My Wish Is No Stress. Cool, Calm, Collected Instead

I start each day with the wish that I can stay cool, calm and collected. An old fashioned way of saying I’m going to stay away from stress of any kind.

It’s a wonderful intention. But as they say – the road to hell is paved with good intentions! However I am becoming much better at minimising my stress level when I notice that I’m getting a bit twitchy. When I think back to my twenties and thirties I notice how much time I spent stressed out and exhausted. I’m not sure now what I thought all that stress was achieving. Certainly not what I thought it was anyway. There was the shift into being married not single. Trying to get ahead in my career. Discussions about babies and family life. A messy divorce. Singlehood. Another messy relationship. Still trying to forge ahead with a career despite moving from one end of the country to another.

Now I look back I seem to have been trying to pack an awful lot of living into a short space of time. I feel that’s one of the benefits of getting more years under my belt. I can shake my head and laugh at all the stuff that created stress for me. Because none of it matters now. I’d love to be able to share that perspective with some of my younger mentees. But I’m not sure if they would get it. We jump into life wanting all sorts of dreams and stress ourselves up to the eyeballs to get them. Only to find, quite often, that the dream we were chasing isn’t the one that is right for us. It took me many years of self development to get to the point of recognising and rejecting my stressy head.

Of course reacting to stress is a survival technique. It’s just that the ego mind now sees risk in all sorts of things. And learning to tell the difference between survival and a dream dying can be hard.

One of the best things I learned when discovering how to be less stressed was that I was doing it to myself. If I made something matter to me then it got stressy. I remember working really hard doing a lot of overtime to buy a particular car. When I got in to drive it for the first time I hated the way it drove. I moved from stressing about affording it to stressing about wanting to get rid of it. It took me a long time to work out that I could have had a test drive in all sorts of cheaper cars in case there was a more affordable one that was lovely to drive. I think we all do that far too often. Forget to think things through because we are focused on one outcome.

When I started to think things through I found that I could let issues drop. I could step back from the pressure of making decisions that felt like they had to be concrete or perfect and let myself have more options. Flexibility too. Stress decreases when I know that it’s ok to change my mind. Or that I can try something and then swap to another choice if I want. The relief from believing something is the only option is wonderful. It also helped me to notice when the stress wasn’t really mine. Because I had to deal with people who were also stressed. Pressured in one way or another. Their minds running wild with fear and anxiety.

Stress is a bit like a virus. You can be immune. Or you can catch every variety going.

Part of freeing myself from stressful days was to develop an ability to step back. Not to react in the same way when someone was stressy headed with me. Letting their energy flow around and past me. I began aiming for that cool, calm, collected approach in my dealings with others. Letting them say and do what they needed to express their stress but not joining in. Reminding myself that I was only responsible for myself and my actions. I also found that if I spoke what was truthful for me I carried less stres around.

It was hard to find my authentic voice because of all the conditioning about how we should, ought or must speak to one another. Yet when I took off my masks and spoke from the realest me I became more at peace with myself. Even if I wasn’t heard or understood. I recognised that suffering in silence, so to speak, was stressful. Then I began to notice that when I was calm so were others. Calmness spreads like a virus too. I promised myself that I would bring as much of that energy into my day as I could. Meditation really helped me to hone my calmness. Being able to release myself from my thoughts. Letting my feelings go. Living in the moment.

Nowadays I am much more likely to step back from stress. To decline to get wound up. Happy to let anything that is problematic resolve itself. I haven’t lost that stressy head completely. But I’m nearly there!

Day 582 of my blogging challenge 

Meditating : Being Grateful

It’s been a day of goodbyes. Learning to let go with gratitude for what is being left behind. Meditating so I can feel grateful for all the changes as they happen to me.

I know I was taught early to say thank you. In fact please and thank you were the manners expected in my family. I’m not sure as a child that I understood what thank you really meant. It was a phrase I was supposed to say. So I did. Later I started to understand that saying thank you was a form of gratitude. A way of acknowledging something I had been given. Even if I didn’t want it. That confused me. I had to say thank you for things I didn’t want to receive. It had become an automatic response. A polite phrase to hide my real feelings and thoughts. No matter what the motive behind the giving I was supposed to be grateful.

I think I struggled with gratitude for a long time. When I felt obliged to say thank you I know I did so grudgingly. The words were empty of meaning. If someone told me what, in their opinion, I should do with my life I said thank you. When another one told me how I should feel about events in my life I said thank you. If someone made allowances for me becuase I was a woman I said thank you. All the while gritting my teeth and feeling very ungrateful. Yet there were times when people did something unexpected and thank you hardly seemed like enough acknowledgement. Occasions when someone went out of their way to help me but I found it hard to say a simple thank you. I felt driven to make grand gestures of thanks.

When I began learning to meditate I struggled. My mind was full of thoughts that distracted me. One day I was meditating about gratitude. Suddenly my mind started to clear.

The person leading the meditation took us into a garden asking us to notice all the details of where we were. I found myself there very easily. Better still I seemed to be able to feel thankful for the garden in my imagination. As I was guided to sit on a bench someone sat down beside me. It was a person who I felt had cause a lot of strife in my life. Yet this was a meditation about being grateful. How would I be able to feel gratitude for this person? Over many practices I started to feel the love between both of us. To recognise that they had been in my life to help me learn more about the absence of love. And that it wasn’t only me who felt that absence.

Because of the recognition that love underpins gratitude I began to recognise that my grudging thanks to others was telling me something about me. An automatic thank you had no meaning. If I wanted to express my gratitude with true intent my word and energy had to be filled with loving kindness. It was also important to be grateful for myself. If I couldn’t be thankful for me then how could I express thanks in any meaningful way for others. For anything really. Every so often I would return to my garden of gratitude. Finding different people there helped me to let go of all sorts of disruptive feelings. I began to feel at peace with and even more grateful for myself. In fact it became clear that letting go was often easier if I took a walk in that garden saying thank you.

Once again today I walked in the garden. There have been several things that I have let go of today. In my garden of gratitude I said thank you to them. I appreciate what has been in my life, how it has shaped me and understand the loving intent behind it all. Now I can be grateful that I love myself enough to move forward.

Day 507 of my blogging challenge 

Silent, Still, Paying Attention

Today has been about paying attention. To live an intuitive life it’s something I have had to learn to do. Being open to signs, symbols, messages of all sorts from everywhere.

As we grow up we have to learn to pay attention. My parents wanted me to do so. My school teachers also placed a lot of value on my paying attention. They all told me it was the way to learn. In work I had to pay attention too so that the right things would happen. I have spent my whole life paying attention. But to what? Mostly to duty, responsibility and all those things that others believe I should notice. Often at the expense of things that I wanted to take notice of. And certainly at the expense of the intuitive senses I have.

For instance, it took me a long time to start paying attention to my dreams. And to the coincidences that seemed to litter my life. Even to the thoughts pushed into the background by my focus on the day to dayness of living a material life. When I wanted to uncover my past lives I finally learned that I needed to observe the background thoughts. To look for the patterns that were present in my life. Because all sorts of intuitive information way trying to get into my attention. I began to notice much more. Considering my dreams, the books I read, the things people said to me and the experiences I was having I recognised themes. Especially in my dreams.

I practiced lucid dreaming. I wanted to let the inner me know I was once more paying attention. It was me giving permission for me to find out more.

Gradually I learned the meaning of my intuition. It became possible to use my intuitive senses. Through my first hesitant steps at interpreting dreams and symbols I started to see the messages all around me. Learning to meditate helped me to access the thoughts behind my thoughts. Then to create a still space where all of the intuitive information could be shown to me. So much so that the space remains even when I’m busy in my material life. All I have to do is step out for a moment or two and the guidance I need will be delivered there.

Sometimes I like to take a day to access this space. Usually in between doing my ordinary things. I encourage the silence of my busy, everyday thoughts by letting my conscious mind carry on with the doing. My intuitive, imaginative mind comes to the front. Either in meditation or with dreams it can tell me what I next need to pay attention to. Not from a duty or responsibility point of view. Or from the perspective of what others think is important. My attention can be directed to the inner journey. To my spiritual path and my sense of what will be right for me. I can receive the news of what is coming up next and how I can ride the next wave of energy to flow through my life.

In a way I’ve had a quiet day. I enjoy reading so have done so. I’ve also been daydreaming. Lots of intuitive help has presented itself through the absence of thinking. I have enjoyed a different kind of paying attention. Now I can resume my forward momentum once more.

Day 496 of my blogging challenge. 

A Cleaning Meditation

Today I spent quite a lot of time cleaning. Anyone who knows me also knows I’m a bit hit and miss with housework. But I’ve had quite a bit buzzing round my brain. And cleaning is a great way to think.

I sometimes get caught up in the spaghetti of my mind. Too many thoughts rushing around. Issues vying for attention. Decisions shouting for a yes or no. Other people wanting my attention. New information to process. It can be exhausting! Clearing my mind somehow becomes the most important issue. How to make the cleaning happen? What to let go of first? How to empty my mind? Because until I do the spaghetti will only get more and more tangled. Meaning that I’ll miss something I don’t want to. Or do something I hadn’t intended to. And yes, chaos will follow as my world falls in on my head.

I know that sounds extreme but it’s usually some sort of fear, or even a few, driving me when my mind is cluttered. Cleaning up my act, so to speak, means getting in front of the fear. Chasing it off, putting it behind me, or diving in through the fear at all costs. When I’m in front of the fear I’m taking the lead. Not the fear. So I try to convert this chaos into activity. That’s why I was cleaning. Hot soapy water to wash the dishes in. A cloth and bleach for those harder to remove stains. The duster with the long handle for those hard to get to places. One bin bag for charity stuff. Another for the rubbish. Also cleaning the carpets. The soothing sound of the vacuum cleaner. Watching the bits of fluff disappear into the he nozzle.

I even found myself wondering where all the fluff comes from. It’s like a magical substance. I think I’ve got it all but when I turn around there is more.

With my hands occupied the noise of my thoughts gradually faded into the background. Every so often one thought would walk to the front of my mind, present itself and wait to see what I responded. I found myself flying through a long list of thoughts in a natural and logical way. Rummaging around  seemed to be the order of the day for my intuitive brain. Yet the connections that I made between issues, thoughts, decisions made the next steps really clear. By the time I’d finished cleaning I felt that my brain was sorted out. Lots of have beeen let go. After my cleaning meditation I now have only one or two things to think about. And a nice clean house too!

Day 457 of my blogging challenge. 

Rain makes Flowers grow

imageIt’s been a very wet day. Lots of cloud and rain. Time to stay around our base and be creative.

I love the smell of damp grass and trees. I also enjoy being outside when it rains. The freshness feels good. Yet on some days, when the rain is non stop, I also like to stay indoors. Letting the rain pass me by so to speak. Using the ‘restriction’ the rain creates to do my own creating. I haven’t meditated for a few days so I felt the build up of ‘stuff’ yet to be shifted. Deciding not to venture out gave me the opportunity of an hour to meditate instead.

Going into that inner space always brings me much to think about. I have a chance to step back and be an observer in my own life. When I return from the inside I often find I’m inspired to draw something here on the outside to clarify what I’ve discovered. Or I find it’s time to write a blog. Or a poem. I also come back with things to work on too. Life is about experiences. Sometimes the experiences I have aren’t pleasant. Going into my inner space gives me a chance to try to understand what I’m being asked to notice about the process of my life.

Living a spiritual life, not just talking about it, represents a state of constant awareness for me.

Just like the rain is a natural function of clouds, as these are a natural function of atmospheric currents, I feel a natural function of being here is acting in accordance with what I believe. To do that I have to be aware of what I believe is a spiritual life. Then I also have to be aware of bringing that belief into the actions I choose. Only by reflection before and after taking action can I align myself with spirituality in word and deed. And it’s very easy to think or speak the words but not to live by them.

That’s also why the idea of an unfolding flower appeals to me. In the Buddhist tradition the chakras are viewed as lotus flowers. As I unfold my petals, becoming aware of my Divine connections to everything that exists, I am blossoming. A bit of rain, the emotional challenge to my spiritual beliefs, will help me grow. The more I work at being all that I am the bigger the blossom I find. So letting the experiences of life guide me to be more me is a great way to spend some time.

Day 256 my blogging challenge.

Feeling out of sorts

imageWhen I was growing up my Nana had a favourite saying for those days when nothing quite fitted. She would tell me I must be feelings out of sorts. She meant that I wasn’t sick, though an out of sorts day was often the run up to being ill, but I wasn’t feeling quite right. Or balanced. And that I didn’t know why. She was right. Even now when I have a day that seems to be slightly off key I remind myself that it’s ok, I must be feeling out of sorts. It’s a useful saying because it covers all sorts of situations and events.

This morning someone wanted to be served before me though it was my turn. Then a couple of people I said hello to were a bit cranky back. There was the man who insisted in being in front of me crossing the road. And the lady who frowned and told me off because I had offered her a leaflet. People were ever so slightly off balance. My smile got me more frowns than smiles in return. Even though the sun was shining it was as if everyone had got out of the wrong side of the bed today. There were a lot of Mr & Mrs Grumpy’s around – including me. It’s as if my brain decided it had really had enough so it had wandered off to find somewhere quiet to hide. Even the computer & mouse protested about having to work.

Sometimes the whole energy of the planet is out of sorts. We might not know why but we do feel the difference. After all we are part of the Earth’s aura too. The why might be so hidden under layers of other energy that we can’t find the answer no matter how hard we look. Perhaps the planet or all the humans on it are about to have a bout of illness. Not necessarily physical symptoms but we may be responding to the energy of our home planet as changes take place. I always feel that we are experiencing the impact of global warming or the planetary shift in axis or the changing activity in the solar system on these out of sorts days. For whatever reason we feel out of sorts it’s important to recognise it. When we do notice the feeling we have a chance of doing something about it. Ignoring the feeling and carrying on sending out grumpy energy only adds to the general out of sortsness.

One of the things I happened to be doing today was a meditation group. I run this every Thursday as a way of encouraging people to take a little time out for themselves. I let my Guides inspire me with what the meditation ends up being because they will identify what each participant needs & give me the words to make it happen. They also contribute their energy so that the space is full of healing. I also enjoy taking part in the meditation too as I am always gifted uplifting energy. Today we did a tree meditation (not surprising since my Guides reminded me of them in yesterday’s blog). Connecting with another being who shares the planet with us gave me an opportunity to check in with my out of sorts feeling. Although the tree was getting the same out of sorts energy he was able to offer me shelter, safety and a peaceful space out of our time for a few moments. I came back to myself feeling much more in sorts, peaceful about the out of balance energy and aware that I could remain balanced within myself.

I know it’s hard to find a balance when you aren’t really sure why you are out of balance. Whatever you have been feeling today remember that you have also been responding to the energy around you. The best way to feel more positive is to centre, ground and balance yourself. In fact, if we all took a few moments to do that we might find we understood why there was a collective feeling of being out of sorts. Then we could change whatever energy was driving the out of sorts feeling. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to change the feeling of the whole world in a day?

Day 122 of my blogging challenge.

Blank mind or altered state?

imageI run a regular meditation group. As I explain at the start of each session my mind is a blank. I wait for my Guides to inspire me with whatever meditation is going to meet the needs of the people in the group. It has taken me a long time to get comfortable with this blank mind feeling. Thoughts disappear. There is no logical processing going on. I am speaking in a random, but somehow ordered, string of sentences. I am aware but not fully conscious of my thoughts. They are in the background like a quiet track of information that I no longer pay any attention to.

It’s interesting to recall that it took me quite a while to grasp how to meditate. I remember trying to force my thoughts to stop. My aim was for my mind to be blank, silent, quiet. Yet the thoughts kept coming. I would do my shopping list, my to do list, re-run conversations, make holiday plans and a thousand other things whilst trying to ‘be in the moment’ following the words my mediation teacher was saying. If I did manage to visualise anything that she was talking about I would rush on ahead or be hanging back caught up in the detail of what I was ‘seeing’. I often returned back to the room, so to speak, feeling like meditation & me would never be freinds. How far it seems I have come.

It’s easy to forget those earlier struggles, the amount of time it took me to learn that fighting for the thoughts to go away only brought them closer, and that my own body would take a hand in distracting me too. Mediumship is working in an altered state so that you can access and translate the energy flow that we don’t notice with our physical senses. To work effectively giving messages, healing or channelling, or to tune into the events going on around me but below the surface I have to have a ‘blank’ mind. Now I drop off into that altered state so easily. So much so that I function in an altered state for a lot of my day.

To people who rely on rational, logical though processes (& I used to be one of them) it might sound like a nightmare. Switching off thoughts and being guided by feelings or intuition? There is a part of our social conditioning that encourages us to see the world as solid, with boundaries, and predictability. When I’m waiting for my Guides to speak, or for the creative inspiration to light up my mind, or when I’m accessing information that has been hidden to me, it can feel liberating but scarey too. The fear comes from the logical structured side of me. The feeling of freedom is from my imagination, at last allowed to run wild, flowing wherever the energy goes. Some people never get the hang of meditation. Their concious mind refuses to let go. The idea of a blank canvas upon which to create is too big.

It took me many attempts and three years of practice to really find my way into that altered state of freedom. I’m glad I didn’t give up on meditation. In the space where everyday life takes a back seat I have met & conversed with my Guides, Energy Beings, my loved ones. I have resolved and cleared stuck energy. I have felt wrapped in unconditional love. I have entered the rooms in my mind where fear was squatting and I have chucked fear out the door. Meditation brings about a sense of calm as the tumble of thoughts fades into the background. It is a precious skill that we can all learn if we choose to. Is it time for you to allow your mind to be blank?

Day 108 of my blogging challenge.