Ring of Fire

By Kristine Enger

On a recent trip to Bali, Indonesia with my daughter we felt the earth move, literally, in the form of several earthquakes. My daughter, a geography student, found it quite fascinating and I, after quake no 3, not so. It was deeply unsettling and frightening to me.

Our lives were never in any danger, and I intuitively knew that. I, therefore, allowed myself to sink deeply into the experience of what was happening in the moment.

Indonesia is located on the Ring of Fire, a major horseshoe-shaped seismically active area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean, where most of the earth’s earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Due to the unpredictable nature of earthquakes, there is no warning, they can suddenly occur at any time.  First, you hear the deep (terrifying!) rumbling sound, then the swaying and shaking starts, and after about 10-15 seconds of what feels like an eternity, it’s over.

I quickly discovered I was afraid of what might happen next, and not so much the actual event itself. I was afraid to hear that sound and kept listening for it. Skittish and jumpy, yet at the same time trusting, and knowing full well it was my thinking mind playing tricks. I needed to take great care to allow space for these anxious feelings, and when I did, they subsided.

When we teach in mindfulness how we are hardwired for flight, fight or freeze, it was interesting to experience this first hand. In one split second – you can scan a scene, notice the placements of objects and people, look for ways out, feeling the adrenaline pumping, and at the same time realising you are completely powerless to what is happening. You are simply fully in it. Then afterwards, you become obsessed with analysing your experience, finding meaning and trying to explain why this happened. Checking websites, speaking to the locals, exchanging information with fellow travellers.

The metaphor of how this mirrors life itself crystallized, all whilst finding yourself in a location that can only be described as being in paradise. Life becomes accentuated, everything is deeply felt, your senses heightened. Profound compassion is felt for the plight of the people on the neighbouring island of Lombok, which experienced the most loss of lives and damage. Every cell in your body is felt, as you have been so deeply shaken. The colours, the textures and beauty of it all is seen in a profound, more appreciative way. The love is ever present, spontaneity rules the day, and life continues to happen.

Sometimes our lives are rocked beyond belief, and we feel powerless. However, there seems to be a natural order to it all. It will shake for a while, as adjustments are being made.

Then, the tectonic plates settle, and somehow a new order is restored as peace once more returns.

A Beginner’s Mind

By Kirsty Heaton

Escaping the summer heat in Dubai – I have swapped sandals and sand for walking boots and rolling countryside in the UK. Our summer holidays wouldn’t be complete without a day trip to Castle Howard for a picnic in the grounds, followed by walks through the estate and woodlands. I have been coming here for as long as I can remember, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

From the moment we turn the corner into the parking I feel a sense of nostalgia, I still have the familiar flutter in my tummy as I did as a child, impending adventure and curiosity, excitement and amazement at the stunning beauty that surrounds us. Yes, our picnics may have changed and I no longer head to the playgrounds to swing and slide as I did as a little girl, the excitement is just the same…but different.

Our first adventure is into the woods, away from the hustle and bustle of the playgrounds. The trees are hundreds of years old and the silence you experience here is intoxicating. Walking through this woodland is healing for the soul, it’s as if nature gives us a giant hug, soothing and calming our nerves. I notice how we tend to whisper to each other in the woods; as if anything loud would disturb the sacred silence.

As we emerge from the woods, the views are breathtaking…I am always overwhelmed as I stand and take it all in. I feel a deep sense of gratitude and take a moment to stand and just breathe it all in…hoping I can keep this picture in my mind forever.

A stroll through the rose garden brings back memories of collecting rose petals with my Grandma to make “rose perfume” I smile to myself, my heart warmed by these memories as I relay the stories to my own daughter. 

Our day comes to an end with homemade ice creams and cups of tea, enjoyed in the castle courtyard. Our legs are tired but our hearts are warmed by the memories both old and new.

As my Mindfulness journey continues, I am so grateful that I am able to experience these special traditions and so many other moments on a much deeper level. When we make the choice to see everything with a Beginners Mind, the world opens up and even an Englishman’s castle, visited yearly for over 30 years can become a place of wonder all over again. 

 

Beautiful photos by Kirsty Heaton

If you would like to set up an appointment to learn more about a Beginner’s Mind and Mindfulness practice with Kirsty please contact us here

Happiness and Authenticity

by Helen Williams

Did you know that happiness and authenticity join hands in our lives? Happiness is a by-product of the other ingredients that are necessary to feel at ease with ourselves, our choices and our daily lives. Authenticity is one of the most important!

It’s hard to be truly authentic because fear often prevents this. We grow up needing approval, validation and comfort in order to feel secure and loved and so the fear of not receiving approval can mean we create an inauthentic self as a way of protecting ourselves. Learning to be true, real and vulnerable takes courage, practice and support from those around us. Especially the notion that we must be who we’re not in order to be loved. This is the most open secret shared by everyone – that we do not and cannot honour our true selves for fear of rejection.

Vulnerability means taking a risk to really put ourselves out there – to embrace ourselves as we are and risk being uncomfortable, seen, experienced and still stay open to ourselves and to others.

Ask yourself some questions!
Who am I really? What am I afraid will happen if I show you who I really am? What does being authentic really mean and why do I struggle with who I am?

Everything is about love and approval – about being wanted, feeling special, being visible, and feeling safe in the context of a relationship.

Come and join our Authentic Living workshop for the month of February as we explore questions like these and while finding self-acceptance with a group of like-minded people.

Contact us to book

Authentic Living February_Social Media Art 1

You Need Only Water, Light and a New Pot

By Isabel Galiardo
I have a plant in the living room that I rescued from the garbage several years ago. It is giving flowers and full of life. It oozes beauty and joy. For me, it is a metaphor for what happens when we accept and take care of ourselves.
To throw the plant away because it has dead leaves and is growing crooked may seem the most logical thing to do. We think that if it is no longer useful, it is better to buy a new one.
We often do that with ourselves. We want to get rid of our faults and imperfections because they cause shame, pain and fear and make us “look bad”. But the difficulty and pain show us aspects of ourselves that need to be taken care of and accepted.
When you deny your fear, your anger, your shame or your guilt, you are mutilating yourself. It is not about wallowing in pain, nor about living as a victim of the past, but looking at it from a broader and more comprehensive, more compassionate and conscious perspective.
Do not try to get rid of the dry leaves or the parts that have grown uneven or deformed, on the contrary, welcome them and give them water and light (love and consciousness).
Bring light to the aspects that are in the shade. Orient yourself towards the light -remembering your true essence and elevating your vibratory frequency through spiritual practices will give you a greater awareness of yourself.
If you need a new pot, move to a larger space that allows you to continue growing and give flowers. Dare to consider life in broader and more expansive terms.
The most important task facing humanity is learning to love. Love starts with oneself and has nothing to do with a narcissistic or egocentric attitude, but with the ability to accept what I am at each moment without resistance or attachment. Letting life flow through me, letting LOVE speak through me.
Self-love and love for others are two sides of the same coin. What I do not tolerate of myself will be a source of conflict when I see it in the outside world. My own personal war immediately moves to a war with the world.
Let us make peace with what we are and we will begin to give flowers of hope, creativity, joy and unity.
“The goal of this work is not ‘get rid of your story’ but to have a more flexible relationship with it.”
– Matt Licata
Isabel

Fear or Intuition?

By Isabel Galiardo 
How can we distinguish between our inner voice, which we call intuition, from the voice of fear?
Fear helps us recognize and prevent dangers. It is there to protect us, without it we would behave recklessly and ignore our own limits. When it takes excessive prominence it makes us defensive, aggressive, isolates us and makes us perceive the world as hostile.
The voice of fear is linked to the past and is part of our conditioning. Our biographical experiences and those accumulated by our predecessors allow us to manage the world in a more predictable and safe way. But when our old childhood fears take hold of us we go back emotionally in time and perceive reality through the lens of our inner child, who feels helpless, terrified, incapable, … it measures our capacity based on past experiences, moments in which we had fewer resources.
Our inner voice is connected with the present and with the future, it guides us in the most appropriate direction for our growth and evolution. It shows us creative and original ways of being ourselves, freed from our conditioning and our old wounds, inviting us to express our potential and contribute to the totality of existence.
Our inner voice expresses our essence and is connected with our deepest truth, which is timeless and universal, but which is expressed in a unique and personal way in each one of us.
To listen to it, it is necessary to create a minimum of silence and quietness. This voice speaks subtly, almost in whispers, while fear is more reactive and speaks loudly.
Give yourself time to connect with yourself and to listen to yourself, to create a dialogue with this voice that speaks from certainty and knowledge, from a place of inner knowing. Then, take some time to assimilate the information and to understand it and finally, gather your courage and strength to put it into practice.
Our inner voice asks us for coherence and courage to reach our full potential and therefore challenges and mobilizes us to leave our comfort zone and explore new possibilities. This is not always easy but it is certainly immensely rewarding.