Incoming Energy of 2021

At this time of year, I always like to pause and have a look at where we are on the astrological wheel, to see what broader influences might be there pulling at the stings of life.  These are ancient systems developed from looking at the star, planets and the energy of numbers.  I feel they are influences rather than prophetic forecasters.

White Ox

This year on 12th February we are leaving behind the year of the Rat, which is the start of the 12 year astrological cycle and are moving onto the second in the astrological calendar, the Ox.  It is the Silver Ox for this year.  Ox is a gentle yet powerful energy and in Taoist traditions is also associated with the beautiful feminine deity of Quan Yin.  Ox speaks of hard and steady work, there is a sense of; if unwilling to work?  Then don’t eat.  Which comes with Ox.  Ox can be stubborn and opinionated and so needs to temper this with tolerance and letting go to accept change.   Ox energy suggests a gentle and steady strong energy to the year, one where routine and steady work is supported and can bring the most benefits rather than more flash or faster energetic approaches.

The system of 9 Star Ki, brings this year to the year of Six, or Big Metal in Chinese 5 elements.  Metal is all about governance, management, leadership and insight.  In it’s brighter state it is about truth, honesty and integrity.  In it’s more dogmatic state it is about control and rules.  Looking at this in combination with the Silver Ox, it does suggest a year of what could easily become a lot of dogma, toil and rule following.  To lighten this, it is about tuning into the bright truth, integrity and with true insight staying centred and not allowing external influences to do anything other than inform and brighten one’s own knowledge.  There is an invitation to tap into the bright silver energy of the year, to reflect, and gain true insight, while maintaining as balanced a life as possible.

In Numerology 2021 is the year of 5.  This is a dynamic and creative number bringing an energy that is all about change and opportunity.  Perhaps looking at this in light of the current situation (pandemic) and in combination with the Chinese oracle systems it would suggest that it’s about embracing change and acceptance providing it is following a path of truth and integrity.  Opportunities are likely to be of a practical and very grounded nature and sometimes might seem small and insignificant but actually through due diligence and work can reap sound results which will support one in the future.

One phrase comes to mind to sum up.  “Steady as she goes!”

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An Empty Harvest? Take another look.

As I write we are experiencing a heat wave and the nearby fields have long since gone to brown grass and the long grasses have been cut and made into hay bales.   This time of year is of course associated with harvest, throughout August and September was and is all about gathering in the year’s harvests.

On a more ethereal level of course this can equally be applied to our year’s activities, whatever they may be.  Personally, for various reasons, some very obvious, I find my basket looking a little bare this year.  The silent and still, spring and summer is finally showing up in my harvest for the year.

wild flowwers of Fallow Land

This makes me reflect on the fallow land.  The land that is left fallow for year, where it has faithfully every year been used and produced a harvest and finally is set to rest for a season.  Often producing the most wonderful wild flowers and variety of plants that any peace of land could possible be expected to produce.

Of course the more disappointing and in many ways devastating is the land which was planted up and seeded and then failed.  The full on crop failure. Traditional practice is to burn off the stubble of the failed crop to bring new nutrients back into the soil. 

Personally at the moment I am not sure whether my harvest is that of the fallow land or the crop failure. Gladly I can find a few wild flowers that have flourished during this time of stillness and being fallow. The greatest fear is that it will not recover and come back from this. One thing is for sure is that each year produces a very different yield, they are always determined by the quality of the soil and the weather of the year.

You can’t always control the environment in which you find yourself but you can work on the soil in which you plant.  So if you too are looking at a strangely assorted harvest basket this year perhaps it’s time to nurture your soil.

Interaction of Life. Its innate randomness and ability to create change inside and out.

It is said that every person has an effect on someone else or on a course of events.  They may not even know it.  Sometimes it is these that are not deliberate often have the most wide reaching effects, where as those which are deliberate, calculated and pushed, sometimes don’t go as far as the person actually wants them to.  Just look at any campaign, deliberate campaign, how far do they really get?

The biggest changes and influences often come completely left field.  Facebook, Twitter, radio, telephone, mobile phones, printing press, cars, Beatrix Potter’s children’s books, tea, potatoes, tobacco.  The list is endless.

Summer GoddessMost people meet their partners in the most unlikely set of circumstances.  The chances of meeting the person you marry or settle down with, often requires quite a sequence of events.  Moving town, education, job or a series of links between friends and colleagues and then just the right timing to meet in a way, on a day that somehow ignites that passion or interaction that does not just fizzle into nothing but blooms at least for good while into a relationship.  Also, this is the foundation for children.  So in many ways, it adds to the impossibility of even being here.  For example for me to be here on this earth and my parents to meet and have me it took a world war!  Or rather the fact they ended up in the same country was due to the after effects of a world war.  So in that sense, never mind the probability that goes on in the conception process, it really is quite amazing I’m alive at all.  I am of course not alone in this, and no-doubt there are millions of people with even more complex stories and thereby remote and wonderful possibility of being here in the first place.

So one can’t help coming to the question, why am I here?  As in why is any one particular individual here?  Just a fluke.  A chance that mathematically shows someone has to end up here because of how the ecological, evolution process has panned out.  Is it simply a miracle?  Or is it all of these things and more?  Personally I tend to go with the last statement, it is all of the science, the evidence, the mathematical evolution process and a miracle!

Science offers us a chance to intellectually gain understanding of our surrounds and make amazing discoveries and inventions which take us to another intellectual level and different ways of living and existing.  Providing us with more choice or even simply getting us to realise we do have choice.  Often though science data seems to dull the wonder and mystery of life.  Suddenly the fact we can intellectually rationalise something, count it, measure it or predict it, it becomes every day, ordinary.   Often it even becomes something we can take for granted.  Why is this?  Then when a discovery is made it is suddenly owned by science.  It is science that owns it, found it, discovered it.  When actually what it did was measure it or alchemise it.

Surely the original wonder and mystery is still there and should not be lost in our rationalising of it.  It does not matter how well we can measure the distance from the sun to the earth or the orbit of the planets, it is simply awesome that the earth is this one planet in the middle of “bogging” nowhere, circling this enormous star called the sun, balanced by the orbit of the moon to produce a planet that has just the right proportions, size, speed, minerals to have an atmosphere, to support water which is the foundation of life.  No matter how rationally you approach this, how much scientific data one can gather, it is truly amazing!!!

sun and moonWe are off searching for another Earth or life supporting planet.  Why?  I guess we always like to have a spare and we don’t like to feel we are the only ones or alone.  It is part of the human condition.  We still have not found one.  I do sometimes wonder, that will happen if we ever do.  Will it becomes on a planetary scale what we have here on earth.  That where we are is not good enough.  Suddenly we will have to go to Planet Egon 9 Star Galaxy Zogon, to find ourselves?  At the moment, it’s contained to Australia, the Andes, climbing Mount Everest, Himalayas or Thailand.   Ok there is something about moving somewhere which is unfamiliar, new, which tests our ability to survive and adapt.  It also provides the opportunity to learn something different which can broaden our perspective on life and ourselves.  It is exciting, challenging and it helps us to grow as people.  However, there does come a point for all of us in our lives where we have to weigh up whether we are really chasing the “Dragon of our Dreams” or just chasing our tales and actually by stopping and going inward we would actually learn much more about how who we are.

Sometimes it’s actually tougher to stay put and learn from the people and the places we are already residing with.  There are issues, long standing annoyances, clashes, incompatibility.  How much better it would be without her next door or our old ex-partner hanging around? Don’t get me wrong there are definitely times when we have to say good bye to someone or draw a line under a dysfunctional relationship.  However, simply drifting onto the next or running off to Thailand to find a guru, might be part of the solution, but will certainly not be all of it.  Everything that goes “wrong” in life in some part is down to our own actions and reactions.  Taking responsibility for them and relearning new and better ways of being definitely aid to avoid going through the same patterns again and again.  A Guru in the Himalaya’s together with the thin altitude and lighter diet may well help us get a different and better perspective on all this.  However, the test really comes when you return to the ordinary every day life you’d been previously living.  Just like criminals who apparently often feel the need to  eventually to return home, most of us find ourselves at some point having to return to “make a living” or “settle down”.   That is when the real test comes of how much baggage we have shed, how much knowledge we have learnt and how we have really matured.

The Mutterings of a Mad Cow who ate no Beef

lovers0001In September 2006 I went to a 3 day meditation in Glastonbury  all about Gaia.  It was a call from the heart to reconnect at a deeper level.  What I didn’t realise at the time was that it was going to be the first time I was going journey Shamanically with the rhythm of the drum.  I also didn’t realise what awakening of the spirit it would evoke within me.  It opened me to the greatest softness and profound beauty of creation and within a few days having to face the fact that I was extremely stressed and my body was not ready or trained to receive such floods of wisdom and insight.  It opened up an illness within that needed healing.  This was the start of my Shamanic Journey.  Over the next thirteen years it was to be a rich mixture of chaos, confusion, deep beauty and healing.  The story is not over but the last thirteen years are.  Last September, (2019), I came to a watershed moment where it was clear that my consulting practice needed to close it’s gates, at least for a while.  There were many things that needed addressing at home and internally.  Before the gate shut, 13 poetic writings came together, some from events and times during the 13 years and a number which just poured out over a couple of days.

Why is 13 so important?  The biggest healing that was needed and brought through my shamanic trail was my connection to the Earth, Mother Nature and to my own femininity.  13 is a sacred number of the Divine Feminine and of course we have 13 moons every year.  So of course a number of these poetic writing are heavily influenced by her presence and are in respect of her.

So here is this small offering, enjoy.

Available here free as an E-book.  As every effort deserves payment, please make a donation to one or more of the four charities linked below.

If you would like a signed hard copy please make paypal payment of £10 to pathwayfinder@mail.com. (including postage and packaging)

Most of all enjoy and  please read with a good pinch of gentle humour.

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Into the Unknown

New year, new challenges ahead and the one consistency being change, with the chances of major adventures, one day in the depths of winter I found myself pondering the unknown.

Stepping into KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAthe unknown, when did you last do this?  Why did you do it?  How did it feel?  Are you pleased that you took that step?

The unknown is often something that we instinctively fear or sometimes it’s exactly what we have been seeking or trying to escape into and simply find it exciting and like coming alive.

Our relationship with the unknown will very much depend on what we’ve been lead to believe about it in our childhood.  Either encouraged to be adventurous or more likely warned against it and to stay with what we know or at the very least prepare well for it.  Funny part is how do you prepare for the unknown?

Truth is for the most part in our lives, and certainly these days in this age of information, most of the time, even if something is unknown to us, it probably has already been done by someone else and there is at least whole bunch of information and someone else’s experience.

Of course what none of this helps with is how we, us as an individual, are going to cope with this step into the unknown.  It is our step, not the person whose exploits we’ve read about on the internet or in a recommended book.  So what do we take with us into the unknown…. Some information, some basic knowledge often received second or third hand and of course all our abilities, strategies for coping and assimilating whatever comes our way.

Oddly enough this can mean that even if we are stepping into something new, something unknown, the out-come is the same or the experience has similarities for us about something else that we experience before.  Our reactions either learned, habitual or carefully honed will come into play.  So how much and how fast does the unknown suddenly become the all too well known once again.  The same patterns playing out, the same issues rearing their head.

In many ways the unknown becomes the opportunity to do things differently, to be forced into a different set of behaviours or action patterns that so far have not been explored.  Funnily enough for most of the time in life all we are doing is one known for an apparent unknown, which actually have very similar qualities to what we already have known.  No wonder people find themselves doing more and more extraordinary things  to break out beyond the known or to break behaviour patterns in their lives.

If adventures into the unknown truly scare you, but you need to change patterns in your dreamscapelife, then look at what is driving those patterns and just like a sculpture, carefully and gentle chisel away at those driving forces so the unhelpful patterns can flow in a different way through your life.

If the unknown is totally appealing yet no matter what you do, you find that soon it becomes dull and dreary and just more of the apparent same, then start to look with new eyes on everything.  Start to look for the depths in yourself and others and in the tiny simply minute of each day, there will be magic already there for you, without making a huge leap and the unknown within the known will start to sing out and each day can be an adventure.

 

Honesty and Grace go hand in hand

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThese are two, Honesty and Grace are very old and timeless friends and ones that we all grapple with at times.  For some they are total strangers, for some they are the best buddies they could ever wish for in their lives and for others a challenge or even sparing partners.  For all of us they can be the oil in the wheels or in their absence a whole in the heart.

In this age of science, and the need for law and order, often it is the truth that is sort and of course you cannot have truth without honesty.  Although, in the search for truth honesty is often over looked in the very pointed charge for truth or proof or the absolute.

While we often seek honesty from those around us and the world around us, it is sometimes even harder to find it within ourselves, often blinded to our own habits or unseeing of our own blind spots.  When t

candle flame

hese are revealed to us sometimes it can be quite painful or make us feel very vulnerable.  However, if we check them carefully and accept them, these can be some of the greatest growth moments in our lives.  There is of course one caveat; what is the truth to one person is only a part truth to another and we have to be honest about where the gap in the different perspective may be.

There is a beautiful old saying “Diplomacy is the better part of Valour”.  Question is when is diplomacy just a sop for hiding the truth or not being honest with someone and when is it really serving a truly altruistic and noble purpose which can be called valour?

Personally this is where I feel grace is a far better guide.  Grace walks with love, with light, with compassion and is a far more humble companion for honesty than any of the ones mentioned so far.  The search for truth can make us have tunnel vision.  Diplomacy can leave us open to basically never really facing things or understanding what is truly going on.  Perhaps even being more blindsided than we might already be.  Undertaking things for noble causes and valour leaves us open to simply being motivated to be proud, great and opens the doors to ego and pomp.

 

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAHonesty is always the best policy, but it can be at times painful and sharp.  It’s delivery, it’s reception needs the companion of Grace for all, to just ease in the light and enable the discoveries, making what is revealed digestible, meaningful, and hold the bright truth that can only sparkle with humbleness rather than becoming a sharp instrument to prove a point and to allow time for all to reshape themselves around this new bright potential of having clarity following the revelation of honesty.

 

Why have these to companions in your life?  They can require considerable work, they cherub2are not necessarily easy friends to have around.  Because, without them, you get lost in a fog, the world you build for yourself and others becomes dis-honest and often brutal causing further injury to oneself and others.  They are truly good friends to invite into your life and heart.

Winspiration Day – Global Movement – UK’S First

Final Final JPEG - Winspiration Day 7th May (1)

Link to book tickets: winspirationday2017.eventbrite.co.uk 

All proceeds go to these great charities:

The Warrior Programme  www.warriorprogramme.org.uk
Shooting Star Chase  www.shootingstarchase.org.uk

 

LINK TO FILMS OF DAY:

Manifesting, Procreation, Competition and Co-creation

chinese-coinsRecently I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the dynamic of Co-Creation.  We are, after all at that incredible time of year Imbolc, stirrings and spring, fertility.  Everything is beginning to stir and that energy to move forward and manifest one’s dreams, goals or passions is once again rising.  Ever since shifting out of the corporate career world and finding myself developing a spiritual / healing practice, it has been a constant learning curve of how to develop my own skills, follow a more spiritual way of life, while still meeting the material needs of a physical life.

I have found myself having to look closer and closer at the dynamic of what is often termed a “Spiritual Business”.  The two terms for many, including myself, hold that diametrically opposed charge.  After all being Spiritual broadly means coming from a place of love, giving and altruism; guided by some form higher vibration, consciousness, presence or heart centre;  while business means just making money.  Whatever you do, however, you do it – you make money.  This requires goals, drive, marketing, selling and some kind of persuasion to purchase.   Here comes the rub, if you are operating from a truly altruistic place, guided by spirit alone you cannot be driven by predetermined goals or inappropriately persuading people to purchase something that they either do not need or is inappropriate for them just to meet a sales target.

makingFunnily enough this is only a “rub” if you are operating from a place where there is some level of ok-ness about being unethical because it’s just business.  Which is probably something we have got so used to in our daily lives, we now assume this is part of business. It does not have to be and frankly if you are operating an ethical business, marketing is much more about communicating well what you are offering in terms of your products or services.  You sell to those who actually will benefit from your products or services and seek to source from ethical suppliers.  All business have their plans, goals and targets, however, if a market is under producing you look into why, not force them to simply work harder.  An honest look into it, may reveal important information about where the business actually needs to be going, either new areas to be developed or old ones that have run their course and need to be dropped for a while.  This means that rather than going down the route of hard sell, squeeze out the competitor, you are rather widening the offering to the consumer.

When we are working from a place of spiritual guidance or altruism there is always the intension to provide the best regardless of profit.  Often if you are listening to this, although sometimes what happens moment to moment might seem to make “poor business sense” it is actually providing the “best customer service possible”.  It is coming from a place of really listening to what the “customer is seeking” and being totally honest whether they are going to find it with you or not.  This guidance and decision is made from a place that is free from the constraints of goals and profits and to be truly spiritual must remain so.

The beauty is that when something is done from a place of joy and love and with expert insight, the product or service is then unique, high quality and ever evolving.  This energy charge obeys or rather echos the principles of laws of attraction and positive creativity.  It does though mean working with a certain light of foot and hand, while being always true to high level of intent and integrity not completely tied by formular or routine.  Plus what it actually does; rather than business making things “un-spiritual”, it potentially challenges business to operate more ethically.

So where does competition fit into all of this?  In life we all go through certain training and while we come out with our own take on it, there is still a point where we overlap or work in the same industry or offer similar services or products as another.  So often we are taught to compete, to be better than another or take the competition out.  In other words engage in a very aggressive approach.  This approach has lead to so much damage and under valuing of natural resources and of human lives all in the name of productivity and market share.  What if actually this was not what competition was about?  What if it was actually about a much more subtle form of betterment and creativity?

Geoff Mulgan writes about it in his book “The Locust and the Bee”, where he explores the different dynamics of Capitalism, how it has the potential to create a free creative market rather than an aggressive consuming monster.  This also came out during a one day workshop I recently attended about running a Spiritual Business.  What’s become clear to me is that it is a choice we all have to face within ourselves as creatives, consumers, and business owners or even employees, do we work from a place of co-creation or aggressive competition?

Co-creation takes certain qualities which often makes us feel vulnerable – we have to be, to a certain extent open and honest and from this there is immediately the requirement of a certain level of trust and faith with those that we are working with.  It also often leaves us open to criticism, ridicule, and exposure of the very areas we are “not very good at”.  Thing is it’s also a very brave place to operate from.  The areas “we are not very good at” otherwise lurk in the dark corners, almost haunting us, forcing us to act from a place fear and defense.  Surely that is just as painful as risking a certain level of trust and faith in another.  Another we can choose whether we open up to or not.  Don’t forget those who betray us, it is not about us being naïve, it is rather about their own inability to be trusted that is exposed.

The definition of Co-creation is “a management initiative, or form of economic strategy, that brings different parties together (for instance, a company and a group of customers), in order to jointly produce a mutually valued outcome.[1]

Co-created value arises in the form of personalized, unique experiences for the customer (value-in-use) and ongoing revenue, learning and enhanced market performance drivers for the firm (loyalty, relationships, customer word of mouth). Value is co-created with customers if and when a customer is able to personalize his or her experience using a firm’s product-service proposition – in the lifetime of its use – to a level that is best suited to get his or her job(s) or tasks done and which allows the firm to derive greater value from its product-service investment in the form of new knowledge, higher revenues/profitability and/or superior brand value/loyalty.[2]”  Wikipedia.

co-creatingJust imagine for one moment a world where business operates from a place of integrity, good intention and co-creation?  Wow!  The Ego-Macho pasturing of the likes of the ‘Trumps’ of this world would be given little space, as they rely on setting one off against the other and therefore would find no place at a table where genuine Sustainable Co-creation was manifesting.

 

Whose Dream is it anyway? What is your Dream?

Seeing the new Star Trek film coming out, celebrating 50 years of Star Trek reminded me of oldtechsifithose cyber space and sci-fi films of the 1960s – 1970s, used to watch as a kid.  Have to say I preferred their ingeniousness to some of the smash and battle of many of the other films that have emerged since.  They were all totally obsessed with gismos and technology and this was all just as our current digital age was frankly being born.  Growing up through the 1970’s and 80’s really we saw the birth of the digital age, where we moved from an age of mechanics and electronics into digital technology.  Computers became common place and now we don’t just grab our keys and wallet before leaving the house, it is also the mobile phone.  It too is now a key part of our functioning in the outside world, or feeling safe.

Looking back at these old films where technology and gismos were the dream of tomorrow,  it’s clear that in many ways we are now living that tomorrow, to a lesser or greater extent.  The interesting part is that in many ways this wasn’t the desire or the dream of many, yet it has now shaped many of our lives and how we live in our society on a daily basis.  Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing can be frankly debated for a very long time and that’s not really what this short article is about.  Like most things in life and certainly true of any tool or power, it just is, it’s what one does with it that matters.

oldtechOne thing it does demonstrate beautifully, is that everything we have starts with an idea, an intent, a point of inception.  Somethings then work and somethings don’t; as the techno graveyard of failed gismos are testament to.  Asking these questions opens up another angle, which is how much do we actually end up living a life that is actually founded on or shaped by someone else’s dream?  There are many people out there that don’t like or are fearful of technology, or have sensitivity to the electromagnetic smog.  We still don’t really know what the effect of all of this “stuff” actually has on us or the planet, yet we continue to jump to the shout of “PROGRESS” as we seem to progress further and further away from a people served society to self-serving techno machine society.  Is this really where we want to progress to?  Is this what you want?  Who dreamed up this type of society anyway?  It’s certainly convenient that many tasks and jobs are done by machines, as we constantly get told humans are open to making mistakes.  Well computers and technology are open to malfunctions, anomalies, hacking, etc, too.  Yet in modern society we are seemingly dragged further and further down the path of barcoding, swipe, pat, touch screen, auto phone through and on-line registration for issue resolution.  It’s like a techno bubble is being built between the customer or service user and the business or service provider.  Whether this is your dream of an ideal society or not – you’re in it (if you live in the industrialised part of the world).

Our lives are dreamed into being, right from when we are small, we have our dreams, or our parents hadreamscapeve dreams for us, or our communities have dreams about who we are or the roles we should take up.  In all of this as an individual it’s quite a job to work out for oneself what it is that you’re actually here to do and then how to go about it.  At this point, this is where your own dream comes into play.
Question is how much though is that dream already shaped by your own experiences and aspirations that have been fed to you since you were tiny?  Answer;  Probably quite a bit.  Is there any surprise then when people get disillusioned or frustrated or dulled by what they actually find themselves doing?  Perhaps part of this is not because of the individuals failings or the faults of society or that they weren’t given a break;  perhaps it’s simply because they are not really living their own dream but one that’s been carefully crafted and shaped for them that they can conveniently fit into.  Or not, as some find.

This is where meditation and plant consciousness and dream work is so beautiful, because it can enable an individual to peel back these layers and rediscover their own authentic self so that they can find where they fit, what their true passion is, what is their divine link and place in this lifetime.  To quote Mandy Hale;

“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong”.

Alongside continuing with journeying, meditation, and Reiki including Reiki drumming; this year I was introduced to Mugwort which is an ancient medicinal plant known for it’s cleansing, midwifery, protective and dream qualities.  It is a beautiful wild plant which is grounding, protective, clearing, re-aligning, aiding digestion, great for all sorts of “female” issue problems including PMS (NOT to be used during pregnancymugwort;  known use for birth inducing), as well helping sleep and dream states.  It also has a great quality, when invited, to help one see through falseness and illusion to reinstate honest and loving relationships with oneself and others.

So as we progress forwards with this digital age, perhaps it is worth stopping and turning
to the oldest and wisest of our teachers here on Earth – Nature herself, to seek out as an individual what our genuine dream and loving truth is.  Often we have to go deeper to find our own truth, and that requires us going deeper than what is on offer on the surface or what we have been told.  After all it would be a shame to be dragged into living a dream that wasn’t your own and was thereby just someone else’s illusion.

What the Fractal is that about?

Summer 2016! What the ‘Fractal’ is that about?

Ok so last Newsletter (May), I wrote about the incredible healing link between plants, land and music, following my own adventures into these subjects and wonderful travels in the Emerald Isle in May.

The plant theme continued for me through June with Mugwort and some beautiful Dreamwork and I had said I’d share some of this in the subsequent Newsletter.  However, sadly this process for me, got somewhat brutally interrupted by external events in the UK, hence I’ve decided to postpone writing about the wonders of Mugwort and the Dream work just for now.  As always there are always other themes that come to the fore and for me this has been one of Water and Fractals.  The link between this, mid-summer  and wellbeing might seem slightly strange but there is one, promise!

Firstly on Midsummer Day I had the great joy of undertaking a Solstice “Medicine Walk” with a dear friend in some local and ancient woods.  As some of you might remember it was a particularly wet Summer Solstice.

However, this did not stop us and the rain in the woods actually felt fresh, clean, nor were the woods water logged.  Far from it, their greens were vibrant and almost palpable in their celebration of the water as much as the Solar apex.  This felt totally in tune with the rather unusual Summer Solstice which combined the full solar apex with the full moon(this combination only occurs once in around 70 years or so).

The warmth and rains felt like a totally balanced mirror of this day celebrating in many ways the fullness of solar / male and the lunar / feminine aspects.  So at the height of this fast flowing, busy Monkey Year; the heat of the Summer Solstice was softened and balanced with the full moon and refreshing summer rain on that day.

Since Summer Solstice there has been a lot written about how this is another very transformative period and actually, unlike the last few years which seemed to be much more about internal changes, this one seems to be perhaps far more tangible changes ones which show up far more in the physical and in the open.

These times can be very healing, cathartic but also a little scary.  It’s easy to say don’t be fearful, but when things get rocked to the core on a personal level, this statement can sound quite frankly, crass.

Recently I was reminded, during a healing session oddly enough of Fractals.  For me these were simply beautiful patterns that appear in nature and then computer generated art  – they made great posters during my student days and the early days of the ‘Techno Dance’ movement.  (I’m sure some of you will remember these of the early 1990’s!) Beyond this personally, I hadn’t given them much if any thought since those heady days.

Given the recent themes of water patterning, song-lines, plant consciousness, my interest was spiked so I decided to have another little look at what actually are Fractals?

Well I have to confess clearly as I’m not a mathematic genius my explanation is likely to be rather ley,  however,  I turned up a few interesting facts about these curious wonders…….

A Fractal is:
“……a curve or geometrical figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. They are useful in modelling structures (such as snowflakes) in which similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales, and in describing partly random or chaotic phenomena such as crystal growth and galaxy formation.”

A fractal is:
”….a never-ending pattern. Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. Driven by recursion, fractals are images of dynamic systems – the pictures of Chaos. Geometrically, they exist in between our familiar dimensions. Fractal patterns are extremely familiar, since nature is full of fractals. For instance: trees, rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, seashells, hurricanes, etc. Abstract fractals – such as the Mandelbrot Set – can be generated by a computer calculating a simple equation over and over. “  fractalfoundation.org/resources/what-are-fractals/It is in many ways the mathematic mapping of shapes and natural or repetitive structures.  These repetitive structures are in many ways what gives stability and form to many physical and wave forms. www.fractal.org/Bewustzijns-Besturings-Model/Fractals-Useful-Beauty.htm

So what are they used for? 

Well since their discovery in 1975, it’s given birth to a whole new understanding of form, chaos, markets, science, design and even music.

Mandelbrot famously wrote: “Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line.”www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-11564766

So my question and reason for writing about it is – In this time of apparent ‘chaos’ or ‘transformation’, how can fractals help one now?     

Well they are being used in modern medicine and for the more etheric and easy access medicine of Fractals, here is a lovely summary and insight into their healing uses……… ………….www.fraktalneenergije.com/en/energy.html.

It is purely through their shape, vibration, colours and energy that they can have profound effect on a space, a person’s well-being and energy levels.  It is almost as thought, while describing the ‘chaos’ or ‘randomness’, they bring a rhythm and a sense of calm or order to it.  So no wonder, they made their presence known during a recent healing session.

Mindfulness – what is all this fuss about?

It’s been really interesting watching the explosion of Mindfulness over the last few years, I don’t know about Mindfulness it’s been almost mind dazzling!   it’s gone from the book on the self-help bookshelf and week-end workshop, to the workplace, the school, even into mainstream health care including the NHS and Parliament.

So what is it?  It is, according to a recent report by the BBC, defined as the following  –

The word “mindfulness” seems to be everywhere. Parliament has even started using it. But what is it?

To many people, mindfulness just means “the state or quality of being mindful”. That’s the first definition the Oxford English Dictionary lists.

But the second meaning of the word, taken from Buddhist philosophies, is proliferating rapidly. Search Amazon’s book section and you’ll see many titles about mindfulness and how to get it. A quick search of a database of British newspapers shows that in April 2004 it was mentioned just twice. In April this year, the figure was 150.

This other definition of mindfulness is “with reference to yoga philosophy and Buddhism: the meditative state of being both fully aware of the moment and of being self-conscious of and attentive to this awareness; a state of intense concentration on one’s own thought processes; self-awareness”.

A part of BBC News Magazine, Who, What, Why? aims to answer questions behind the headlines But the dictionary also notes that the term is “in weakened use”. It’s been diluted from its origins to now encompass all manner of meditation techniques, treatments for daily stress, even ways to lose weight. The word is everywhere. An all-party parliamentary group on mindfulness will be launched on 7 May, city workers are said to be adopting it and even theNHS offers information about how to practise it.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-27299696

candle flameI first came across Mindfulness in my teenage years through some simple Yoga introductory practice, but honestly didn’t know it as such back then.  I then came across it through some basic “Learn how to meditate” classes in the 1990’s when I was living in Cambridge and then explored it more deeply as part of my Shamanic Training, which to be fair was based a lot on the Toaist philosophies and traditions.  I have to say at this point just to be clear, I have always remained rather on the Spiritual as opposed to the Religious path.  For further clarity it is important to also note that Mindfulness as it is generally written about and taught in the west for use in the workplace, schools and health system is totally stripped of any religious biased and is totally about simply centring the mind and body to relieve stress and to become present in the moment.

More recently I’ve found myself giving short talks and exercises as part of evening workshops or groups.  For me it is the heart and the tip of the iceberg of meditation.  It is the place of being and learning to be present.  It is the place to let go, to stop, to ground, to be and to centre.  In our seemingly frenetic modern lifestyles it is becoming more and more essential to embrace this practice.

I was shown to me by life and frankly quite brutally, that when we are not centred, when we don’t stop, when we aren’t present or cannot just be, we cannot then do, discern, choose, stand firm or act.  It is one of these amazing dynamics of life that if we are not still at times then our movement becomes unbalanced.  It is in many ways our night to our day, our inner to our outer.

For some reason this stillness and this being and this inner work has been something that has if not actively then certainly steadily been discouraged from our western societies for a long-time.  Too much focus placed on the outer world and its appearances, our outward achievements and standing.  This imbalance in many ways has caused a lot of stress, destruction and misuse of resources and in some cases caused illness. So perhaps it’s not so surprising that now the balance has to be restored and this simple, not to be confused with easy, practice of Mindfulness is becoming so popular.

As with everything that becomes popular or a household term there are always those for whom it does not work or has caused difficulties, this is natural as we are all unique.  There have been accounts about how Mindfulness where it has been apparently detrimental or has actually caused people to become unstable in someway.  There have been reports were people have found they have begun to feel too zoned out, suffered panic attacks, depression or traumatic memories from their childhood return following a Mindfulness course or session.

Speaking from personal experience, it is true that these practices open us up to ourselves and sometimes the effects can be traumatic and life changing.  It is essential that if this happens, the process is held and what is coming up is embraced and understood rather than run from or shut down.  It is importantly to understand that it is not necessarily the meditation itself that is at fault but it is actually simply allowing space for what was already stored within us to surface.  If it hadn’t come out in this way, then it would surely come out in some other way in that person’s life.  In many ways by having these issues, whatever they are come to the surface in this way it is an opportunity for the person to fully face them and move beyond them.

None of us ever choose to be ill, or at least we don’t choose it consciously.  So when either illness comes or uncomfortable emotions are stirred we are unlikely to welcome them and we are even less likely to want to make time for them; or have to change our way of life for them.  However, if you ever find yourself as the “unfortunate few” where this does occur for you, here are some basic pointers you may find helpful;

  • Firstly ground – feel your body, feel your breath, be very present about where you are. Perhaps eat something nutritious, go for a walk in nature, even if this is just a pocket park or tree lined boulevard for the city dwellers among us.
  • If you are likely to feel spaced out when meditating, only do it for a short while a day. 10 mins a day rather than leaping into an intensive workshop or week-ender.  In many ways this is about you growing your internal muscles, just like going down to the gym, you don’t do a 10 miler on the first day!
  • Keep well hydrated. De-hydration can make us feel spaced out and when we are stressed we don’t always realise how de-hydrated we are.
  • Simplify your life. Start to live and think more simply.
  • If you wish to keep up a meditation practice, up your vitamin, mineral and nutrition intake, if you are taking in rubbish, when you stop and listen to yourself inside you are likely to find rubbish!
  • What-ever has surfaced needs facing and transmuting. Depending on what’s coming up for you, it might be time to get some counselling, and learn some techniques on how to face and transmute and let go of those bad feelings or memories.
  • You might find a physical meditation practice is better for you – tai chi, qigong, yoga or even simple activities like gardening, walking or cycling. Or a creative one; drawing, writing, or cooking.   Or if it’s anger or confidence issues try a martial art class, to focus and transmute the energy into a punch bag rather than into a person or your life!  You can be Mindful in how you do all or any of these activities.

Mindfulness is all about being present, centred and in the body.  If any of us is struggling with that, it is because there is something getting in the way, that something needs to be understood and then it can be let go of or addressed.  We can shift from habitual reacting to pro-active living. IMG_1834

“Breathing in I establish myself in the present moment.  Breathing out I know that this is a wonderful moment”.  Thich Nhat Hanh.

Thich Nhat Hanh, writes beautifully about the power of the present moment, for this is all we truly have at any one time, in his book “The Power of Now”.

Above all, be gentle and kind with yourself, but don’t run and hide.  Be honest and be courageous, this is about you getting to know you, to centre in being you and can help you let go of the internal “rubbish”, so you can be a clearer and brighter you!

 

The Creativity of Now!

The numerological number for this year is 8, while the 9 Star Ki number is 3 and with these numbers comes a particularly strong energy for manifestation and change. That being the case, it’s actually a great time to act on your dreams and bring them into fruition, whether that is making a start on them through taking a course or working on them on a part-time basis or even commiting fully to a new line of work or way of life. I find this interesting especially as there has been in recent years so much about The power of Attraction and Mindfullness. These two things have really become very dominant throughout the world of wellbeing, personal development and now they are the buzz words even in business. However, much which is written and sold around the subject of “The power of Attraction” in the mainstream still seems very focussed on money and material possessions rather than actual personal or society growth and healing which is required for it to really be transformative. Yet whenever the question is asked of people what do you truly want to see in the world? More often than not the answers will come back of; love, kindness, healing, peace, clean and healthy environment. I witnessed this first hand just recently at a short open workshop held at “Peace in the Park”, hosted by The Brahma Kumaris World Spirtitual University

peaceIt was an open day with people from all walks of life and beliefs, thereby bringing quite a diverse audience together. The workshop subject was about “Imagining the world”, we were taken through some short and gentle writing exercises to see what would emerge from the sub-concious about the world we want to live in. It was amazing to hear how little there was about money and possessions and how much there was about simply living together and in harmony with the planet. Of course you could argue that such views are bound to be held by people who are attending such an event. However, I witnessed something very similar a few years ago at a Sustainable Building Fair and that audience was attending that event generally to seek out business ideas and opportunities. On that occasion during a session about “Sustainable Thinking” when a free thought exercise was facilitated with the audience, they were asked: What kind of qualities might a Sustainable World have? The words that stood out at that time were once again words like: kindness, acceptance, compassion, love, care, respect, harmony with nature. Sometimes this seems a very long way away from what is often witnessed in the world today through the news and the state of environmental degradation. However, as I sat the other day with this diverse group attending a short and simple workshop, it was plain to see that the capacity for just such a world exists, here and now today. It heartened me and deepened the sense that clearly each and everyone of us have the innate capacity to enable such a world if we choose to do so.

This is of course where Mindfullness and the “Power of Now”, really comes into it’s own. By centering in our trueselves and Summer Dreamingletting go of the noise of the external, we can once again connect with our own heart centered stillness and peace. Eckhart Tolle writes about this beautifully in his book “The Power of Now”. What happens though if what we see manifesting in our own lives is not what we wanted or what we thought we had intended? Well usually there’s a lesson in there, a chance to grow, or there’s something we have not let go of, or we have been asking questions which have lead us down a different path or reaffirming the very things we didn’t want. It is important when using affirmations to use positive language, what you really are requesting and letting go of language such as: not, won’t, should, could. Apparently our brains have a tendancy to skip over the “not” and go straight to issue, and thereby we often end up reaffirming the very things we would like to be free of. I have to say that this recently has got me to wonder what might happen if sayings such as “Money rules the world”, “The money talks” were dropped from our vocabluary and were rather replaced with ones such as “A little kindness costs nothing and goes a long way”, “kindess and compassion are the oil in the wheels of daily life”, “time and quality go hand in hand”, or some such affirmations that speak to your inner heart. Perhaps, give it a go, see what happens, see how it shifts priorities and the focus of things.

bluemoonFriday we welcome our Blue Moon of 2015, with it, it rides on a beautiful wave of Aquarius, Venus and Uranus energy . It is full of loving, transformative and manifesting energy. Enjoy bathing in her clear silvery light to gain inner clarity.

What’s the point of Releasing the Past? After-all it is the Past!

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAUnderstanding, facing and releasing one’s past has always played a key part in therapy .  There seems to be lots of very confusing messages about how the past can or cannot help us in developing a better way of living today.  Some say the past must be faced, understood, released or accepted to bring peace to a person.  Others focus on the present as being the most important and that it is far more important to focus on the today on the Present.  So does the Past even have any relevance for us in our daily lives?

Toaist philosophy seems to put it most succinctly in identifying that the past has brought one to where one is today; the present is the only thing we have any direct control over; and the future is welcomed in by the present.

So what is the thinking about the past and the therapeutic approaches?  Broadly there is;

  • Trace your ancestry, to find out who and where your people come from. Perhaps even find some long lost pot of gold or perhaps more likely some old scandal (as most things beyond “taking tea with the neighbour” was probably considered scandalous back in the day).
  • Various types of counselling which enable us to look at our past, or past events and how they have affected us and continue to affect us today. These approaches enable one to move closer to releasing unhelpful belief systems and detrimental reactive behaviour patterns.
  • Deeper therapies, such as hypnotherapy or trance states help to unlock memories which are buried so deeply we don’t consciously remember them, perhaps from childhood or are locked into a traumatic event we find difficult to remember. These hidden memories often result in unconsciously skewing our reactions and effecting our behaviour today.  This can often result in some way blocking us from developing good relationship behaviour; or causing unnecessary emotional unrest and anxiety.
  • Letting go of the past, through mindfulness and/or affirmations focusing on the now, as the Present being the only time frame we truly have any real control or influence over. Hence the lovely story “The Precious Present” by Spencer Johnson and powerful sayings such as “The past has no power over me.  I know that it is over, and I live solely in the present.” Hay House.
  • Past Life Regression – for those who believe or just know that something sits deeper and stretches beyond this life time – something that is holding them back that is sitting deep in the subconscious and needs to be witnessed, understood and released.

So where does that leave us between these messages which seem to contradict each other, broadly boiling down to two broad scenarios of either forget your past, it no longer matters, be empowered now to move into a brighter future; or until you release your pain you will be held by your past and cannot be fully in present and therefore can’t embrace your future.

Although these may seem confusing and conflicting messages, I have found from both personal experience and that of others these different approaches all have their important role to play in helping a person heal and come to terms with difficulties in their lives. There is no doubt that past events can have a significant impact on our behaviour and well-being.  Identifying these and understanding them and releasing them from our mental and emotional being can have a profound effect on improving a person’s well-being.

What I have experienced is that by releasing pain, past injury and getting to a place of forgiveness and peace is not done just through mental thought processes or pills.  It has to be from one’s very core, physical, energetic and soul core, for healing to be complete.  Only then will  health, freedom, detachment and wholeness be once again be restored.

Dadi Janki writes about forgiveness in her delightful book “Wings of Soul”.  She says that to forgive you have to forget and that to forget you actually have to first remember.  It is in the remembering and asking, why am I still held in this moment, what is it that still holds me here you can start to let go and start to forget.  Personally I have found the Shamanic techniques particularly powerful for this type of work.

So how does mindfulness assertions that it is only today that matters; and the affirmations to not let the past rule one, because it is just that, the past, fit into all of this?

Mindfulness practice and other similar meditation techniques are incredibly powerful at retraining our minds away from churning over what has been, they enable us to centre and be clear, be really present in the now and thereby make discerning decisions about how we want to move into the future.  It is a key mind-set for anyone either battling with issues from their past, with current worries, undergoing or having completed therapies which have worked on facing and releasing their past.  Why?  Because it helps us learn, retrain and retain new patterns of thought and behaviour, so we can truly change our lives from the inside out. walk into the future

So if Mindfulness and similar mental disciplines are so powerful, do we actually need to delve into our past?  Sometimes YES, so we can actively cut ourselves free from the emotional “ball and chain”.

To conclude, yes there are clearly two broad schools of therapy with regards  the importance of “the past” – one states only now is important; while the other states we need to face and come to peace with our closet skeletons.  Are they at odds?  No – they work hand in hand to ensure those “skeletons” are not pulling on your hand as you walk into your future.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.”

—Lao Tzu

“Everything in moderation!” so our grandmothers would tell us, is it still relevant today?

I was interested to find out more, about the rise in eczema and allergies at the February Neal’s Yard Organic Team Meet.  Did you know that there has been a 42% rise in Eczema between 2001 and 2005?  Did you know that by 2005 one in nine people were suffering from the condition?  The Eczema Society states “Atopic Eczema effects 15-20% of school children and 2 – 10% of adults its incidence has increased significantly in recent years.”

One of the singular reasons for this has been the increased use in chemicals.  Dr Ballie-Hamilton states “In the last 25 years, individuals are being exposed to unprecedented levels of synthetic chemicals, such as organochlorides, organophosphates, carbamates, toxic metals, solvents and plastics” in 2005 book “Stop the 21st Century Killing You.”

There are many ways that exposure can be reduced, such as drinking filter water, using eco friendly cleaning products, reducing the amount of chemicals used on and in our bodies though health, beauty products and in what we eat.

eczema-0Of course NYR Organic can help substantially with regards the health and beauty products and has some remarkable products to help with the more serious complaints such as Eczema, which not only can help eleviate the condition but also reduce the number of chemicals being introduced into the body through treatment, see info and link below.

NYR ORGANIC/Tanya

The discussion got me once again reflecting that there is an apparent theme running through all areas of life at the moment, whether it’s health, work stress, land and resource requirements, food industry.  In the bid to have plenty we have headed down a track that constantly requires more chemicals, almost a battle with nature often resulting in increased drug or chemical use which in turn causes more problems in terms of environmental impact as well as on our own health and needs, producing results which are often actually counter productive in the long term.   It seems like a potentially ever decreasing circle.  Yet we are constantly bombarded in the media with how much we need stuff, or how we need to get the lastest, the fastest, biggest.  As a result not only is our relationship with our world based on supply and demand, it becomes a supply and demand based on wants as much as genuine need. Underlying it there is a genuine fear of scarcity, and a world where the 1980’s concept of the “Alpha Male” is calling the shots, addicted to competition and adrenaline, attempting to push the system along with everyone and everything in it to its max.  It really does feel like it’s time to disconnect from that ever decreasing cycle and return to something which takes a more respectful and more rounded view on things.

It is so far removed from the relationship our ancestors had with their environment.  Nothing brings this home more to me than the Native American story of the Antelope where Antelope teaches the people who are faced with cold climates and cannot rely on fruits and vegetables alone that they have to turn to meat for their food to survive, but also how to survive with grace and with nature.  Antelope teaches of practicality of using its meat for food as well as every part of the animal is to be used; the bones for needles and glue; the skin for clothes and coverings and most of all that its to spirit remain free on the plains.  The message of this animal was about appropriate action, quick decision and never letting things go to waste and never to use more than one needs.

drum-0This teaching story was particularly upper most in my consciousness as I made my Stag Drum in January with Heron Shamanic Drums www.herondrums.co.uk who ran the work shop and enabled the birthing.  Johnathan Weekes, gave us some of the history of where the stag and horse skins come from.  These particular hides came from Scotland, where they are the result of on going wildlife preservation in the highlands, but the animals are also sometimes culled; the meat often finds its way into the venison trade, yet the skins are still today, often left to rot, with no onward sale or market for them.  So it was fantastic to not only have the chance to make my own drum, in ceremony, but also be part of actually completing the use and life cycle of the materials from this noble animal.  There was a real sense of reconnecting once more with the eternal life cycle, through this powerful and creative process.

So yes we need things, yes the economics we have got ourselves into over the last 200 years plus are not just going change overnight and yes currently at times we need chemicals and drugs, however, perhaps our grandmothers had it right “everything in moderation” and as long as we aim for extremes and obscene profits and satisfying all wants – not even needs – we are more likely to experience imbalances in our bodies, societies and our environment.  There is a better way, and it is apparent our ancestors and nature can teach us a lot in that regard.

Betrayal and Healing

BETRAYAL
Cut down in the Prime.
   Accidental, inadvertant, innocence taken,
   So foregivable, so understandable, so inexplicable.
   Deep shame and years of known and unknown pain
   Giving birth to great strain, so to be releaseable.
   Gone, it matters no more, wounds heal, lessons gain.
   Space to trust that once was a given.
Healing Affirmations:
“I am Good, I am Safe”  Barbara Brennan
“I forgive, accept and trust myself” Doreen Virtue
To Bloom once again

Divine Water – Dedicated to Water Ceremony Day 15th March 2014

Divine Water

Divine Water, life giver;

You wash us, cleanse us, hydrate us and are a part of our bodies;

You are on Earth a life giver;

Though water is everywhere it is sacred for all on Earth;

***

Be Clean.  Be Bright. Be Love.  Be Light.

***

Next time you reach for water give thanks;

Next time you wash something away, think what it is and where it goes.

***

Keep Chemicals Low and To Fracking Say NO!

Swan Grace on Water

Brave or Foolish?

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Sometimes we ask ourselves when we are about to embark on something dangerous or risky, are we being brave or are we being foolish?  Or at least I find this phrase often pops up.

At these times we are also confronted with another dynamic – Fear!

Fear can save our lives, after all that’s what it was for in the long gone days of hunting our food.  Fear can also cripple us from living our lives, hence the whole industry these days around aiding people to both face and concur their fears.  The most notable of them all perhaps the well coined phrase and book “Feel the Fear and do it Anyway”; by  Susan Jeffers.

While this is all very important, sometimes I do step back from our somewhat frenetic world and ask are we as a society just a little over Adrenalized?  When you soak up media, news, social media, the message is all about get out there, goal set, achieve or loose, strive or skive, be fast, be loud, be seen, be heard, be big.

So when do we listen or need to listen to fear?  Ever or never?  Is the fear that rises up within us only about our un-concurred selves or is it of some purpose?  Does it actually hold some very valuable information for us?

Ok in our urban life we are generally not pitched against the elements as we were in our cave hunting days, so most of the time the fear we feel is seen to be “blocking” our progress in life, socially and professionally and is much about our character building as it is about keeping us safe or alive.  So I want to make it clear I am in no way mocking or belittling the great job the “Concur your Fear” industry is doing to help liberate people in their lives.  It is doing an important job of relieving many from the fears which often tragically have been caused by the foot stomps of previous trauma and abuse. (Also see blog January 2013 – “How Can Courage and Compassion overcome our Fear and Stress?”).

My question and story really relates to the other end of the scale, the adrenaline fuelled let’s just go do it ‘cos it’s there, ‘cos we are go getters……

As I write this, I can’t help thinking of the tragic story of Michael Schumacher and his “Off-Piste” Skiing accident.  A man who so far had very successfully lived by adrenaline fuelled reactions.

So when are we Brave and when do we cross the boundary into Foolish?

A short and personal story brought this into better focus, where that line sits, at least for me, last autumn when I was on holiday with my husband.  Our summer holiday was delayed due to work commitments, our late summer biking in France holiday turned into a catch up with family and friends walking holiday in the west country in late October, early November.  We were by this stage keen to get out into the wilds of the countryside and make the most of the rugged landscape of Cornwall.  It’s a part of the world we have visited frequently over the years and love.  On this particular day, in early November, we decided to revisit part of the northern coast of the Cornish Penwith Peninsula.  On this day we had already been walking an hour or so through fields and styles which were sodden with mud as we turned down onto the Cornish coastal path.  As we headed out onto the coastal head the path turned into a narrow mud and rock trail.  Some of which was not always very clear.  We had been going about half an hour along this trail, when we reached a rock pool and waterfall.  The coastal path went straight through this.  There was no other way than to do a rock hop through this and on to a stone style the other side.  The difficulty was that one wrong hop or miss-footing and you were down the side of the cliff face into the slightly choppy waters below.  We made it across.  By this stage I took a rest at the style, having found that my own walking abilities and stamina were being tested.  Now for many seasoned coastal walker, they probably would have thought little of it, I have done quite  a lot of coastal walks over the years, but personally I really do not enjoy the rock clambering variety, where you are pitching your wits between a rock outcrop and the waters below.  Just not something I get particular pleasure from.

My husband for some reason on this day was particularly  intent on completing this walk.  So I decided to see if this was about me concurring my fears (of falling off a cliff face) or really about being sensible.  A short time before we had reached the rock waterfall, I had already felt “Bear Power” (See Shamanic Power Animals), come all round me, aiding me to stay calm, breathe deeply, focus on each step and not become either angry or panicked.  As we paused at the stone style, I looked at both the walking pamphlet we had and the OS map.  In the pamphlet the writer had made no reference to the difficulty of the walk and the map suggested we would be back within 40 minutes.  Looking at the OS and the terrain that we had been on, the terrain we were about have to continue on, plus the time it had taken to cover the previous sections of the walk, it was clear we were going be on the rest of this path for at least another 2 hours.

We continued a short way, not wanting to be defeated and wanting to complete a walk we had planned to do for sometime.  However, on the next part, the path descended sharply turning a twisted corner round a small headland outcrop, we could not see the path, all that was in front of us was sea and a very large black cloud about 5 miles away.  At this point I returned back up the path to sit by the style.  We considered 3 options, go-on; go over the fields on unmarked, untrodden territory; or return the way we came.  None of which at this stage were very appealing.  Still centred in not panicking, facing fears and being safe – mode.  We weighed up the options.  Going forward we were unlikely to return before dark, the time being now 2.15 pm on a November afternoon.  We had no flares, no phone signal, no torch, no-one knew where we were walking and we had passed no other walkers on the coastal path.  Going over the fields, my gut screamed NO!  later looking at the map I saw there were many old tin mine shafts (so well done gut!), so we returned the way we came, having to re-jump the rock water fall, and clamber the boulders we had previously struggled over.

When we got back onto terra-firma, the relief washed through us.  In came the question;  Had we been cowards or wise?

We had been somewhat lulled into a false sense of security because of it being a well known and National Trust marked path.  However, it was for us to realise when out about we were dealing with very real elements and our own physical limitations.

What this experience taught me was that it is always important to face your fears, bravely and as calmly as possible, but there are some days when they can be concurred and there are other days when other factors may mean it would only cause more damage and injury to steam ahead!

Fear does have a purpose.  Our daily quest is to discern what that purpose is and when it can and should be concurred; or when it is actually a healthy response and is keeping us safe or has valuable information for us.

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Clear Out and Gather in for Autumn

DEDICATED TO THOSE WHO NEED TO REFRESH THEIR HOME, WANT TO LIGHTEN THE LOAD, CAN’T SEE THE WOOD FOR THE TREES; OR JUST HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF!

Traditionally this time of year is associated with gathering in for winter.  Gather the crops; bottle and preserve the fruits; dry the herbs for cooking and medicinal purposes; and stable the cattle.  Perhaps less associated is – having a good clear out.

This year I was taken on a journey of a good clear out, which I thought was worth sharing to perhaps inspire others to do likewise.  Sometimes we think we’ve already done the de-clutter, or cleared out.  Or some of us don’t want to or find it too daunting to even consider.  Well hopefully this will help you find away or reason for doing it.

We all know that certainly in the “Western World” we seem to have accumulated a lot of stuff and even cultivated the stuff accumulation process to a fine art form often through the constant need to purchase stuff; either out of a personal need or encouraged to do so by our peers or by commerce in interests and need to keep the economy growing.  For whatever reason we have a lot of stuff.  Or as one Aboriginal, many years ago on my travels, put it – “….you whites need a lot of shit to go anywhere!”  While not a very nice phrase I couldn’t disagree, nor at the time could I get my one large backpack down to anything less as I was at the time embarking on a “whizz round the world in 3 months tour”.

So this Autumn, spurred on oddly enough by our big fruit and berry harvest this year to go foraging and “gather in fruits and preserves for the winter” I started to really feel that first I’d need to make room for it.  Oddly no matter how many things I seemed to chuck out I still didn’t really have suitable space for a new Jam Jar collection.  My work then took me on, to do a Space Clear (this I have to say for those who are not so familiar with this term is clearing on a vibrational or energy level to aid healing and rejuvenation in places that are otherwise lack luster, troublesome, or are somehow stuck).

Anyway this particular Clearing was for a lady who is among other things a Colour Therapist and Interior Designer.  As we were about to undertake work to our own living room, a space that had been waiting since we moved into the place for a proper face lift, I welcomed her fresh and expert view.  I knew I’d grown somewhat blind to what was going on in the space and as it was a shared home space it was important not to just have my view imposed on it.  Suneet worked sensitively and respectfully recognising it was an established home and shared space.  We discussed the use of the space and what went on in it. Delving into how we really used the space, what activities went on there and what would be nice to have more time or energy to spend on in the living space.  She picked up on a number of personal characteristics in the home that reflected personal interests and passions of both myself and my husband.

We started to discuss placement of key furniture, pictures, ornaments and then went onto colours of the room.  Many of these things might seem to many as trivial.  However, what it opened up in me was the fact that there were many items in the room, which had followed me around for many years, from abode to abode.  I had grown accustomed to them and believed them to be old friends.  However, now I started to see that some had grown very tiered and were in need of a refresh (e.g. reframing of a couple of the beloved pictures) or were not friends at all, but actually just reminders of a time that no-longer was, tinged with nostalgia that wasn’t warming as I had thought, but was actually holding me back in that time.  This might sound over dramatic, but just consider for a moment, every day you go into your kitchen or living room, even if you don’t consciously take note of the picture on the wall (you’ve had for 10 years+) or the ornament beloved Aunt Prue gave you 15 year’s ago when you first moved into your first flat or went to college), there is some small part of your brain taking it in.  Just like a subliminal reminder of that time, or who you were, of what you did.

So from Suneet’s visit of just starting to move one or two items (which was starting to gather a pace towards the end of the consultation), I started to relook at items around me afresh.  This was not about some brutal chuck out, or suddenly deciding that by having some new style would miraculously mean we’d have amaising and untroubled lives.  It was about taking a hearty look at what were the Things that were taking up space in our living environment.  I found having some key questions in mind helped the process.  These were:

1)    Do I like it?  This question needs to be answered in all honestly, not tinged with “oh but Great Aunt Prue bought this for me therefore I must keep it”; or “but they were great days!”  Honestly Do I like it?

2)    Does it suite me now today or where I want to see my life heading in the next few years?  This again is not about judging the item or décor by some latest “must have” or “this is so today” fad.  It’s a personal choice, one that can rest easy or with a wholesome feeling of anticipation resting in ones belly.

3)    Consideration for others living with you ……. Get them on the same page and if you know it’s something they really love or value, accept it.  Or have a serious rethink about your acceptance levels.  Beyond this perhaps we stray too much into issues around compatibility, may be getting a little too deep for this one article.  I don’t advocate divorce on the grounds of Great Aunt Prue’s picture.  Although some may have different tales to tell!

The amazing thing was that the process was not just carried out in the living space, it spread to the whole house.  I have to say I have not done every room yet, but I targeted key trouble spots.  (If you want to know how these were identified email for more details.)

A couple of things stand out, one was our bedroom mirror I realised I always hated it, it had horrible associations for me, and worse still this was what I looked into everyday to get ready.  Even the object through which I try to make myself look reasonably presentable to world.  The only reason I’d not said anything was my husband used to like it, but now no longer was bothered.  Just shows how over the years you can think you’re doing someone a favour not realising they have moved on.  It’s gone!

The other was a box full of travel books, I’d kept them in-case we went back to the place and also as travel memorabilia.  The trouble was the box was full and I didn’t want another box.  Going through I realised most of them were a decade old and we would probably want new ones if we were to return to these foreign places and we had our memories and photos, which were infinitely better source for holiday memory recall.  When I did empty them out, I had an odd feeling that now we had space to travel again.  I know this makes no rational sense, but there we have it, space isn’t necessarily rational, it’s also …..well ‘erm? …… space.

So far it’s produced 5 trips to the charity shop, 4 loads of recycling, donations of some items to friends who seem to welcome the items as useful and timely, a large box for a brick-a-brac stand and a visit to some Antique dealers.    So a fair dispersal, recycling and renewal of life for the items themselves.  This is not about dumping your junk on someone or somewhere else.

declutter

When the de-cluttering took me into storage chests in my office and our loft, I was back into the bowls of my childhood and my heritage.  Items which had been left to me, or come to me through inheritance.  Although having now several times done several sensitive culls on this stuff, here it was again, taking up large spaces in my life.  Causing clutter and confusion in my work space!  However, as much as I wanted to chuck all of it out, there was also part of me that knew some of it is about where I come from and where younger members of my family also come from.  Some of it is their heritage too.  So what to keep and what to shed?

While I had the same questions monitoring the process of going through these items, as mentioned earlier, I added a couple more.

A)   Are these key items of interest if anyone in our family at some stage wanted to trace their ancestry?  IF yes it got kept although somewhat radicalised and if NO off it went.

B)    Does anyone else want these items?

C)    How to dispose of them in away that the people they did belong to would approve of?  Sell, recycle, pass on, gift etc….

In shedding these items and passing them on, particularly if they have some deep sentimental value or have been in the family for a long time, on an energetic level it is really important to disconnect from the item.  Practical ways of readying them for passing on is by cleaning them, “smudging” them.  This is important for you to disconnect and for whoever is going to be buying them or using them in the future.  They don’t want to bogged down by your in ability to truly let go and give away or your family energy.

The process for me is not quite complete as I write this, but it has taken me from dreading another DIY / Building project to manage, to actually really looking forward to breathing in new and rejuvenated life into a key space in our home.

I have also realised another thing from this, while I could have gone into a self defeating, beat myself up “I should have cleared this out long ago”; “I’m supposed to know all about this business of clearing out stuff”.  Instead I realised that when you’re dealing with things which have accumulated due to family deaths, changes in circumstances, consolidation of homes, changing life styles.  Each time you do a clear out you can only go so far and this simply reflects were you are or where you were at the time.  So this leads me to the final point – do it regularly! Certainly do it thoroughly before or after taking up a new role or change in life direction.  Don’t wait till you move house!

For Hints, tips and guidance on letting or Space Clearings contact Pathwayfinder@mail.com.  For expert advice on renewing your living space and new or refreshed design contact Suneet Goomer www.divinesouls.co.uk

Some answer’s lie here…

I watched the DVD of the new film “Trashed” on Friday, directed and narrated by Jeremy Irons.    Brilliant and clear view on where we are with our waste and our environment and how we can get out of it.  The fact is we can!

It’s factual, non-preachy, hard hitting and hopeful all at the same time.

I’ve never gone around telling people they should watch something – but I am now!  Watch it, on your own, with your friends or with your community – however you want to do it, but watch it!

http://trashedfilm.com/

How can Courage and Compassion help us over come our Fear and reduce Stress?

Diving into the depths....

Why discuss this now?  Well the element of Water is very much associated with winter.  It’s also associated with emotion and fear as well as the dream time.  Fear is one of the strongest and deepest  emotions we can experience.  It also can propel us into the abyss with which the element of Water is also associated.   Fear exists for primarily a good reason, in its simplest form to keep us alive.  It goes back to the basic animal instinctive behaviour to help the hunted escape and to keep us safe.  Stop us from falling off a ridge that’s too high, walking on something that’s too brittle and might break, burning ourselves, as well as hunting down food and keeping us safe and alert to stay alive so we don’t go cold and hungry.  In this simple and direct form, it serves a sound purpose and is clear to see how it works and why.  In that form we have two simple reactions, fight or flight.  These two are still working today although how they express themselves and how they are triggered is much less direct or easy to track.  However no matter whether it’s obvious or not when fear kicks in, we go into the primal response of producing adrenaline, which is a chemical to aid swift response and is produced at a time of danger, or perceived danger.  Enabling us to either run fast or fight hard.  Problems start where that adrenaline is not then used, or that fear response for some reason is being triggered far too often.  The other (hormone / chemical) associated within auto-response is Cortisol which gets produced during times of stress, again to heightens one’s ability to respond.  However, constantly producing this again can lead to health issues, not to mention impacting on relationships due to perhaps inappropriate or aggressive reactive behaviour.

Fear is often underlying a lot of personal, emotional issues and even blockages within places and spaces therefore how to transform it or move it aside, comes up again and again in Shamanic Healing.

In our modern, more “civilised” world how fear presents itself becomes considerably more complex.  There are endless tomes out there about fear and the reaction to fear; the flight or fight syndrome.  However, there is perhaps less about what could be termed a sub, or intermediary reaction – Freeze.  For a while I was beginning to question whether this was actually a third way to react to fear.  As someone wisely pointed out to me recently, actually it’s a non-action.  It is simply disengaging.

Perhaps the simplest example, of this freezing in fear in nature is the cat and mouse.  When the mouse freezes he waits till the cat gets bored or forgets what they were waiting for.  For a while the mouse becomes “invisible” to his predator, the cat.  Sadly for the mouse the cat’s concentration span seems to be usually a lot longer than the mouse’s! :-(!

Freezing does occur within us, in fact in society, where most of the time the triggers which are causing our fear, would not require either the full fight or the flight reaction are actually requiring us to fight and flight in a much more subtle  way, in-fact often calling for a much more courageous or intelligent action.

In most situations our fear reaction deep down has been triggered, this is most often on a subtle level you understand, it’s still causing our bodies to go into a “fight or flight” chemical reaction, yet our brains are having to sort through what’s actually going on and come up with either a smarter or more rounded reaction to the situation.  Often this requires us to go into freeze mode for a while, even if it’s only for a short time.  However, the chemicals are still being produced in our bodies, and we are not using them necessarily in a way that allows them to be properly discharged.  Most circumstances in modern life, calls on us to write something, say something or reach a compromise.  Most of the time, in the long term, this will lead to a better result for the job in hand, our career prospects, the business and even society as a whole.  However, what often has not been address is our own internal process, the chemical process that we have had to go through and most importantly the release of that now possibly redundant chemical.  Where does it go?  Most often as a minute toxin into our muscles or body, causing stiff necks, shoulders, backs and a multitude of other places with a multitude of ailments.  In more extreme circumstances, over the years when emotions have not been released somehow, somewhere,  they build up and can cause more serious health issues, either in the body or in the mind.  What I am describing here, in a slightly piece by piece way is of course the stress reaction.  Stress is today one of the industrialised world’s biggest health issues and often underlies most of the more serious illnesses around.   CIPD report suggests that percentage of people on sickness benefit due to stress has risen from 20% in 1997 to 40% in 2006.

Fear is present even our more peaceful civilised society, sometimes creeping up on us in ways we don’t even realise it is fear and more importantly miss-placed fear.  For example; fear of not succeeding, fear of being made redundant, fear of not having enough (i.e. knowledge, money, wisdom, savvy, the list is endless) fear of our reputation, our standing and respect in society.  We feel threatened, by others around us and clearly in many of these circumstances it will not serve us to either directly fight or keep fleeing from one thing to another.  So in many ways we can find ourselves in freeze.  Having to either let something pass, don’t realise we have been affected by the situation or as some choose go a long protracted passive aggressive behaviour against those we feel threatened by.  This does not even touch on the fears that come from deep childhood programming, of course the biggest and often least well owned, the fear of not being loved, or of even being hated.

This is where Shamanic Healing along-side many other complementary health therapies, good exercise and healthy diets can really start to redress that balance for a person.

While fear keeps us alive it often sadly also stops us from doing many things, and if too prevalent, becomes a barrier to enjoying and fully experiencing life.  It also can cause us to come from a place of reaction rather than conscious strength and compassion.  Out of fear we want to remain safe. How often have you felt you’ve been on the other end of someone inadvertently lashing out at you; or (perhaps tougher one to admit) how often have you been accidently more cruel or short with someone then you meant to be or needed to be?  If you look closely you’ll find a whole pile of good reasons and lurking and in the very dark corner under that pile of reasons – Fear of [?????].

Even anger, they say is the child of fear, it may be expressed for very, very, sound reasons, but when you look deeper, perhaps you will uncover what you were actually afraid of.  It might be quite justified, but it was still fear that drove the anger.

Fear creeps up on us when we least expect it, expresses itself in a multitude of ways and often leads to disharmony within ourselves or others around us.  So in the interests of living more consciously, connected and contented it’s an interesting one to look at and explore within ourselves.  Yes the challenge here is to look at yourself first before pointing the finger at another’s fear.  As George Bernard Shaw rightly points out, the faults we perceive in others, we recognise them because they are often the very faults we struggle with ourselves.

So are we supposed to go straight to fight or flight?  In most circumstances clearly this is simply neither acceptable nor progressive.

Someone also recently reminded me how important it is to stay neutral in as many circumstances as possible, as it simply uses less energy and provides the space for a better solution to come forward from perhaps a difficult situation.  This is not, though, an invitation to stay in “freeze”.

The freeze does enable us to stay to some extent neutral, which can be a good thing, it gives us space to move towards a much more productive and supportive result.  What it does not do, is allow our emotional self to be expressed or our bio-chemical self to be cleared.  In this area Shamanic Healing and working with elements teaches us so much.

So returning once more to the elements for a moment, to come out of any of these fearful watery states it requires some fire.  The fire of Adrenaline in the case of flight and fight.  To unfreeze, well you have to warm yourself and sometimes even the situation.  Just think of the times where an awkward situation has been broken by humour.  However, be warned this does have its risks too – still it does tend to get things moving!

The two emotional energies that are most warming and generally bring the best results are Compassion and Courage.

It takes courage to move past one’s own or another’s fear.  Courage is not just mindless bravery and pushing through at any cost it is a hearty, warmed bravery.  One that is built on heart centred honesty.  The first step in that honesty of course – yes you’ve guessed it – recognising and owning your own fear.  Then warming it, holding it and watch it melt away as you shine a light onto it and understand why and where it came from.

The key to doing this successfully is Compassion.  This is bigger than sympathy!

You cannot look fear, particularly your own, in the face without a lot of compassion especially if you want to understand and heal why it is there in the first place.  Without compassion you cannot start to forgive others who might have caused it.  Compassion is needed to go on and release both the blame and the pain to yourself for having carried it for so long.  All of which is a key part of healing your own fear.  If you doubt that courage and compassion come into this, just think of bullies.  It’s widely recognised bullies are cowards because they have gone far away from this brave step of looking at their own fear, they deny they are scared and transfer it through abusive behaviour onto others.  That includes those who call others “chicken” just because they may be pausing, halting, or reconsidering their own actions.  For they are bullying the one who is pausing from hearing their own internal voice and receiving their own internal guidance by trying to force “pauser” to simply follow the “bully’s” direction in order to prove themselves not to be “chicken”.

Compassion is also very essential for the days ahead after one has chosen to rather look deeper and face one’s own fears and for a life time ahead of constantly being vigil that you don’t go back to old habits and ways that no longer serve you or anyone else.  Fear is just like other watery pests, such as fungus it needs to be given a good drying out – turn the light out and let it get moist and it will fester again!  Of course ripping it out or what it is growing on might well be necessary in some cases, however, don’t forget we are talking metaphorically here and therefore, that’s also apart of you.  Therefore shining a light, warming and drying it out is by far the better way than causing further injury by hacking away at oneself, usually a far more damaging option.  Just like fungus which grows on some decaying matter, fear often grows on an injured part of the host, which is in need of healing and renewal not further injury.

If someone can come truly through such a healing process and come to terms with what lurks in their deepest darkest closets, they usually become more rounded, compassionate and can go on and recognise and actually help others in this kind of pain, if they choose to change.  The alternative I’ll leave to the words of George Bernard Shaw  “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”