Thank You For The Music In My Life

Hilda's MusicI’ve been driving for most of today to get to my retreat. The journey was made much lighter because of the music I was singing along to. I feel I have been given such a gift.

My life has been full of music. My Dad played in an Irish band, we all learned different instruments and I was always singing. I’ve had a couple of spells in a choir, been a roadie and had Spirit people singing through me when I’m channelling. I’m writing this watching a programme about Abba’s greatest hits. Their melodies and the songs of many others are the back drop to my life. It’s no surprise that my Guides each have a signature tune. Different songs that let me know who is around. And that the Spirit people who talk to me love to give me songs. Or get me singing. My Elvis ‘huh, huh, huh’ is getting quite good now. Because I’ve had to sing it more than once.

In fact, my Guides know I’m willing to give any song a go. Though I can’t be held responsible for how it sounds. Especially with those Spirit ladies who sound like Hilda Ogden. They know that I always feel lifted by music. Songs have got me through some grim times. Lyrics have inspired me. And tunes have got me dancing. I especially love hearing the open chords of a great piece and letting the memories flood in. Music connects me to so many moments in time. Today is no different. As I sang along I was in awe at the beauty of the Lake District. The songs were in perfect harmony with the towering peaks. I felt Energy of the Earth beneath me, the blue of the sky and the green of the fields.

Wherever you are when you read this I hope there is a song in your heart. That you, like me, feel the lift in energy from the music playing in you head. And find your feet tapping. Because songs link into our creative mind. Helping us to create joy.

Day 642 of my blogging challenge

Complete Retreat: A Day For Me

Yesterday I was glad to complete a spell of being really busy. Both practically and in my spirit work. It seemed perfect timing that I have three days off.

It’s also the case that I have had to complete a lot of unfinished business. Part of the clearing I’ve been doing all year has been to get myself unhooked from old energy. It’s certainly been time to put the past in the past. But doing that requires effort too. Looking back and cutting old energy ties stirs up emotions and memories. To complete that work has taken time and patience. All alongside of continuing to do the things my Guides put in front of me. Balancing serving others with serving myself. Although they are also turning my path in a new direction. Gently easing the letting go of old work with an influx of new work. I have to admit I’m still not sure where I’m headed but I know it’s somewhere.

So today I’ve taken the opportunity for a complete retreat. Stepping back from my phone, social media and all of the usual contact with my Guides. Instead I’ve been in a bubble of silence. Resting. Reading. Letting my mind wander. I’ve been put on pause and I’m glad of the chance to have this time. I’ve been around my home enjoying the feeling of not having to do anything at all. Except feed myself and the cats. To complete my day I’m doing my blog. Not actually because I have to. Although the blogging challenge matters to me. But because I can acknowledge to myself that I need solitude sometimes. I believe we all need some space to rest from the practicalities of life. And much more, we need space to step out of life for a while. I believe that’s when my mind can complete the process of ‘what next’ thinking.

Until I give myself time to myself I’m not letting myself be aware of the process I’m going through. Change can be wearisome. Time for me means I can recharge. Then I’ll be ready for more changes.

Day 551 of my blogging challenge 

Winding Down the Week

imageIt’s the end of a busy week. I’m going to be away writing again next week so I’ve been trying to do as much as I can to keep my business ticking over whilst I’m gone. It’s also been the week when my personal daily routine has changed too.

My ‘to do’ list has got longer every day even as I’ve been ticking things off as fast as I can. I hate to leave things unfinished. Yet I’ve also learned that there is always another job to do. It seems it’s in the nature of things. No matter how many times I tell myself I’m going to have a gap between work and travel it’s hard to make it happen. By next Monday I’ll be down to doing only the absolute necessary things. Some stuff will slide off the list and be left undone. So why has so much had to be crammed into this week?

That’s the puzzle really. If I leave something unfinished will it matter? What would I be able to leave undone? It’s not as if I didn’t know I was going. This has been planned for six months. Perhaps I could be more organised? Or is it a result of following an intuitive life. I’m going with the flow so things pop up when least expected. Or my plans change because other people’s plans change. Over all it balances out though. Things will get done. People will be able to have what they need. I will go off with a clear head ready to enjoy another retreat. So tonight I’m winding down my week.

Later I’ll be listening in to the musical memories show of my friend Alan Cox. Taking time out before I go back to my ‘to do’ list tomorrow. And that’s really important. Having a little breathing space. Time for myself. Having a wind down time, no matter how small, will give me the energy to carry me through to a bigger chance to relax.

Day 299 of my blogging challenge.

Changing Things or Staying the Same.

imageI’m off on my travels again soon. The chance to go and stay in an old monastery was too good to miss. I’m looking forward to some time to write. Or reflect. Or both. My life has been so full of change recently. I need my retreat!

I had to find my passport so I could check in online. Ploughing through all of my filing – ok, random piles of paper – I asked myself why I put things in safe places then can’t find them. It seems that particular habit is hard to change. I could find all sorts of paperwork from four years ago but nothing for the last three months. Since I know my postman does call here regularly I can only assume that I’ve found a really safe, not to say really secret, place for my bills. Having eventually found my passport in a bag under a pile of other random stuff I asked myself How to go about changing this habit.

It’s not as if I haven’t had to search for my passport before. On one famous occasion the day before I was due to travel I had a side trip to Liverpool Passport Office to get a new passport. Only to find the old one in a suitcase the next morning. It’s the same with my birth certificate. I know I’ve got it somewhere. It’s sure to be safe. Only it’s gone into hiding. In my valuables drawer – ok it has some sentimental birthday cards, my daughter’s birth certificate and one or two crystals in it – I have the other passports I’ve had. Plus a library card from when I was a teenager. And an old photo. I store these in a place I can find them. I guess I must like the excitement (stress!) of turning everything up side down once in a while.

At least looking for something let me throw away a lot of old papers. Something else I need to consider changing.

I know that I keep paperwork long past any useful time. Perhaps it’s because being self employed for 18 years I am used to keeping things for six years in case the tax man calls. It sounds like I have a good excuse but I suspect I’m a hoarder at heart. I always wonder if something will come in useful just after I might have thrown it away. So I keep it. Or if it has some ‘life’ left in it yet. I’m especially resistant to changing when it comes to getting rid of clothes. Having said all of the above, I have noticed I’m getting better. Slowly but surely I am clearing things out.

When I look at my life and the world as a flow of energy it’s easier to see where I get stuck. Possessions are only necessary in the moment. After all, I don’t know how much future I have and the past is a place I no longer want to visit. All I really need are memories in my mind.  Making a change by practicing remembering the good stuff and not holding on to the material stuff of the past has been a great step forward for me. I like that I can travel lighter. In the same way as I’ve learned to pack a really small bag for my travels I understand that I carry my memories with me all the time. I’ve learned to store the best ones and forget the challenging ones. After all, there is nothing I can do about the times it all went wrong.

That’s a key point for me. Making changes is also about working out what went well and what didn’t.

I would like to hope that I’m better at reflecting on how things turn out. Back to the retreat again. Stepping back from my everyday concerns, even for a short while, helps me to work out what changes are necessary next. I believe that we all try to do our best for ourselves and the people around us. It doesn’t always work out that way. Yet unless we look at what the unexpected outcomes have been how can we improve the way we act in the world? Change is a process of small, or occasionally giant, steps from what I have been to what I will become. The things in me that have ‘worked’ will stay the same. They are my foundation. But the rest of me must move, change, respond to different challenges.

Perhaps my paperwork will always be a bit messy. I guess I don’t believe that the time spent tidying it is worth the reward of findings things quickly. Who can say? One day I might find it necessary for me to set about changing that habit too, lol.

Day 290 of my blogging challenge.

Why silence is golden

imageI spend a lot of my time in the company of others. I really enjoy conversations, sharing energy and the creative flow that discussions can take. Yet every now and again I need some quiet space. The energy, needs and ideas of others become a little too overwhelming. There is too much ‘noise’ for me to handle. It took me quite a chunk of my life to recognise that need for silence. Even to grasp the idea of silence as a positive place to be. We are such social beings that there are a lot of expectations placed on us to keep up our end of the conversation. When we retreat into silence it is often seen as something bad. As if we don’t want to share our ideas, feelings or observations so are being selfish. I have to admit that in the past when I was having a discussion one of the fastest ways to irritate me was for the other person to go silent. After all, not speaking in a conversation can be a controlling silence. Or an uncomfortable silence.

Then as a counsellor I learned to be ok with silences. I began to understand that silence might be a reflective space – a way to order one’s thoughts and work out what to say. Or even not say. Silence can be golden as it is a way of allowing us to process information. Once I became used to letting the silence have a space in conversations I found that I could observe myself and others better. I could ‘see’ the emotions and thoughts more clearly. There was a better understanding if I made room for natural pauses. In those pauses I might find a new clarity in what I wanted to say. I was also giving the other person a space in the conversation to do the same. As I turned the silences into positive contributions to the dialogue with people I also recognised my own need for silence.

In our busy lives we have little time to retreat. I love the word contemplate – something that retreat space and silence allows us to do. We can go deeper into ourselves. We can ask questions and wait for the answers to emerge. When we allow our voice to fall silent, when we remove ourselves from the voices of others and the noise of the world we give ourselves the opportunity to hear and experience the deepest of all connections. We can discover the connection to our own Spirit and through that our personal connection to Divine guidance. For a long time I closed down the voice of my Spirit and the connection to the Divine. Now I work every day with the Spirit World and the representatives of Divine love. I embrace and enjoy silence. I look for chances to spend a few moments alone and quiet, sitting waiting for a different kind of conversation to take place. Let moments of silence wrap around you every day. Be ready to listen not speak. There are important things for you to discover in the quiet.

Day 118 of my blogging challenge.

Retreat: listen with love

imageThe word retreat has two main meanings. It can be used in wars about battles and can imply that an army is running away from stronger opposition, there is a tactical withdrawal or it’s a chance for the attacking force to fall back and regroup. There is another meaning to the word retreat with quite a different emphasis. The second definition is to withdraw to a place of peace or calm, to give some time to quiet contemplation or to have some kind of treatments or therapies to assist the body and mind to relax. I’ve been thinking about the way in which these meanings give one word two really opposite definitions. And two very distinct ways of understanding what we mean.

If we stop and consider for a moment we migh agree that life has become much more busy. We pack lots of events into our day as well as giving a lot of time & attention to technology. I confess I miss my iPhone, iPad and computer. I also miss TV (or at least the programmes I record to watch later), my car and my CD player. All the time I am running from one task to the next my technology is running alongside of me apparently keeping me in touch with the big events in life I can’t afford to miss. I get alarm calls so I don’t oversleep, alerts when I have a diary appointment, text messages to remind me I’m due at the doctors and my Facebook events reminders. So as well as seeing people, collecting the shopping, running the Centre and catching up on the admin I’m also juggling the onslaught of additional info from my technology. The day of the humble paper diary is long gone.

You could say that I attack my day. I rush into it full of determination spontaneously charging ahead to where and what needs doing. Or I take a more tactical and planned approach to getting through all I feel I ought to be doing. Like any general I check out the lie of the land, send out scouts and focus on what I feel has to be done first. At night I fall into my bed exhausted with attacking but feeling like I’ve won the medal because I’ve got through all I planned. Often though I end up feeling like I haven’t done enough. I have had to walk away from tasks unfinished, mountains unscalled and situations unconquered. I fret that there is too much left to be done tomorrow. I worry that I have been defeated by my busy life. I stress about not having enough energy to get up and do it all over again on the next day. Does this sound like you too?

Perhaps we are guilty of seeing a retreat as a ‘bad’ thing. The word retreat can be strongly connected with failure, with giving in and giving up. Yet what about the other side of the definition? Do we give ourselves space and time to withdraw from the world? I set up my Centre after observing that there were no longer places where it was possible to go and sit quietly to think. These places often used to be in our churches, parks and countryside. I remember long walks to high points in the area where I could sit, be still, passing time looking at the view. I could clear my head. As my life has been overtaken by  tasks, outcomes, demands for my time thre has been less chance to retreat. I also notice that churches are less able to open as once they might and some of our quiet spaces have become ‘busy’ too. We have lost our time and space to retreat. We might even be out of the habit of retreating. So why is this second definition so important.

My Guides usually have to wait until I’m ready to listen. Even if they are sending in requests for me to communicate they know it might be hard to grab my attention. They are very patient so they hang on in there. So when I do stop, sit down and say I’m here I can get message after message, a tidal wave of inspirations or a to do list as long as my arm. They don’t mean to send it all in at once but if I don’t choose to set aside time (they tell me) then what can I expect. It’s all done with loving laughter on both sides. They are especially keen to help me find the answers I need that are often inside of me buried under a lot of other distractions. And that is why they encourage me to retreat from life as regularly as possible. If I turn my thoughts inward I have more of a chance of recognising what my heart, my intuition, has to offer about the situations I face. I also have more chance of hearing their suggestions, options and explanations for what I am experiencing. Human beings have spent thousands of years practicing the art of contemplation. We have been healthy when we have recognised the need deep within us to withdraw and reflect. We have also understood the value of prayer – not necessarily to any particular Divine Being – as a way of sending out our requests to the Universe. Putting our wishes into words, saying a prayer for someone or something, is us asking. By asking we may find we receive both inwardly and outwardly.

There is indeed an art to retreating. It’s about making a time in all the busy schedule, switching off all (& I mean all) technology and sitting quietly by yourself. Keeping an open mind. Letting your thoughts drift into silence. Creating a space where intuitive feelings and ideas can emerge. Letting your brain idle, observing not interrupting the flow, being still. I find that starting my retreat with gratitudes (the people, places, experiences, things that I recognise I am blessed to have in my life) or a peace mantra helps me have a positive inner journey. Practice will always improve the quality of your retreat time. Keeping a set time will also alert your Guides that you are ready and listening. Having a retreat experience also shows you that you love yourself enough to value spending time on & with you. That is the best benefit.

Today is Valantines Day – the day to say I love you to someone we love. Did you love yourself enough to spend time with yourself? Or where you so busy that you forgot to retreat and treat yourself to you?

Day 90 of my blogging challenge.