A moment of meditation?

Meditation. What’s that all about then? Sitting cross legged like some monk with your eyes shut, humming? Far too difficult, time consuming? Doesn’t really work does it? I hear these sorts of comments often but think about it…..

Taking time to sit, bring your focus into your own body, checking how you are feeling, breathing, enjoying the quiet of the moment and feeling refreshed afterwards, still, at peace, ready to get back into the busy we call living. Is it such a bad thing to do? Is it so weird to be still and regenerate your energy?

Yesterday I did a meditation in the shower, washing away all the negativity I’d felt around me during the day, the weariness of my own body and mind, the noise and stresses of being around too many people. Today I walked. Never really thought about walking as a meditative practice but with my headphones on, the sun shining, the quiet country roads I stepped forward. 

I didn’t hum, I didn’t om, I didn’t ahhh. I just stepped one foot at a time and felt every step. I felt the movement under my feet, I felt how the gravel felt in comparison to the Tarmac, I felt the soft movement of the earth beneath my foot as I stepped onto the grass  verge when a car came by. I heard every songbird, every moo from the cows, every buzz of a fly as it zipped past my face. I felt the breeze gently caress my face, teasing my hair and brushing across the back of my neck as I stepped on.

I felt every single drop of sweat run down through my hair, my neck and soak into my t-shirt. The music lulled me into a rhythm, interrupted every five minutes as my walking app updated me as to how I was doing. Determined to beat yesterday’s time I increased my pace and then came back inside to how I was feeling, listening to my heartbeat through my headphones as a the music swapped and there was a silent pause. It wasn’t long before there was nothing but my breath, a beat from the background music and my feet as I pounded that Tarmac road. No birdsong, no trees, no traffic, just the inner me creating its own rhythm to walk to.

I was aware of how my muscles felt, how my arms were feeling heavier and I had a slight pull in my right shoulder. I was aware of the blister forming on my toe as I wasn’t wearing socks. The occasional thought of the outside world popped in, I acknowledged it and let it go. My dreams and ambitions flashed in but I just moved them gently to one side for later as now was time for me, my here, my now, my present moment was all that I wanted to enjoy.

As I took my last few paces I began to recognise the outside world again and thanking myself and thanking the universe for the walk, I stepped back inside and back to… life. Much refreshed, rejuvenated, alive again. If this isn’t a form of meditation that anyone can do, I don’t know what is.

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Can I walk with you?

🎼 I love my life. I am powerful, I am beautiful, I am free. I love my life. I am wonderful, I am magical, I am me.

Thank you Robbie Williams for creating a song that reads like my life right now. This was playing on the way home from one of the biggest, most important weeks of my life. A week where it became absolute to me where I am supposed to be in life. My purpose. It’s an enormous emotion when it’s hits you and takes some getting used to. A couple of weeks on and I think I’m finally comfortable with this new version of me.

I give thanks every morning to be in this place. It’s been a long journey with many tears, frustrations, physical and mental bruises and having to face a lot of things I’d rather have avoided (and that includes many things about me). Worth every step now I’m this side of my own fears. 

I wonder how many people in the world are blessed to know what they need to do with their time on this planet. I wonder how many know and how many care. Many are just happy to travel through and make the best life they can and that is absolutely fine but I needed more because I knew there was more for me, I knew I was more than who I saw during that bad time. 

When all you see is bad, depressing, going nowhere and makes you sad to your very core I beg you not to give in. Facing it all and standing up to yourself is the hardest thing you may ever do because in doing that you have to face up to others, make painful decisions and choices and maybe go so far as walking away and beginning again but it can be done. Easy for me to say as I’m in a good place now? Actually no because I know how hard the journey is but is it worth it? Absolutely yes. 

It may not feel like it but there are people willing to listen, help, support and love you even when you can’t love yourself. You just have to choose to change and then ask for help. All I have to give is my experience, my heart to care, a pair of ears to listen and legs to walk alongside someone who’s been courageous enough to say help me change. I am humbled to be trusted to share someone else’s journey and blessed that I’ve had a tough road to understand. 

One step forward

As we are born, we are born helpless and yet with love and teaching we grow, we develop and we become more and more independent. We learn to eat, to talk to walk. Remember that first step you saw your child take? Remember the emotion it inflamed in your heart? Pride. Happiness. Joy. Fear. Love. Unconditional love. 

Turn this on yourself. When you take a step in life what emotions does it bring? Do you even notice taking them or is it all just ‘what you do’. Have you forgotten how awesome it is to be able to walk? Do you feel your foot on the surface of this earth beneath your feet? Can you feel how your foot moves? Can you feel the pressure, the touch, the surface? 

And how often I wonder, do you take a step back and stop to look at what you have and where you are. I wonder if when you step back you are looking behind and wishing you were back there instead. I wonder if you actually stop and see where you are right now. 

Life is uncertain, uncomfortable even sometimes. Life can be hard. Life can be sad. Life can be all these and more and yet when you decide to step up and step forward it feels a good place to be and the bigger the step the further you travel. The more certain the step the faster you move. The lighter the step the more you enjoy. 

I’m speaking

I didn’t speak for so long. I don’t mean I was mute of course or a hermit. I didn’t speak, I didn’t verbalise what I held inside, I didn’t choose to express myself because I didn’t have the confidence in myself that the words were worth listening to. Now?

Now is so very different and I know that to keep words inside is a very destructive and indeed self destructive thing to do. Words need expressing otherwise all that goes with them, the emotions, feelings, life, death, future, possibility, healing, love, pain, passion or truth, get stuck in a place inside and decay. As the words die and decay, so do you.

By speaking I thought I would lose but realistically because I didn’t speak I lost everything, especially myself and I was hurting. Words saved me to a certain respect. Words were my medication. Words were the healing force. Words were my peace. I needed to express why I was hurting, why I was dying inside and when I did the world outside opened up and gave me colour and safety and love.

I wonder how often you use the expression “I had to bite my tongue”. I wonder how many times you’ve been dying to say something but stopped yourself because you thought it was inappropriate or would be taken the ‘wrong way’. Is this possible if your intent is good, said with love and to help the other person/people understand how you feel? What was it that stopped you expressing what was inside? Fear? Fear of being misunderstood, fear of letting go, fear of the impact or the outcome if the truth was out there? 

You will NEVER know someone’s thoughts or reaction to truth and if you are wanting or needing to say something it is your truth and needs to be said. If you keep a secret, and let’s be honest, that is what an unspoken thought is, you are living a lie, you are living in your own lie and that cannot be a good thing surely? Speak. Verbalise. Open your mouth and let the words escape, let your truth out. How refreshing, how liberating, what freedom to be open, to be honest, true and expressive.

What’s to lose? If your intent is true and your words chosen and thought through (not said in anger or to hurt) all you have to lose is the secret life you live. I told a secret once and let the words out that I had needed to express for so many years and it gave me a peace I cannot describe but it gave me so much more; friendship, growth, love, new opportunities and laughter. What’s not to like about speaking words….

In the world I lived I was sad and very lonely. This new world of truth, of honesty or enjoying words, speech, thought, conversation, expression is something I can’t give up. It’s where I belong. 

If I could see you

If I could see out from this page who would I see? A tall, handsome man. A petite lady of 32. A millennial with firey red hair. Grey hair and wrinkles from a life well lived. A 45 year old man rushing to or from his office. A stay at home dad making breakfast. A retired solicitor. A nurse on her wind down after a long shift. I often wonder who I would see if only I could look out from this page.

I’ve described you but only the outer you. If I could see past the external layers, into your eyes and deep inside I wonder who I would see. There are times when you look at someone, face to face, eye to eye and you can read through to their very soul if they allow you to. Yes, you know those moments don’t you, the ones of which I speak, those moments when nothing and no one else exists, the moment where a hundred emotions are expressed and yet not a word is said. Those moments when you cannot lie.

What about another moment, a normal day, a stressful time, an average day in the life of a friend, a lover, an acquaintance. Can you read them? Can you see who they are? Do they show you all or only what they want you to see? If I stepped from the page now and looked how much would you, could you, should you reveal? I’d love to say I’d like it to be everything, the real you, the human you, the excitable, compassionate you, the fighter, the dancer, the lover, the racer, the philanthropist, the entrepreneur, the mum, the husband, the sad you. But I think not. 

I think I would see only the outer you in most cases because it’s all you allow the world to see. It’s all you can be because it’s all you know. You would allow me to see the one dimensional you, the cardboard cutout, the pasted on version, the masked you because it’s all you can allow, all you are able to give. I get it. Reveal anything else, even a glimpse of who you are inside and I will see it all. It’s who I am and what I do. How? Because I’ve been there so know the signs. Why? Because I don’t want anyone else to sit where I sat. I care for the inner you, the one you hide and I have a space which I hold where it’s safe to let them out.

When you look at this page, who do you see looking out? A nosey woman, an older woman, a fighter, a lover, a carer, a passionate woman but with fear still in her eyes, a sad woman, a lonely one, a loved person with good family and friends, a depressed or angry person, a writer, a dancer, a whizz in the kitchen, a therapist, a compassionate human, a giggler or just words on a page which catch you unawares sometimes? I have no idea and it’s up to you to paint the picture from what I reveal. 

Create me, paint me, give me shape and form. Give me a personality, a face, a life you think I could lead, then reveal some of you for others, for me, to see. Show them, show me what hides behind those eyes reading these words. You are not just a face, a pair of eyes, a reader. To me you are human, a person, a personality, a bundle of emotions, flesh, raw and maybe you are scared to let go of this facade you show, but it’s okay, it’s safe because most of all, you deserve to be seen.

The self belief thief

You know you are good at what you do. You know you have a special gift. You know you have business potential, a good client base, talent, good customer service skills and yet one day you wake and doubt creeps in. Damn you self belief thief!

Am I good enough? Can I really do this? Will I bring in enough income this month? Do people think I’m good enough? Should I give up and get a salaried job? Is it time to admit defeat? Why did I risk everything? Have you ever heard yourself asking these questions? I used to say this all the time, self doubt picking, picking, picking. 

Like a hen pecking corn, the thief is picking away at the bucket full of confidence and self belief that you carry round with you. He’s sneaky and only takes a little at a time so you don’t notice him there. Sometimes he brings some of his friends; hormone overdrive, peer pressure, tiredness and overwhelm and all together they feast. They feast on you and you don’t even notice.

You can stop him you know! It’s in your power. You are in control. It may take an hour or two, it may take a few days, it might even take months but you will do this. If you give in now he’s won, he’s beaten you and all your hard work and effort will have been wasted and for what? To let your ego win. Again! If you’ve done it now, you’ve probably done this before and you allowed him to win last time and maybe the time before that. He always wins doesn’t he? Not this time. Not now. Not ever again. It’s time, time to take your life back. It’s yours and you are in total control of where it goes from here on in.

So what’s it going to be today? Are you winning or are you calling it quits? Are you fighting or are you going to lie down and call it a day? Your call….

If it helps I stood up to them all and fought so I know what it feels like. I know how hard it is but I also know it’s possible to beat this, beat them. I know you will doubt, I know you will question and some days will be better than others but you will be able to get to a place where you are comfortable with who you are and what you are a capable of and you will be successful. That’s then and this is now, so today pick yourself up, dust yourself down and tell yourself you can beat this for the next hour or two. After that do it all again! By the end of the day you will be a bigger, stronger, braver version of you.

Take a breath

Take a deep breath in, yes now. Hold it for four counts when you feel like you can take in no more and then let it out, slowly and hear that breath as it leaves you.  Do it again and this time breathe in something beautiful, clean, fresh, alive, whatever that may be to you. Hold it. Breathe out all that is bad, stressed, angry, disappointing, sad. And repeat. Repeat until there is no more dark, bad breath coming out, only breath.

I use this technique or some similar version every morning before I do anything else and at any point during the day or night when my world gets too much. I take five. I take a breath. I breathe. I don’t think we consciously do this as often as we should and sometimes people don’t know how to. Some have forgotten what it’s like to breathe. That makes me very sad.

Taking a breath, even one long one gives you back time. It gives you a moment to stop the chaos, anger, hurt or whatever else is sticking inside you and blocking the good energy that you need to be alive and be happy. It gives you peace. It gives you a sense of perspective and it stops you saying things that are usually best left unsaid or, if it needs to come out, it will give you the courage to say it but with clarity and forethought.

If you are sat thinking, is she mad, I don’t have time to do this, then you are exactly who I am speaking to. What if this breath I’ve just given you was the last one you were allowed? Wouldn’t you want it to be the longest breath ever to give you time? Time to love, time to say goodbye, time to say and do all the things you’ve forgotten to say and do in your busy world. It’s you who makes it busy, for whatever reason; you are are responsible for the busyness. So what you going to do with this one last long breath? Who are you spending it with? How are you feeling about life knowing this is it? Are you going to make this as drawn out and as beautiful, filled with as much love and happiness as possible?

Last breaths need not be dramatic like on the movie screen. Last breaths should be spent with those you love and be peaceful. I know where and with whom I’d spend mine but meantime I make sure I make the ones I have count. I will make sure they are deep, fresh and clear of anger or hurt or disappointment. Life is short enough without their intervention. I will take time to just stop for a few minutes each day and just breathe, reflect on my day, my time, my now and enjoy it.

You have one breath left to make more time for yourself, for those you love and for your life to be more fulfilled, happier, beautiful. You have one more breath to give you time to do what’s inside you, what you’re passionate about. One breath to live the dream. One more breath to be the you that you are born to be. Don’t waste it.. Promise me, promise yourself not to waste it.

And the competition winner is…

Do you ever enter competitions? I do occasionally, always assuming I won’t win and therefore I’m always right. This time I entered something because I thought it would be fun, take me out of my comfort zone and be a lovely keepsake too and, I win.  A photo shoot being the prize. Now I know there were many winners because this is part of their marketing strategy and provides them with new clients but do I care? No I do not because this gives me exactly what I wanted when I entered.

I guess I am trying to get across that what you expect you get, it may not always be at the time you want it, therefore it’s comes at the time you need it, but it does come. I think sometimes the universe plays with us and has a fairly naughty sense of humour in that they make us learn, play, grow, experience patience, love and give on the way. This is why we have to repeat experiences at times, because the universe doesn’t think we learnt from it the time before.

It’s time for some fun for me. I have always been relatively serious but lurking inside is a cheeky, naughty, sense of humour that on occasions comes out. Surprises people too sometimes as its always been enclosed by the serious, harsh facade on a general day to day basis. Now there will be some reading I am sure who know me and think this is odd as all they see is the fun one….. That’s because I’m always the real me, the inner me with them. They know me, I trust them and therefore allow the real me out.

My inner child needs to come out and play. My inner child doesn’t worry about tomorrow. My inner child doesn’t have responsibility in this particular moment. My inner child lives to love life. Do you need to set yours free too? Has life, have you, become a little too serious? Are you only ever seeing things, situations, people, work, finances, life through an adults eyes? 

Just for today how about looking with the eyes of a child and seeing the wonder around you, the magic in the things we do, the colour, the noise, the joy. We have all this but as adults we choose not to see it, usually because of the expectations we put on ourselves and allow society to put on us. It’s time to break free from these bonds, these restrictions and play a little. Remember that you get what you need and you need to enjoy life. If you think it, you will get it. 

Why is the photo shoot going to be fun? Ha ha ha! Maybe I will post a picture and you will see for yourself….

Giving it all up

Sat late in the day wondering if you have ever had to give something up even when it’s the last thing you want to do? There are times when you feel you simply can’t have what you want and whilst it hurts it is the right decision and you may regret it forever and a day but it’s the only option. Do you ever get a second chance? Maybe….

I wonder if you have ever had to give something up that you wanted with all your heart? I wonder…

🎶Say something, I’m giving up on you. I’ll be the one, if you want me to. Anywhere, I would’ve followed you. Say something, I’m giving up on you. Say something. 🎶

I watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel tonight and my favourite bit is where the two old friends and lovers find each other once more and just hold each other one last time. It was the last but for them it was perfect. Maybe one more time does come…. maybe.

You should never give up on dreams because they do come true. You may wait for what feels like forever but you may just get that chance. That chance for one more moment of perfection, for one more go at what  you’ve always seemed could be. Don’t give up today because tomorrow may be the day….

Make me a channel of your peace

I’ve been reading a new book this week and it begins early on talking about the prayer of St Francis of Assisi  and it flew me back to my childhood, singing with my mum in church. I loved the hymn based on this prayer….. 

🎶Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred let me bring your love. Where there is injury, your pardon Lord. And where there’s doubt, true faith in you. Make me a channel of your peace. Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope. Where there is darkness, only light. And where there’s sadness ever joy

Oh, master grant that I may never seek. So much to be consoled as to console. To be understood as to understand. To be loved as to love with all my soul. 

Make me a channel of your peace. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. In giving to all men let we receive. And in dying that we’re born into eternal life. Make me a channel of your peace. Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope. Where there is darkness, only light. And where there’s sadness ever joy. 🎶

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to wake every day with a peace inside that fills you up for the day? So confident in your beliefs, in who you are and what you do and say that there is no need to worry incessantly about what is to come. To wake believing that the day is yours and will be all you want it to be. That is not to say you live in a bubble and there aren’t struggles, I don’t think that is possible as you are a human being, but to not stress about the unnecessary and just have the confidence that everything will work out how you need it to, wow that would be amazing wouldn’t it?

It is possible! I speak to the universe quite a lot. In my car, when I wake and when I go to bed, as I go about my day, in moments of tiredness or over dinner. When I think about it the universe must wear ear plugs some days! I make my thoughts clear and ask that, if they are meant to be, the universe guide me, give me signs and help me deliver. 

Synchronicity springs to mind as I write that. You know those moments when you really need a friend and someone appears unexpectedly, when you need money for something and you suddenly get a refund on your tax or just moments when you find what you’ve been searching for just as you need them most. Some may call that luck, I call it the universe delivering.

To find that peace I find if I give myself without asking for gain. If I have doubt, I find my faith; if I see despair I give hope; if I see someone hurt I give love; if someone has hurt me I forgive their actions; when someone is in darkness I give them a light to help them see. From living that way I gain all I need, peace and comfort and the rest then follows. 

Magical.