Meditate on the landscape of your life

09/09/2022 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Every week for the past five months, my meditation group has been focusing on aspects of landscape. From river to forest, by coast, bridge and swamp, from harbour to canyon via a rainbow-coloured waterfall, we’ve had a lovely time imagining ourselves in nature, slowing down our breath, becoming peaceful. And the landscape theme is set to continue for a few weeks yet, as the list of potential subjects just continues to grow. 

Take this week. Someone suggested volcano. One thing I’ve noticed is that everyone views each aspect of landscape differently. For me, I will likely be thinking of a snowy volcano that I once visited in Iceland. Snaefellsjökull has an incredible, other-worldly atmosphere. But another member of my group, fresh from Italy’s Amalfi Coast, may think about a fiery Vesuvius. 

The way you think of a volcano can reflect your own life journey. I believe that, sooner or later, we all go through stuff. Some of the events we experience can be positively volcanic – changing our personal landscape. If those events are in the past, the volcano we imagine may be slumbering or extinct. If those events are current, the volcano of our imagination may be quite active. An active volcano will destroy like nothing else… but this may lead, in time, to new landscapes full of life and even beauty. 

Wellbeing notes: a question of perspective

01/05/2022 at 5:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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In the late spring, some years ago, a new telegraph pole was put up in a nearby field. At first, everyone thought the pole was a blot on the landscape. “Shame that beautiful view’s been spoiled by the pole,” we all said. But one day a practical friend visited. She pointed out that the pole formed only a tiny part of the view. So why were we obsessing about that, when there were acres and acres of countryside to enjoy? 

Ever since, I’ve been careful to keep any blots in perspective – not just in nature, but in my personal life too. When crisis happens – and it does, because that is the way of things – a good exercise is to list the items in our lives that continue to be beautiful, useful and enriching. If we are lucky, we have plumbing, housing, warmth, food and income. And if we are luckier, we have many people whom we like, or maybe love.

Once we remember all these good things, the blot, whatever it may be, is put into perspective. We can possibly go one step further and say that everything – including that benighted telegraph pole – is serving some purpose. And we might begin to accept that the blots, too, have their place.

Metaphorically, a blot is any flaw that we study – that grows larger in our imagination. Yet when we walk away, the blot shrinks – and the landscape is revealed as infinite.

Wellbeing notes: This is the colour for growing and flourishing

01/02/2022 at 10:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We’re focusing on colours in my Thursday meditation group – a different band of the rainbow for seven weeks. The latest colour we’ve been studying is green. My local countryside is still wintry, not yet verdant, so meditating on green brings a dose of early summer to the imagination, and tranquillity to the mind. Picture yourself, right now, in a lush green landscape. How does it feel?

The word ‘green’ comes from the Proto-Indo-European root, ‘ghre’, meaning ‘to grow’, signifying the way natural landscapes gain a colourwash of green as the weather warms up. Somewhere between the passion of red and the purity of white, green is associated with the heart chakra and can be viewed as a colour of healing, freshness and balance, a wonderful hue for feeling relaxed and calm in mind, body and spirit. 

If you feel the need for more green in your life, seek it out. Imagine it. Plant it. Grow it.

On the windowsill in my study are three flourishing plants. Each is beautiful in its own way. The frequent attention they receive helps them to thrive – a reminder that what I care for is more likely to do well. This principle applies equally to people and work projects as well as plants. 

So these are my questions to you. What in your own life is currently becoming green? What aspect is flourishing? And how can this be honoured and encouraged?

Wellbeing notes: This is the colour for strength and new beginnings

01/01/2022 at 10:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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We’ve been focusing on colours in my Thursday meditation group – each week, a different band of the rainbow. We began with red. Reasons to love red include: it’s the bright hue of sumptuous crystals such as garnet and ruby. It’s the rich velvet of crimson rose petals, and the warming taste of mulled wine. It’s the juicy goodness of summer strawberries and the vivid splash of winter rosehips.

In esoteric teachings red is linked with the base chakra, that place at the base of the human spine that is associated with the energies of survival and the fundamental, blood-and-marrow building blocks of life. A physically healthy, balanced, grounded individual can be said to have a well-functioning base chakra. 

One friend remembers buying a red car at a time of personal upheaval. “I would never normally choose such a bright colour, but it was so jaunty and fun,” she explains. “Driving my red car gave me confidence. It was what I needed as I entered a new chapter in my life.”

Her experience resonates with me. Newly single, after a relationship that lasted for decades, I have noticed that I currently love wearing warm, bright colours, including plenty of red. I have treated myself to a crimson, velvet coat which is, for me at this time, the definition of gorgeousness. Wearing red gives me a sense of confidence, an extra boost of energy, and the wellbeing effect is also helping my creative writing to flow. 

I invite you to consider the role of red in your life. The human world is going through unprecedented upheaval. Everyone is affected in varying ways and, honestly, the trials are likely to continue for some time. Maybe we can’t cure society’s ills this month, or even next, but we can choose to go into the future boldly and brightly. Wear red for courage. I dare you.

Building up your kindness muscles

06/12/2021 at 11:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A wise person once said to me, “The most important thing you can learn to do is to forgive.” The act of forgiving has become a life-long lesson. It’s hard to forgive someone who has hurt me personally, or hurt others whom I care about, but there is something freeing about the act.
A useful tool if you wish to become more forgiving is to practise loving kindness meditation. Sometimes called Metta bhavana in the language of early Buddhist texts, or simply ‘Metta meditation’, the concept predates Buddhism, suggesting that kindness is part of our human character.
Try this common form of metta meditation. Close your eyes and think kindly thoughts towards yourself. You might say, silently: “May I be well. May I be happy. May I be safe. May I be peaceful and at ease with myself.”
Then, think of someone you love. Repeat those same kind thoughts: “May you be well. May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease with yourself.”
Then, think of someone you feel neutral towards. Cultivate the same feelings of non- judgemental kindness, and repeat the same words: “May you be well…”
And now, think of someone you find difficult, and repeat the process again, as best you can.
Finally, think of all four people together, in the same spirit of loving kindness, and repeat the words: “May we be well. May we be happy. May we be safe. May we be peaceful and at ease with ourselves.”

Wellbeing notes: do these three things every day

01/11/2021 at 11:02 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Continue Reading Wellbeing notes: do these three things every day…

Message from the oracle deck

03/08/2021 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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There is a pack of oracle cards, called the Oracle of Illumination, that was given to me by Vivien, a dear friend whom I met during my training with The Healing Trust. The bag that the cards rest in nowadays was a gift from Judith, a beloved sister of mine. Both women are now in the light, and yet it feels to me as though their kind influence is evident each time I use the cards.

This morning I drew the card, ‘Energiser’. The book that came with the deck was discarded long ago as I am one of those lawless beings who likes to receive impressions directly from an oracle, without reference to the authors’ personal interpretations. Instead, I went for a walk through the local meadows and let the word become a refrain as I strolled. And these were some of the questions in my mind.

How does the word ‘energiser’ figure in your life today? What and who energise you? What and who leave you feeling low in energy?

I realised that walking in green spaces or doing some yoga or writing my current novel can be deeply energising, even if, before the start of those exercises, I was feeling tired. In contrast, sitting still for long periods doing nothing in particular can actually deplete my energy. And although there are necessary, dull tasks in everyone’s day, making sure to include energising activities, whatever that means to you, is essential self-care.

Wellbeing notes: message from a stream

01/02/2021 at 10:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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There’s a simple walk near my home that takes you over a brook. If you were to follow the brook’s flow you might discover that all the interlacing streams in the neighbourhood bear the same name, Cocklemore Brook, and you would eventually find that the water from the many branches of Cocklemore Brook flows into the River Avon. And the Avon would carry you through the cities of Bath and Bristol until you reached the sea.

On this particular morning I am walking beside the brook thinking about various personal projects – things relating to work and family and home. And suddenly I see that the interlacing flow of these projects is somehow the same in principle as the flow of tiny tributaries that join together into a river leading eventually to the sea. The details of my life are small and insignificant. And yet when combined with the countless tributaries of other people’s endeavours, an ocean is maintained.

What we collectively put into the ocean of our endeavours matters. If I approach my day with kindness, creativity and love, then that is what I contribute to the ocean of humanity.

The name ‘Cocklemore’ comes from the old English words ‘ock’ or oak tree, and ‘more’– a wild, unfarmed place. There are many oak trees here, and the brook flows through boggy, unfarmable land. Like its name, the insights I receive from the brook appear wild, eternal and true. 

Photo: renowned composer Sir Michael Tippett used to sit on this humble bench by Cocklemore Brook, creating his later works such as ‘The Rose Lake’. It’s amazing to listen to this shimmering music while visiting the stream today. 

November’s message of self-acceptance

01/11/2020 at 9:48 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The trees around me in Wiltshire UK where I live are fast losing their colourful canopies as we approach winter. Leaf by leaf, they reveal their true shape. This is the perfect time to notice that there is no such thing as a perfect tree. They are all asymmetrical. Limbs and branches twist and extend in a mysterious pattern. We accept and delight in a tree’s unique shape. Why then should we not delight in our own unique human forms? 

Seen without judgement, human beings are gorgeous examples of creation. I’m pretty certain we are adored by the divine, creative force that lies within and beyond all living beings. And yet we can be so quick to find fault with ourselves. Even something as simple and natural as our age or weight can become something we prefer to hide. Think, for a moment, about how conscious so many of us are about our height. We feel too short or too tall. And yet we are only talking about a difference of a few inches! How can that matter compared with the vast reaches of the universe?

Each of us has the capacity to carry many psychological wounds through life. From childhood onwards we may retain messages from external figures of authority who have left us feeling ‘not good enough’. In adulthood we may become experts at criticising our appearance and our actions in countless small and punishing ways. We may even be unconscious of how wounded we are in this respect, which can lead to a tendency in us to project our unresolved issues on to others, and even to judge others harshly for their own perceived faults.

Yet the revealed shapes of trees in winter suggest to me that humans, like trees, are perfect, just as we are. Our healed wounds and scars are part of our personal story, to be honoured and even loved. Humans, like trees, are surely a beautiful and unique addition to the landscape. And, just like our cousins the trees, as we prepare for winter we carry the potential for new personal growth in the new year.

Stone Age – a (free) audio meditation

07/04/2020 at 1:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Shelter

Here is your (free) audio meditation for this week. Again from the Studio seven years back, it’s a Stone Age visualisation, giving you an opportunity to imagine yourself living a truly simple life, in nature, bathing in refreshing water and breathing the freshest of air. I hope you enjoy it. I will join you listening to it in spirit this Thursday at 1 pm, or any time to suit you. So sit or lie down, relax and enjoy!

With love

Suzanne x

 

Stone Age Meditation

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