Autumnal Equinox 2017

There is nothing permanent except change. Heraclitus

The seasons inevitably bring change with them and the autumn is about bringing in the harvest, taking stock as well as providing for the winter. Sometimes it can feel like being one step ahead of the weather and constantly paying attention to detail. This can also be a metaphor for other aspects of our lives. This year’s Autumnal Equinox is no different and that “paying attention to detail” is vital. In order to do that, we need to be extra grounded and present.

Staying focused can be a challenge so it is a good idea to have a simple grounding routine that you can keep to. Walking on the earth barefoot (even for a few seconds), connecting with any trees around you in parks or the countryside, putting earthing images on your screensavers, eating lots of root vegetables and earthy food – all these help. Notice healing opportunities, whether they are physical, emotional, mental or spiritual, and take advantage of them. It is also a good time to let go of old resentments and fears. Forgiveness exercises and Gratitude practices are very helpful at this time. A simple practice is think of three small things you are genuinely grateful for each morning and again in the evening.

Challenges that may come up are fault finding with partners, keeping good boundaries, our own moodiness and that of others as well as control issues. A particularly confronting aspect of this Equinox is being aware of the “charmer/gushing sycophant” and false praise in others or ourselves. All of these can act as deflections from our sense of purpose and moving forwards. To counterbalance these challenges, we can concentrate on authenticity/self-honesty and connect with like minded people, meditate and tap into the spiritual wisdom of our “elders”. There is always a golden opportunity to do this mid-Equinox at Samhain around 31st October.

The planet, the earth, the animal kingdom and all humanity are crying out this Equinox for respect and kindness – asking us to make the changes we need to in order to survive and thrive. We can only challenge and change our own internal attitudes that in turn will flow out and join those of others. Although this is a tough Equinox, there is a sense of being part of a supportive energy and coming out the other side with joy and gentleness – resisting the urge to give in and give up. There is still a lot of inspiration available.

 

Dealing with emotional and information overload

Sometimes I want to hide under the duvet until “it” passes over? It is usually to do with overload – too much information, too many feelings, and not enough time to process it. My mind and my feelings collide and my real higher intuition flies out the window. It can feel that I have lost my firewall against my reactions to life, the news – is it fake or not, political spin, social media bending and distorting the facts? Opinions of others leaking into my brain – good or bad, right or wrong … I would love to say this never happens to me but it does especially if I am tired or have allowed myself to become too busy. What is more, definitely if my filters are not in place and my auric egg is not in good shape. More about that further down.

It is a human trait that we want to believe what we want to believe. We think we can somehow control the “truth” and this in turn can make us vulnerable to misinformation. There seems to be a lot of manipulation of the truth and misinformation around in the collective at the moment, let alone what might be happening in our own lives. I love the Leonard Cohen song Anthem and it seems very relevant right now.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.
That’s how the light gets in.

There is a crack in everything and certainly in information and emotional overload. The effects of the overload can be really subtle until we are not sure what we believe – a crack. Interestingly living off the grid, in an ideal world, and away from other humans can also enable us to become “opinionated” and stuck in our beliefs – nurturing a judgement of “them and us”.

 

Thank goodness for that crack. The trick is recognising the crack and using the light as well as we can.

How can I use the light well and put my filters of discernment and growth back? One of the ways that works for me is taking some time to empty my mind. One of the easiest ways I can do that is as I am showering, standing under the water and feeling it washing away what is no longer of service to me, then as I dry myself imagine a cloak of light going around my body. We can use a mantra or chant. Find a way that suits you.

There are lots of different techniques of visualising filters and there are some suggestions in  the Smell the Roses workbook. We have an auric egg made up of different layers of filters. It can get a bit battered and damaged by overloads. However, it can be repaired through visualisation. Sometimes doing this as simply as imagining pure light going through the layers, allowing your egg to be realigned. Once those filters are back in place, we can start again from a more manageable place. Willingness and intent can contribute to a lot of the work. A consequence of taking responsibility for my auric egg is I am also open to my beliefs being challenged, that is where I can grow – changing  my mind in positive ways rather than being influenced by others. One of my teachers said belief, when rigid or fed by fear, can stand for: being in the lie. That in turn can feel a trap. It feels more comfortable in the end to “egg up” and be in touch with my higher intuition. There are times when overwhelm can come back but thank goodness for the cracks and noticing them.

Summer Solstice 2017

“Without Forgiveness we are lost; with Forgiveness we find our way home”
Anonymous
The Summer Solstice is about celebrating all the hard work and  achievements of the past year. It is about spending time with friends and family, then half way through, around 1st August, taking time to pause, reflect and think about what next. However, for many, this Solstice is more acutely tinged with a sense of chaos, confusion and uncertainty. There may also be a profound sense of loss and grief. To balance these challenges, there will be and have been extraordinary acts of selfless courage and human kindness.
Anger and frustration will be like a tinder box this Summer. It is important not to allow ourselves or others to fan those flames. Pontification leads nowhere. Forgiveness is one of the keys of this Solstice. There are many effective ways of achieving this and I have made a very simple meditation that you are welcome to use. Somehow continuous forgiveness of ourselves and others can bring us back to our center, especially at challenging times.

You may have a sense of overwhelm during this Solstice combined with a desire to be left undisturbed – “leave me alone to get on with …”.  Perhaps a tension between speaking out and withdrawing from “others”. One of the solutions is to meditate and reflect on what action, however small, we can take  for ourselves, our family and/or our community. We can do this by using our own personal challenges and how we overcame them as inspiration and motivation. A natural reserve rather than lack of expression can serve us well.
If we trust the timing, and at times finding that patience will be difficult, we stand a chance of finding ourselves in synchronicity with the Universe using clear forms of communication. We have a collective voice that can bring about positive change and resolution. We have witnessed and experienced what happens when we allow the voice of a few to dominate us. We now have access to an intense desire for life – a fresh start, let’s use it.

My first experiences of meditation

Last Sunday I had what I call a “grandfather” moment and became aware again what a wonderful source of inspiration he has been to me all my life. As the memories flooded back, I thought about the different ways we would “meditate” together especially as I have dedicated the Smell the Roses workbook to him as well as my grandchildren.

Bobo brought me up as my mother had died when I was very small. He came from an army family and became a soldier himself. He was a very young soldier in World War I and, the moment it was over, he left the army and trained to be an actor, which was where his true vocation lay. By the time I came along, he was a very established actor. He managed, as if by magic, to be home in time to read my night time story. His beautifully ever changing voice would transport me to wonderful places and invite me to become part of the story, rather than a spectator. These were my first experiences of guided meditations and, in ideal circumstances, as there were no distractions.

Although he had been brought up in the country and had a deep love for horses, he equally loved London where we lived. As soon as I could go for long walks, we would explore London together. This time, they were mutual meditations. We would often find a bench or flight of steps and sit in companionable silence connecting to the world around us. Sometimes he would take me to Lords or the Oval to watch cricket. I didn’t totally share his passion for cricket but at Lords I was allowed to wander off to the Rose Garden. This was where I learned to literally smell the roses fascinated by their different scents. At the Oval, I just immersed myself in the atmosphere particularly if the West Indies were playing – all the bright colours of people’s clothes, the music of drums and the general enthusiasm for the game. All these experiences taught me about being fully present in the moment. When I was bored at school, I would remember a day at the Oval and feel happy inside, no longer bored.

We lived near Kensington gardens and from an early age, I used to escape there. Like a homing pigeon, I would head for the Peter Pan statue. My greatest pleasure was to explore it with my hands until I knew every nook and cranny. If I close my eyes now, I can feel the little mouse hidden in one of the folds of the statue and for some reason smell freshly mown grass. A very soothing memory that I can breath in if I am feeling agitated. Just as my grandfather taught me when we went for our walks – “Just breath that atmosphere in” he would say.

Who has been your inspiration? We meditate more than we think …