just a means of being in the world.  It is a failure.  Every time I look at it, I do so to criticise it.  It fills me with shame and a sense of failure.

All of these emotions have been with me for decades.  Many of my earliest memories are of comments about being a 'big girl', of needing to curb my appetite... of seeing my brothers eat anything and remain as stick insects, of feeling I had failed my very petite mother by being so big.

So I'm not really at a point where I can love all that yet.  But I can accept it.  I own it consciously now.  I even understand that it's not 'reality', just one version of reality. 

It's a small step on the path of healing. 

Friday 19 October 2012

Motherhood and letting go

James is two today.  Today is also, coincidently, his first day in nursery.  It was a gift from his father to me, to give me a break one day a week and I am enormously grateful to him. 

This morning as I left James at nursery, I felt deeply the contradiction of parenthood: pain at leaving him alone in the world, withoout me to keep him safe, and excitement at having my first full day off in a year.  I imagine it's the same for every mother, at some point in life.  We want to keep our children safe and yet we know that we must also allow them ever greater freedom to discern their own paths.

I am reminded of Kahil Gibram's wisdom on parenting, our children come through us, though of us, they are not ours.  They are here to live their own lives, fulfill their own destinies, and evolve in their own unique ways. 

This tiny parting of ways, James nursery day, is his first big step into self-hood, onto his own path.  I wanted to mark this event and to bless it, so that it may unfurl for the highest good.  How do we release our beloveds without clinging - albeit unconsciously?  Without creating cords that unconsciously bind our children to us?   I wrapped him in Archangel Michael's cloak of blue for protection, Mother Mary's aquamarine cloak for love and nurturing, and Archangel Metatron's orange cloak for even more protection! 

When I came home, both yesterday and today, I lit a candle.  It is a symbolic act: I light the way, I burn through my fears, I honour the moment.  I gave thanks for the honour of being his mother, for this new phase in our journeys through life, and asked blessings for James, myself and Dirk.

Now the cynical out there may feel all this is a bit overkill.  You may be right.  But you may be wrong!  We live in a world that is now so fast and impatient that we ignore symbolic rites of passage and life milestones.  Noticing these moments, and consciously acknowledging them, brings with it a freedom and a lightness.  Ignored, they can be misunderstood and traumatic (especially later rites of passage into teenage years and adulthood); by noticing them, we become aware of the stepping stones of life, how they are the natural fulfillment of all that has gone before and the preparation for all that is to come.

Sunday 14 October 2012


Last week I decided to practice harmlessness for one day.  Needless to say, I had many moments throughout the day when I forgot all about my practice.  I had several others where, having made a comment, I realised it wasn't harmless.  But I am finally willing to concede, I'm human! 

What was interesting was that, as the day progressed, I began to understand harmlessness in a new way.  Initially I thought it was about being harmless to others, to the planet... it wasn't even about being kind, it was just not being thoughtless.  Then I noticed the deep kindness, the gentleness that exists at the very heart of harmlessness. 

Finally, I noticed that harmlessness is not just about how I treat the world outside myself.  It runs to the core of how I treat myself.  My thoughts to myself are the antithesis of harmlessness.  I am cruel to myself.  I am constantly berating myself for not doing better - from what I say to what I eat, nothing escapes my inner critic's caustic attention.

The Dalai Lama notes that if we practice kindness to others, we learn how to be kind to ourselves and if we practices kindness to ourselves, we learn how to be kind to others.  It does not matter with whom we start, which is good news for me!  

The concept of harmlessness proved so complex that it became my daily intention, to live in harmlessness, for the bulk of  the past week.  Next week I may pick something easier!

Monday 1 October 2012

My final frontier

I have done so much personal work that I was bound to arrive at this point sooner or later.  Mind you, I had kind of thought that I would get away with skirting around the edges of it.

But here we are.  My final frontier.  My body.  The long and short of it is that I have been punishing my body for being too fat since I can remember.  I was always the 'big girl'.  I have associated being fat with failing and with being unlovable.  I may no longer be fat, but a thousand times a day I will berate myself for my body shape and weight.  It's a dysfunctional relationship but I'm used to it.

I thought this was it.  This was the way it would be from here on in.  Apparently not.  As my journey progresses, I get intuitions of what needs to be healed, made whole and released.  Next stage: my body.  Agh....

So where to begin?  Over thirty years of conditioning await.  The idea I had was, for just one week, to love my body; to enrobe it in a duvet of pink light, to see pink light flowing through me.  I am to eat what I want, simply blessing it with love and blessing my body with love as I eat it. 

Two days in I can already say that when I have taken the time to envelop myself in pink light for ten minutes I feel amazing.  I really feel lighter - in all senses!  I feel nurtured.  I am love.  I eat love.  It's that simple. 

Sunday 30 September 2012

Raising intuitive children - bad vibes

The door bell rang.  James, in his usual excitment, on hearing the door bell, ran straight to the door.  I knew it was a friend of mine, who has been through a very tough time over the past decade but especially so in the last two years.

I opened the door.  James recoiled, ran back through the hallway and cried.  I can't say I blame him, I felt a certain degree of recoil myself.  My friend was in a pretty bad state and the energy she was giving off affected both James and I immediately.

What do I support a toddler who is overwhelmed by someone else's negative energy?  I want him to remain open and to use his sensitivity as a gift rather than be overpowered by it.  (My grounded friends may want to look away now!).

On the physical level, I picked James up so he was wrapped in my energy, which soothes him and I spoke softly to him, understanding his feeling of overwhelm.  On the subtle level, I invoked additional protection for him from Archangel Michael and saw him wrapped in his blue light of protection.  I also sent a message to his guardian angel that I understood what was wrong, that he was safe and protected and asked his guardian angel to stay very close to him to add additional comfort and protection.

As the evening wore on, my friend's energy began to shift (which I was simultaneously praying for her, as she was in so much emotional pain) and this, combined with James' additional protection, meant that he felt more comfortable and confident.  Towards the end of the evening, he began to play with her, a sure sign he felt safe again.

It was an eye opening event for me.  As adults we recognize that people in difficulty can sap us of our energy.  We feel it when someone is under the weather.  James stark reaction shows that children are much more sensitive to these energies, from anger through to depression.  They lack the skills to protect their energy so it's important to help them develop those skills: to ask for additional protection and support from our angels and guides.  We don't have to do it on our own - there's always help there for us, we just have to ask.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Better. Much better.

After two days of the new prepared-proactive-card-glue-and-glitter wielding mothering approach, I'm delighted to announce that life is definitely better.  James is enjoying the increased stimulation, variety and more undivided attention.

I'm enjoying feeling supported (by my prior preparation).  I always have ideas, options and supplies.  I can't begin to say how much better that feels, as though I'm not struggling to keep up.  I don't know why I didn't do this before.  I don't even know what's significantly different now.  I'm just more prepared and more present.  Those two things have helped enormously.

So yes, he still watches television.  He still screams for his soother.  He still has moments of boredom and frustration, but all those are somehow less invasive in our (individuated) psyches.

So I'm not the best mum, but I feel like it now.  I finally feel like I am the mother I would like to be.

His own self

Just three weeks from his second birth James has individuated.  Hmmm... perhaps that's not a word.  However...

This morning while I was changing James' nappy, he looked up at me and pointed to me and said, 'Mama'.  Then he pointed to himself and said 'Jayes' (his version of James!). 

Yes, he is now a man of his own... nappy changing, feeding, clothing, jumping and bathing aside!

It's a profound moment and I don't know how I feel about it.  Delight mixed with a tinge of nostalgia I suppose.  But mostly delight.  With any luck he'll babysit himself soon and Dirk and I can go to the cinema!

Monday 24 September 2012


On Friday I finally gave up.  Or gave in.  I'm not sure which.  I was fed up of feeling that I wasn't quite providing James with all the stimulation he needs as he approaches 2 years.  Every activity I try lasts 10 minutes instead of an afternoon.  It's so frustrating.

So I took the bull by the horns...

Over the weekend, I did research on the milestones he should be reaching, and found activities, crafts and tasks that will support those achievements.  Then I put together a whole load of resources, from old kitchen gloves to card and colouring templates to create a resource shelf for James.

We were going to have more fun, more structured activities, and more... well... how can I put this... Job satisfaction.  That's it.  I don't feel as though I'm on the back foot, reactively thinking up things to do.  I have a huge list of possiblities now.

We are nearly finished day one and it has been terrific.  James has been more contented because there was more to occupy him.  It was also a little messier and a little more challenging that I'd normally play with him, which he clearly enjoyed.  Some things worked, some didn't.  There isn't a surface in our home that isn't covered in glitter after glittery play dough time!

And I feel good about myself.  I feel like I was the kind of mother I want to be.  I'm going to enjoy that feeling ... while it lasts! 


I've had a little insight.  In my spiritual journey I've been trying to 'perfect' myself, to eliminate the negative characteristics and personality traits.

I may be wrong.  This may not be the way to go.

That path seems to be characterised by control and fear, two characteristics that I would never associate with the soul.  While there is some merit in becoming kinder and more compassionate, it's possible to over do it. 

I suspect that I've been trying too hard to flog a dead horse; 'could do better' has been my motto.

What if my motto was, 'doing well enough'?  Perhaps that would make me more forgiving and accepting, less rigid and demanding.  It may align me more with my soul than with my ego, which must surely be the whole aim of the spiritual journey, the shift from the mind to the heart.

There's only one snag: it's hard to stop being oneself, to let go of long held attitudes... well, I do love a challenge!

Third Archangel visit

We have just completed our third Archangel visit.  This one was very different from the others. 

For a start, it's meant to be a five day visit - they had to leave on Day Four to go to one friend and on Day Six to go to another.  So we had them over the Equinox which had been a dream of mine, but I had no idea how that could happen if they were to leave on Day Five!  I need not have worried.

Secondly, I found this a very difficult visit.  Usually the energy feels light and lovely while they are here.  This time, I almost felt oppressed the energy was so heavy - they were clearing a lot of negativity so no wonder it was heavy.

The most amazing part, and what I considered a gift, was the picture I took on Day Five.  It shows Archangel Raphael's energy, Archangel Michael's energy and a lot of other energies that I don't even recognise, all pouring into our garden.

It is one of my prayers that our home serves as a healing spot for our planet: that the love and kindness we pour into our home and garden, and into each other is channelled into the Earth, to promote her healing from all the abuses we carelessly inflict on this planet in the name of progress.

In this photo I can see that we are doing just that - no one else may see it, but that hardly matters, it's a message for me, a confirmation and a recognition of my intention and actions.

(Note: that's James and a friend playing chasing.  He's the one in navy running ahead!)

Wednesday 12 September 2012


There are some hurts we inflict, even with the best of intentions, which live on within us.  My divorce from my first husband is one of those hurts.  For over a decade I have lived with guilt, shame and pain, even though I know I did it from the purest part of my being at that time.

In order to move on, to lay the past to rest, I wrote to my former in-laws, my ex-husband and my parents, apologising for the pain and suffering I had caused.  Over a decade later, perhaps one should let sleeping dogs lie, but I felt I had to do it.  I would regret not doing it on my death bed.

I sent an email to my ex-husband rather than writing.  I hoped he had moved job so it would bounce and I could think, 'ah well, I did my best'.  It didn't bounce.  There was no reply. 

Apologising for something so deeply intimate and personal is more revealing than going naked: I felt utterly exposed, vulnerable and, to be honest, afraid.  The hours ticked past, as I checked my emails, to no avail.  It wasn't going to be easy, but I was glad I had done it, even if I didn't feel any sense of peace or release.

At 3pm that day, I was feeding James his snack.  I suddenly felt a rush of peace; "It's fine" I uttered, for no apparent reason.  Immediately after, James looked up to the ceiling and said, "Hello".  He then looked at me and said, "Peace", and went back to eating his snack as if nothing had happened. 

Several days later I received a very kind email from my ex-husband.  My parents were also very kind, but what overwhelmed me was the loving response from my former in-laws, who rang to say that they understood and that they still loved me.

It was a courageous act on the surface, but only because I knew I couldn't live with this ghost haunting me.  What I never expected was the kindness, love and delicacy with which I was treated, nor how much I would receive.  It may just go to show that saying sorry really is a kindness to ourselves.

How to eat a sandwich

There is a procedure to eating a sandwich.  It may even be an art form.  It was not until I saw James trying to eat a sandwich that I realised quite how streamlined this process is.

When eating a sandwich:
we eat one quarter at a time, we don't take a bite from the three remaining quarters before returning to the first quarter;
we eat the filling along with the bread, we don't suck out the filling through the corner;
when filling falls out, we don't try to squeeze it back in through the hole from which it emerged;
we take several bites to eat the quarter, we don't push it all into our mouths in one go and then, cheeks bulging, attempt to chew;
finally, we eat both slices on the quarter simultaneously, we don't take off one and then return for the bottom slice - both of which are now devoid of filling anyway.

Ah yes, we are so dignified, us sandwich eaters.  We have robbed this simple activity of all the variety and exploration that it could be, regimenting the process so that it is unthinkingly completed.  Where is the excitement!  Where is the delight?  Where is the exploration!  As soon as we see a sandwich, we know how every single person will complete the task of eating it.  No more, I say. Throw out the procedure manual and lets have some fun!

Thursday 23 August 2012

I'm away on holidays for a fortnight so I won't be posting anything until after September 7th.  Look forward to seeing you then.  Always love...

Raising intutive children - choice

Discipline.  It's a thorny issue with a two year old.  I imagine it doesn't get easier either.  This morning I hit upon a new idea.  Choice. 

Instead of telling James something is naughty - and I seem to be doing this with increasing regularity - I can give him a choice.  So I have started asking him, "Is this good or naughty?"  Ok, so my success rate isn't that high, but we are in the early stages at the moment!  I think it's worth trying for a few months.

I also should add, I need to ask the question when he's doing good things to, so that he begins to understand the comparison as well as the positive feedback he gets for being good.

The steps of life

We've had a dilemma in our house this week.  We received a gift that, for various reasons, we can't possibly use.  Dirk believes that we should hold on to the gift, because if we give it away we dishonour the giver and their kindness.  I see his point of view.  I really do.  I believe that we should share it.  I know someone who would not only love it, but get an enormous thrill out of receiving this gift. 

On the surface this is a question of competing values: respect versus sharing, not that they can't coexist, but they have sort of slipped into an uneasy stand off.

I know it seems as though I'm overplaying this but let's put my earnest-ness to make a 'good' - not necessarily right - decision, I have blown the whole thing out of proportion.  Why?  Because this little issue, it transpires, is a microcosym of one of my life challenges: be true to myself or please someone important to me. 

I've wrestled with this dilemma since childhood, and my pattern is nearly always to please others.  That's why, in my forties, such a small incident can become such a big deal for me.  This morning, I finally decided that sharing the gift was the right thing to do... sorry, the better thing to do, there is no right and wrong, just the intention with which we do something.  Almost as soon as I had, I happened to read the following...

"Each step you take is a clear message of intention.
Are you shrinking back, hiding away?
Or are you frozen in fear, unsure of what to do next, or where to turn?
Or do you have the courage and conviction to risk it all for what is true to you, and follow your heart’s wisdom?"  (Tracy Holloway)

I've been through all three steps these last few days but it was worth it, because, having reflected on it in this post, I know myself a little better and next time I may be able to skip a step or two.

Monday 20 August 2012

My son, my teacher

As my spiritual journey progresses, I have gained a great deal of insight into my open wounds, those psychological scars distort my thoughts, words and actions, over and over again.

My body is one such scar.  I have yet to accept it.  We live an uneasy truce at present, but I am always on the watch for treachery, on the verge of attack.  On a bad day, it can feel as though I am at war with myself, until the moment when I remember this is all an illusion, the body as much as the war.

And this is where James comes in.  He's a gorgeously chubby toddler with a smile to match.  I had been thinking that, to ensure he doesn't hate his body like I learnt to, I must feed him a super healthy diet and help him grow up slim. 

One day, it dawned on me.  I'm not teaching him.  He's teaching me.  He doesn't fear his body.  He definitely doesn't fear food.  He's comfortable with both.  It's not me who has to guide him (read:micromanage him).  It's for me to learn from his self acceptance and self confidence.

I had no sooner had this realisation when I read that the children who are incarnating now have no karma, yet they come in with challenges, not for their own benefit as much as for the benefit of their parents and those around them.  They are helping us to see our own challenges because we cannot always see them in ourselves.  It's often easier to pick out the flea in someone else's eye, I know this from experience.  Now I just have to learn from it!

The tale of the mushroom and the tarmac

This is a tale of paradox.  Which is stronger: a mushroom or a footpath?  Well, I would have plumped for the tarmac.  Mushrooms are very soft.  Very soft indeed.

Yet I'd be wrong.  Very wrong indeed!  Recently I have seen mushrooms growing up through tarmac in many places.  It's a sight that always catches my attention simply because it seems almost inconceivable that a mushroom is stronger - for want of a better term - than tarmac.

The mushroom makes a larger point.  The natural world is, unexpectedly, stronger than the manmade world and we would do well to have a greater sense of humility and understanding of our place on this planet.  We are guests who have assumed we are the owners, a delusional arrogance that is hurting Earth's most vulnerable guests most.

The humble mushroom shows that strength does not lie in force or in size.  It lies in honestly following your path.  The mushroom is living out its internal blue print.  It is responding to the innate drive to be, to express its mushroomness.  This gives me hope, because if more of us were to respond to our internal blue print with honesty, rather than pride, fear or greed, we could transform the world.

Raising intuitive children

Recently I've noticed that James says "'orse, 'orse!" and points out the window when I drive him around.  While I wish we lived near horses, we don't. The landscape of Greater London flats and high rises are the backdrop to our lives.

The consistency of him saying it when we were driving struck me.  Perhaps he can see things I cannot.  In fact, I would love to see the world through a child's eyes for just one day, as I imagine their view is far richer than our own, more full colour than black and white.

If he is seeing something, then it's down to me to help him remain open in a closed society.  But how?  So far, and this is a project in progress, I've been affirming what he says, asking questions, like what colour is the horse? What's the horse doing?  I think if nothing else, then he knows his world view is taken seriously. 

I am the first to admit, much of the way I treat him is to redeem myself.  I have vague memories that tell me I used to be clairvoyant as a child.

Honouring his vision of the world is the least I can do to support him as he starts his journey in the world; taking his perspective seriously, not belittling it, ignoring it or dismissing it but validating the way he is in the world seems the most appropriate way to raise a child who probably is intuitive.  And as his vocabulary expands, imagine what conversations we can have!

Thursday 16 August 2012

We choose our parents

My friend, a staunch Church of England goer, told me the following story about her son.  Now, if it were me telling the story, you could be forgiven for thinking I was exaggerating, but my friend... well, she just thinks I'm one twist short of loopy, so coming from her, this story is all the more incredible.

Her son was five years old when, out of the blue, he told her that he had chosen her to be his mummy.  She laughed and asked him what other mummies he could have chosen, expecting him to name other mothers that he knew.

"Oh, I don't remember them now, they were all over the world, not here," came the answer.

Stunned, she tried to ask him more specific questions, but he changed the conversation as unexpectedly as he had started it.

The story has stuck with me over the years.  It confirms a belief I had held for a long time: no matter how we feel about our parents - and I've had some rollercoasters with mine - we chose them.  From the soul perspective they are our perfect parents, because they provide us with the exact conditions we need to manifest our true potential. 

For those who have had challenging childhood experiences, this can seem incomprehensible, but what the soul views as best for us, is not always what our ego thinks would be best for us.  This knowledge also gives us the power to shift from passive victims to active participants in our own lives - however challenging they may be - encouraging us to accept the past and value the strength, wisdom and compassion it has enabled us to develop.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

The oddest thing

We - that is James and I - are just back from a week with my parents in Ireland. 

For the first day or two, James was obsessed with the vegetable rack.  He kept going to the onions, taking one out and bringing it to my father, or Gaga as James calls him.

I thought this was very funny, but rather odd. 
"Why in the world would he do that?", I asked.  "You'd know best," commented my Mum, "as a child you always had to bring Dad home an onion every time you went up to Gran's house."

So oddness is genetic it seems!

Friday 3 August 2012

Life is a party

One of the joys of parenthood is the extra hours in the day it gives you.  Especially at weekends.  Forget lying in to catch up on an ever accruing sleep deficit, feeling rested is now a thing of the past.

A few weeks ago, we were all up and dressed by 6.30am on Saturday morning.  Having some extra bounce that morning, I set about making a breakfast fit for a king.  I told James we were having a party.  He walked around the flat saying, 'party', 'party', 'party', as the excitement mounted.  He then got a bit confused and suddenly it was 'pate', 'pate', 'pate'... but as he actually loves pate, that wasn't a problem.

This morning I asked him whether he wanted weetabix or toast for breakfast.  'Party', came the reply!

Perhaps there is some wisdom in this: whether it's a blisteringly early Saturday morning or a random moment in the week, life can be a party.  Well, if not a party exactly, a little of the joy and excitement that a party brings, a little of that sense of giving thanks, of honouring a moment, of celebrating the most mundane happenings can undoubtedly bring more fizz to life. 

Why else are children the happiest people on the planet?

Fearless generosity

As with so many insights in life, it was obvious in retrospect: it is our fear that limits our generosity. 

It is fear that we will give away something that we may later need.  But is that something so irreplaceable? Or, digging deeper, is that need really a need, or it is more of a want?  Moreover, it is the potential of needing something, not even the actual certainty of it, that holds us back from following our innate, joyful, generous desire to share with others.

I wish this wisdom were mine, but I read it, and the truth of the relationship between fear and generosity jumped out at me. I suddenly knew myself better.

It makes it easier to be generous when I know that I'm facing my fears, when I can calm my ego with the thought that I have never yet lacked what I truly needed.  There is no real fear.  There is just the thought of fear. 

As Shakespeare said, 'Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so'. 

Thursday 26 July 2012

The veil is melting

Since the Archangels' visit, my life is transforming at a very rapid pace.  For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to write books on spirituality and daily lives.  I've written - or half written - many books over the years. 

The miracle is that a collection of my stories may now be published.  I went to tell a friend and, out of no where, a butterfly flew past me.  We were indoors at the time and even my friend noticed that this butterfly had literally come from no where.

Last night, I was reading about Mother Mary, when I noticed an enormous pink 'light' in the sky.  Anyone who lives in London may remember that three years ago there were photos of an unexplained, large pink light appearing in the London sky on the front page of London's free Metro newspaper.  I saw that pink light - an angel of love - and now it is back, to hold a vibration of love around the Olympics I imagine. 

I doubted my eyes, however, thinking it may be a trick of the light, so I prayed for a sign.  When I looked up next, the clouds had formed a woman's lips smiling with a face hidden by a lacy veil.  A feeling of awe swept through me.  I had just read of such images of Mother Mary appearing, but it's not my normal experience, yet life since the Archangels' visit has been nothing short of remarkable. 

The veil between soul and 'self' is thinning.  And this is not just for me.  This goes for all of humanity, as we are all progressing on this path together, in our own unique ways.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

The balance of being

I did a meditation yesterday. No great surprise there!  What was different was that unlike other meditations that leave me with a nice buzzy feeling, this meditation brought a profound insight that I'd like to share.

During the meditation, I lost my body.  It faded away and I was left with pure consciousness.  I had my awareness, my thoughts, but nothing else.  I was hovering above water and, being so used to having a body, I automatically went over to a rock to sit down. 

When I got to the rock, I realised that, of course, I couldn't sit down.  I had no body.  I could not do anything.  Consciousness is all about being.  It is not about doing anything.

They say there is a reason that we are called human beings, and not human doings.  I never fully understood that before, not until I was denied the simple pleasure of sitting.  I took it for granted, my body.  I couldn't imagine life, or consciousness, without a body. 

Yet, as with all things in life, our greatest weakness is often our greatest strength with the volume turned up too loud.  It is our doing, excessive doing, thoughtless doing, careless doing, that is our undoing that has created so many of the problems we human beings now face.

Our doing is out of balance with our being.  We are preferencing our human side over our divine side; but balance is of fundamental importance in our spiritual path.  At this point in time, it is equally important for our planet's survival. 

The dance between doing and being is subtle.  Allowing ourselves the time to listen to our intuition, to do what we know is right, not just what is convenient would serve not only spiritual development, it would also be a meaningful act of service, a gift to our brothers and sisters with whom we share this planet.

A toddler in a million

James had his second ice cream this year.  We went to the shop, bought the ice cream and came home. 

The idea was to go out the back and share the ice cream.  As we walked through the house, James noticed an old Italian espresso pot on the floor, he'd been playing with it earlier.  The ice cream in his sights, my apparently super neat toddler waddled back into the kitchen and returned the espresso pot to its rightful cupboard.

Now I don't know whether to be proud, or draw the conclusion that I've said, "tidy up time", one time too often!

Thursday 19 July 2012

40 days

They say that our thoughts create our lives.  Now that I am beginning to see my thoughts and desires manifest in quite short time frames, I understand this principle a little more. 

But what to do with all the negative thoughts?  This issue has been at the foremost of my personal development agenda over the past few months.  I have used various tools, including ACT and Byron Katie's The Work.
They have given me considerable relief, but there is more that needs to be done.  It is as though negative thoughts are insidious worms that hide in the folds of my mind and wiggle to the fore when I least expect them.

I am now doing a 40 day programme which entails noticing every negative thought I think and every negative word I speak and surrendering them to Source to bless.  It is said that at the end of the 40 days, the negativity within us is transformed and released, and that we emerge from the process at a higher vibration.  The 40 days ends on 25th August, so I will let you know if I emerge sparkling clean!

As an aside, I realise that for many of the five readers of my blog, the content of my blog has taken a bit of a turn.  It has moved from a sprinkling of spiritual to a dollop of divine (ouch, that was a bad alliteration!) but I think this is part of my growth.  Spirituality, the divine essence of who we are, has almost mattered enormously to me and now it feels as though that is flowering in a new and dynamic way.  It remanins to be seen how it evolves, but I do hope you stay along for the journey.


For years I have read about the Ascension process, and how human beings are evolving spiritually.  I have read about it and I have felt like I am outside the process.  Not any more.  The last Archangel visit seems to have shifted my life into high gear. 

I now feel alive and buzzing, for no reason at all.  I am excited.  The small miracles that so many of my teachers talk about now abound in my life: the bus arrives, the rain stops when I asked for it to stop, I need a rubbish bin and a road sweeper arrives and takes the rubbish I had. 

These may be small and inconsequential to the outsider, but for me, their value is beyond measure.  They indicate that I am coming into my flow, that I am mastering my thoughts, and that I am holding a higher vibration.  I am becoming the Alchemist of my own life.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Babies in the office

Last night I saw a documentary about a company that allowed babies in the office for a month.  The experiment was to see if babies would add or detract from their parents' performance at work.

It's a cutting edge idea.  The outcome, perhaps surprisingly for some, was that the babies enhanced the workplace.  They brought out the sense of fun, joy and spontaneity that adults have lost.  They enhanced well being and team spirit in the office. 

In fact, the project was so successful, that the company now allows babies under 12 months to come to work every day with their parents and it has opened a creche for pre-school children.

What struck me was one man in particular: on the first day of the month long experiment, he was annoyed by the noise and by the fuss.  He was annoyed that he had to miss his normal train home in order to get the work done, all because one of his colleagues had her baby at work and he had to pick up some of the slack.  At the end of the month, he was sad to see the little girl leave and he had become an advocate for the programme.

We are not islands, it is not the commission, the prestige or the promotion that gives us our deepest sense of worth.  We thrive when we live and work in community; even if we have to give more of ourselves in order that others in the community may flourish too.  It is a spiritual paradox that in giving, we receive much more.  The experience of this man showed that principle in action.

Monday 16 July 2012

Monday morning

Monday morning.  Life has returned to normal.  It looks the same as always: dirty nappy, dust, wash, clean, hoover, cook...  Not even the sun is shining.

But something has happened.  For the second morning in a row, I have awoken feeling as though I am new.  That is the only way to describe how I feel.  I feel new.  Shiny.  Full of life.  Optimistic.  Blessed.  Light.

The Archangels really were here.  They have transformed me from the inside out.  Nothing has changed outside, and yet I can not shake the feeling that I am new, that I am fresh, that I am reborn to life.

The jadedness that has shadowed me for the last few years is gone.  I feel like I used to feel long ago vibrant... Alive.

With thanks for this wonderful gift.  And, I found a photo of orbs as well!  It's the lilac orb rising up above the candle flame.

Archangels visit - Day 5

The last day.  It's funny how temperamental I am.  I had an amazing experience yesterday morning, where I was touched by angels, and this morning I felt as though nothing has happened this week.  Humans!

I was very sad to at the closing ceremony, like the low after a wonderful party, when life cannot possibly feel as bright and shiny as it did during the party.  I wondered how much I had imagined.

I searched the photos of my altar to see if I had taken any photos of orbs, but I couldn't see any.*  I had to remind myself that I had seen many orbs with my physical eyes just before and after the ceremony on Day 1, so definitely they were here.  I found five incredibly beautiful white feathers while out on a walk with James, a physical sign that they are always with me. 

It's easy to believe we are alone, or even unnoticed by the divine, but that is never the case.  That is the drama of the ego, who feeds on doom and disaster, even if it's not real.

Long before this retreat began, stretching right back into my childhood, I have been touched by Source and by the angels, over and over again.  I saw my first angel when I went to see my brother Peter in hospital, just after he was born.  They have woven in and out of my life ever since, and they weave through all our lives daily, we just fail to notice them.

We are all cradled in their wings: all that is asked is that we reach out to them, that we ask for a relationship with them.  Once we do that, there are no limits to the intimacy and depth of that relationship, to the help and support that they can provide; from the most mundane needs to most majestic human visions, they are waiting to help and support us.

Archangels Visit - Day 4

I asked the Archangels for an experience of them.  I wanted to feel their presence.  This morning, I did feel them.  I was sitting at the laptop, when I felt a tremendous amount of pressure on my head, like you experience when you change altitude. 

At first, I ignored it.  Then I paid attention, sat up and closed my eyes.  It was all that was required.  The energy flowed through my head, from above my head to deep in the earth. 

I haven't felt that much energy in over a decade and it was wonderful.  It was as though I was washed clean.

Friday 13 July 2012

Archangels Visit - Day 3

My friend Susannah describes how, one evening, walking through a vineyard in New Zealand, she suddenly knew what she was here to do.  Her path in life was blindingly clear.

I had a similar type of experience this morning.  I was sitting wondering what to blog, I hadn't a clue what to write, so I surrendered.  I let go of my ideas and asked the Archangels what I should write.  Random thoughts swirled through my mind. 

I wondered how I would ever achieve my dream of being a spiritual writer.  Then I remembered people saying that in moments of spiritual ecstasy, they realise that they do not breathe, but they are breathed. 

"I surrender," I thought.  I surrender to the life of my soul's design.  I felt like a train, with the brakes released, flying down the tracks, around corners and over hills, the air racing past me. 

All my life I have held back, I have second guessed my impulses too often, creating many difficulties for myself along the way.  The effect has been a jerky ride, with many false starts, sideways moves and disappointed dreams.

Now this is a paradox, because on one hand, I have listened for my intuition and have followed it on every occassion that I have felt it clearly.  On the other hand, my mind is very resistant.  It appears to enjoy creating struggles, dilemmas and decisions, where really, there is no need.  My mind loved the drama.  My ego fed on drama.  My soul however, is a free-wheeling train, sliding down the track.

In all honesty, I am not sure how surrendering translates into everyday actions, or how I live a free-wheeling life.  I suspect that noticing my worries and fears, and allowing them to move on rather than believing in them and creating unnecessary tension, fear and pain, simply to feed the drama of My Life, is a good place to start.

Thursday 12 July 2012

Archangel visit - Day 2

One of the things I struggle with most as a stay-at-home mum is entertaining James.  I put huge pressure on my self to stimulate and educate him, and to keep him amused in a constructive manner. 

I have a fantasy that if I were a nursery nurse, I would know how to occupy him, how to make his toddlerhood as rich as possible.  The result is that I often feel overwhelmed, stuck for ideas.  Then I beat myself up for letting him watch television. 

Yesterday I got a book that has helped enormously (How Children Learn by John Holt).  Holt is a gentle, curious psychologist who is fascinated by toddlers and how they explore the world.  Having read his stories about toddler development, I realise that I had put the cart before the horse. 

James knows what he wants to learn, I don't have to force him to do this educational game or that.  I can be led by him.  He knows what he wants to explore, what he wants to copy me doing, and what he would like to take apart.  A weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

Yesterday, when I stopped being in charge, I noticed his curiosity in a way I hadn't before: the way he says 'hello' to the trees in the garden, the way he looks through the strawberry plants for strawberries, how he smells flowers and brings me a 'bit' so I can smell it too.

Yesterday was fun when I was led by him.  The dance between James and I is far more subtle than I had understood it to be.  I don't have lead all the time. 

This is my pattern: to aim too high, frustrate myself and miss out on the magic of the journey.  I believe this insight was a gift to me, an invitation from the Archangels to trust life more, to relax into life, to notice the magic of life's journey.

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Archangel visit - Day 1

Why is it raining so much?

London is the Earth Star Chakra of the world.  The new energies that are downloading to the planet, the Ascension process, all are dependent on the heart as the centering point of the new age dawning.  For this reason, humanity all had to come to London, physically and symbolically, to carry these energies across the world.

The rain is like tears, cleansing the heart, releasing the pain, anger, hurt and frustrations that we all hold within our hearts, leaving space for love in all its many guises.  The joy and the excitement of the event is meant to trigger the opening of this chakra, opening the way for a great surge of energy, prompting spiritual and psychical opening, for us and through our planet, as our great journey evolves.

Monday 9 July 2012

The Archangels' Visit

I'm hosting another Archangel visit.  Five Archangels arrive this evening at 9pm for a five day stay. 

I feel it in my waters, this summer is a summer of change for me.  How, remains to be seen, but I sense the energy changing.  I want to do more work with angels, and the idea came to me to host the five Archangels for another visit.  A good idea, but who would I send them on to when I finished? 

As soon as I asked the question, I thought of one of my brothers.  No, he wasn't in the right space at the moment.  Just then I noticed a message from another brother, Peter.  Of course!  He was the obvious choice - when I asked, he agreed.

Given that the idea and the follow-on host arrived effortlessly within a five minute period, I am convinced that they wish to come.  They are coming for a reason, a purpose that I do not understand yet, but when the heavens ask to intercede in my life, I am not going to turn them away.

The last time I did this, Dirk started out as a sceptic but somehow, he wanted to participate in the closing rituals.  This time, Dirk wants to be here when they arrive, despite all his teasing.  I rest my case!

Monday 2 July 2012

The cracked pot

There is an ancient story the moral of which is that a cracked pot, although flawed, is better than a perfect pot because if you put a candle into a cracked pot, the light shines out through the cracks.  No light can be seen from within a perfect pot.

James seems to be approaching the age of tantrums.  We have had so many of them recently that I have sometimes wondered where my kind, loving toddler has disappeared. 

In the malstrom of screaching and tears, I have occassionally noticed my own journey.  I get anxious: what must the neighbours think?  Has he woken them up again? When will this end?  I also fear that he will become a selfish boy and, later, a selfish man. 

This weekend the tantrums were particulary bad.  After one very prolonged session, my nerves were frayed and I too was upset.  Nothing I tried work.  I felt frustrated and powerless.  In all of this, I was aware of my turmoil but I didn't act it out.  I didn't shout, sulk or scold.  I stayed pretty patient.  I did mutter a couple of swear words, borne of frustration, to my husband, but I was in control of my own emotions.  I was good enough.

I was that cracked pot - I could see my 'imperfections' but I was able to hang on to the person I would like to be. I was upset and exhausted, but I was also calm for James.  I was a good enough mum. 

This is the reason I follow a spiritual path: to know myself and my own limitations, and yet not to be bound by them, to surpass those limitations from time to time.  We are all cracked pots.  If we have lived at all, we have been cracked by the tumbles and turmoils of life.  That is our perfection: striving to be more than our faults and failings is when we shine to those around us.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Finding my purpose

For years I have thought that my purpose was my job.  Last night, that idea crumbled. 

I was doing some personal development work - Byron Katie's The Work - when I realised that I had been afraid of failing in my career.  This had prevented me from applying for jobs I could have done, but in which feared I might fail. 

When I turned this belief around I discovered I had also been afraid of succeeding in my career.  This had prevented me from applying for jobs I could have done, but in which feared I might succeed. 

When I turned that belief around I discovered I had also been afraid of mediocrity in my career.  This had prevented me from applying for jobs I could have done, but in which feared I might be bored. 

As that idea settled, and I got past my Ego's embarrassment at making no sense to myself, a realisation dawned.  My purpose in life is to become clear in myself.  It has never been about my job.  It has always been about myself, about inner clarity, about aligning with my soul, as consciously as I can.

Jobs have come and gone.  Some I have loved, and some I have loathed; but my passion has always been increasing my level of self awareness.  It was so obvious, I never got it.  My passion is my purpose: it is my soul journey.

Tuesday 26 June 2012

The nature of beauty

It happens to every one, you have to acknowledge you're aging.  Some people do it gracefully.  I'm not in that category.

Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled to be 42 in a few weeks.  I have had a very rich life and that is the true measure of a life.  Not wrinkles.  Wrinkle-free skin is not the measure of a good life.  Regardless of what the beauty industry wants me to believe, that eternal beauty is just a pot of face cream away, humans do age. Yet I have to keep reminding myself of this fact. 

Last week my brother's girlfriend called me "ma'am". I was appalled.  Actually, in truth, it was my vanity that suffered, deep down I know I look, more or less, 41 and 11/12ths.  I'm aging.  It shows.  That's natural. 

Which brings me to middle age.  In eight years I'll be 50!  As a child I used to think that to die at 30 would be perfect, as then I'd have lived the beautiful part of life - such is the logic of seven year old.  Embracing the years beyond 30 becomes more about attitude and less about the surface beauty for me.

My definition of beauty is changing: I now find less beautiful people more interesting, more captivating.  When I started exploring this, I realised that it is because beauty can blind me to what lies below.  It is beauty of character that really matters. 

Years ago I had a vision in which a sage said, "True beauty is how beautiful others feel when they are with you."  That says it all.

Monday 25 June 2012

Love in action

What's my problem?  Well, not problem so much as my fault, failing or foible?  I was wondering how I could be a better wife today. 

Is it false modesty that I couldn't think of anything! Until I did think of something.  Forgiving imperfection...  Don't sweat the small stuff...  Or, more acurately, if I can't say something kind, don't say anything.

One thing I could do that would definitely enhance Dirk's quality of life is to stay quiet more often.  Do I really need to point out that he's put the bowls away in the wrong order again?  There are three reasons why this idea merits my consideration.

First, such small quirks are our personal 'imperfections'.  I have my own collection of quirks, would it not behove me to be as forgiving with his as he is with mine?  As I read today, 'perfection is achieved by accepting our imperfections'.
Second, who says my order is the 'right' order?
Third, telling him has not changed the order in which he puts them back anyway!  Surely it's wise to accept the things we cannot change.

This is a simple kindness, it's my love in action.

Monday 11 June 2012

The divine within

In esoteric circles it is taught that we are made in the image of 'God', rather than vice vearsa.  In recent times, it's been hard to see that connection, even if I believe it to be there.  Recently I've felt so far off track that I had to relaunch my search, so to speak.  I couldn't find the divine within at all.

So I have working with some angel cards I have to try to re-establish my connection.  To be honest, I didn't understand the readings.  I've had to go back over them several times but the insight appears to be this.  To reconnect with the divine within requires just two steps: the first, to acknowledge where we are honestly - this is my truth, right here, right now.  The second step is pay slightly more attention to whatever modicum of good we can find in our honest reality.

That has to be as unglamourous as the spiritual path can get: this is how it is, this is the bit that brings me joy.  Honest acceptance.  A little optimism, indicating that we trust that everything really is working out for our highest good, regardless of how we may judge our present circumstances.

Friday 1 June 2012

Double prayer power

I was sitting in the car yesterday, saying a prayer outloud.  Rather than asking for something I've read that prayer is better expressed as a thank you, as this shows that you have confidence that you can "ask and it is given".

In that vein, my prayer was, "Thank you Archangel Michael for keeping James and I safe on our journey and blessing all those whose paths we cross," when, from the back of the car, came a little "Dank ooh", as James added his bit to the prayer.

What divine being could resist the sincerity of a toddler's confident thanks!

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Puppy dogs' tails

What are little boys made of?  Frogs and snails and puppy dogs' tails, that's what little boys are made of!

I'm beginning to think it's true too!  At 19 months, he's turning into a real boy. He still loves books and In the Night Garden, but his interests are evolving.  He's obsessed with moving stones and pebbles from one place in the garden to another (maybe he has been watching too much Macca Pakka!), finding sticks to poke in earth, and squelching mud in his fingers.

As for acquiring a robust immune system, well, I think he may be ahead of schedule: yesterday's treasures included someone's used chewing gum, a discarded icecream stick, a cigarette butt and two used Q-tips.  Lovely!

He got his first knee graze yesterday as well - running to the shop!  He loves closing other people's gates (that's his father's side, can't abide open doors!), shaking railings - I've no clue! - and jumping on manhole covers to see if they will make a noise. 

When his friend started to cry because he wanted to play with the plastic Hippo while she played with the Zebra, he gave her the Hippo as well.  A proud day for any Mum, especially as I hadn't asked him, it was his idea.

Finally, recently we were driving to a local 'village' recently when James started to cry.  I wondered why he was crying for no apparent reason.  I soon realised: we had passed the turn off for his playgroup, he had thought we were going to playgroup!

As he grows he becomes more fascinating: he's a mix of both his father and myself, as well as characteristics that neither of us recognise.  He is also his own person. 

Tuesday 29 May 2012

The prayer duvet

A few weeks ago I had an accident in the car. I scratched another car, as well as our own.  I was distraught by the incident as I am already an overly cautious driver.

"Why? Why? Why did this happen?" I asked myself over and over again.

Out of the blue, a man whom I had never met before was occupying all my thoughts.  Our paths had crossed and in a very unpleasant way.  Although I was very upset at the time, I was touched by a feeling of pain, or suffering, eminating from the driver of the other car.

"Well," I reasoned, "our lives have connected for a reason.  Nothing is random and, as I have no idea what the reason is, I shall pray for him.  Maybe that will help: it will help me if nothing else."

Random things happen.  When they are good, I give thanks.  When they aren't 'good', I wonder what's gone wrong!  It helps me to make sense of life, to weave an uplifting story, if I imagine that such events are an opportunity to spread love and healing.  Since then I have prayed that the other driver be wrapped in a duvet of love; soft, healing, comforting, and nurturing.

Prayer may have gone out of fashion, but that doesn't mean it is worthless.  Double blind studies have found that patients who receieved prayers, even if they did not know they were being prayed for, recovered faster than those in a control group who received no prayers.  Prayer works.

Monday 28 May 2012

Our two minds

In Eastern cultures, it is accepted that we have two minds, but the concept is much newer in the West.  For us, the thinking mind is the dominant model.  We know we think.  In fact, asked what else our mind does, I think I'd be hard pushed to give an answer.  What else does the mind do?

It is aware.  It observes.  There are many times when we are so lost in a moment that we have no awareness, no ability to observe ourselves or to notice what is unfolding.  We are actors lost in the drama.

The observing mind is more like a director.  It stands back and notices how the drama is unfolding, how the actors are participating.  The observing mind offers us the ability to stand outside ourselves, even while we are involved in the drama. 

Sometimes this can help us to stand back from the situation, to notice that, although we are in the drama, we don't have to be the drama.  It can go on around us, but we do not have to buy into it, consqeuntly we are not so deeply embedded in the drama. 

As we evolve on the spiritual path of self awareness and, concurrently, divine consciousness, our relationship to the observing mind changes.  We spend more time in that mode, even while thinking.  The beauty of the observing mind is that is far more expansive than the thinking mind.  The observer mind, or the aware mind, shares the expansiveness of our spirit and as such, it is the conduit for our creativity, our inspiration, and our sense of connection to All That Is.

Thank you

I'm so proud, James has learnt to say 'Thank you'.  Well, I say learnt, drilled might be a more appropriate verb.  We have been repeating 'thank you' endlessly to him and it worked.  He now says 'thank you'. 

Mind you, he's not quite there yet.  It sounds like 'dank ooh', and he hasn't quite mastered when to say it.  This morning when Dirk put on his bib, he said 'dank ooh'; a sweet gesture as his Dad doesn't get to spend a lot of time with him.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Not only in my dreams

For years I have had a reoccuring nightmare.  My teeth loosen, crumble and fall out.  I am helpless to stop it in any way.  I have looked up the symbolic meaning of the dream because I find the dream deeply unsettling.  Apparently it's a sign of stress.

Last night I had the dream again.  My teeth loosened, and three were about to fall out.  I was with a dentist who hadn't done a proper check up and hadn't noticed the teeth.  I wiggled the teeth to show her,
"That's why you need to do a proper check up" I said.
"Ah, now I see," she replied. 
Now she was taking me seriously.

The scene changed.  Suddenly my teeth were perfect.  I wiggled them and they were all intact.  Solid.  In all the years I've had this dream, this is the first time it has ended positively.  I was elated.  When I woke, the dream was so real I checked my own teeth to make sure they were firmly embedded.

I take this sea change in my dream world as an indicator from my unconscious that a deep shift has occured within my psyche.  I put this down to my commitment to owning my thoughts and the consequences they create in my life.  In the dream, I have been powerless; I am no longer powerless.

In practice I don't know what to do about the negative quality of many of my thoughts, so I've been surrendering them to Archangel Michael, who dispells negative thoughts.  For me, this dream indicates that I'm going in the right direction...  And what happens in the unconscious eventually bubbles up to the surface: great changes are afoot!

Let go, Let God

"If you were to surrender just 1 per cent of your life to God, you would be the most enlightened person on the planet in three months." Deepak Chopra

I'm willing to try.  Yesterday I had the negotiate our local tube station with baby, buggy and ancillary support items, a mere 18 kilos, when all is said and done.  The twenty steps leading to the track fill me with dread as it always triggers a two days of back pain. 

On the way home, I decided to surrender that part of the journey to God.  Two people stepped forward to help just as I picked up the buggy, and one of them was a teenager in a school uniform.  They carried the pram down the stairs, then the teen turned around and went back upstairs to catch his tube.

This was a powerful gift for me.  I've never had two people carry the pram for me before; this was not just help, it was an abundance of help. 

The other side of this story is the teen.  He went out of his way to help me and his kindness deeply touched me.  He listened to his intuition and responded, giving me a priceless gift.  It can be easy to pretend we don't hear our intuition when it takes us out of our way, but we never know how a small act of kindness can impact on another.

Monday 21 May 2012

Huff and puff

James has discovered that to cool down food, you blow on it.  He has even discovered how to blow.  What he hasn't discovered is that you have to swallow what's in your mouth before you blow.  T-shirts, high chairs and walls have all been given a sprinkle of the Plat de Jour in recent days.

Ah yes, life is all about the subtlety!

For better, for worse...

To reverse out onto our street from the driveway involves negotiating a significant blind spot.  I'm very conscious of it, but today I did not go carefully enough.  I completely missed the car coming from my right.  He went from one blind spot through to another as I looked left. 

Rather than slowing down and letting me out when he saw the car reversing out, he decided to race past, assuming I would see him and stop.  I didn't see him. Luckily, I did stop for the car behind him.  I could hear the shouting and swearing, but it was only when I looked left again that I saw he had stopped his car, jumped out and was calling me the most awful names I have ever been called in my life.  Ever.

So, if our thoughts create our reality, did I create this? Absolutely.  I even know how.  I'm a very cautious driver: I don't trust myself and I don't trust other drivers.  That consistent, insidious distrust and anxiety created this moment.  A shot across the bows, asking me to review my ideas about myself and other drivers.

'Don't let Fear decide for you', my friend Debbie says.  Fear may not have been deciding, but anxiety has definitely been driving. 

For better or for worse, my thoughts are creating my reality.  Learning to understand this and to think more productively may take me a lifetime, but I'm committed to this path.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Free will or destiny

It's an age old question and despite answers from great sages, I've been trying to grapple with this question myself.  First, I realise it's important to point out that I believe in reincarnation; that we have many lifetimes, the purpose of which is to bring us to awareness of our own divinity.  By this I mean that we are made in the image and likeness of God, that we are divine, not that 'he' is human, and prone to the petty jealousies and anger of humans! 

Within this context, I wonder if, as souls, we decide on certain key events that will occur during our lifetime, when we incarnate.  The soul needs to preplan these because the personality is living unconsciously, with no communication between the soul and personality, with no flow of intuition and no awareness that our thoughts create our reality. 

These events form our destiny, they are the fundamental experiences our souls wish to have in order to understand fully what it is to be human, and consequently, what divinity is too.  However, we can reach these moments by going down different paths, some of them are easier and some of them are harder, the choice is ours: that is our free will.

As we become increasingly conscious of our journey while in human form the balance between destiny and free will evolves.  As lifetimes progress, and we become increasingly conscious, we develop greater free will as the soul no longer has to preplan the lifetime in the same degree of detail, because the personality begins to create their lives more consciously, no longer being swept along by the tide of life.  The soul and the personality come into communication, and the personality creates with awareness and increasing care, as it realises that what it does affects not just those around them, but all others on this journey too.

I've no idea if this idea represents reality or not.  It's just a wondering...

Monday 14 May 2012

Clearing my basement

This morning I was down in the basement.  I'm speaking literally, not metaphorically, for once.  Dirk's collection, neatly stored in cardboard boxes, littered the floor, the dampness had disintegrated the boxes.  My first thought was, 'well, it's his collection, he can sort this'.  Not, I will agree with you, the most compassionate reaction to have.

Fortunately, my second thought was more redeeming.  'What if this were my collection?  Would I want him to react that way? What if he looked after my collection as I would, how overjoyed, how cherished I would feel?'  I took the high road.  I went out and got new boxes, threw out the old ones, restacked them and put the dust sheets into the wash to clean them up.

As I meditated on the situation this evening, I felt as though I were bathed in a glow of golden light.  One of the reasons I try so hard in life is because I can be mean sometimes.  I could have left the mess for Dirk to clear, but I didn't.  I saw myself on Dirk's side, not my own side, looking out for his good instead of my own.  That's not always a decision I make: sometimes I am less kind.

It is said that whatever is inside comes out.  We cannot hide our true characters forever.  If I am unkind to him, it is because I am unkind to myself.  I see myself sabotaging myself.  Today was different.  I saw the potential for unkindness, for the small victory of 'it's-not-my-problem', but I was immediately drawn to a deeper feeling of solidarity between Dirk and myself.  I saw the oneness of our path.

In meditation, I saw that this oneness extends beyond marriage to all beings.  We are all on the same path, getting side tracked by keeping score is an illusion that does not serve us.  I am left with a humbling feeling of solidarity, and slightly bewildered: intellectually I thought I understood solidarity, oneness, but now I feel it.