The River of Life…

There’s a fast-flowing river of anxiety and fear moving around the world at the moment. We’re all dipping our toe in the water now and then, and sometimes we get swept away with the strong current. Imagine yourself sitting on a grassy slope by that river, being the observer, what would you see? There’d be people out in the middle struggling in the strongest current and unable to reach the shore, there would be others near the banks reaching out for overhanging branches, some would be sitting in the muddy shallows feeling that at any moment they could be swept away again, and yet others on the grassy slope with you, some sitting, some standing, others getting ready to dive in to save everyone else.

Which of these people is our priority at any given time? You might immediately say “well the ones floundering in the middle of the river of course!!” but no, the ones in most need of help from you are the ones you can reach. Your first priority is you, then when you’re sure you’re footing is sound, reach out. You might be sitting on the grassy slope, so reach out to the one who looks like they’re about to dive in attempting to save everyone. If you’re sitting in the shallows help those reaching for the overhanging branches, then they in turn can reach for the ones thrashing about in the middle. Some people would be moving directionless from one place to another, one moment they’re in the middle, then they’re on the edge and out again, making it half way up the slope only to get pulled back into the fear again. Many of us move from adjacent states of being, back and forth from fear to sadness to an unsteady calmness and back to fear again…it’s normal, it’s completely normal.

There’s a sliding scale of feelings in that river, fear, anxiety, and panic are in the middle, these people are often marginalised, they feel like they’ve been skipped over, forgotten, they can’t see the shore because they don’t even know it’s there. Fear, anxiety, panic. This is a hard pattern of energy to remove yourself from without help. The current holds you there and it’s almost impossible to break free of the undertow. Those near the shore and reaching for branches are feeling confused, lost in immense sadness, and despair. They see the branches, but they don’t believe they’re strong enough to grab hold of them let alone drag themselves out. The people in the shallows are feeling stuck, like they’re in a maze, their thoughts shift from courage to fear and they’re not sure how to extricate their boots from the mud, they just know they have to. The ones on the grass have found within themselves a reserve of strength, an inner knowing that somehow we’ll survive this, and an ability to see the ‘bigger picture’ of the situation. Let’s respect where every single person is, knowing that the view they see in front of them is their reality, their experience, it’s real, and they’re working with what they have in front of them, – there’s no right or wrong here, we are where we are.

It’s not going to help the people who are in the middle of the river to tell them about the bigger picture, to tell them to meditate, wear crystals, and chant mantras because they can’t. They just can’t. It would be doing them a disservice because it would illustrate to them how far from the grassy slope they actually are – potentially sending them into a spiralling depression. So, if you’re on the grassy slope, help those close to you because they are the ones who are able to glimpse the bigger picture and are comforted by it. The ones in the middle will feel a hand reaching out in the dark and respond better to someone who understands where they’re at and where they’ve been, and those people who have a hold of the branch can be held tightly by the ones in the shallows, who can be helped up by those on the grassy slope.

Then there are others, those who have moved up from the grassy slopes who don’t see the river as an uncontrolled force of nature, they see the real river, the one we are all a part of, the River of Life. These people can help anyone, at any place along the river, they have transcended the ebb and flow of the emotional torrent and they can move through it with ease. The current doesn’t affect them anymore, they’re able to meet all Souls in whatever space they are in at any given time. They respect and love – without judgement. They can help others without draining their own reserves because they recognise the infinite energy available to them. These people are rare and precious birds, but they are working to help everyone in their own way, many do the work and we never even know about it. They are the ones that hold the energy of the planet and now is their time, we need them more than ever and I thank them all whoever and wherever they are for the continued work they do.

The essence of what I’m trying to say in this strange metaphorical way, is that all we need to do is reach out, help those near you, the ones that you can reach. keep moving towards the banks of the river, and remember to look behind you and reach out a hand…

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Immediate Space

We feel like we are being battered about like a boat on an ocean without oars, no motor, no rudder, no land in sight. This is the fear state we are all potentially engulfed in. Our control has gone, life seems to be taking us on an unexpected divergence to somewhere we find completely unfamiliar and uncomfortable. At the time of writing this blog 136 out of 195 countries have been affected, even those without cases of COVID-19 will be feeling the effects of the global changes to travel and border closures etc… Make no mistake we are all in this together.

We are all being encouraged to exercise ‘social distancing’ which sounds lonely and isolating, but when I read that sentence above “We are all in this together” – I feel emotions that I wouldn’t have expected, I feel connected, supported, I feel like the world and I have an understanding, we know each other just a little more today than we did last week. Our focus has shifted. A strange sensation of being more ‘aware’ of the world in a new way while at the same time being forced to reduce our focus to our immediate environment. This year began with the fires here in Australia and the world focus was turned towards the suffering and loss of that time, now we’ve been swung back around to a global perspective, but we’d already been reminded of how connected we truly are when we all joined together to pray for rain

We’ve all witnessed how our governments have handled this event and we can see the shadows clearer than ever before, the more Light that floods this planet, the crisper and darker the shadows become – change is inevitable and necessary. In the future we will be referring to this time as ‘before Corona/COVID-19’ and ‘after Corona/COVID-19’. Such is the dramatic transformation occurring in how we see this reality. We will be looking upon this time as the moment when… Astrologers have predicted many things for 2020, I felt strongly that there would be a change in how we understand ‘authority’, our political landscape and our way of ‘governing’ society – no one knew how it would happen, but predictions are like that, there is an obvious energetic change and while we can often see the areas of change sometimes the ‘how’ is not so clear. I believe it’s important to not always know what’s coming, if we knew this global event was going to happen then there would have been no ‘shift’, no uncomfortable change, no “we are all in this together’ moments. People find ways to connect, look at Italy with songs ringing through the streets, a choir of physically isolated people, connecting with each other in such a beautiful way – you’re not alone, I’m here, hear my song.

This is a very big wake up call for us. I’ve been watching the comedy “Last Man On Earth” which is about a global virus that wiped out all the people except for a small group that found each other against all the odds. As I watch that show in the current environment, I realise how lucky we all are that COVID-19 isn’t a more virulent strain. It sort of feels like we’re being tested, being put into a situation where our fears are causing us to behave in ways that surprise us. Some people are reacting with great fear, others with an almost cavalier nonchalance – both are valid responses however, neither are conducive to healing. These responses are protective mechanisms that we lean on to get us through rough times, the thing is – this rough time is going to go on for longer than we’d like, so the response you have to it must be calm, discerning, measured and immediate. To protect the vulnerable we must follow the guidelines that are relevant to the area you are in, make yourself aware of them and act on them.

There’s a ‘higher vibrational’ tone to this event that it’s important to be aware of and while it’s a comforting thing to know there is a purpose and reason for our current experience, we must also be physically grounded in the present moment so we can respond in a way that is of benefit to all. It’s a fine line that we need to traverse – we can get pulled down into the fear, anger and grief like a magnetic gravitational force and it becomes tempting to find someone to blame, whether it be a person, a government, a nation – there is a tendency to push these feelings onto something other than ourselves when they become too big, too heavy.

What is the ‘healing response’ in this situation? I think it’s essential to first recognise the fact that we have limited control over the global event as it expands around us, we do however, have control over how we respond to the event and how we engage with those around us. We can’t anticipate how every person will embody these emotions. You might meet someone today that seems to be immersed in heavy fearful feelings, confused and unsure, but tomorrow they appear calm and decisive, there’s a tendency to bounce around between the lower and higher vibrational perspectives to varying degrees from person to person. It’s important to understand that the person standing in front of you at any given time is the one you need to focus on – not the whole world – just that one person. We are all in a state of flux at the moment, emotions are high. Just remain in a calm and grounded state for that one person you can be there for – if we can all bring ourselves back to a place of ‘immediate space’ and look out for our neighbour, our family, our friends, then we can heal this thing one person at a time. Leave the virus healing to the experts.

The Life Tree

There is a Tree of Life but is there a Tree of Death I wonder… or is it the same tree? Trees don’t know death, because they understand Life. If you understand Life the concept of death is contained within it. This Saturn-Pluto conjunction is bringing so many transformations and one of them I hope to see is an evolved understanding of what death is. I find that if you come at something as big as death from the front there’s too much emotion and grief to enter the notion of it, but through a metaphor or story, we can understand a concept as difficult as death via a simpler comparison.

Picture a tree. A big tree. Now see a young branch forming, it’s still green and vulnerable but it grows from an older branch which has become woody with age. The goal of the tree is to raise it’s branches up higher so it can reach the sunlight, the woody branch holds the tender young shoot higher so it can absorb the sun’s rays. Over time the older branch may wither and seem lifeless, but the younger branch is now becoming woody and strong and it continues to reach for the light as it too sprouts younger branches. Eventually the older branch no longer sprouts, it no longer grows, but before it faded its life force was absorbed into the younger branches and into the whole tree itself. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is left behind. Sometimes a branch may fall to the ground but this is just the shell of the branch, all the energy and ‘beingness’ of the branch were taken in by the wholeness of the tree before it fell, and now the fallen branch continues to support the tree as food and nourishment. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is left behind. The tree is constantly moving, the younger branches feel the grief as the distance of time and space between them and their parent branch, but they must keep moving and growing – it’s the law of Life, everything is in motion. But they are always carrying the energy of the older branches, the ones that went before. Their life force is moving through the whole tree, their energy, their Light, is circulating and sustaining the tree, nothing is wasted. Nothing is left behind.

I have grieved for my Father, my Mother, my brother, and my nephew. While each loss felt different, I knew each to be like an energetic amputation that left me changed. It feels like you are smaller, sometimes my edges were jagged, sometimes they were soft and porous. Sometimes my body would feel unreal to me, lighter, nebulous, sometimes it would feel heavy, burdensome. At times I needed connection, at other times I’d withdraw. These are all reactions to physical loss, the world felt ‘less’ to me and this was me working out the new and different world that I inhabited. It’s like you’ve lost your senses – literally – and you can’t perceive your surroundings in the same way anymore, so your mind is frantically bouncing around trying to make sense of something it can’t comprehend.

Time (Saturn) is a great healer – cliché perhaps, but Truth. Death (Pluto) is a not a mistake, it should be talked about and our perceptions of it transformed (Pluto). Grief is natural, it’s a human process that is different for everyone and each person must travel its twists and turns in their own way. If you are with someone who is grieving, just know that you don’t have to ‘fix’ them, they will heal themselves, but you can create room for them to feel safe to grieve. Hold space for them, this is the greatest and most caring thing you can do. Acknowledge their grief, don’t ignore it, they need to know that although they may not want to connect right now, that they are seen.

“I encourage you to make peace with death, to see it as the culminating event of this adventure called life. Death is not an error; it is not a failure… it is like taking off a tight shoe. Confucius says, ‘Those that find the Way in the morning can gladly die in the evening.’”

~ Ram Dass

If you know someone who is preparing to die, it is much the same. Hold space for them. You may see them come to a place where they accept death, don’t see this as ‘giving up’ for it is not your experience it is theirs and they are healing themselves through a process of their own grief – sometimes ‘healing’ does not refer to the physical body. Respect their right to let go of their body and know that they are in a position to see from a perspective that you have not held before. To be in the presence of one who is dying is incredibly humbling and can be life changing. I was blessed and honoured to hold space for my Mother when she left her body and, in that moment, I saw a lifetime lived in a second, I witnessed her death and her birth, and it happened simultaneously. I realised then that the birth-death-birth cycle was the same. We are born, we contain our Soul through life, then in death our Soul is born. At both moments of birth there is struggle, perhaps pain, perhaps a resistance to leave the comfort and warmth of the womb or body, but birth is inescapable, the cycle must continue.

Nothing is wasted. Nothing is left behind.

‘Pray Rain’ for Australia

Jupiter in Capricorn – a reflection of what we are experiencing here in Australia. Jupiter is expansive, excessive, abundant, and is associated with the element of fire. Capricorn is associated with the element of earth, it’s Guide (Ruler) is Saturn, which is associated with restraint, boundaries, containment. Bringing these two energies together it’s not hard to see the connection to the fires ravaging this country. There’s so much activity in Capricorn (Saturn-Pluto conjunction) and the eclipse coming on the 11th, and also this country’s Sun Sign is Capricorn – also the Tropic of Capricorn passes through the middle of it. I’m not going to write an article about this for now and while it’s interesting to understand the cycles that are connected to these events, it’s more important to know how we can contribute to the cessation of these fires.

I’d like to direct you to an excerpt from Gregg Braden’s book ‘The Isaiah Effect’, please read it now if you have time so this blog can be read in context. If you’d rather just read the ‘important bits’ I’ve put a smaller quote below so you can get the gist of what’s in the link.

“Today, David said, ‘we pray rain.’… David returned to the position closest to me, he stopped, straightened his posture, and moved his hands into a praying position in front of his face. His breathing became nearly indiscernible. He appeared oblivious to the heat of the midday sun. After a few brief moments in this position, he took a deep breath, relaxed his posture, and turned to me.

” ‘Let’s go, our work is finished here,’ he said, looking directly at me.

“ ‘Already?’ I asked, a little surprised. It seemed as though we had just arrived. ‘I thought you were going to pray for rain.’

” ‘No, I said that I would ‘pray rain’, he replied. ‘If I had prayed ‘for’ rain, it could never happen.’

From ‘The Isaiah Effect’ by Gregg Braden

It’s all about the Law of Attraction. If you know anything about that you’ll understand that you must be in the vibration of that you wish to attract, not in a vibration of ‘need’ or you’ll only attract further ‘need’. The important factors for this meditation are:

  • That it be in present moment.
  • You use all your senses to ‘feel’ that you want to attract.
  • You open your heart to a state of Gratitude.

You don’t need a ‘Stone Circle’ or sacred ground on which to stand, if you have a meditative space it will help, but if not just sit somewhere you feel at peace and you know you won’t be disturbed.

You will find your own way of doing this, you don’t have to follow this to the letter. Let it move you, let it take you to your own space of creation. This is how I do it, but I let it lead me…

I imagine I’m standing with fire all around me, I can feel the heat of it, the ground under my feet is hot and I feel the ash under my toes, I can smell the smoke, I hear the fire crackling and I watch the embers dancing on the wind. Then I begin to feel the rain drops, as the breeze brushes my skin it’s cooler and begins to fall more heavily around me, I smell the wet ash, I hear the hissing as the rain falls on the fire and the trees, the earth is wet beneath my feet. Looking around I no longer see any fire, I see the trees sending out little green shoots and the seeds beginning to sprout, I hear the birds coming back, I see the koalas, kangaroos, possums, lizards, insects and all the fauna returning to the space… I feel immense Gratitude in my heart for this as if it’s happening NOW… I stay in this space for as long as I can.

This brings up many emotions, when I feel the tears (as I do now as I’m writing this) during the meditation, I realise I’m no longer in ‘Present Moment’ so I consciously return to the NOW space. This may happen a few times, if you find your mind wandering just gently guide it back…

This is a powerful method of meditation; you can apply this to other circumstances in your life too.

In my last newsletter for January I pulled these cards:

These cards are called ‘The Enchanted Map Oracle’ by Colette Baron-Reid.

These apply beautifully. I don’t think I need to expand on them too much, they speak for themselves… Let’s look at the last card though, RESCUE. Study it, the brown tree, the chimney with contained fire in its hearth, the waterfall flowing freely, the balloon in the shape of the earth looking down and seeing the bigger picture. This is a vision of the fires under control, life giving water and the people of the earth ‘holding space’ for Australia…

‘Thank You’ all for helping to create a space of healing and compassion, a space in which Australia and the world can gradually heal itself.

Words to Nibble on…

Do you consider yourself a ‘reader of books’? I do, I don’t do enough of it these days. I love books in ‘analogue’ form (is that a thing?) so I can hold it, smell it, feel the pages turn under my fingers; I love underlining and putting little stars here and there so I can come back to it later and see what I thought important at the time. Digital just isn’t the same to me, it’s convenient sometimes but it will never take the place of a bound book in my hands. So, I’ve just picked up “Active Dreaming” by Robert Moss and I’ve dived in. As the words were washing over me I considered the words that I’d just moved through and how they were now effecting the words I was currently reading. Interesting… I pictured a bow wave of words and emotions behind me and the word waves in front of me that I was yet to read, and how they are connected through me like a thread of cotton that becomes a stitch and is poised to plunge through the fabric once more. So continuing that analogy, the words I’ve read form a tapestry that is beginning to make sense to my mind and the words that are to come will complete the work. But the book is already complete, I hold the energy of it in my hands, I can ‘feel’ it but to make sense of it on the level of mind – I must read it.

It’s interesting that the words in Moss’s book began as a pouring out of thought forms and emotions and  became sentences, paragraphs, chapters… these words I’m writing now are coming from – where…? Are they already in my mind? Well no, I’m not sure of the next word I’m going to write, honestly it’s how I write most of the time – an idea or concept sparks my interest and I just begin. But I’m writing a blog, not a book, so I don’t really need to plan ahead and consider the ebb and flow of the narrative, it’s more of a purging for me than it is a legacy. Am I ‘channeling’ these words? Well not in the sense that I understand ‘channeling’ but perhaps on some level they are coming to me from my Higher Self – perhaps that is channeling after all – if the words don’t already reside in my head they have to come from outside my head.

So back to the book in my hand… each page is like a magic carpet with all the threads moving and undulating over a luminous aether of unseen energy. I gently turn the page and I’m struck by the little moment of joy, excitement, anticipation – the unknown words that are about to enter me via my eyes, my mind, my heart. There’s an agreement that you enter into when you pick up a book with the intention to read it, you and the author are now in relationship with one another, you have consented to them to allow their words, thoughts and ideas, to move through you – it’s quite intimate and there’s a sort of connection now formed between you. They, as the author,  entered into it as they began to write, as pen touched paper or fingers touched the keyboard. As authors they agree to others absorbing their words, thoughts and ideas, on an on for as long as the book exists. The reader and the author are collaborators, together the experience of each book is realised, it’s purpose is fulfilled.

So consider the next book you read, let the pages wash over you before you read them and then again afterwards, ‘feel’ the difference and observe how you feel when you turn each page.

Mindful reading – each moment in the journey of a book should be savoured, taste each morsel, and chew on each sentence so you can break it down into digestible word niblets.

The True Kindess of Money & Muffins…

There’s a wonderful parable told of Buddha and the gift of anger, I found a wonderful version of it below.

“The brahman Bharadvaja, it seems, has become a monk under the Great Monk Gotama.” Angry and unhappy, he went to where the Blessed One was. Having approached the Blessed One, he abused and criticized the Blessed One in foul and harsh words. Thus reviled, the Blessed One spoke to the brahman Akkosa Bharadvaja: ‘Well, brahman, do friends, confidants, relatives, kinsmen and guests visit you?””Yes, Gotama, sometimes friends, confidants, relatives, kinsmen and guests do visit me.””Well, brahman, do you not offer them snacks or food or titbits?””Yes, Gotama, sometimes I do offer them snacks or food or titbits.””But if, brahman, they do not accept it, who gets it?””If Gotama, they do not accept it, I get it back.””Even so, brahman, you are abusing us who do not abuse, you are angry with us who do not get angry, you are quarrelling with us who do not quarrel. All this of yours we don’t accept. You alone, brahman, get it back; all this, brahman, belongs to you.”When, brahman, one abuses back when abused, repays anger in kind, and quarrels back when quarrelled with, this is called, brahman, associating with each other and exchanging mutually. This association and mutual exchange we do not engage in. Therefore, you alone, brahman, get it back; all this, brahman, belongs to you.” (translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita

This wonderful story can be applied to many and all situations when interacting with others. I say this because all interactions involve an exchange of energy in some form. We make choices constantly throughout the day to either receive the energy offered or not. The energy may be in the form of money, muffins, a cup of tea, a compliment, an abusive comment, a judgemental gaze, or perhaps the personal drama of a friend. All these things (to name but a few) are the same. They are composed of energy and in its purest form, energy has no agenda, no defining features, it is neither good nor bad. It just is.

Imagine a scenario you’ve experienced when someone complimented your beautiful eyes, or your hair, or perhaps a jacket you were wearing. What was your response? Did you reject the compliment and offer a counter argument as to why they are wrong in believing your eyes to be beautiful? Did you make their offering smaller by saying your hair isn’t usually so shiny? Did you belittle the jacket by explaining that is was cheap and from the second-hand shop down the street? Now look at another situation, someone is angry at you because you failed to meet their expectations in some way. They criticise you and comment in an angry tone towards you. How do you react in this case? Most of us react to this type of interaction in one of two ways; either by becoming physically smaller and quieter, or you may become larger and louder – either way we are accepting the criticisms and are then diminished by them. In both situations we have chosen to receive the criticisms, they have become part of us, so we can now offer them back in kind. This is how an argument manifests, it’s like a tennis match of send and receive, send and receive.

In the first instance, we were offered a compliment. For some reason we are hard-wired to reject compliments but to accept and receive criticisms. We somehow believe that if we say ‘yes thank you, I love my hair also’ that we are being vain and that’s just not so. We may feel we must quickly offer them a compliment in kind, but this is in effect ‘mirroring’ their gift back and is a cunning way to not fully receive the gift offered to you by them. It’s like letting someone buy you a coffee and immediately reimbursing them for it. By fully receiving and accepting a compliment, we are receiving the gift offered by the other person, we are in turn helping them to feel good about themselves for offering the gift. By rejecting it, we take away the other person’s opportunity to be kind – so you see, when you receive gratefully and with an open heart, you are also giving. Don’t forget this applies to money and muffins too.

Some people don’t want to be ‘indebted’ to another person, they feel it as an imbalance within their energy field that must be addressed, these are people that haven’t learnt how to energetically replenish themselves, so they believe that if they receive from another without giving back in equal measure (not more or less, they are usually very clear on the balance of the exchange) that they then diminished as they have a debt in their energetic field. We must be able to be kind to ourselves before we can truly be honestly and unconditionally kind to others. To do this you must cultivate an open heart, to truly receive a genuine gift from yourself or another you must be able to be vulnerable and open. This takes practice. Firstly, you must learn to receive from yourself. It sounds impossible that you could offer yourself a gift because to be able to offer it you must have it in the first place. So, it takes practice. By this I mean you must recognise your true Self as being more than… more than what? Just more… Do some mirror-work (thank you Louise Hay), try listening to your ‘self-talk’ and pull yourself up when you start to receive your own criticisms – exchange them for ‘self-compliments’ – it might feel odd at first but – it takes practice. So, you see we are most comfortable receiving our own criticisms as truths than we are receiving a ‘self-kindness’, keeping this in mind and referring back to the impossibility of giving ourselves a gift because we must ‘have it in the first place’ – how can we give a truly heart felt gift to ourselves or another if all we put inside is poisonous self-talk? Similarly, we can’t give Light if all we allow ourselves to receive is darkness.

As Wayne Dyer used to say:

“When you squeeze an orange, you’ll always get orange juice to come out. What comes out is what’s inside. The same logic applies to you: when someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, or says something unflattering or critical, and out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, tension, depression, or anxiety, that is what’s inside. If love and joy are what you want to give and receive, change your life by changing what’s inside.”

The third Reiki Precept is ‘Be Grateful’ and I’ve discussed this in a past blog (The Reiki Precepts, a Path to Awakening…) “Gratitude – True Gratitude – is opening our hearts to receive. This is hard for most of us, we don’t feel ‘deserving’ enough or we only feel comfortable ‘giving’ to please others” – we don’t always equate ‘giving’ with ‘receiving’, but they’re just two sides of the same proverbial coin. The coin can’t exist without it having both sides, likewise we can’t truly ‘give’ if we can’t fully ‘receive’ and as we discussed earlier – when we receive with Grace and an open heart we are also giving, for in their purest form they are actually one and the same.

The lesson seems simple enough, but it often takes us a lifetime to learn, it doesn’t have to. But it’s okay if it does. If you’re a parent how do you teach your kids this lesson? Do you teach them to share more? To give a cherished toy away to a child more in need? To love themselves in a healthy and nourished way? Who knows, I’m not a parent (unless you count fur-kids) but I can tell you that a child learns the most valuable lessons through observation. So, the most likely way of bringing up an individual who will be able to give and receive Light with an easy Grace is to do it yourself – so that they can experience the energy in those they most love and emulate, their parents.

Now I leave you with this:

You are a beautiful being of Divine Light, you therefore are a beautiful Being. Full Stop.

I’d offer you a basket of muffins at this point if I was able… Would you receive them with Grace?

 

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Do Good Habits Drink Herbal Tea?

Today I wanted to revisit a past blog called “Do Bad Habits Drink Tea?” to let you know how I’ve put this into action. You may like to read it before you continue so you know where I’m going here. When I wrote that blog I’d just joined a gym a month before – those that know me would be picking their jaw up off the floor at this moment because I’m just not a ‘gym person’ and exercise is something I have to work at every day. I preferred doing yoga at home or a walk around the neighbourhood to actually ‘going to the gym’. I always envied those people who ‘just have to run’ every day, who need exercise to ‘clear their mind’ and wistfully wished I hadn’t missed out on that gene… I believed it must have skipped a generation as I have very active nieces and nephews, two of them are Ironmen many times over and one does the Spartan Race regularly, the others are also active and always moving… sigh… So, you see I had a belief that wasn’t serving me at all, I believed I was ‘lazy’ and that I wasn’t the ‘gym type’ (air quotes), also I’ve always believed I was uncoordinated and not athletically inclined.

Back to the blog I wrote… It’s one thing to know how to change beliefs/habits/patterns and quite another to actually make the shift. I realised after writing the blog that I’d just done the very thing I was talking about and thought I’d now consciously observe myself over the course of the next month or so to see if I could actually change my self-limiting beliefs using the steps I’d talked about in the other blog, see below:

  1. Identify your limiting beliefs and the habits that support them.
    • Begin by looking at the areas of your life that aren’t meeting your expectations.
    • Identify the beliefs that surround that part of your life.
    • Observe yourself in action – watch for the ‘Self-affirming habits’ that support the belief.
    • Do this without harsh judgements or shame, just acceptance and peace.
  2. Begin to change those habits.
    • It’s like unwinding a rope, the last twist must be undone first.
    • Replace the unwanted habit with one that will move you toward the experience you want.
  3. Experience the new you now.
    • This takes practice and time (usually – but maybe that’s my belief?!).
    • I do this through meditation and mindfulness practice, there may be other ways I’m not aware of.
    • This is a present moment practice, BE HERE NOW.
    • There will probably be a resistance to this as it will mean your original belief about yourself must be replaced with a new more empowering one – that house guest must leave – even if we miss them, feel grief over their leaving, and question who we are without them.

In my case, my limiting beliefs about myself were keeping me from enjoying my life to it’s fullest and also kept me from experiencing what it was like to live in a body that felt alive and energised. To be honest, I had no idea how much the experience of my life would change when I started this. Initially, it was just sheer determination that got me to the gym, I had goals and thought they might be enough, but it was hard to get myself there 3-4 times a week. The hardest thing was battling my bad habits… Until I used the system above…consciously used it.

Firstly, I identified my limiting belief around exercise and then the self-affirming habits that had built up around that belief over the years. Believing that I was lazy and genetically predisposed to being the antithesis of ‘athletic’ meant that I had no choice but to be inactive and to see exercise as an interruption to my day. These inactive habits had to change first, then the beliefs would follow. So, I started to get up earlier on my ‘gym days’ to magically give myself more time in my day to allow for a visit, I began to use self-talk that supported my new habits, I changed my perspective in an active way so that I now enjoy going to the gym rather than seeing it as a chore, and I’ve changed the way I ‘feel’ about exercise – I’ve chosen to enjoy the whole process – and that’s a big one, CHOICE. This happened over a month or so, I acted out the role of the new habits first and while I had to be pretty determined to keep them going, now they’ve become part of the new experience of ME. Act out the part you want to play and it will eventually become who you are.

The last step is to ‘experience the new you now’ this is easier once you’ve actually begun to introduce the new habits into your daily routine, but I did it by ignoring all the negative self-talk and introducing the new fit and healthy me into my daily meditations and moments of stillness through the day. I also use a mantra that reflects who I want to be, it’s handy to have your own words of magic to repeat to yourself through the day, during meditation, and as you dose off to sleep. Make is short and sweet and positive and keep it as your own piece of powerful magic to use as needed.

Tree reflection

I’m still a long way off becoming the ‘fit and healthy’ me but I’m 2 months closer than I was and I’m pleasantly surprised by the positive side-effects as well, my mind is clearer, I’m happier and more in tune with my body and I’m eating better as well. I’m also surprised by the gym itself; I love it… being around so many people who are in that vibration of actively contributing to their own self-betterment is intoxicating.

So whatever beliefs you are wanting to change, you can do it. We’re not static beings, we’re dynamic and ever-changing. We are beings of unlimited power – living in a cage of our own making, a cage made of our beliefs about ourselves and the world we perceive with our senses. Make the change, it doesn’t mean you have to don a flying suit and jump off a mountain, it just means you can become the person you know is hiding inside. Accept the beautiful person you are now and step beyond this into the more empowered you, you’re not rejecting who you are, you’re expanding and learning, healing and growing…you are limitless.

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” ~John C. Maxwell

A Dandelion in the Gutter…

I was inspired to write this blog months ago when I was waiting at traffic lights here in Frankston, it was a warm day and there was a young girl waiting to walk across the road to the University. She crouched down, got out her phone and took a picture of a dandelion popping its little seed fluff out of a crack in the gutter. I laughed a little at how we now take photos of EVERYTHING and post them online for all to see and then it began to distill in my mind. I saw in that girl a desire to share an experience. Now 50 years ago if we wanted to ‘share an experience’ we’d have to physically visit someone or call them on the phone, I ask you – would you tell someone about a ‘dandelion in the gutter’ if you had to call them about it? Probably not. Experience is subjective, now with social media it becomes both a subjective and objective experience because we see so much through anothers eyes via Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc… What used to be a ‘small’ experience is made larger because we can share it with so many.

Is this a symptom of a global Awakening? I like to think so… We are moving towards a point in time where we will ‘wake up’ from the belief that we are all somehow different and separate from one another, to a full awareness of the common thread within all of us that is the same.

So how does social media work within this framework? It connects us in a way we’ve never experienced before, for now it is the ‘common thread’ joining us together and most of us accept it as part of our everyday routine. Of course it can be misused and often is, but as our discernment grows with our Awareness I believe we will balance this see-saw and arrive in the centre with a poise and elegance that befits our species – for I am one of those rare birds who believes in humanity, I believe in the good, the Light, the Love. I see so much beauty in my Instagram feed, so many amazing articles and blogs with words that empower and uplift the Soul, there are many of us out there… hooray for the Lightworkers of the world. Lovin’ ya to bits…!

So back to the girl and the dandelion in the gutter… Why was she looking down in the first place? Was she sad, worried, checking her shoelace? What made her stop and take that photo? Most people wouldn’t even have noticed the dandelion, but she did. To her it was beautiful, to her it was worth her time to immortalise the little seed fluff and share it. When she did that, she wasn’t just sharing a picture, she was sharing a feeling, an emotion, hoping that her tiny joy will spark the same feeling in someone else.

But I wonder if she realised how important that moment was to someone sitting in a car not 2 metres away… I doubt it, but then we never really know how our existence can impact another person, especially those we haven’t met. While she was experiencing the dandelion, I was experiencing her, experiencing the dandelion…

Think about that next time you see a dandelion in a gutter, maybe take a picture and tag me in on it…I’d love to experience a moment of joy through your eyes.

Do Bad Habits Drink Tea?

We begin life with no knowledge or concept of our own limitations. If we didn’t have parents or guardians as a child, we’d likely not make it to adulthood because without them we’d likely jump out a window believing we could fly like a bird or run into a lake not realising we needed air to breathe. Our limitations are what kill us eventually but they’re what make us human too. Limitations can help us navigate life each day so we survive to live another, but ‘Self Imposed Limitations’ are a sub-conscious creation brought into being through our beliefs and habits – we virtually give our life over to our subconscious to influence and control our actions.

The way we get into these scrapes and get out of them, it’s almost as though someone was dreaming up these situations; guiding our destiny.” – Robin (Batman)

What are we if not a big fleshy bag of beliefs and habits? Well actually that’s exactly what we are, everything you do in life is dictated by your belief systems and the habits created around them. It’s how we function daily, on a superficial level that’s how our brains work. We believe we must sleep, so we sleep… we believe we must eat, so we eat… and so on… There are few who can rise above all limitations of the human body, it can take many lifetimes.

But why let our limitations stop us? Let’s give it a go in this lifetime…!!!

I’ve shared the following story before in a previous blog and I’ll probably share it again…I love it that much.

“Imagine that you were in an all-white room, totally white: white floor, white ceiling, white walls. And imagine you were suspended in that room, as if by magic, so that you couldn’t touch anything, just dangling there…And imagine that nothing else exists at all. How long do you think that you would exist in your own experience?” And the answer came up for me: “Probably not terribly long, not very long.”

Because, in the absence of anything else, I am not. Not in my own experience. I mean, I am that I am. But I can’t know that I am. I can’t experience that I am, except in relationship to something else. So, I can’t know anything about myself.

Yet, if somebody were to walk into that room of white-ness, and just put so much as the tiniest speck of ink on the wall, to the degree that I could see that speck of ink, that little black dot, to that degree suddenly I exist. First of all, over there would exist, and over here. Because the dot would be there, and I would be here. I would begin to define myself in relationship to that other thing… Put a cat in the room, and suddenly I have much larger experiences of myself, because that which is also in the space is much larger than the dot on the wall. So now I begin to conceptualise all kinds of things about me. Maybe the cat is softer than I am, but maybe I am older than the cat, or whatever.”

by Neale Donald Walsh from his book “Little Book of Life”  

Let’s look at this story from the perspective of limitations. The first paragraph is similar to the newborn state of being, a Soul fresh from the infinite finds itself in a physical body and begins to experience the corporeal world of form. We learn using our senses, they are the interface between our inner world and the outer. They teach us through ‘comparison’… we see how we differ from that which is outside of ourselves. So, we begin life as limitless and grow toward limitation, we ‘progress’ as a child through learning what we can and can’t do, this sets us up to live as a social animal in society of other social animals. So, we’ve made it to adulthood, and we know we’re bigger than a dot on the wall and older and less fluffy than our cat…what do we do with that?

We begin the process of ‘unknowing’… Holy switcheroo Batman!

And we thought learning to walk was hard…the real work begins just when we’ve pretty much mastered the walking and speaking bit… Life is hard – that’s a crazy belief right there but most of us adopt that one pretty quickly. Self-Imposed Limitations are like unwanted house guests – we invite them in for cup of tea only to realise they’re staying the night and before you know it they’ve become part of the furniture and the idea of living without them is too hard to bear…so we keep them around.

What’s the answer? Shine some Light on them! Let them know that we’re aware they’ve overstayed their welcome and that we’re also acutely aware of the fact that we can live quite fine and experience a better and fuller life without them. The first step then is to become aware they are there and since we are the ones that invited them in for that cup of tea – we are the ones that can stop providing them with it!

So how to ‘unknow’ a belief and the habits that come with it…

  1. Identify your limiting beliefs and the habits that support them.
    • Begin by looking at the areas of your life that aren’t meeting your expectations.
    • Identify the beliefs that surround that part of your life.
    • Observe yourself in action – watch for the ‘Self-affirming habits’ that support the belief.
    • Do this without harsh judgements or shame, just acceptance and peace.
  2. Begin to change those habits.
    • It’s like unwinding a rope, the last twist must be undone first.
    • Replace the unwanted habit with one that will move you toward the experience you want.
  3. Experience the new you now.
    • This takes practice and time (usually – but maybe that’s my belief?!).
    • I do this through meditation and mindfulness practice, there may be other ways I’m not aware of.
    • This is a present moment practice, BE HERE NOW.
    • There will probably be a resistance to this as it will mean your original belief about yourself must be replaced with a new more empowering one – that house guest must leave – even if we miss them, feel grief over their leaving, and question who we are without them.

Through the ‘unknowing’ process we learn that we are the creators of our own reality, we are not being blown about on a vast ocean like flotsam, we are not rudderless anymore. This ‘unknowing’ is actually a way to truly ‘know’ ourselves as powerful and creative beings; to get to this point we had to learn everything we did so we could understand how to let it go. If we didn’t go through that process of growing up and learning our limitations, we’d have nothing to work with now – be grateful for the process.

Robin: “If we close our eyes, we can’t see anything.”
Batman: “A sound observation, Robin.”

We could opt to ‘close our eyes’ and just keep living as we are, but if you’re still reading this I’d say you’re past that point already. It’s a valid choice to keep going as per usual, there are some lives that are meant to go this way, it’s their path – but if you want to vibrate on a higher level, if you want to move towards a life that’s bright and shiny… then your path is a little different.

Addendum 1: Why the obsession with Batman you ask? Who’s to say…he just kept jumping into the words as they were being written…he came for a cup of tea perhaps?

Addendum 2: Please note, everything you read here and everywhere else (book or internet or tweet etc…) contain words that ooze with the writer’s own limitations caused by their own belief systems, therefore read and watch everything with a discerning eye and ‘let go’ of all that doesn’t serve you… If this is all you take away from this article, I have a happy heart.

The Reiki Precepts, a Path to Awakening…

The Reiki Precepts are a cornerstone of Reiki practice. They are taught from the very beginning in Shoden (Level 1), then emphasised and used in varying ways through each subsequent level of Reiki. There may be differences between them depending on the Reiki lineage (a ‘family tree’ or branch of Reiki that traces back directly to Mikao Usui – the founder of Reiki), but essentially it is agreed that they are of great importance and one of the 5 Pillars of Reiki Practice. Precepts are not affirmations and they’re not meant to be used in the same way. Many versions try to turn them into affirmations by removing the ‘negatives’ such as ‘Do not’ from the first two.

  • Definition of a “precept”: A guiding principle or rule that is used to control, influence or regulate conduct.
  • Definition of an “affirmation”: The act of confirming something to be true or is a written or oral statement that confirms something is true.

When I first heard the Reiki Precepts, I didn’t give them much credence. I figured that even though my teacher emphasised their importance, they weren’t going to figure in my Reiki experience very much. I thought they sounded disconnected with no common thread to make sense of them. I severely underestimated them.

Now they are ingrained into my being and while I feel that I understand them more fully now…I’ve only scratched the surface of how profound they truly are. There are various versions of the Reiki Precepts, this is largely because of the translation variances from Japanese to English, but also due to preferences handed down in various lineages.

Here are a few examples for you to see the differences:

“Just for today…”

As you can see they differ greatly but the intention behind each of them remains pretty much the same. Some people have been taught them in a different order, apparently this is because Hawayo Takata (an amazing lady who first brought Reiki to the West) used to place varying emphasis on each precept so sometimes they were handed down in a different order. This to me is challenging, because I’ve found that the order of the Precepts is very important. These are the Precepts that I teach:

You can see that I’ve chosen a simple version, it’s easy to remember, no unnecessary words, and gets straight to the point with no fluffy distractions.

It is believed that Mikao Usui may have taught different Precepts to some students according to their level of spiritual understanding and awareness. The following are Precepts he used to pass on to his Buddhist students who had some understanding already, and perhaps to those who had been on ‘the path’ for a while…

In this beautiful version there appears to be only 4 Precepts, but their essential nature remains the same. “Be true to your WAY and your BEING” holds Precept 3 and 4 within it. I love this version, it’s a wonderful ‘way in’ to the deeper meanings of the Precepts.

Consider this quote by Hui Neng:

“Truth has nothing to do with words. Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky. Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger. The finger can point to the moon’s location. However, the finger is not the moon. To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger.”

This is how we should use the Precepts; they are the ‘finger pointing to the Moon’ – we should use them to grow into our Awareness but don’t consider for a moment that they are the Truth themselves. We can get caught up on their various translations, which one is right and which version is closest to what Mikao Usui intended, but to me, as long as it remains simple and true to his intention – whatever works for you.

So, lets journey through the Precepts together travelling a little deeper through their layers and see where we end up…

Precept 1.

Do not Anger

This is teaching us to not live and dwell in the past. Most anger and anger-related emotions stem from past events, things we or someone else did or did not do that frustrate and enrage us. If you look at things in your life that you believe ‘make you angry’ you can usually connect them to a past event or situation. If you’re getting angry about something in the future, it’s because you’re playing out a scenario in your mind before it occurs and your subconscious sees this as having already happened – so in effect it’s a past event we’re reacting to! We have an expectation or an attachment to happenings and communications with others and when it doesn’t go according to our subconscious plan, we experience anger in some form. Being fixed in the past stops us from being ‘Present’.

Precept 2.

Do not worry

This Precept teaches us not to project ourselves into the future. Most worry and worry-related emotions are connected to future events that we attach to and subsequently play out in our minds creating an expectation of how they’ll play out. This is very much related to the ‘anger’ state – they’re both intrinsically connected. We can live in a state of anxiety, fear and sometimes panic if we stay anchored in a future that may or may not happen. It stops us from being ‘Present’.

In fact many people operate almost exclusively from these two states, swinging between frustration and anger to fear and anxiety, living in the past and the future, rarely grounding themselves in the Now.

In order to move on the next Precept, we must be ‘Present’, the first two Precepts teach us this.

Precept 3.

Be Grateful

This is a big one… It’s so much more than just being ‘grateful’ and ‘thankful’, we throw these words around like confetti – it’s become a default reaction for most of us to say, ‘thank you’ to everything even if it’s not the required response – we’re afraid (Precept 2) of appearing ‘ungrateful’! It’s actually ‘being in a state of Gratitude’ which we can only experience if we’re in ‘Present Moment’ – and now having learnt about the first two Precepts we now know how to place ourselves there. Being in a state of Gratitude is where all the wonderful stuff happens. Gratitude – True Gratitude – is opening our hearts to receive. This is hard for most of us, we don’t feel ‘deserving’ enough or we only feel comfortable ‘giving’ to please others – if this is you, refer to Precept 2, you’ll find your answers there. Try this: During meditation, try placing your hands over your heart and picturing a lotus bud there…then open your arms out to your sides, palms up and at the same time picture the lotus blooming within you, feel the state of Gratitude within your heart and say to yourself “I am open to receive”. This is Gratitude that can only be experienced in the Now moment. This is where manifestation happens… but that’s another blog for another time.

Now we have learned True Gratitude – how do we take this into our experience of the world?

Precept 4.

Practice diligently

Now that you are in a beautiful ‘state of Gratitude’ we now learn how to bring this into the everyday. To do this we must be ‘Mindful’. This means that whatever you’re doing, be it working at your 9-5, watering the garden, feeding the cat, or meditating – be Mindful while you are doing it. It’s a big ask for most of us to stay in the Present Moment all the time – we often need to visit the past and the future to plan and function in society. But this Precept teaches us that we can find the Present Moment at any time. By bringing Mindfulness into our current moment we are immediately placed into the state of Gratitude we learned about in Precept 3, by practicing this diligently (regularly and persistently) we learn how to be in this state of being more often and to be able to place ourselves there at will.

Now that we have learnt how to bring our state of Gratitude into our world it’s time to enter into our own Awareness – Wake UP!

And here with Precepts 3 and 4 we’ve learnt how to “Be True to our Way and our Being”.

Precept 5.

Be Kind

Simple enough. I chose to keep this one even simpler than the original “Be kind/compassionate to yourself and others” because I felt it was limiting to be so specific. What’s stopping us from just being ‘Kind’. I’d actually like to change it to “Be Kindness” because I believe that’s what we must be to learn what this Precept is teaching us. This Precept teaches us – ‘ONENESS’. This is another word that we throw around a lot and as a result it’s meaning has been diluted. Remember, it’s a word pointing to a greater Truth, not the Truth itself. To be compassionate means to put yourself in the shoes of someone else, feel their experience as your own and from that to come to an understanding of their suffering or their joy, this is empathy. Let’s take it a step further though. Being Kind means more than empathy, can you stand in your space and ‘Be Kindness’? See it as a noun not a verb – a state of being much like Gratitude. It’s the realisation that we are all actually One – that essence of Self that exists in all of us is the same. Try this: During a meditation, after having opened your heart to a state of Gratitude – see within your heart a small blue pearl of Light, this is your essence. Feel into it, become it, imagine it expanding and becoming your True Self – this True Self is present in all beings, KNOW THIS AS TRUTH.

I believe that Mikao Usui was leading us down a well-worn path to this last Precept.

The Precepts are not just words, they are a journey…

For this is the centre of Buddhahood…