When you get questions: All things energy…

Lately, I have had been reminded that knowledge, language and communication don’t necessarily go hand in hand, and that not everyone knows about or understands energy and the subtle body.

In the four stages of psychological learning model, a person moves from unconscious incompetence, to conscious incompetence, conscious competence and then finally to unconscious competence. At first we don’t know how little we know, but then we become aware of it and consciously increase our knowledge and skills. Before long, we are automatically skilful without consciously thinking about it – thus are we unconsciously competent.

While we generally want to achieve that final learning stage of unconscious competence, when it comes to teaching there is a whole new level of learning that is required: awareness of where our students, clients and interested fellows are on the knowledge and experience ‘scale’.

In my healing work I have recently caught myself assuming conscious incompetence with clients – that means people know about energy and the subtle body but don’t quite know what to do with that knowledge to benefit them.

However, what I’ve found lately is that many folk seeking healing or spiritual guidance are at the unconscious incompetent stage: they know little or nothing about energy models and health. And really, why would they? Sadly, vital energy is not taught in schools and not generally part of our Western cultural taken-for-granted knowledge.

In our evolution and the changing eon that we currently bridge, more and more people are waking up to their spiritual beingness. That means that folk are becoming aware of more than their mundane material existence and looking for meaning and answers in the natural environment, the unseen worlds and their own spiritual being.

In this early awakening stage people may experience all manner of physical, emotional and psychical phenomena, from aches and pains, vision impairment, headaches, colds, distress, visions, seeing lights, auras around objects, plants, animals and people, dreams of past lives, guides, visitations, angels, spirit, hot, cold feelings and so on. 

Some people just have a curiosity piqued or find that synchronistic events lead their way. Whatever the mode of prompting, it seems that energy healers, psychics, mediums and similar practitioners are in increasing demand to assist people who aren’t satisfied with the answers that mainstream society provides or who want an integration of both.

I find this happening more and more. People with no former understanding of energy, psychism, spirit or the subtle body are coming for healing and guidance. So too, more and more children are being brought in to visit with me or I’m hearing about parents who are concerned about their children seeing, feeling, sensing in new ways. 

All this means that as practitioners we are frequently compelled out of our unconscious competence into our aware teacher role. It’s a role that we may not be ready for or even have considered. To be honest, I am only now moving into my conscious competence aspect of that role, and it’s such an important one. 

These are some of the questions that I’ve been asked recently – you too may have encountered some of them:

  • What is energy?
  • Is it only in me? Do others have it?
  • What is an aura? Is that the same as an etheric field?
  • What’s this ascension that everyone is talking about?
  • Is spirit a ghost and are they all bad?
  • What is spirit?
  • Can you see energy?
  • What does energy feel like?
  • How does energy make me feel better or worse?
  • What is a light body?
  • What is energy healing?
  • Someone told me I should manage my energy better – what does that mean?
  • Is there such a thing as negative energy? 
  • Do I need to protect my energy?
  • Really, can this energy get stuck? I mean, inside me?
  • Does stuck energy stay stuck? What can I do about that?
  • I think I have this black mass inside me – is that energy or something else?
  • I think I’m possessed…
  • What are chakras?
  • What is meditation? Is all meditation the same?
  • What is intuition? Is that the same as instinct?
  • What do you mean that you can see energy? What does it look like?
  • Why does my body jerk when I have healing?
  • Sometimes I see lights when I have healing – what does that mean? Do I have to go to the optometrist?
  • I felt hands on my head but you were down by my feet – what does that mean?
  • What is an energy cord? Is it a thing inside me? How do I get rid of it?
  • What does astral mean – is that the same as aura?
  • My child has started having strange experiences and seeing stuff in the house – what does it mean?
  • Will it hurt when I have healing?
  • Can anyone use energy for healing?

So many precious questions that I could write pages and pages, and I’m sure you’ve had them and others besides. Or you may have questions of your own.

How do you answer them? Are you prepared for when your clients begin asking these questions? For certainly, more and more folk will be drawn to the energy-based modalities of health and wellbeing.

Over the next wee while, I am going to use this blog to answer some of the questions to the best of my knowledge.  I know it will aid me in my work, and I expect that you’ll have questions and/or answers you could add to my considerations – I’d like to hear them.

Meantime, happy days friends – and happy dissemination of your unconscious competencies!

Silence is a cool river of joy

Silence is cool. It soothes a warm body. Silence and stillness soothes the being. When we stop and we become quiet, the machinery of our world ceases to move us. We simply exist. In a moment of pure awareness, we notice the noise, the futile attempts at order, and we return to our self, and to Source. In such a moment we comprehend eternity and we know ourselves eternal.

It is the non-doing, the not trying, the effortless state of being that our world shifts and moves and gravitates towards us through all the chaotic order, a thread of pure perfection responding to the note of our being. For we are born into the harmony of the universe. It is only the human-made attempts to constrict and manipulate the universe that disrupts that harmony and stems the flow of our vibratory ease.

Imagine a beautiful river, gentle flowing through the passageway of wide open lands. Its banks are steep and lower in places. Fish swim in the deeper waters and grasses grow in the shallows. Its flow is a continuous rhythm to the beat of hills and earth, rains and sky, sun and the tides, and the cycles of nature. Harmony.

Imagine now human made traps set along the banks, designed to catch the fish. See how a road is built and the river diverted from the path of nearby houses. Watch as its waters recede, spread out in new ways, only to be blocked again. Perhaps a wall or a damn. Perhaps the ecosystem of the river becomes so interrupted that fish die, grasses become diseased and waters polluted.

Now consider that you are the river, and land, the sky, the rains, the sun, tides and the natural world is in harmony with you. You know who you are and you flow free. The rains come, you fill. The sun comes and you reduce. Sometimes you spread out. Sometimes you breathe in, but always you ebb and flow with the pulse of the land.

That is until the disruptions begin. And then the ebb changes, the flow alters, and before long the homeostatic relationship with the natural world becomes misaligned, damaged, dis-eased, sometimes destroyed.

That is how it is for us when we move out of alignment with the flow of the universe. The universe wants us to harmonise with it. It entreats us to move back into the fold of its cycles, rhythm and pulse. But there is far too much noise, far too much distraction and oh so much conditioning that prevents us. And this is how we lose our way. This is how we move out of alignment with our being – with the Source of all.

And try as we might, often times desperately, the more we thrash around attempting to return to that state of harmony, the more we flail as fish in the river caught in a net.

For it is not more activity that is required – it is stillness. It is quiet. It is openness and inner noticing that will allow us to hear our spirit talk, that will return us to our flow.

And when we are returned to that state of harmony, to our simply beingness, do we attract and create all that is in alignment with our soul’s evolution.

Why does this matter? Our soul’s evolution?

Because we are eternal beings. Because we cannot remain the same. Because we are expanding consciousness that has the spiritual power to create a world of harmony, and yet for all that this is possible as individuals and as a collective we choose fear, war, disease, poverty, hunger, struggle.

We are better than that, and there is a state, a plane in which we know that we are, and more… we care.

When you decide to remember who you are, where you came from and why you are here, you cannot but be compelled to turn around into the silence and to listen, and to change, and to return to harmony and then BE that change in the world.

Your peace is the peace of the world.

And it’s not that you incarnated so as to mend a broken world – you didn’t, or perhaps you did – but that is not why we incarnate, to have our human experience. It’s a gift. It’s a joy. This brief moment of individual living is the greatest joy. It’s only that we create discord and struggle, and find that we come into the physical world and have to navigate our way through it before we get the experience of human joy.

What if we learned to return to joy. And stay there. You do not shift, you are not moved, you do not stray, but return to joy every moment, every opportunity, every remembering. Joy.

And yes, there will be pain and sorrow and challenge in the world we have made, and it is important to meet each and every episode of emotion and circumstance and be supported in processing it well. And then how marvellous it will be if every now and then you remembered joy. And brought that into your sphere of living.

Even if at first you fake it – til you’re actually feeling it.  

An exercise that I like to practice each day is one in which I am like a balloon lifting up, only, I remain seated, but my mood is as if it has helium in it. You might like to try it…

  • Sit quiet a moment
  • Bring your awareness to your chest – in the centre where your heart chakra (energy centre) is
  • Now whether you feel like it or not, bring a small smile to your face
  • Now you are aware of your smile and your heart centre
  • Now imagine that both your smile and heart energy are growing – expanding up and out – so you might bring in a long breath and your chest rises and your mouth widens
  • And at the same time think on something that brings you joy – a child, a loved one, a dog or cat, a favourite activity, dance, music, play – whatever it is and use that as your balloon to rise higher and higher on the breath of air…

When I practice this each morning, I base it on a dream I had… I was standing in front of a group of men from religious order and Spirit said ‘show them’ and within me a tiny light ignited in my chest. With my eyes closed my energy rose higher and higher and grew wider and wider until it burst out into a blissful expanse of white light. Tears flowed from my dreaming eyes. I looked at the men and they understood my connection with the divine. When I awoke, my face was wet with ecstatic tears of connection – of bliss and joy. 

Joy raises our vibration and illuminates our path in a way no other emotion does. It creates our unfolding reality just as we designed it to when we we were non-physical.

I invite you today to sit a moment in the cool silence of joy.

Karolyne is a psycho-spiritual therapist, writer and teacher, living and working in Edinburgh, Scotland. Visit her website here and School of Intuitive Studies here. You can contact Karolyne via email
Painting by Corie Hinton

‘Your world is the people around you.’

This week I had the privilege of speaking to an older man who has lived much his long life. In conversation, he shared some of his experiences and some of his losses. As tears gently paid homage to his heart’s loves, this dear soul recounted the names and lives of those he has been with as they took their final breaths. At the side of his friends, parents, family members, child and wife, this man has sat, holding the hands of loved ones as they transitioned through death.

What do you say to someone whose heart is breaking as he realises in that moment he hasn’t got the strength to sit with another close friend who is dying; and that his own death is imminent?

Nothing.

I said nothing. Only held his hand for a moment, and listened.

And when his tears still fell but his words had ceased, we just hugged.

He thanked me for hearing him then, said that no one would. And I was pleased to have remained quietly present for him.

I think it was Tara Brach, the Buddhist psychologist, who spoke about authentic presence – being truly in the moment of relating.

We are conditioned to respond in ways often that negate our feelings and our true experience of situations. So too, we have habitual ways of being that can talk over people, say what we think they want to hear or simply reflect our own beliefs, fears, stances, minimising or vanishing the other’s voice, and heart.

Authentic presence mean pausing, feeling, listening to your inner response in the moment and moving from that place of genuine beingness rather than reactivity or habit.

It takes practice and cultivation. And getting to know yourself and how you react, respond and relate, as well as learning to feel and communicate from a place of open heartedness. 

The pause is often the hardest part to remember, but like any old habit, it can be learnt and part of our new way of being. Mindfulness practice is a fabulous beginning. 

At the end of our talk, blue eyes glistening and a gentle smile, this gentle man reflected…

‘Your world is the people around you.’

Having just returned from a celebration for the autumn equinox with companions on the magical path with me, his words resonate soundly.

The people in our life make it what it is. Let us gravitate towards those people who make our world rich and loving.

And let us love those people in turn with our rich, authentic presence.

Spirituality Block? Body says hug a tree…

While chatting with a colleague today about our respective paths, we reflected on the significant turn in therapy towards relaxation and embodiment. While this is not necessarily new, and there are numerous therapy modalities that facilitate mindbody connection, we were interested in the context beyond therapy.

The promotion of topics such as relaxation, mindfulness, eastern energybody practices and body-thought-emotion awareness has exploded in popular culture.

Alongside this, the new-age, spirituality-growth/development paradigms have become part of our modern narrative.

When we considered these – embodiment and spirituality – we acknowledged that there is at times a gap that separates the two.

This gap is often trauma related.

Traumatic encounter is experienced by the whole person, and while thoughts, feelings, beliefs and emotions are impacted and shaped by trauma, the body is the vehicle that carries the experience.

Trauma often causes a person to dissociate or shift away from bodily awareness so as not to feel pain. It is a coping mechanism that we all have, and which serves us at times, but which later in life if trauma impact has not been addressed, reconnecting with felt, bodily experience can be difficult. 

If we come to a time in our life where we look for greater meaning and connection, we often turn to the spiritual – that which nurtures our sense of connection, reflection, and service.

And yet, when it comes to spiritual development and practice, many folk who have experienced trauma or who carry the energy of past-life trauma, find embodied awareness and expression challenging.

In this way, the trauma body can feel discomfort, resist, become sick, shut-down, exhibit dis-ease, and block or reduce the very connection that a person might seek.

For the individual cultivating her or his spiritual unfoldment there can be frustration, confusion, despair and hopelessness when confronted with seemingly unknown reasons for not expanding or progressing in desired ways.

Alongside this, there can also be great strength, perseverance, ingenuity, curiosity, resilience, hope and more.

Still, the blocks continue.

There can be embodiment – the physical, visceral, sensory awareness – without spiritual awareness.

But in order to meet and unfold spiritually, one has to be in body, have grounded bodily experiences in tangible, conscious ways that enable growth in this material world.

Why?

Because we live a material existence.

We may be spirit having a human experience, and our body may be a house of which we are a temporary custodian, but for the span of years that we are embodied, it is through this glorious vehicle that we come to know ourselves and the world of which we are part.

It is through our embodiment, every feeling, sensation, movement, disruption, pleasure, pain that we meet our spirit and the Source of creation.

But the two must be conscious. Being in body and being in spiritual connection – both must be equally and fully brought to awareness in order for your expansion and growth.

That means feeling. It means meeting the glitches and the hurt they cause. Every disruption, every hurt acknowledged and felt has the potential to self-dissolve or be released.

Energy therapies can help, and they too are more effective when embodied – when the individual assists in the work, feels the energy, becomes aware of the blocks, aids in the release, understands its origins, links any trauma with current day energetic and bodily experience, is aware.

It’s the same with body movement. Be aware in movement. What is body telling me, showing me, feeling me?

Awareness is key – body and spirit.

If this resonates and you haven’t found a practice, like yoga or body meditation, qigong or tai chi or similar, maybe locate a relaxation or body-scan recording online or an MP3. 

Any exercise, repeated practice that grounds you in bodily awareness will aid in your spiritual unfoldment. Again – it’s not enough to go through the motions – when you hug that tree, you have to feel the tree and all the delicious sensations running through hands, arms and body. 

And this is not just for folk who’ve experienced trauma – anyone wanting to develop spiritually will at some point, need to come to body awareness.

Get in touch if you have any questions. Meantime, give yourself a wee tap, tap, tap, head, neck, shoulders, arms, torso, bum, hips, legs… and really feel it… notice what body says about your attention.

After all, it’s one unique, glorious body per life – why not really make it a great friend.

What if this is all there is…

Recently, with my mum going into hospital, I’ve been called to consider our mortal life. When a loved one is ill or needs surgery or requires care, there is often a compelling to be closer, to say more, to reach for them. At least, that is how I’ve found it these last days, and in the past.

All this concern for my mum has led me to ponder my own existence…

What I came to realise is that I will die. And it is the same for all my family and loved ones, as it is the same for you and yours. It’s a funny ol’ thought.

Sounds silly, doesn’t it? I can hear you say, ‘Ah, der, yes, Karolyne, of course you will – we all do’.

And true enough – at some point in my beautiful existence, there will no longer be a Karolyne except in the memory of those I’ve touched.

And yes, of course I knew this, but it was not really a tangible, feeling-state knowing – more a little way off, won’t happen for some time, it’s all fine, kind of awareness.

Even then, with my understanding of spirit and the indestructible nature of energy, I know that death is not a finality but merely a transitional state leading to another existence in the perpetuity of life. This gives me comfort and indeed, communication with loved ones already in spirit, is an on-going source of succour and learning.

Still, I began to think about my precious life…

I thought what if everything I believe in turns out to be wrong, and I am simply flesh and blood and my bones and flesh turn to dust upon death, and what I understand to be my consciousness is nothing but firing neurons, and they too will cease to exist upon my death – so that I no longer am in any capacity, individual, singular or even part of a greater whole of consciousness – what if death really is ‘it’…

Well, I thought… if that is so, then I want my life to stand for something. I want my life to help others to live a freer life. I want to help free people from their hurts. To help heal people of their wounds. To assist folk to find meaning in their life. And to use the Laws of the Universe to work for them, not against them.

Thinking of how proud I am of my mum. How she so courageously stood up when her community group lost it’s funding, and ran the singing class herself. How she rallied on the steps of parliament to raise awareness about the health benefits of singing. How she had radio interviews, spoke with politicians, wrote articles in the paper, and how she now runs one group and belongs to three others. Her singing, her passion, changes lives. And it has changed her life. 

The courage to be in life – no matter the circumstance of its beginning, its unfolding, the place and context you find yourself in now – the courage to live.

So in all this pondering, I realised that it doesn’t matter if I continue to exist after my death or not; it only matters that what I do with my life now has a positive, life-enhancing impact on the world. That I do not let the train pass me by.

It is my contribution that matters.

To this end, I cannot creep towards my death. I cannot settle for any circumstance that is less than exactly what I want. I cannot allow fear to hold me back, to intimidate me, to limit me in any way. I must grasp opportunity by the hands and dive in and thrive whenever the moment comes to me.

Whether I am here for a reason or not – I am deciding that my reason is to leave the world a better place; to assist and help as many people as possible to live a better life.

That is my mission.

And it is a mission I fully accept. No qualms.

It is my service, and my delight. It is my privilege.

And I wonder what is yours?

If this is your one life – if this is all there is – what will you do with it? What are you doing with it that will you be able to look back and smile contented…

Perhaps you are already living your chosen life. Perhaps you are already content. Perhaps you’ve never thought about it and aren’t really interested, and that’s fine too.

But then again, perhaps it is just now that you feel the rise within you, the fire of determination, the zest for something else…

Whether we live once or a thousand, thousand times, one thing is for sure… THIS life will not come again.

Why not live it fully? Live it true. Live every single moment in a way best aligned with your inner being…

And if not every moment, perhaps one conscious act whenever you are able… and one courageous act whenever you think you cannot.

For me, it’s starting the work on my publishing book proposal. Even though my ego-self denies my soul’s utter peace with the process I’m forging forward despite ego-fear bleats that I cannot…

What step might you take? What new thing to live your life more peacefully, positively, healthily, happily, fulfilled….

If this is all there is… which, I don’t for a minute believe… but, hypothetically… 

What single thing could you begin, change, do differently, embrace… 

 

Want a life change but don’t know where to start…

Are you drawn to a more spiritual or satisfying lifestyle or career but don’t know where to begin?

One of the first things any coach or mentor facilitates with their client or pupil is to identify the individual’s vision. What is your desired future?

And, one of the most common stumbling blocks for those individuals is that they don’t know what they actually want.

Often, more than else, a person knows that they are not content with the current state of affairs. They want change or feel a calling towards a different life, but they’re not quite sure what they’d like or how to create it.

For example, Peta was a highly trained marketing manager responsible for six employees in a government department. She’d been in the same job for over eleven years. It paid very well and there were many aspects of the job Peta really enjoyed.

However, the nature of the industry and the high pressured deadlines meant that Peta was constantly working more hours than her 9 to 5 contract, she felt stressed a lot of the time, and her health started to decline. 

Now fortunately, Peta had supports, including her partner, friends, doctor and complementary health practitioners, who encouraged her to cut back from the hours she was working.

Peta took their advice and began to work part time. Because of the way her new hours were staggered, the salary cut wasn’t so significant that she missed it greatly. Peta had two extra days a week to relax, spend time with her children and with herself. Her health improved, she and her family holidayed more, and Peta became happier for her choice.

Alongside this, Peta had time to consider what she wanted for her life. She felt she was at the point of trying something new. She’d always known there was more to life than the 9 to 5, but she’d found herself on a treadmill and didn’t know how to get off. Now that Petra had said goodbye to the full-time treadmill she wanted to branch out into a more personally and spiritually satisfying direction.

But she didn’t know to where to start…

Well, Petra was not alone in her stumbling block. I see many clients who take measures to attend to their health and wellbeing, and who, experiencing positive changes in themselves, want to take that step further, but are not quite sure how to do it or even what it is they’d like as an outcome of change.

Each of them has an unsettled feeling and a drive to do, know, be more. They are becoming or are already awaren of themselves as evolving and expanding, but not really knowing what to do with that awareness, and not satisfied until they are living their expansion. 

Once that awareness comes to the fore, it is very difficult to ignore it and to be satisfied with the status quo. 

This is where having guidance and assistance can help. And who better to turn to than yourself?

That’s right. I’m a firm believer that everything we ever need is already within us, just waiting to surface towards recognition and acknowledgement.

‘Know Thyself.’

This Ancient Greek aphorism is never more relevant than it is today. Said to have donned the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo wherefrom the Oracle of Delphi spoke forth her prophesy, these words cut to the heart of all self-transformation.  

Today, as we bridge into the new age of Aquarius, we are compelled to turn within rather than without, and to know ourselves as divine. But first, we must know ourself.  

When we turn around and begin to really learn about ourselves then we become informed about what in life serves us best.

Too often folk get out of one unhealthy or unsuitable circumstance, whether job, career, relationship, contract, group, institution or other life aspect, only to find themselves in a similarly dissatisfying situation.

Why?

Because they didn’t know themselves.

Of course, there are myriad reasons why patterns are repeated, but certainly our circumstances have a greater chance of change if we know who we are, what our propensities lean towards, what influences us, how those influences came about, how and when we feel, what beliefs we have that don’t serve us, what habit and our values are, and what in life thrills us, excites us, finds us alive with joy or at least gives us peace and wellbeing.

When we come to know our Self, we are closer to knowing what our vision is and how to get there.

Without a doubt, one of the ways to know yourself is to turn inward, to listen to your thoughts, to watch your feelings – when are they activated, what heightens them, what dulls them – what patterns can you see in your life that you repeat in a way that does not help you, and which ones do help you…

Paying attention to your self.

Noticing your self.

Here are my ingredients for that initial step to knowing yourself – they’ve certainly helped me come to work my passions of healing and personal transformation:

  1. Know yourself – mindful awareness
  2. Identify your programme – what early beliefs implanted themselves that no longer serve you – internally and as behaviours/habits
  3. Identify values – make aware the values you hold and note where they are absent in your life
  4. Healing – engage in any healing work needed to assist the transformation
  5. Change your beliefs – alter the subconscious programme through hypnosis, regression work or other
  6. Repetition – repeat new beliefs, understandings
  7. Habituation – repetition in action creating new habits that do serve you aligned with values, authentic vibration and new self-knowing
  8. Turn Around – quietly with time for yourself and with new self-awareness and understanding, ask what is it you want…

There are tools to help you on this journey of self-exploration – so many – I suggest gravitating towards the ones that resonate with you, not just the ones that are more popular or available.

My ingredients are a first step in the unfolding of self-spiritual life change. They’ve helped me, and I use them in my work to help others.

It begins with you knowing you, and then it branches out into development and living your choices. From there it can move on to giving back and service…

Peta resigned from her government part-time job nine months ago. She used the two days off she had to study her young-adult interest of homeopathy. Today, Peta runs her own business supplying homeopathic remedies to holistic services and shops throughout Britain. She has turned her journey into a lifestyle and a service for others, running workshops on health and wellbeing, and treating clients. Peta’s own health has never been better, and just recently she laughed, ‘I’ve got everything I wanted, even though I didn’t know I wanted it back then!’.

Now, it doesn’t have to be natural medicine that floats your boat – it’ll be specific to your interests, values, vibration, soul’s path…

But if you want a spiritual or life change and don’t know where to begin, I hope this has helped, at least a little… Know Thyself. First. 

 

 

 

 

Mindfulness, not Sexy, but…

One of the rich experiences of writing a blog is that whatever I am working on, contemplating, noticing or even exposed to – by self or others – becomes a topic for the week, calling me to explore it more deeply. And in my reflection you have told me that you enjoy your own resonances and reflections. Thank you.

This week, with a touch of irony, it is mindfulness. I write this having just returned the clinic keys, which I have absentmindedly taken home with me – twice this week!

Mindfulness…

I first learnt about mindfulness in 1996 from Chinese Medical Doctor, Andrew Lim, who was teaching me about chi and qigong and meditation. It was not the panacea in the Western world that it is today, but it was the start of my life-change – who knew paying attention to the breath could bring about such awareness.

For me, mindfulness is the foundation tool from which all self-exploration might step. Whether you’re Buddhist or not, the very act of mindfulness practice in the every day brings with it a range of beneficial flow-ons.

Mindfulness really isn’t advertised in a way that appeals to the average person. It’s certainly become the ‘fix-all’ in particular branches of the medical and natural therapies fields, but it still isn’t sexy.

Folk I talk with about mindfulness think it’s hard work, sitting still and trying not to think. But when they learn about the benefits, they’re sometimes ready to explore a little more…

  • less stress
  • understanding and decreasing anxiety
  • greater mental focus and clarity
  • increased concentration
  • increased harmony
  • better relationship with self and others
  • first steps in spiritual and psychic awareness and development
  • greater inner harmony
  • more energy, and
  • increased sense of wellbeing, among much else…

I used to run a group in Melbourne called Mindful Living. Working in community health meant that of the ten or so people attending the group each 8 weeks, most were experiencing anxiety, had been diagnosed with mental health conditions, some had been homeless, and others survived violent relationships.

Each one of the people in that group made significant life changes based on their experiences of mindfulness practice and understanding how their thoughts and feelings impacted their behaviour and choices.

From the smallest shift in one person contributing to the group, to larger ones that saw individuals able to do their own shopping or leave the house without a carer or assistant.

Mindfulness of course is not just for folk who experience anxiety. Mindfulness practice helps us to become aware of the ways our unconscious processes animate our thoughts, feelings and behaviours, as well as becoming more aware of our external world and how we interact with it.

And mindfulness is not just about meditation, and sitting still for hours in the lotus position. Mindfulness practice can occur at anytime throughout the day, during any activity – inner and outer. 

However, regular mindfulness meditation does enhance our ability to be present and to notice the flow of inner and outer experience in the moment.

Regular practice enables us to watch what is coming to us and how we are responding or reacting. By noticing in this way, we are free to make choices more suited to our wellbeing. 

In my mindfulness practice this week I realised that my needs are particular to me. My design is particular to me. And therefore, my alignment is something only I can make happen and be.

In this age of modern gurus and online social marketing, the personal development world has taken a giant step into our living rooms and everyday life.

We are bombarded by ‘opportunities’, ‘experts’, ‘fixes’, ‘the best evers’, emails, advertisements, groups, events and the like. I noticed how easily the sales pitches and invitations to participate, learn and know more, can spin me out of our trajectory and distance me from our alignment with Source and Self.

As I write this, an email pings into my Inbox with the heading ‘OMG!! Exclusive Offer! Are you in?’

During my meditation practice I noticed that the things I was reaching for were distractions. They widened the distance from my alignment – from the place I feel my authenticity and self-knowing. 

That’s not to say that all the material is harmful or distracting; there will be some that suits me just fine, and from which I will benefit. Through my mindfulness practice, I am better able to discern which they are, and not get swept up in the current of ‘must be more’ or ‘ooo, that looks interesting…’.

While I was writing this, I came upon a timely video about a London artist celebrating his black female friends by spray-painting their likeness around London*. Dreph, the artist, finished his interview by referring to the world’s current political climate and the great desire that many of us have to help in some way: 

‘I think we’re all under pressure to be other than ourselves, and that when we are feeling that pressure to be other than who we are, if we can just remember that we are enough, then that will go a long way.’

From my mindfulness meditation practice this week, my state of being shifted out of need, want and getting, to simply being…

In my state of being, I am able to respond to that which gravitates towards me. I observe it and notice whether it fits with who I am or whether it takes me away from my enoughness. And you can do the same.

Among so much else that mindfulness practice is beneficial for, the very act of observing our thoughts, feelings, sensations in the moment, can help us to know that we are enough.

And from that place of enoughness, we can take action available to us – whatever that is and however small or large – to contribute to making our beautiful planet sustainable and harmonious for all beings.

There are generally local Buddhist centres in large towns and cities offering free introductory classes to mindfulness meditation and practice. The Mindfulness Association in the UK offers paid classes, as does the Salisbury centre in Edinburgh. There are many online courses available, and I will have one up and running by the end of September. If interested, just let me know. Meantime, may you find peace in the moment…  

* Drugh Artist Interview: http://www.thefader.com/2017/08/07/dreph-artist-female-friends

Ancestors – Bridging into Authenticity

This weekend I was with companions remembering and honouring our ancestors. It was a deep and emotional experience for us, bringing the past forward, and the present back again, bridging and merging time.

It was my great-grandfather, Charles Duncan Rice, who came forward for me, and the more I moved into memory and the feel of this man, the closer we became.

From the experience of sitting quietly with his photograph and my inner vision of him, came a greater sense of knowing and understanding of his life. And from this came a profound feeling of family and belonging.

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Charles Duncan Rice 1872-1930

The more I let the feel and thoughts of great-grandfather Rice flow through me, the likenesses I detected between us and our life experiences increased. Charles Rice had beginnings that set him on a path. He received a scholarship for education, and became a teacher, philanthropist, scholar and orator. From all accounts, he was a learned, liberal, genuine man who was passionate about teaching and education for all. He lived in Peterhead, in Aberdeenshire, and was the Rector of Peterhead Academy for 3 decades. 

Sadly, he died suddenly, a heart attack, in his garden, aged 58 years. My grandma’s life took a drastic turn then and her ambitions to study medicine were curbed as the family took to surviving beyond their beloved Charles’ keep. She became a nurse instead, and put her healing efforts to much use in that capacity.

As the workshop afternoon went on, my kin drew nearer to me, such that I could feel his presence in spirit standing so close behind me. With the touch of his hand on my shoulder, the generations between us dissolved, and I knew him part of me – and myself part of him.

This weekend of ancestor connection made way for other realisations, primarily about how we distance ourselves from our Self.

It occurred to me that there is no distance between who we are and who we want to be; that the person we know deep within us, connected as we are to Source and our Soul-Self, is always available to us. Only self-alienation makes it appear not so.

The discord we feel between our inner knowing and our outer experience is a perception; a perception born of thoughts that wraps itself around feelings, convincing us that it is real. But this perception alienate us from our true Self. It creates a gap that isn’t actually there.

We are already, always united with our authentic Self.

It is only the perception of separation – of difference – that tells us otherwise.

And yes, if we are not self-alienating, then there is plenty ‘out there’ that will hold up a mirror to project difference onto us. If it’s not the media, educational or religious institutions, cultural norms, it is the people in our life – often our families, friends, work colleagues – who give us plenty of comparative material for us to self-deny, self-criticise and Self-separate.

What I realised over this weekend, is that it is up to us whether we want to accept the reflections and self-perceptions. It is up to us to decide whether we view ourselves ‘out there’ in the land of others’ ideas and perceptions of us or whether we decide to define and know ourselves ‘in here’, in the place of our true Self.

We can only be separated from our Self if our perception of ourselves does not marry up with who we feel we are. And as we know, perceptions and feelings have a long history of influence in our childhood and adolescent experiences. They are often reinforced by adult experiences that tell the same lies about us so that we lose sight of who we are. Still, there is a place deep within each of us who knows who we are. Sometimes that place reveals a quiet voice longing to be heard. Often it is a voice that has pleaded and cried out for years and years for us to listen.

Over the weekend, I learnt that one of the ways we can make our way back to that deep Soul place and live outwardly our inner truth, is by connecting with our ancestors. There, in a long, long line of people, there will be those with similar life experiences, hardships, traumas, dreams, habits, talents, skills, creative impulses, the same as you.

My idea of self-difference has served to separate me from the person I am in that I have thought no one will be interested in my ideas, my writing, my spiritual experiences. They couldn’t possibly understand or want to engage with my view of the world. And as such, I have shied away from expressing that view, that ‘me’; I have not offered her to the world as fully as I might.

Blending with my ancestor, great-grandfather Rice, gave me the experience, not just the awareness but the tangible experience of knowing that there is no separation. Now all I needed to do was blend my separated self with my internal self – the one who knows who she is.

As my ancestor moved closer to me, blended with me, I came to know and feel the I am who I am, and the distance I have created, which is quite simply a perception – a false one. I don’t need to fit into the mould of what I think the world out there expects me to be. I just need to be me. Along the way, I had allowed circumstance to be my excuse for separation and denial of my true self. My perceived difference, held in some respects as a badge of honour, in many ways served to keep me apart from my Self.

By closing the ancestral gap – in time and dimension – I was shown a roadmap to dissolve the gap between my distorted perception of my outer self, and my authentic Being.

It was an energetic experience. Just as Charles Rice had moved closer to me as I dwelled on him, I brought my self-projection to mind and went to that deep place within me – that core of Soul Self. And when I could hold the feelings of both in awareness, I gently shortened the cord of energy between us until we were very close. I then deepened my feelings of my authentic self by bringing to mind all that I love, adore, am passionate about at my core, and my faith, and I heightened those feelings. And then, I moved into the outer projection and we became one, and the projection dissolved in the energy of my Soul Self until only that beautiful truth remained.

You might be wondering why I simply didn’t cut the cord of energy connecting me to the projected, perception-self. Well, that would have been a short-term solution. Nothing would have changed in my thoughts or feelings, and new habits would have been all the harder to form. I had to raise the awareness, the feelings and emotional connection to my inner Light, so that I could irrevocably know what that Light feels like. I needed to blend with the lesser energy of the outward personality – the false perception – in order to feel it dissolve within the strength of my authenticity.

Now, that is not necessarily the end of the separated-self; like any new perception, it takes reinforcing in the face of daily counter-rhetoric. Supposedly, 90 days of repeated practice will form a new habit – and I intend to practice! Already, the Universe is sending me opportunities to fall back into my old ‘who I think I should be’ self. And I am kindly acknowledging them, passing them on, and gravitating towards other opportunities the Universe is offering me, and which invite me to be who I really am.

I’ll need to check in each time, and now I have a compass to guide me. Those heightened, authentic feelings that I reached in to find in that deep place, they will continue to show me the way best aligned with my Soul Self. I take that path because ultimately, that is why I am here, as you are, and once we begin to regularly walk it, the way becomes oh so much smoother.

So, I wonder if you have ancestors who might offer you self-acceptance and the opportunity to be your authentic self in the world. An ancestor who overcame adversity, who had particular qualities or even who had negative or unhealthy traits that highlight to you how change is possible… A long ago family member who can show you how to bridge the gap between the person you think you ought to be, and the person you know deep within you are.

Our ancestors are not simply distant memories or people who no longer exist. They are spirit, living energy that is not only part of us, but which may be touched, consulted and honoured. And they can teach us a great deal about how to live a connected, authentic life.

 

 

 

*Featured image from Becoming Ursa

 

NEW MOON ~ Soul Light Magic

Today is a new moon, the beginning of a new cycle, not yet begun, but finished. Change. 

Of course, all things change. We’ve all heard, change is the only constant of life. And how rich to notice the changing seasons, the cycles spinning, ending, beginning, returning again and again and again – only different.

The energy that is the force behind the momentum, and the momentum itself never remains the same. It too alters. So this new moon is unlike any previous or future one. The absence of our lunar orb in the night’s sky gifts us with new possibilities, options, energies and new opportunities. 

Today we plant the seeds. Today we spring clean. Today, we take out the rubbish, place the lid upon the can and turn away towards the new. We set intentions. And we consciously feel into the change that we desire. And we build the emotion of that feeling up and up and we release it into the splendour of the vibrating cycle of return. 

The new moon. 

It’s dark out there. 

You won’t see a path to guide you. There will be no celestial light to shine the way.

No. 

Today it is dark. 

And in this darkness, we sit. We rest. We ruminate. We move inward and we come to listen to our self. We connect with our spirit. We commune with the Great Spirit, with God. We let our guides and loved ones beyond the veil hold us and nurture us in our reflection.

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And we find in this stillness, in this interiority, a light akin to the lunar body. For that light is ever with us, always, born of the stars, before even the moon came to being.

Come to know that light. Come to know your light. 

What does that mean? 

Sometimes we see it. Sometimes we feel it. Sometimes we hear it or simply, we know it. 

For me, it appears as a column of pure, crystal white light, holding the spectrum of all colours and more. It moves and it pulses and it’s true in its essence. It holds the memory of all memory. It knows who you are and where you came from and why you are here, and it calls you to remember. And it radiates your truth through every fibre of your being, connected as it is to your soul, and all souls.

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It doesn’t matter that you might not see it. It only matters that you trust it.

There is a brilliant, shining light within you, timeless in its essence, and it is speaking to you always – not just when you are quiet or meditating or listening, but always. It is begging you to listen. 

Why? 

Because it is the light of Light. And it is destined to shine in the dark. By its very nature, it illuminates the way, it uplifts the field within and outside of you. It harmonises with all living matter and it makes the navigating of your world aligned with that harmony. It’s natural state is to flow with the currents and cycles of the natural world. 

And in this way, less hardship. In this way, more joy. 

How? 

Today, under cover of the new moon, in the energies of the returning cycle, take a moment to connect with that inner light, and speak to it – speak to your soul – let it know you care; let it know that you are making a commitment, right here and now, to listen, to take heed… 

What is best for me? What foods, what people, what environments, what activities, what thoughts, what work, what relationships, what media, what habits… 

And under the promise of the new moon, lovingly, adoringly, promise yourself kindness… and set in motion the intention to change one thing…. 

Let your light guide you to what that might be…

Say it out loud. Perhaps, write it down…

Something the light of your soul sings out to nurture your wellbeing with… 

And give it up to the new moon… speak it out, clap your hands, send it as a prayer… however it seems appropriate…

And do it with feeling… Do it with love…

And then give thanks…

Be grateful for the change that you imagine is already here… And see, think and feel it here…

And smile. Be joyful.

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If that which you desire resonates with the light of your soul, so too, it will come.

Yes it will.

Happy New Moon Friends.

‘Puckoon’ – A Gift of Care

Here I am at 730am on Monday morning and I’ve been awake since 230am. Why? Well, some of you will understand that the creative impulse knows no time!

Surprisingly, it’s quite a lovely part of the day; watching the changing light is so beautiful. And as I look out the window from my desk, the sun is already stretching well into the morning sky. 

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What have I been doing for the past few hours? I’ve been writing to my ideal reader… And I wonder if that person is you?

It’s such a precious process coming to write for my reader. I closed my eyes and there she was… her life unfolding before me. A character who is leading me to answer her questions, help her overcome her fears, guide her in her spiritual unfoldment, and reassure her that she is not alone.

And as the creative juices flowed, I reflected on the people who have helped me along the way; a number of whom were schoolteachers.

When I was home in Adelaide recently, I went through all my books, passing on hundreds to charity and retaining custodian of many. I brought a few back with me too. One of these you may be surprised to hear, was Spike Milligan’s ‘Puckoon’.

For those of you who have never heard of Spike, he was a British-Irish comedian, and I have to say, I would not have thought to buy one of his novels. But, this wee gem came my way in the mid-1980s from a temp English teacher who had a gentle, caring way about him, and it gave me succour in a year of teenage angst.

That blessed teacher wrote in the front of the book, and his words remained with me throughout the years:

‘Dear Karolyne, All the best for your future – remember anything you want to do you can do. This book should make you laugh – I hope so. Love… ‘

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I had thought the book was lost so imagine my delight when I found it at the bottom of a box in my parents’ garage.

Reading the teacher’s message again, I wondered about all the ways the Universe conspires to help us.

Small and large moments come along to help us navigate the oft times tricky matter of life. Sometimes the inspiration, guidance, kindness, compassion or generosity that comes to us counters dominant themes in our life that may not serve us best.

I’m sure if you had a think back, you’ll remember at least one person who gave you a precious gem to hold to at a time you needed. 

Of course, we may not have seen it as the gift it was then; hindsight can make rich something that once seemed everyday.

Considering the words, gestures, books, guidance I’ve had along the way, I’m inclined to make a scrap-book or a memory-inspiration board out of them.

We’re exposed to so many quotes, inspiring sayings or motivating words from complete strangers, given credence because of their fame and popularity. But what of the everyday person – the parent, friend, employer, shop-keeper, taxi-driver, florist, bartender, librarian, dog walker, person on the street… schoolteacher… What of the wee gems that the average person passes onto us…

Let us remember them today. Let us remember the gift they gave, and how we were brightened for it…

Social media is not the only repository of best inspiration…

We find that the Great Spirit works its magic through all beings…