Finding OM in Home
Space Between the Notes
“Home is a state of being we carry within us.” These were some words shared with me shortly before setting out on a year long adventure across South America. They stayed with me throughout that year when I learned I could make my home out of a bare room, complete with a run of fire ants, and a few basic belongings. It has stayed with me to this day, after several moves, across oceans and cities. And suddenly, i’m beginning to understand, home is a vibration that arises from within. For me it is associated with an expansive feeling of serenity, comfort and belonging. It is very similar to the feeling that arises from chanting the Sanskrit syllable OM. If we look closely, OM is actually nestled in the heart of h OM e.
In a sense, much of my work as a Holistic Coach and Yoga/Meditation Teacher is focussed on tapping into this vibration of ‘home’. While at essence it is an inner state of being, it is in a dynamic reciprocal dance with the physical spaces we inhabit. Our home and work environments are an extension of ourselves. Physical spaces hold the energies of the people and experiences that occur within them.
Planting Seeds of Self-Care
I consider the practice of self observation to be a fundamental starting point when establishing a healthier relationship to the mind. This process of receptive awareness, which can be found in many meditation practices, is a bit like like slowing down the speed dial on a record player. By slowing the speed, there comes a point where it is possible to clearly hear each note. Then if you slow a little more, it becomes possible to hear the space between the notes.
Imagine doing this with your mind. Slowing the mind, first to hear the individual thoughts as they arise. Then to hear the space between the thoughts.
Why is this practice helpful? Well it teaches us some important fundamentals about who we are and our relationship to our mind. Firstly, it shows us the kinds of grooves we get stuck in, the particular thoughts and situations which activate and aggravate us. It shows us our patterns. Secondly, as we become proficient, it helps us catch our patterns as we are moving into them. Once we catch them, we find we have CHOICE and this choice is like a golden gift. We can choose to remain under the influence of our fluctuating, rather erratic and sometimes neurotic mind, or we can operate from the spaciousness. Suddenly we move into a new relationship with our mind, which moves towards relating to it as a tool which is there to support us.
Within my coaching practice, I've been so inspired to witness my clients making incredible changes in their lives... stepping into new careers, addressing and accessing support for long-term health issues, setting up their own businesses, creating positive balance in their closest relationships. I notice in all cases that this transformation sprouted from the same place .... of planting a seed of self-care.
Their transformation did not come from making grand sweeping changes. It started with the smallest of actions and was guided by an attitude of inner enquiry and a series of choices which waltzed towards that which was nourishing and inspiring, and moved away from that which was depleting. It started with the smallest of steps but lead to personal transformation of a grand and sweeping kind.
Take a moment to reflect on your relationship with yourself, without judgement.
Prayer on the Summer Solstice
"Are you doing what you love?" I was asked this simple question shortly after arriving in LA and it knocked me side-ways! I realized I'd spent most of my life doing things that I thought would give me security, geared towards career and materials. Unexpectedly, moving to LA would take me straight into the heart of this question. Much to my dismay and frustration at the time, I was unable to keep doing what had been doing - clinical psychology. So I was presented with a blank slate, and a choice. It was almost as if the universe was shouting from the roof top "OK so now no excuses - DO something you love!"
The Transformation of the Butterfly
On the eve of the summer solstice 3 years ago, I sat on a rocky ledge somewhere in the expansive landscape of the Grand Canyon and watched the sun descend under the horizon. It was my first summer in USA and my first taste of the deserts and big skies of the south west. This continues to be one of my favorite images and moments, speaking to the whispers of the land and its sacred history.
Are you dancing or fighting?
"You know, there is no such thing as a baby butterfly! And, there is no such thing as a grown up caterpillar!". The profound wisdom of this statement from a child stopped me in my tracks.
For days, I kept coming back to these words. I was wondering "OK, so am I a butterfly or a caterpillar?"
The Art of Attention
In recent days I've been profoundly inspired by the work of Dr Hew Len and his teachings of the Ho'onponopono, a practice originating in Hawaii. The practice has shone a light on the oscillations of my mind and emotions, the triggers which send me into judgement, my tendency to look outside myself to blame when something doesn't work out, and the powerful seeds of my self-doubt. Ho'onponopono gently reminds me of my own responsibility. It's up to me whether I choose to dance or fight in this life.
“Imagination is more important that knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Albert Einstein
Many years ago, my daily commute to work involved a long journey across London on the Tube. For some time I fell into the habit of picking up a newspaper from the station, which I would diligently read from cover to cover. By the time I arrived at work I felt jaded, tainted by the grim tales of the day. There were rarely any positive stories.
Magic in the ordinariness of every moment!
Through my work with second graders, I have come to realize that one of the most important functions of my role as a yoga and meditation teacher is to create an opening to imagination. It's amazing to see where the children take an idea once a seed has been planted. It's just so easy, natural and alive to them.
A year ago I visited India. It was my first time there and my first time traveling alone for quire some time. It seemed like an epic adventure. In fact, while I was there every moment seemed like an adventure - a blur of activity, color, sound and new experience.