Month: June 2015

Moving to the other side


Moving to the other side.

There are two sides to our lives; there is the ‘darker side’ and the ‘beautiful side’.

Some spend too much time on the darker side, rarely experiencing the beautiful side of life, outside a few instants.

This can depend on many factors: your upbringing, view of the world or circumstances.

Remaining on the darker side’ can simply be a habit; you stay because that is all you know.

What is the ‘darker side’?

It is the place that is always cloudy and chilly.

Worries and concerns are consuming.

Regrets are never forgiven or forgotten.

Thoughts judge and shame persevere.

Competition and comparison drive you.

Sadness comes and stays.

Anger and resentment fuels you.

The darker side convinces you that success and happiness can only be found on that side, the lighter and more beautiful side is a only an illusion.

Hard work without time for play, long hours, and being constantly busy sits comfortably on that side.

Toxic people will convert you to the darker side, with their negativity your energy will be drained so you cannot move to the beautiful side even if you wanted to.

If you decide that you want to move to the ‘beautiful side’, the ‘darker side’ will tug at your guilt strings, it fights to keep you as you are.

Once you move over to the ‘beautiful side’ or the other side, life becomes lighter and warmer; there is hope without persistent unease.

Love flourishes, colours are vibrant, thoughts quiet down, everyone is equal, and you get sad but move on.

Anger comes and goes swiftly, resentment only lasts for seconds.

Work can be hard, but you love what you do, being too busy does not exist. Play is as important as work.

People love and support you, whether or not they disapprove. They hold you up and love you, and you do the same in return.

No, this is not fantasyland; it is just the other side of the ‘darker side’.

If the ‘darker side’ exists, then why is it difficult to conceive that the ‘beautiful side’ exists?

It is because many of us are stuck on the ‘darker side’ and see no way of moving over.

Moving over to the other side can be tough, and requires presence, patience and perseverance: The 3 P’s.

Once you get to the other side, you will never want to leave the ‘beautiful side’, time on the ‘darker side’ lessens and you are free and happy.

Exposing yourself


Exposing yourself – letting your true self emerge

Undressing, whether in front of a mirror, or in front of someone, exposes us to judgment; eyes seeing all the imperfections, leaving us feeling vulnerable.

Clothes shield us from critical eyes; covered we move in anonymity amongst the crowds without being seen.

What happens when our greatest fear is not our physical nakedness but our true self being exposed?

We use masks to protect us from potential hurt and rejection. These masks are not who we really are, they are crafted so we can blend in.

When I have taken the risk of exposing my true self to the world; the goofy, spacey, blondeske side of me, people would laugh; this would set off a chain of emotions, which further forced me replace, the mask as quickly as I could.

I learned how to play it safe using a mask of silence and to nod even if I had no understanding of what was being said. Finding a seat at the back of the room and avoiding a person’s eyes, this mask hid my ignorance.

Until one day something inside me cracked, I could not keep up the charade anymore. My fear of exposure flipped and I felt compelled to smash that mask into pieces and let my true self emerge.

I have to confess it was not an easy time; it felt as if I was walking in public naked, facing the elements and eyes without protection. It took me time to realize that no matter what I did or said in life I would always be judged, positive or negative, not matter what.

Eventually, I stopped caring so much of what people would think; I noticed something unusual started to occur:

I was happy… creative… inspired… goofy… full of laughter…silliness…

I didn’t care, because…

I was me and liked who I was.

Here’s how to expose yourself?

  1. Take a chance, remove the mask.
  2. Acknowledge it won’t be easy.
  3. Be patient
  4. Persevere

Anywhere but home


Anywhere but home: take a trip within yourself.

Everywhere I turn people are going somewhere, to some place or another, away, on a trip, annual vacations…anywhere but home.

I have yet to meet someone who plans a trip within themselves.

Going somewhere else provides us with an escape from the stresses and monotony of our daily lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I love travelling, probably more than I like staying.

It feels to me like we are constantly running away from ourselves, we may go on holiday for some peace and quiet, but most of us rarely delve into the depths of ourselves.

Airplanes transport us to a faraway destinations; meditation is the vehicle that takes us within ourselves. .

I have to confess, I used to hate meditating, the thought of sitting by myself, without any distractions for even five minutes, used to freak me out. I grew angry, seething within, and wondering what the hell is this all about.

It occurred to me one day, why, I don’t like being with myself because: I am annoying; my thoughts can be mean, hurtful, uninteresting and repetitive. The concerns I have grow two fold when I am sitting without a book to read or work to do.

Why would I want to take a trip within myself, if it feels like this?

I realized I would rather be doing than being; being is one of the most challenging things we face.

The irony is that I am a teacher of yoga and meditation, if I dislike being with myself then how can I possible teach with authenticity?

I knew it was time to face the truth and take that imminent trip within myself.

My trip began with scheduling ten-minute slots each day for one month. It started me sitting, squirming… wondering why and admonishing this decision. As I reached the 30th day, something shifted.

I could sit without torment; the cushion was soft and inviting. My thoughts became kinder, gentler and less chaotic. I felt calmer and my problems seemed more manageable and less scary. I liked myself; I wasn’t so bad after all.

Each day this trip got easier and I actually looked forward to it.

Why take this trip?

  1. It’s free, no costs are involved
  2. There is no need to pack a suitcase or bring your passport.
  3. All you need is yourself and a comfortable space.
  4. It is fascinating; you will see sights you have never seen before.
  5. Boredom does not exist on this trip, as there is a load of brain activity going on to keep you occupied.
  6. Strength and persistence is required to navigate the challenging terrain.
  7. Happiness and relaxation is the ultimate outcome.
  8. You won’t come home with the holiday blues, you will be home already.

Stay at home

Quieting the mind


Sitting quietly, preparing for my meditation practice, eyes closed, breath deep and evenly flowing. All seems as it should be.

Then out of the corner of my mind, appearing out of no where, a thought… then another…then another…

A quiet moment of peace lasted for a total of a few seconds, my neurones were firing, misfiring, shooting, lobbing, punting, thoughts all over the place.

What appeared to the outside world as a serene scene, me peacefully, sitting, my head was in a war zone. But who was I fighting?

Many of these thoughts were random having no link to the previous ones. Then there were those thoughts obsessed with that one concern, swirling around in your head.

These unruly thoughts were not about to let up.

Then just before I was about to throw in the towel, an image of a woman sitting between her flock of children during a church service popped into my head.

The children represent our whirling thoughts, whilst the mother is the stabilising force. Her presence and gentle, but firm manner quelled the children’s, noisy, energetic tendency by setting boundaries. She displayed no anger or admonishment, just lovingly reminding the children it time to be quiet and still.

Like our mind it requires training and boundary setting, without harsh criticism.

Our thoughts can become unruly, especially when there are not distractions – when we fall sleep, meditate, sit quietly, listen to another person speak. This is when the mind, like children, ceases the opportunity to act out.

Follow these 3 P’s to quiet your mind:

  1. Be Present – take deep conscious breaths.
  2. Be Patient – thoughts will misbehave and..
  3. Persevere – don’t give up.

Try my 3 minute Breathing Awareness Mediation here

Do let me know how you get on.