Saying ‘cheers’ with elderberry cordial

30/12/2015 at 4:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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This blog was viewed 19,000 times in 2015. WordPress worked it out. “If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House,” they write, “it would take about seven sold-out performances for that many people to see it.”

For a not-very-frequent blogger, the numbers are amazing. I’m grateful that these pages have been viewed, and commented on, so many times. Thank you!

The subjects of these pages include meditation, healing, intuition and nature. It’s about living an authentic life. Many of us have a real thirst for that – and it often takes a practical turn. The most popular posts here are often recipes of one sort or another.

So in 2016, when I gather wild food for the cooking pot, make soaps from the hedgerows and blend fresh herbal teas from the garden, I will share these activities with you.

The most viewed post in 2015 has been a recipe for  elderberry cordial.  I adore elderberries, from their vibrant colour to their delicious, healthy juiciness.

One of the best things about writing that post has been the many comments from readers who have tried out the recipe and/or come up with their own variations. When that happens, there’s a special magic between WordPress, blogger and reader/commentator.

To all who have visited over the past year… I’m drinking to your good health, with a glass of elderberry cordial.

 

 

 

Bookmark your intention

10/04/2015 at 8:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Not so long ago, I was doing a lot of caring for others, and forgetting to care for myself. Therefore, I was running on empty: constantly tired; crabby. My caring for others had become a monster that went through the motions and denied my loved ones the true energy of compassion.

This went on for several days. Then, one morning, in that dreamy state between sleep and awakening, I saw a bookmark hovering in front of me. You know, the long, thin rectangular sort that you put in a proper card-and-paper book.

“Bookmark your intention for today,” said a wise teacher who was invisibly beside me. And at once I saw words appearing on the bookmark. I understood then that I was choosing a simple, uncomplicated intention for the day. My intention – far shorter than a typical ‘to-do’ list – was to help a particular relative in a specific way, and also to care for myself. That was all. Sure, there would be other activities in the day, but my intention was just those two things.

And with that knowledge, I stopped feeling tired and overwhelmed. The energy of life and compassion returned to me.

Additionally, I understood that each new morning benefits from a fresh bookmark, spelling out an intention for that particular day.

What is your intention for today? Keep it simple. There’s only room for a few well-chosen words on a bookmark.

I know why the caged one dreams

26/01/2012 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Happiness, Healing, Intuition, Uncategorized, Wellbeing | 4 Comments
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How can dreams come true when you’re in a cage?

There’s a quirky interiors shop in Bath, England, called Blakes. It’s eclectic. Their window display stopped me in my tracks recently: two heads, in birdcages. “May all your dreams come true” was the message on their foreheads.

But how can dreams come true when you’re in a cage? Those two cages were bothering me. They seemed to represent so much more than a window display.

Then I realised: the cage is different things for different people. In a nutshell, it’s the things that stop us from achieving our dreams.

Unless we’re enlightened, we all have cage bars around us. Here are a few of the restrictions that cage us:

* Growing up in a violent or dysfunctional family.

* Believing we’re not good enough to achieve what we want.

*Feeling we have to play a role to be acceptable to others.

*Regularly doing things we don’t want to because we feel we ought to.

Identify the cage that holds you

Take a sheet of paper, and a few minutes of your time. Draw two lines down the page, so you have three columns.

Write the word ‘Dreams’ at the top of the left-hand column. Underline it. Underneath, write down your dreams and ambitions in a list. Write them all down, as many as you can think of. All those things that in your heart of hearts you’d really love to do. Everything you’d like to experience in your life. Don’t hold back. Just write them all down.

Now, at the top of the middle column, write the word ‘Cage’.  Underline it. Then write a list of everything that is stopping you from achieving your dreams. These negative phrases are the bars of the cage that hold you. Take a good look. The cage bars are as strong as you choose them to be. We can all blame our parents, our background, our friends, our enemies, the people in authority around us… whoever we choose. But the truth is, we are always the ones who hold the keys to liberate ourselves.

The key to your freedom

Finally, at the top of the right hand column, write the word ‘Key’. Underline it. Then write a list of everything you can do to break free from the cage of your limitations, so that you can achieve your dreams. Write it all down. You are crafting the key to your freedom.

And when you have crafted your key, use it. Use it every day, to achieve your dreams.

I’ll give you an example. David is an athlete. He wrote to me: “When people look at me they just look at the image. They never see past that, to the real me.”

David’s dream, in this instance is to be seen for who he truly is. His cage is the need he feels to behave in a certain way, to conform to the athletic image.

We find our freedom when we cultivate an open heart. 

For David, the key  is simply to express himself: to speak the way he feels. He has already started doing this. And as he continues to do so, he will discover that people can at long last see the real David.

So why does the caged one dream? To be clear, we are all caged ones, and we all dream. We dream because we can: because every human being on this planet is a creative being. We can’t help it; it’s what we do.  And somewhere, deep down, we know that we can turn the key, escape our cage, and achieve our heart’s desires.

We dream, because when we set our amazing, powerful heart-minds to the task, we most certainly can be free.

 

Three Happy Moments Game

23/11/2011 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Happiness, Parenting, Uncategorized, Wellbeing | 1 Comment
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The unexpected fragrance of a flower as you pass by.

This is a great game to share with a child, partner or friend at the end of the day. And it’s guaranteed to make the toughest days seem better…

Simply take it in turns to share a first happy moment that happened during the day; then a second; then a third. Choose anything that comes to mind; they don’t have to follow chronological order. Here are some examples:

* seeing a tree with brightly coloured leaves, with the sun shining through them

* a letter containing good news

* thoughtful praise from a colleague

* sharing a laugh with a friend

* seeing your child’s face light up when you picked them up from school

* a blissful half-hour of meditation

* the unexpected fragrance of flowers as you walked by.

* a healthy work-out at the gym, or a yoga practice.

Over time, you get a very clear idea of the things that make you and your loved ones happy. And the more you focus on those, the more often those happy things happen. This is a win-win game.

Dream school: learn while you sleep

29/09/2011 at 12:10 pm | Posted in Intuition, Uncategorized, Wellbeing | 2 Comments
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Ask for solutions to come to you in the night, while you sleep.

Mary was a new client who was struggling with a new course that she’d started. “The problem is my memory,” she told me. “I just don’t remember things as well as I used to.”

I told her to stop trying and start relaxing. “That’s all very well for you to say,” she retorted. “But this situation is making me feel stressed. How can I possibly relax?”

So this is what I told her. Maybe it will be useful for you too…

Before you go to sleep at night, while you are lying in bed, ask for the most suitable expert that could possibly exist to help you with your memory, or the subject which you are learning. Ask for expert tuition in this subject while you sleep. Thank the expert, feeling happy in the knowledge that you will get the help you need.

Then… go to sleep.

In the morning when you wake up you may or may not remember any dreams. That doesn’t matter. You will, however, find your learning goes more smoothly. Repeat, at night, for any specific help that you require.

Mary reported back a few days later. “I don’t know how it works, but it does,” she said. “It’s as if I’m using another part of my brain to help me. I almost feel as though I already know what I’m learning.”

Mary now frequently attends dream school while she sleeps. And so can you.

How to trust your intuition

06/09/2011 at 4:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Intuition is about not trying to force your way through a locked window or door.

“I don’t trust my intuition” is something I hear again and again from new clients. It’s not really surprising – when we were growing up it was standard practice to teach children to ignore their innermost feelings, in favour of what they ‘should’ be thinking.

Luckily, times have changed. In-tuition – our internal tuition – is now highly valued by many of the world’s most successful people. To give one example, not long before Tim Cook became the CEO of Apple, he gave a talk to young graduates at his old university, in which he urged them to work hard, be prepared… and then trust their intuition over logic or plans.

“There are times in our lives when the careful consideration of cost and benefits just doesn’t seem like the right way to make a decision,” said Cook. “There are times in all of our lives when a reliance on gut or intuition just seems more appropriate – when a particular course of action just feels right. And interestingly I’ve discovered it’s in facing life’s most important decisions that intuition seems the most indispensable to getting it right.”

In fact, if you want to be successful, you need your intuition. Period. So how do you trust it? Here’s how.

Stop being a busy bee hitting your head against a window

How many times have you seen this? A bee has flown into the room. It’s trying to get out through a closed window. Again, and again, it buzzes angrily and bangs its head against the glass.

The glass is the barrier to a solution. The busy, buzzing bee is your brain. If you are stuck for a solution, walk away from it. Stop thinking about it. Sleep on it. If you don’t have time for that, sit still, focus on your breath, and meditate.

When you calm your busy brain, you allow the answer to bubble up in your consciousness.  For the bee, the solution is an open door that happens to be near the frustrating window. For you, it’s an elegant new solution that you would never have reached by going through the same old thought processes.

Intuition is about having the courage to step back, to find a new open door.

Spot the ‘Ah-ha’ moments

When the right solution, or pathway, bubbles up in your mind – it’s an ‘Ah-ha!’ moment. Make a note of that feeling – every time you feel it. Eventually, with lots of practice, you’ll spot the ‘Ah-ha’ feeling in its earliest stages, so you won’t necessarily have to go to sleep or meditate.

When you get really good, you’ll just have to switch attention away from the problem or dilemma, take a deep breath or two… and let that ah-ha moment pop up.

 

Clean up your psyche

Imagine that our buzzing bee does eventually decide to fly away from the closed window. But the room is absolutely full of stuff: furniture and junk. The bee gets stuck in a corner somewhere, buzzing sadly away, its wings all dusty, between a cushion and a drawer… how will the bee ever find that open door?

Imagine, now, that the room is sparkling clean and full of space. The bee flies about it easily, and finds the open door very quickly. The junk in that room is actually the stuff that we carry about with us: old, stuck emotions and memories… We’re talking about the difficult, painful experiences from childhood onwards that we have blocked off because we didn’t know what to do with them at the time, so we just stuck them in a drawer somewhere in our psyche.

If you want to trust your intuition, you have to clear the room that is your psyche – regularly. Give it a really good spring-clean, and then vacuum and dust it regularly. How do you do that? There are many ways:

• Find a notebook or an art pad and start expressing your thoughts and feelings.

• Keep a dream journal and record all the dreams that you remember – dreams are the psyche’s natural way of sorting out all the junk.

• Detox the body physically with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

• Visit a holistic practitioner, such as a healer or intuition consultant who specialises in clearing emotional junk and helping you to reconnect with your inner knowledge.

The work is worth it, because your intuition is an invaluable, golden friend, a guide that can take you to your most authentic desires – and give you loads of fun along the way.

Tim Cook again: “In turning important decisions over to intuition one has to give up on the idea of developing a life plan that will bear any resemblance to what ultimately unfolds. Intuition is something that occurs in the moment, and if you are open to it. If you listen to it it has the potential to direct or redirect you in a way that is best for you.”

Try it and see.

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