…so, my friend and I finally arrive in Marrakech (re: blog Coming Together 16/10/14).
I'm not sure why I mentioned it as a destination. It hadn't particularly been on my list of must-see places. The suggestion had simply tripped off my tongue inadvertently. I like peace and tranquility and yet I imagined Marrakech to be a vibrant and colourful city full of exotic sounds and smells and lots of hustle and bustle. (I wasn't wrong.) However, at the time of booking it felt great. We were finally doing something. Going somewhere. We had plans! We felt a little crazy but for once we were committing to following our shared dream rather than dismissing it as we had in times gone by.
With very little time to dwell between dreaming and booking (a matter of hours) I soon became aware of some fear quietly creeping in. A darkness. A heaviness within. Two white, European women in a Northwest African city, alone. What are we thinking! I noticed some anxiety around masculine energy and feminine oppression. Will our softness and our open-heartedness make us vulnerable? Can we afford to relax out there? Or must we toughen up and guard ourselves? Particularly as we had opted to stay in a traditional riad; a compact but opulently decorated accommodation set within a maze of tall, narrow old city walls. A place one could really get lost!
What a trip it turned out to be! A roller-coaster of emotional ups and downs and twists and turns. Too deep and numerous to recount in any detail but suffice to say, it was intense. From the insane joy of relaxing on the roof terrace, gazing into the translucent blue sky, listening to evocative calls to prayer and watching the magnificent storks landing atop the bell towers of the mosques, dining on the most vibrant and exquisitely presented food, all the while the Atlas Mountains sitting quietly in the background; to the edginess of arriving in the darkness of night and being led into such an unfamiliar environment, venturing out onto the streets and into the markets for the first time, amidst the hustle and bustle and persistent pressure to buy, untangling ourselves from the coercive males wanting to re-direct us down narrow alleyways, all the while noticing a lack of female presence on the streets. As I had suspected, there was certainly something very powerful going on for me around the re-balancing of feminine and masculine energies within, a process I also see reflected in the collective consciousness known as Humanity and the planet itself (Gaia). All of us recalibrating simultaneously, as One. Here we were in Marrakech, unwittingly doing just that.
It has been said that Marrakech is all about daring to lose oneself. Easily done within the narrow maze of alleyways within the medina but not so easy to consciously choose on the spiritual journey, and yet vital to our personal and collective growth. The trick to experiencing a sense of inner peace while walking the streets, I discovered, also involved combining the clarity and decisiveness of masculine energy with the gentle openness of feminine energy. With firm boundaries in place I realised I was safe to walk the streets open-heartedly. Sure, I felt lots of adrenaline. I was alert, but not so fearful as energised. Alive. It didn't seem to matter what came at me. I either chose to lovingly experience it or lovingly decline it and walk on. It was a powerful reminder that inner peace is just that - inside. Indeed, our environment and our geographical location have an impact but fortunately for us, true peace is portable. We can take our little piece of heaven with us wherever we go…and it doesn't even register on our luggage allowance ;-)
Lots of joy on your own journey <3
There is a chill on The Path today. The air, fresh and clear in my lungs. Ahhh, it's good to be here! To my great surprise (though I did extend an invitation) a fellow walker has shown up to join me on the path. As we begin the walk, the stifled smile upon my face barely disguises the delight I feel inside.
Halfway along the track I notice my mind racing enthusiastically. I am caught in a rhythm. Hypnotised by my own thoughts. Gathering more speed than the delayed 9:15 to London. In truth, I am not walking that fast and yet I sense my head has already completed the journey. Not only that, it has stopped off for a cuppa at the forest cafe, has started up the car engine, has checked for emails, and is already half way home. What a shame! I don't want the walk to be over that quickly. I want to savour it. And so gently, I invite my mind to re-join my body in the present moment. To my relief it graciously accepts…and once again I get to experience the wonder of being right where I am.
Life is similar, it seems. I don't want that to be over before I know it either. I don't want to speed through on autopilot, barely aware. I want to savour it too.
The trick it seems is catching the train of thought before it's too late. Catching it as it arrives at the station. Catching it as it whisks us off to some future destination. Catching it as we make our way to the buffet car. Though when it comes to life, it would be nice to catch it here and there before the journey's over ;-)
Love and Light xxx
Woo, hoo! What a blast on The Path this summer. Having learned over the years that a harmonious family experience requires nothing more of me than complete surrender of any notion of control that is exactly what I chose for the six-week school holiday. Until now, there has traditionally been a sense of panic as I wonder how on earth I am going to entertain the children, manage the details of everyday life (i.e. paying bills, keeping on top of the laundry, and trying to get something (anything!) nutritious to pass the children's lips to name but a few), continue to run the family business, and find any space for myself to breathe and recharge along the way. I'm not sure how I managed it but it had something to do with letting go…yes, even more.
For me, writing and blogging was one of the scariest things I chose to let go of for the summer. The pressure to keep going, keep going, keep writing, keep producing is a pressure I notice coming from within and without. How am I ever going to "make it" if I don't consistently push myself? Constantly put myself out there, lest people forget me! That makes me smile. So far I have only dared toe-dip when it comes to finding and connecting with my "audience". My children (aged 10 & 13) have more followers than I do! And yet I notice an even broader smile on my face as I sense that it really doesn't matter to me. It is thrilling to allow myself to find my voice and to express it in my own way in my own time. Knowing that as far as any sense of making it is concerned, Divine Timing has it covered. That the moment I release the pressure I impose on myself I have already arrived. What exactly is it that we seek anyway, if not a heavenly feeling in the here and now?
Letting go, however, does tend to bring up our deepest fears around losing control. We fear that if we do let go everything around us will collapse and people, including us, will suffer in some way. And yet from our human vantage (or rather, disadvantage) point we cannot always see what is best for us and those around us, but as we allow that part of ourselves that can see the bigger picture (our Higher Self) to take over for a while we discover we can not only afford to relax and go with the flow but that in doing so miracles occur. Somehow everything effortlessly falling into place. Letting go is all good and well in theory but until we have the courage to put it into practice we cannot feel its magic.
As it was, the children didn't need entertaining. They wanted to be free. Free to lounge around in pyjamas 'til midday. Free to lose themselves in their gadget of choice. Connecting with their world (their audience) in their way. Free to somersault on the trampoline. Free to eat what they want when they want. Free to play out on the park or in the woods. Occasionally we went swimming and on one occasion they asked if we could go for a nature walk together. (I was in shock and awe!) It seems in being present to them and their joy, rather than stressing to tick jobs off the to-do list, they didn't seem to need me very much at all and, they were incredibly content. In fact, I had much more time and space to myself than usual. As a result, it really was a Summer of Love.
Now the holidays are over I feel excited and energised. Thrilled to be back in the writing game! Ready to take few more chances. Fascinated that whereas it usually takes a week or two to catch up with household and business responsibilities following the school holidays somehow, this year, it all seems to be sorted. And so as I re-focus on my passion outside of family life (if the two can ever be truly separate) I notice I'd quite like my Higher Self to take over the running of my life on a more permanent basis…if only I can remember to step out of the way :-)
Wishing you all a wonderful autumn. Enjoy the harvest!
I notice a desire to be a little gentler with myself on The Path today. All this inner harshness and tendency toward self-destruction is wearing a bit thin. Although it is difficult to let go of old, ingrained habits there has to be a better, more loving way to be. For me, it helps to know I am not alone. That we are all in this together. That the more loving I am toward myself, especially during my less loveable moments, the more loving a place the world is as a result.
I very rarely watch the news. That said, the events of the world still have a way of finding their way into my field of awareness. Right now, I cannot help but feel the impact of the shooting down of flight MH17 and the rising violence in Gaza. (My husband and I met on a kibbutz just a mile from Gaza.)
One of my favourite kibbutz memories was the day a fellow volunteer and I were driven by our (Jewish) Israeli soldier friends to the beach. The route involved passing through a checkpoint into Gaza. I was slightly perturbed as even then (twenty years ago) tensions were high. The sound of gunfire and flash of bullets on the horizon were a regular occurrence. The beach, however, was idyllic. I remember the purest, white sand. Our soldier friend asked us if we wanted to go out with him and his (Palestinian) fisherman friend to lay some nets. The wooden boat was unusual in that there wasn't anywhere to sit. It was, in fact, flat-topped. And so, with the fishing nets piled high, we simply sat atop them and held on for dear life as we ventured out to sea (Hawaii 5-0-style) through the incoming waves. Eventually reaching crystal blue and calmer waters, I remember sitting back and taking in the utter beauty, peace, and irony of the situation. That was until the nets were released and began to unravel at a rate of knots beneath us. It still tickles me now to think of us scampering around trying to avoid being dragged in.
Since we are individuals that together form the group known as Humanity, as we release old patterns of pain and trauma we automatically contribute to the health and wellbeing of the Whole. As we take personal responsibility for our own evolution, Humanity thrives alongside us. Inner peace is world peace.
Right now Humanity is, it seems, experiencing one of its less loveable moments. It is tempting to judge and criticise, and yet we are not separate from it. Finger-pointing makes us feel better because it separates and distracts us from our own capacity to inflict pain and misery on our selves and others. (Just ask our children!) The truth is, we are all responsible. As shocking and outrageous as that may sound, in denying the part we play we also render ourselves powerless to change it.
The truth is, we have enormous capacity to make a difference. Not necessarily by going out into the world (though I am immensely appreciative of those that do feel that particular call to action). Peace starts within. We have tried waging war at both a national level and within ourselves. We have tried bullying. We have tried using force. We have tried criticism and judgement. Not only does it not work, it is exhausting on so many levels. It simply creates more of the same.
Now is the perfect time to try something new. We are ready, Humanity is ready, for change. No more conflict and separation. Our personal and humanitarian power lies in coming together. Being, as One. And so, as we radiate a little more love into the world...let's also show a little love toward the terrorist within.
…It's About Being Honest With Ourselves, And Each Other.
As I make my way along The Path today I notice what a nice idea it is to be our authentic selves…and how challenging it can be in everyday life. Especially when we realise being our authentic (whole) selves includes acknowledging both our lightness and our perceived darkness. That is, our deep, deep shame.
What comes to mind is an image of a wedding ring, the words union and merging, the colour yellow/gold and the phrase for better or worse. Hardly surprising perhaps, as I have only recently started wearing my wedding ring again having taken it off several months ago. It's a very chunky crown-like gold ring set with 5 diamond-shaped diamonds. I am very fortunate to have it, and yet for a while I felt irritated and weighed down by the heaviness of it. Being the queen of metaphor, I was well aware it was really about feeling discomfort and limitation within the marriage itself, though I wasn't clear whether it was about our relationship or the archaic concept of marriage. Or both.
I did, however, choose to wear my engagement ring as a reminder of my commitment to the process. To remain engaged despite the shame and discomfort I felt. My husband never mentioned my missing wedding ring despite proudly wearing his. Neither has he mentioned its reappearance on my finger so although on the surface it didn't appear to be an issue, it was an opportunity for me to let go of old, outdated expectations of what it is to be a wife and for us to re-write our own marriage script from hereon in.
Reviewing the life choices we have made thus far is common, particularly in our mid-years, and often leads to separation and divorce. It was a real possibility for us too. As we grow in awareness it can come as quite a shock as we somewhat sheepishly realise in our sleepy, un-awakened state we have made a number of lifestyle choices that we might not have made were we fully awake. A little like waking up in the middle of a nightmare not only to find out is it true but that we created it. Relational and marriage choices, health and lifestyle decisions, having children or not, career paths, it all comes under the spotlight for review. Some of it simply no longer fits, but surely we can't simply change our mind, change track, after all this time? And so, it takes great courage to allow our authentic selves to come into being when our path to joy impacts so many others.
(Having just called my husband to check that I wasn't misrepresenting his feelings about wearing his wedding ring he informed me he hasn't worn his for the past three weeks! Oh, the irony :-))
The Path today begins and ends at Home. Well, of course it always does, but right now it is so beautifully hot and sunny in my garden I realise there's no place I'd rather be. It's perfect. Even though finances are trickier than they have been in a long time I think I can afford to sit in the sunshine for a while.
It's a nice idea but I notice it is difficult for me to actually stop and relax. I may have taken my armchair outside but I'm still trying to concoct this blog. I'm not sure I can really class this as stopping so I put it down for a while. As I bask in the warmth I sense how guilty I feel doing nothing. I notice the pressure I put on myself to get it finished today. Usually the process is a pleasure but right now I sense I am just trying to be a good writer. I am on autopilot. Ticking all the (write!) boxes. It's no fun doing things just to be good and right. Before long my attention is drawn to the vibrancy of the flowers. I wander barefoot across the lawn to take some photos. Capturing the beauty…my idea of Heaven!
I see a bright yellow buttercup among some daisies and go in to take a shot. I pause for a moment and wait for the fly to finish its business and fly away. It doesn't. I wait. It's still there. I can't believe I'm poised, camera in hand, waiting for a fly to buzz off. I realise I can just shoo it away but to be honest what gives me the right? My pursuit of the perfect shot doesn't seem any more important than the fly doing its thing. It's there for quite a while. It doesn't seem to be in any hurry. Losing the will to live, I take the shot with the fly in situ and move on to the bright orange marigolds my father cultivated.
Fast forward 24 hours: I look up the word concoct. It suggests to rustle up. Hmmm, yesterday there certainly was a feeling of trying to put something together quickly so I could get on with the business of relaxing. No wonder I wasn't enjoying it - my heart wasn't in it. Choosing to consciously lead a life more pleasurable (and making a living doing it) can be tricky. Pleasing ourselves often brings up feelings of deep shame. It takes courage to truly let go and relax. Like orgasm, to experience the full pleasure we have to be willing to lose ourselves a little. A scary thought for many of us as we associate losing ourselves with losing our mind, our identity, our way (and for writers) the plot ;-). Stepping into a more pleasurable and freer existence can at times feel so ecstatic and un-boundaried it brings us face to face with the fear of our own madness. No wonder we often only toe-dip into pool of joy...and then return to make do with the more familiar.
…having just researched the term buttercup and daisy I've learned in it means crazy in Cockney rhyming slang.
Well, there you go! Bring it on ;-)
What difference would letting in a little more pleasure make to you today?
I begin The Path today feeling…well, open. Simple. Without fanfare. Just me, trusting life has a much better plan in store for me than I could ever envisage for myself.
Lately, I've noticed a recurring image in my mind of a barely visible golden thread laid out before me. It is evenly spaced with knots, and if I move gently enough I can pick it up and slowly make my way along it following each knot in turn. I cannot see where it is leading beyond the next but I am beaming because I just know each knot represents the most pleasurable choice in this moment. Although I do not see the details of what lies ahead, I feel in my heart it is taking me closer to where I belong. Home.
Back in 2012, having completed 3 1/2 years of training in Core Process Psychotherapy (being only a hundred client hours and a dissertation away from graduation) I made the excruciating decision not to pursue the Master's Degree for which I had sacrificed so much, having turned my own life and that of my family's inside out. Not to mention the financial cost. Up until this point, being a psychotherapist had been my dream and here I was, realising it. However, as the training came to an end I noticed a strange feeling of completeness. Like I already had everything I needed to go forward from here. As if I was free to choose the path of most joy. Writing. Even though in my heart I knew it was the right decision back then I wasn't so in touch with my heart and instead my mind became so racked with self-doubt, guilt and shame around the seemingly insane decision that I entered a six month period of breakdown.
Why do I bring this up now? Because. as we speak, many of my former colleagues are graduating and I notice at times like this I still have to consciously breathe my way through in order to keep my sense of ground around the choice I made. Sometimes I feel as if I don't have a lot to show for it, and indeed when we cease to measure our life in terms of qualification there can seem to be very little external evidence of "success". Internal growth can be more difficult to gauge.
I am eternally grateful for the training as is it where I found the faith to go my own way. It seems stepping off the expected path (graduation and practice) was simply me following the Golden Thread, only then I couldn't see it. I resisted it, and I suffered as a result. Ironically, the training helped me sense the freedom of being without ambition. Not needing to be any more than I am right now, not needing to be anywhere other than where I am right now. And yet, always open to experiencing more.
As all true Masters and Guru's know; the day their student realises they no longer need them their work is complete.
So far, soooooo good on The Path today. The shared dream continues (re: the previous blog). Though, choosing to follow your path of most joy is not as easy as it might sound. It often brings up feelings of immense guilt and shame and it is these feelings that tend to keep us stuck on what can feel like the treadmill of life.
One of our initial fears was Does following our joy (i.e. galavanting off around the world from time to time) make us bad mothers? And yet, one of the first things that struck us both was how relaxed and happy we became around the children as we carried this dream in our hearts day-to-day. It seems to be a win-win situation after all :-) :-)
It's funny, we don't seem to need to discuss it. We talk about everything else, as usual but The Dream just seems to keep itself alive. Like there's nothing else to say, nothing more to add, it's already complete. Up and running. Launched! The only evidence of anything going on is a cheeky sparkle in our eyes from time to time, knowing all we need do now is show up and enjoy the ride. But isn't that the whole point of life anyway?
Do you know what I'm in the mood for most right now? A bit of laundry, making fresh beds and hoovering the house. How strange is that? That's what I call a win-win-win situation. Followed by a cup of tea and a sit down…and then perhaps launching a few more rockets of desire.
Much joy and self-love on your own path today :-) :-) :-)
I have a secret on The Path today ;-) There is a reason why my steps are light. My friend and I have realised a dream shared is a dream magnified. After many years supporting each other on our individual paths we have realised the unlimited potential of coming together.
It's daring, it's risky, it's blooming outrageous, it's elegantly simple. Between us we have a bachelor's degree in Psychology, have trained in depth psychotherapy, NLP, hypnotherapy, Reconnective Healing®, Realm Reading, Holistic Image Consultancy, Life Skills Coaching, Time-line Therapy®, and are currently studying interior design and intuitive astrology. After a number of years of trying to launch ourselves into some kind of meaningful, heart-centred business we are embracing the simple truth…she loves to shop, I love to write, we both love to travel and, we thrive in each others company. So, why not combine it all? Why not indeed! Well, because we both have children to look after full-time, houses to run and incomes to earn (my friend single-handedly), finances are pretty much always stretched, and well…who do we think we are!
It seems gifts are at the heart of our joint ad-venture. She sourcing physical gifts from around the world, me offering my words. I wondered whether creating a separate blog from this one was appropriate but somehow integration is key. It seems the path, is the path, is the path wherever I may be! It feels like entering into a new world of endless possibility. The book I am writing Coming Together: Finding Our Way Back to Ecstasy is about having the courage to surrender to our path of greatest joy as it unfolds moment-by-moment. Beginning with the importance of developing a sense of inner ground, and the final chapter taking us to the threshold across which lies our unlimited potential. Our opportunity to finally lighten up and lift off!
The books ends with the words This chapter is, in essence, being written as I write. And so it is! The tickets to our first destination, Marrakech, are booked for September. We are ready for take off. Ready to enter into our dreams one small step at a time. For if not now, then when? As ever I shall be watching this space and all it brings up as we embark on this new path, together…and that includes you :-))
Bon Voyage to us all xx
The Path is a metaphor for Life Itself. A way to access the inherent wisdom of life through our own life. Our True Nature. However, The Path isn't just about physically walking (I just do that for pleasure!) therefore we don't have to be out physically walking to learn form life, we can simply pay attention to whatever is happening around us and inside us, wherever we are.
I awoke the other morning to the sound of three wasps in my bedroom. A little excessive, I thought. A short while later my son informed me there was also a wasp downstairs. Alarm bells very sleepily began to ring. (Black and yellow stripes are used as a warning of danger in both the human and the animal world). Once I'd helped the upstairs wasps make their way out of the window I went downstairs to find a total of four wasps hovering around the living room. It was baffling as all the windows and doors were closed, but eventually we realised they were coming down the chimney stack and out from behind the TV.
I'm not overly worried by wasps but all the same I didn't want them in my house especially around the children trying to get ready for school, and they did seem to be growing in numbers. Despite noticing the odd wasp buzzing around outside the house as well, all I could do was open the windows and patiently wait for them to leave, quickly shutting them again once each one was gone. Killing is not normally an option for me but it's interesting, as a mother, how the lioness mentality of protect at all costs kicks in when in the midst of a perceived threat to our children, and so I called Pest Control and they agreed to come before noon.
Once the children were safely out of the situation I decided to go against all my survival instincts and open all the windows and doors. It seemed by keeping them closed I was actually containing the wasps in the house which was the reason they were amassing. From that point on, they simply left as quickly as they arrived. Something felt serene about the situation, like the natural cycle of life was being allowed to flow. When the Pest Guy arrived, he checked with me once again You're sure they're wasps because if they're bee's we can't touch them? Yes, I confirmed, absolutely sure I knew the difference.
As it turned out they were honey bee's. I felt a sense of relief that there was not going to be mass genocide in my home after all but also a sense of Damn, now what! The Pest Guy informed me I needed a beekeeper who would taken them away and re-house them (though I'm sure he didn't use those exact words) but, he said, if the Queen is just stopping off for a rest with all her troops in tow (again, my words) then it's possible once she resumes her travels the rest will simply follow. It sounded a little too simple to be true but for the rest of the day I kind of enjoyed sharing a space with the bee's, them busily doing their thing and me, mine. Stopping once in a while to pause and appreciate their beauty, which was easier by the afternoon as they were a little more docile - as was I.
By the next morning they were gone, and all I was left with was appreciation for The Day The Queen Came To Stay :-)
Trained in a depth, buddhist-based psychotherapy, using everyday outer world experiences to develop inner wisdom, one day at a time.