I am a Healer, Psychologist, educator and Sound Therapist with an avid interest in consciousness and transpersonal experiences. Oh and did I mention Astrology?
Some days, no matter what planning has taken place or how many details double checked, fate takes over and the best you can do is let go of resistance! I found myself on such a journey through the whole of Tuesday this week.
Having duly arrived for a meeting at Surrey University which had been in my diary for months, I found that the date has been changed. I was the only one to turn up so it was obviously my mistake. The thing is I was so certain that I had this written in my diary that I didn't take full consideration of the date change when notified - at least that is the only conclusion I can draw at this time.
My day had been planned so well but suddenly I now had nearly three hours to fill before meeting a friend at the cafeteria in the nearby Cathedral. As luck would have it The Fountain Centre (http://www.fountaincentre.org/), an amazing wholistic therapy centre within St. Luke's Cancer centre, is only minutes away. I worked there for six years as a volunteer therapist some years ago and so decided to pop in. An ulterior motive was to make an appointment to introduce my friend Antonia to the new centre manager. Antonia's work "A Graceful Death" (http://www.antoniarolls.co.uk/my-work.html) is a beautifully supportive exhibition of paintings and writings of those facing death. It was lovely to visit and reconnect with past colleagues at The Fountain Centre and also to know I could be the catalyst for a beneficial new project. I was able to arrange a date suitable for all concerned to meet.
With still two hours to spare, I drove up to the Cathedral. Parking is free, a miraculous thing in itself! The weather was glorious (how did that happen?!?!). I sat for a while and texted my friend to see whether she could come along earlier but no response.
I took my own advice and sat in quiet meditation for a while. Feeling all frustrations ebb away I concluded quite firmly that there was a real reason why my day had worked out this way and I needed to explore all possibilities. I therefore took the very unpromising looking route through the car park following sign posting to "University - Town Centre". However, tucked away at the very rear of the cathedral was a small "Children's Garden". I stepped inside to find that this was a specially commissioned project to help bereaved children. The message was that just as the year has seasons, so does life. Just as things die, so their imprint and legacy lives on through the seeds they leave behind.
This alone was wonderful enough as I felt the garden was reiterating the reasons why my day had been altered in such an unexpected way. I would never have found the garden, nor visited my former colleagues had the original meeting not been postponed. The links between all these events was clear as Antonia's art exhibition is very focused on the positives of the end of life journey and the amazing opportunities that can be grasped even in the face of despair.
I followed the circuitous route through the remainder of the garden to find to my absolute delight a small labyrinth. I love walking labyrinths and this one, although small, had an exquisite feel to it. The birch trees around added a kaleidoscope type visual effect as the shadows of the dancing leaves created ever changing dappling shapes across the stones and markers. I joyfully started my labyrinth journey, slowly, step by step, reinforcing the focus of Self remembering which the path to the centre induces. I spent some time in the centre of the labyrinth admiring the view of the clear blue sky and the tower of the Cathedral as it loomed in intense brick red glory wearing a coat of shimmering birch leaves.
The purpose of the walk from the centre back to 'reality' is to embed the newly aquired insights and revelations into one's psyche before facing the world again. I felt quite restored and enthusiastic. The friend I was meeting had not long ago given me a wooden labyrinth as a gift and I was excited to share my discovery with her. Needless to say when I looked at the time I actually had to rush back to the front of the Cathedral and saw her pull up in her car as I did so!
From time in memoriam people have walked labyrinths - long may that tradition continue! It is a very soothing way to find inner peace and resolve issues including, as I found that day, ones of frustration and time bending! The path of the labyrinth curves and backtracks yet has a pure purpose. Its message for me was that although my intended trajectory for the day had not worked out, it was as if a higher power had intended it that way all along. Once I gave up the resistance and looked for the opportunities this offered I had a far better day than I could ever have imagined!
How Much Is Enough?
There is the old story of the cargo ship, loaded up and ready to leave port. A tight deadline for delivery means there is pressure to get going. However, despite all preparations and regular servicing of the engines there is a problem. The ship's engineer and maintenance crew are working overtime to get to the root of why the main engine will not start. All to no avail.
Eventually an emergency call is made to 'Old Joe' retired for years but fortunately still living near the port. He duly appears and spends a little time walking around the engine room. As if he is listening with his hands, he moves gently and calmly, occasionally stroking the engine. After only a few moments he stops, takes a small hammer out of his pocket and lightly taps the engine. Within seconds it roars into life. Old Joe smiles. The crew celebrate!
Asked the price of his handiwork Old Joe replies £2,020. There is a stunned silence... "but it only took you 5 minutes, how can you dare to charge so much?" Old Joe smiles "Well, I am happily retired and didn't need the work that is certain. I only live a short distance away so I though I might as well help out and for that I am only charging £20. However, I have spent a life time honing my expertise and as you see I am the only one who had the knowledge to know what to do, exactly where to tap and the skill to know exactly how hard to tap. For that I am charging £2,000."
Unlike many of us, Old Joe recognised and acknowledged his worth and despite questioning and opposition he retained his strong sense of self-esteem. In our world which measures success and value purely on the numerical basis of monetary transactions, it is vital to remember that so many of our skills have taken a life time (or maybe many) to aquire. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should always offer for free. I have been 'guilty' of this over the years as have many of my friends. Those who wish to be more 'spiritual' often disregard their own well being and ability to survive by putting themselves in a position of enslavement to the need to please. If we are to continue to give then there also has to be some take! Balance (whether a bank balance or otherwise) is essential to good health and a happy life.
Snake Alert - a lesson in Mindfulness
I walk nearly every day. No real excuse not to as I have common land just yards from my house. I have walked every inch of it over the years and so often find that my mind also wanders and I am not necessarily appreciating my surroundings.
Thursday was a particularly hot day and despite that I decided to walk up hill via the dirt track which has no shade. To complete the circuit takes an hour. I was on my way back when suddenly my attention was diverted from the miriad of thoughts whirring away in my head. Just in front of me was a basking Adder.
It quite obviously had no intention of moving as it was absorbing the heat of the sun. Its eyes glinted and it looked so totally content.
Fortunately I do not startle easily, nor am I afraid of snakes. I took a few moments to observe and admire it before cautiously moving aside and around it. Those moments were precious, I felt I had communed with the snake and been given some vital wisdom - the purpose of all snakes in any mythological stories of course.
I was very aware that the presence of the snake had brought me back to the present moment and given me the gift of remembering to walk in the spirit of mindful meditation, so often forgotten when I am mulling over an issue in my mind. More importantly however, snake as an animal totem holds the primal energy of the life force - the very source of our existence. Symbolically, a snake represents important transitions and changes occuring in your life. It bestows increased energy and the ability to heal unconscious drives and instinctive reactions that keep us tied to old patterns. It also warns us to be more aware of how we use our energy and where/who, if at all, we are drawing support from. Spiritual guidance is available to those who ask but the snake also asks us to ensure we remain grounded so that any personal growth can be anchored in reality. When centred and grounded our intuition sharpens and our creative forces awaken leading to wisdom, understanding and wholeness. This is the power of transmutation at its best.
What a blessing indeed and so apt for my present situation! When we are mindful and aware of all that surrounds us we can be open to the messages that every sacred moment holds for us. Spending time in nature, away from the general hubbub and collective stress, is the best way to hear and feel what is calling to us.
The Work has been Done for You!
Sometimes I feel that life is an uphill battle with responsibilities that I never asked for being placed on my shoulders. I am sure most people have felt this at times. I usually forget to ask for help and assume the load myself which of course is not a very positive way of dealing with situations.
Today I was walking in the woods and decided to visit a place that I feel is sacred. I wanted to give thanks. Over the Easter holidays children had built a camp here and had completely covered the tree stump that I love so much. I had removed some of the branches on a previous occasion which was quite hard work. I now felt it was time to go and relieve the tree of the rest of its burden and reveal its beauty to the world once more.
Imagine my relief when I approached the tree stump to find that it had been totally cleared and was indeed shining in its true glory. The branches and undergrowth had been removed and reused to build a larger, more impressive camp just a few yards away.
I was able to stay for some time and just enjoy the sun glinting through the leaves of the surrounding woodland and breath in the gentle breeze. There had been some damage to my sacred tree stump but it bore the wounds well and various creatures were making their homes in the holes and crevices. A seed was also sprouting out of the top; a delicate vibrant green shoot promising new life.
I felt I had been given a lesson in 'allowing' and could really appreciate that the work had been done for me! It was as if the tree was telling me to take time out from carrying burdens on behalf of others and realise that help is always at hand. More often than not that help comes from the unseen in unexpected ways. Be more open, more accepting and allow that support to come into your life, not just today but everyday!
Foot on the brake or accelerator?
The month of April has borne a major influx of disruptive energies leaving most of us feeling somewhat shaken and stirred. Events across the globe have reflected this. The major astrological influence was the ever tightening Cardinal Grand Cross on 23/24th April. We can now however take a breath and move into May.
With the sun in sensible Taurus it is time to reassess our connections to the earth. The new moon yesterday (29th) gave us a wonderful opportunity to review any outmoded behaviour patterns and to really connect with our unconscious drives in order to reevaluate just who we want to be in the future. Taurus is thoughtful and often considered slow but this is precisely because it is a sign that deliberates and does things in its own time, understanding that a step by step approach is the best way forward. No slap dash for Taurus!
In these times of tumultuous change we are being challenged to adapt moment by moment. Stress levels are high and tempers flaring as decisions have to be made on the spot. Thinking on your feet is an essential skill we all need in order to navigate our day to day. Taurean energy however reminds us to stop and smell the roses, to breath in the beauty around us and to appreciate the earth we walk upon. Taking this advice may seem impossible and yet just a couple of minutes of thoughts of gratitude each day, even just before you fall asleep, can make a tremendous difference to one's attitude, mood and hence experiences.
Whilst we may feel we are hurtling along at break neck speed with our foot firmly on the accelerator the best thing we can do for ourselves is to ease off and apply the brakes for a while. Remind yourself constantly that there is ease to be had in the present moment. Spring bird song right now is wonderful - take a moment to hear it!
Before the Big Bang
I watched Horizon the other evening smiling as theories that have lasted since the 1960's are now being questioned by the very people who 'discovered' them in the first place. Sir Roger Penrose featured as one of these who now disbelieved their own previous certainties. Well good on you, at least you have the integrity do so and also the credentials to be able to declare doubt without being ridiculed.
What interested me was that the scientists had views which seemed to reflect their cultural beliefs. For example from India came the idea that the Big Bang is a reoccurance - thus mirroring the Hindu belief in Atman and the in and out breath of god. This exemplifies the backdrop to all beliefs be they religious or scientific. We are so engulfed in our cultural philosophies that we are in general unaware of their influence upon us.
As a Sound Healer I do rather like the idea of the big bang. Not because of the theoretical astrophysics behind it, which I have to say is tenuous to say the least, but because it suggests that sound was part of the process. Many creation stories have sound in the form of "the word" or logos as the precursor to any form or substance. Genesis is a prime example "In the beginning was the word..."
Whether there was a 'Big Bang' or not will remain a pertinent question for some time. As humans it is nigh on impossible to consider eternity of either space or time, let alone both! Viewed from our embodied time capsules or physical vehicles which are guaranteed to die, these concepts are existential conundrums perhaps best left to the philosophers rather than scientists. Still, only a couple of hundred years ago scientists were philosophers and vice versa.
It may be said that we have advanced greatly since the era of alchemy and magik of John Dee. However, listening to the Horizon programme I would argue that many of the new theories are as 'outrageous' or 'romantic' even if they are backed by mathematical theory. And as for alchemy, well we are all involved in that for it is only the purification of the soul's journey otherwise known as self awareness!
That however, is enough banging on for me... I have dinner to prepare and with my coooking skills another big bang is quite possible!
Cleopatra's nose and the last straw
During a discussion about the political events surrounding us at the moment I recalled a book I read for 'A' level history. It was entitled 'What is History' by E. H. Carr. He was considered a real rebel in his time (book published 1961, that's not when I read it I hasten to add!) as his view of what makes history was very different. He was possibly the first historian to declare that 'facts' are only considered to be so because they have been given a status by other historians and have become part of our accepted culture. He was very much of the mind that this did not mean that particular pieces of information/facts when placed together provide an objective view, independent of bias. To him accuracy was in 'fact' anathema since historians select and interpret information and write accordingly.
In our age we are much more open to questioning and it is very obvious that 'facts' we are presented with on the news in particular are indeed carefully filtered to serve an agenda. We are used to hearing the propaganda of each 'side' in an argument - be that at work, at play or in politics and economic debate in the social arena. The tabloid newspapers scream headlines believing that he who shouts loudest must be most 'right', in the process buying into and emphasising people's fears.
Yet, when we read Carr's book we are reminded that history is indeed just a 'story'. Not only is it compiled by human beings who cannot help but see life through the lens of their own experience and cultural background but also much of what occurs seems quite random. Carr suggests for example that had Cleopatra's nose been crooked, Antony would not have fallen in love with her and the fate of both the Roman Empire and Egypt may have been very different.
It is well worth bearing this in mind as we are bombarded by events in the news. With warring factions destroying nations, our western leaders are banging on about national interests around the globe that give us the right to dictate terms to others. Their childish, knee jerk reactions have the potential to plunge us into a hellish scenario and all in the name of peace! Looking at the story as it unfolds we must remind ourselves that there is no such thing as 'truth' - what we are shown and told is just a version of selected material.
When we really consider history not only is it a particular version of events with an agenda (hidden or overt) but it is often, as in life in general, the little things that cause the major eruptions. Returning to the theme of things Egyptian - the straw that breaks the camel's back is just that one tiny almost weightless stem. Do not therefore add to the load by buying into the drama!
With Mars now retracing its steps in Libra and the Sun, Neptune
and Chiron in Pisces it is a good time to think about boundaries.
Libra is the sign of relationship and emphasises sharing, justice and fairness. Trying to balance these qualities can be a struggle and Libra therefore often appears contrary as it attempts to diplomatically negotiate a level of equality without upsetting anyone in the process!
Mars on the other hand represents the warrior in us all. It is not interested in relationship and sharing but wishes to forge ahead regardless, following its own will and physical energy. Mars as you can imagine is not very comfortable in Libra. None of the airy fairy (Libra is an air sign which is ruled by Venus) for Mars (ruler of Aries and Scorpio). Battle lines need to be drawn and new adventures embarked upon if Mars is to feel happy.
Mars is however now in a retrograde phase, retracing its progress through Libra which began on 8th December 2013. It is spending an inordinate amount of time in Libra giving us all the chance to really connect and work with this somewhat contradictory energy. When a planet is in retrograde motion the energy that it represents is turned inwards and becomes self reflexive rather than proactive. For Mars this represents a double whammy of a restraint to say the least! Occuring in Libra it can easily lead to passive-aggressive bahaviours. The more positive side however is that we have the opportunity to evaluate the 'fairness' of our relationships and dwell upon just how much time, attention and indeed energy we are putting into each and everyone of them. Are we giving too much and receiving nothing in return? Are we taking and not sharing fairly? One way or another during the next 12 weeks up until 19th May we will come across situations that offer us the opportunity to rebalance relationships (Libra) and reconsider just how worthwhile or productive our physical energetic input is (Mars).
I also mentioned the Sun (until 21st March), Neptune and Chiron are in Pisces. As the last sign in the zodiac, Pisces represents dissolution. It is here that boundaries literally dissolve and disappear as all becomes one in the great ocean of consciousness. If the two signs (Libra and Pisces) and their present respective planetary inhabitants are to work well together during this period, then the theme of developing boundaries is essential to keep in mind. Everyone should maintain their personal boundaries and regularly review them. As a Pisces myself I know only too well how easy it can be to give everything, lose all sense of self and end up being a doormat. This is not healthy for any partnership whether personal or business.
Just to add to the mix, Venus and Mars are facing off at the moment (until 7th March) in a relationship called a 'square' which creates challenges - even more reason to use the vital energy of Mars to reconsider how to move forward in a more equitable and loving way!
On a different level altogether, relating to the mundane world of 'real life' my own personal reminder to take care of boundaries has been very physical in that my garden fence had to be replaced following the storms. It always amuses me when something manifests as a symbol of transpersonal and therapeutic work that needs attention!
Moon Cycle Timing
Having written about timing yesterday I continue the theme...
Today, with the moon in Capricorn, has been a very good day to move things forward. Capricorn is the sign that pursues its goals no matter what the cost. However, it is very realistic, practical and reliable in its manner of doing so. No fly by night, mad cap schemes will pass the rigorous test of Capricorn.
The position of the moon is generally a very good guide to what type of day it is going to be. Each sign has its own characteristics and qualities whilst the moon relates to the unconscious and emotional aspects of life. The moon takes two and half days to travel through a sign, thus completing the full twelve in a month. Its effect is therefore somewhat fleeting yet, since emotions are involved, the influence can be quite powerful.
The moon also changes shape during the period of a month. At New Moon when the moon and sun align in the sky, the moon does not reflect the sun's light and is therefore invisible. For these three days we are better able to contact our intuition and it is a good time to plan for the future and set goals.
Thereafter the moon starts waxing or growing larger. The crescent moon is the time between New and First Quarter Moon. During these few days one is able to initiate and overcome any immediate objections and obstacles.
Then we hit the First Quarter Moon where really going for it is the prime mover. We begin to see the flaws in our plans. We need strength and conviction to forge ahead regardless of opposition, using our will power to create new realities.
At the time of the Gibbous Moon, as we start to move towards the Full Moon, we are better able to analyse and rectify any faults in our plans. We can then move ahead with determination.
As the moon becomes Full it is as if a spotlight switches on and the need to share our plans and be noticed evolves. There is more clarity about the issues involved and how to share our ideas.
The Disseminating Moon revolves around the possibilities of sharing our ideas and plans. What has been learnt and experienced now needs to be spread further afield by applying the knowledge and proving what has been accomplished.
As the moon further wanes or grows smaller, we reach the Last Quarter Moon which is heavily influenced by the need to change systems and escape from what has been outgrown. This is often accompanied by dissatisfaction and rebelliousness.
The Balsamic Moon heralds a time of discarding the past in order to bring in the new, no matter how vague that vison may be. It is as if a mission has planted itself in the psyche ready to burst forth with new ideas and ideals as the moon moves once again to the New phase and a new cycle.
Understanding this cycle of timing and mood can be extremely useful in planning, setting goals, knowing when to give energy to initiating a new project and when to put it into action. It allows us to further comprehend why and when possible obstacles may thwart our attempts or enhanced motivation may enable us to overcome lethargy and disappointment.
Just mooning around? Try putting the moon cycle information into practice and see how much more successful you can be.
I was watching a UTube video the other day entitled 'Smile or Die'. It was suggesting that the power of positive thinking has led to complacency at best. Furthermore it purports that this philosophy/psychological approach was being used to manipulate people into believing that every success in life was totally reliant upon one's own optimism. The extreme result of this is a society in which people are disposable; it is their own 'fault' if things go wrong for them. Nice for the ruling elite of course but not for your average bod!
I have often wondered about this very thing myself. All my searching and studying, scientific as well as philosophical and metaphysical research, has led me to believe that there are several layers of 'reality' which interact and provide a background soup within which all actions and their natural reactions occur. To quote the King James Bible:
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every
purpose under the heaven"
Firstly there is our own individual timing which is unique to each of us. Secondly there is the timing of our immediate circumstances. This includes our family, friends, colleagues and their issues. Furthermore is the timing of the society in which we find ourselves which widens out to our national timing. This continues into planetary and universal timing like layers of cog wheels in a clock. When all align in a positive manner we find that our life goes through an expansive period in which all 'falls into place', almost regardless of how we think or feel about life at that moment.
It is possible to be 'in tune' to this to some degree. Listening to one's intuition or following one's gut reactions is what most people would understand by this. Psychological studies show that we are naturally hard wired to have these reactions to events. It is part of our survival instinct. This is how to make 'decisions' without 'thinking'. It is the inner 'knowing' that serves us so very well and which evades egoistic wants.
So what has this to do with positive thinking? Well, I have tried and tried to 'will' certain things into fruition and ended up with what I call 'flat forehead syndrome' i.e. banging my head against a brick wall when it comes to making progress. Despite optimism and being made of rubber i.e I keep bouncing back, things just don't move forward. Why? The timing was not right. This has nothing to do with attitude providing success or pessimism leading to failure. It is rather a realistic assessment of what I wanted to achieve not aligning with the layers of reality and timing within which I live.
This is not just about sitting back and going with the flow, it is not hanging on for the sake of it and becoming a martyr to my own cause nor is it a way of passing blame elsewhere. Indeed it is only when we take full responsibility for our own timeline that we can fully tune into events and feel our way through. This does not however guaranteed that we will get it all 'right'. Many unexpected or disappointing outcomes are in fact a very good way of honing our skills and ability to cope with life, whilst having it all easy can lead to complacency. Ups and downs in life are totally normal. What we learn by 'getting through' these is what teaches us. Reviewing and acknowledging that what we wanted may not have been for the best or has now changed due to new circumstances is also good practice.
To suggest that the power of positive thinking can create the world of your dreams overnight is totally wrong. Firstly it condems one in four of us who are suffering from depression at any time to a bleak future and possible life of misery. Secondly it is unrealistic in that we are material beings living in a space-time continuum. In other words it takes time for things to become 'real'. More importantly it also takes action. It is no good just sitting there wishing. Knowing when to plan, when to act and when to rest is vital in this rhythmic universe. Understanding that ego driven wants are not always in our best interest is also crucial.
This knowledge in and of itself however is of no value. What we do with it is the important factor. It's not what you do but the way that you do it that shows whether you have learnt the necessary wisdom to tune in and find your path. Your attitude affects you and the way that you live but it is not the be all and end all. Attitude does not provide opportunity or success in and of itself. Much of that comes from 'luck' or being in the right place at the right time!
Smile or Die - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5um8QWWRvo