…doing the laundry.

We wear the clothes everyday without thinking. We wash, iron and mend them. Then we wear them again.

…being a geologist watching a seismograph.

Most of the time, the needles are recording tiny vibrations. When an earthquake hits, the lines become massive spikes. After the earthquake, the needles go back to small, but subtly different vibrations. A geologist studies the patterns to identify the signals that predict the next quake.  He/she sorts the signal from the noise.

… watching a river.

It flows. It has it’s ecosystem. It has it’s seasons. It occasionally has traffic trying to cross it. When there’s heavy rain, it floods. Before the flood, there are signals – rising levels, speed, bits of flotsam, animals that have made themselves scarce. After the floods, the water continues to flow through the new riverbed shapes.  We return to watch it.

Meditation is a skilful return to balance.

Mindfulness is the person doing the laundry, the seismologist, David Attenborough narrating the story of the river.

Imagine if David Attenborough was narrating your life. The migrations. The hunt. the feeding. The mating. Birth. The nesting. The play. All are equally fascinating.

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In life, we must make choices, decisions, as to how to spend our time and energy.  These are limited, so we must make time for some things and not others.  What we dedicate ourselves to, most frequ…

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A great post by a keen yoga and meditation practitioner, on a great blog. Look out for Pachamama retreats all about regaining a natural balance and healthy, mindful relationship with food.

I eat what I need - a blog about conscious eating

This isn’t the first year that we have eaten clean at Christmas but every time a celebration comes around I pause to consider what the consequences will be for us if we dive into the “crack”, as processed foods, particularly those made with sugar and wheat, are called in our house.

A crack-fuelled Christmas would mean routine overeating, the comedown from the crack producing craving, seeking out more and more carbs through cupboard cruising. Feelings of deprivation when the crack is all gone. The only movement would be a stroll round the park to relieve the massive bloating!

A clean Christmas has an abundance of food (literally a whole trolley full of veg from Aldi. The cashier looked a bit surprised!); planning of meals to accommodate all choices as we were 2 veggies, 2 Paleo and 3 standard people round the table; lots of different activities, from the…

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Did it!

  1. Set a goal – daily meditations for a year.  Completed.
  2. Blogged about it as often as I could – gave me insight and depth, and a sense of community.
  3. Learned that meditation can be in any moment.
  4. Decided that next year, I will continue to work on concentration, insight and lovingkindness

Thank you for your visits, views, comments and general support. Love & appreciation. 

With deep gratitude to Sharon Salzberg for her amazing work ‘The Power of Meditation. A 28-Day Challenge‘.  Get it. Try it.  Repeat x12. Life-changing.

Meditation on sensation, emotion, thought, memories and becoming aware of awareness. 1 hour + writing.

(This is a long one, take your time. 🙂 )

This morning, I meditated for an hour, by the end I was almost in a trance.  I had woken up early, (for a Saturday during a Christmas holiday, that is!) and slipped downstairs at 8am while the house was quiet.  I sat for an hour, uninterrupted, and breathed.  Thoughts arose, feelings, worries about work (which still pervade despite being on holiday for a week thus far and still have a week to go) comments, and then I realised these are the layers of thought… I fell down through the levels… until suddenly one clear thought and feeling: ‘I want to just live in the moment’ followed by a raw yearning.

I found that I was again feeling in two places, here in the UK and in my old house in South Africa, that strange juxtaposition of time when I really got into meditation during the day, as part of my discipline to support running a massage therapy practice and teaching Tai Chi. It sounds strange, but I remember on the last day I was there, I leaned against the house’s wall, and something … resonated.  It was as if I left a piece of myself there.  And now when I meditate, eyes closed, I feel like I’m there.  It creates feelings of yearning and longing – which is a sign of attachment.  How to dissolve that connection?  The reality was, it was too big, the garden flooded, and the windows didn’t let in the right kind of light.  I miss the intense experiences I had there, of deep meditation, of moving meditation in Tai Chi, and of the clients I had, the business I was starting to build.  The rupture that caused me to leave was so sudden, there was no time to really process it.

But I’m finding the same with the celebration of Christmas.  I don’t remember the presents I got as a child, but I do recall the intense feelings we cousins experienced, when waiting behind the door for our Grandad (Abuelito, as we called him) to finish ‘checking that Santa had done everything correctly’.  I remember the happiness that spread around the extended family table as we ate our Christmas meal… with the tree in the background and the piano.

I remember my mother’s face when at 11, I ripped through all my gifts in a matter of seconds, and then looked at her, disappointed there wasn’t more, to hear her friend’s exclamation of how rude I was, and the shame that has haunted me since, so that now I take ages to open a gift.  A fellow blogger wrote about her little boy’s reaction to the Christmas gifts, and how his ‘Tears, tantrums and some serious sulking have taken over his kind, loving nature’.  and I thought to myself, – yes… this is a tradition that brings out our addiction to dramatic emotion and to those in the know, the control over these emotions.  Something has gone very wrong in this tradition.

Then there’s the avid need for the New Year to start well, as if the tick of the second hand will spread a wand of magic over our lives and transform us without effort.

I breathe during the meditation, noting how the emotions and memories are interplaying, how the invisible currents of air (thought) push about the incense smoke of emotions…

I breathe… sensing the moment when thought and memory seem to snag on the emotional chemistry of the brain and deluge the senses … to the pit of my stomach…

it is not the place, it is not the present, it is not the situation or the people, it is that simple raw hit of emotion as it explodes with chemical ferocity inside us… that is our addiction.

Bringing awareness to that spot now as I meditate I notice another trigger…

Relationships are fraught with this.  In my case… the push and pull.  Sharon talks about how clinging onto happy emotions, and averting negative ones only increase the suffering.  The same happens in how we relate.  Or perhaps this is just me, but I’ve heard similar things from others and read the symptoms in other’s posts.  We ping-pong between the feeling of loneliness and sense of mob-like togetherness.  One is dark, isolating, fear building and disconnected, the other is bright, clingy, attaching and overwhelming.  Eventually one leads to the other, loneliness drives us to attach, and its opposite forces us to detach, each one engendering another cycle.

Lovingkindness and compassion are neither isolated, nor attaching, but merely the general expression of the humaneness we all have inside ourselves, inside our hearts, and is non-discriminating.  Yet those relationships that are seemingly the closest to us, seem to have in them, an awful lot of trapped emotion that then comes out in the holidays, or is ruthlessly swept under the carpet under a stiff set of seasonal protocols.  They are not warm and caring, but completely distracting.  So many people have told me how they cope – alcohol, Valium  going to Morocco to avoid the whole thing entirely.  Very few have talked about joy.

What I’m trying to say is, as with thought, emotion and sensation, so with relationships.  Things arise, positive and negative.  What often happens in relating is that a whole slew of add-ons occur – past injustices, past emotions, future expectations.  Memories, fantasies, mis-communications and conjectures.  Then, if it is not playing out according to those scenarios, we either detach or dominate/submit.

The answer is – pay attention.

Bring the same awareness to the situation as you have to your own thoughts, feelings and sensations, and yes, breathe.

This is as much for me, as it is for my wish that these personal insights and reflections help others.

Underneath the push-pull is the fear of people.  I have reason to be, I’ve met and related to some very disturbed people in my life, from quite young.  The news is full of sensationalist stories of far more horrific things people do to each other.  The most recent being that young medical student in India who has just tied from the ghastly injuries done to her by six men who in their deluded states, raped her viciously. God, the suffering!!!!  Out of it, no doubt, will come a major shift in attitude towards the need for safety and respect for women in India, no matter which caste they come from, I hope.

Breathe, connect, and feel that sensation… not reason it.  Feel it.  Allow awareness to come into that horror, feel the shadows of fear shudder between the shoulder blades and release, feel the heartache of this world, and feel how that is an echo of the horror others have experienced and felt, building and building sometimes over generations.  Feel how we can end that cycle within our own heart by simply… paying attention.

This is where lovingkindness is crucial – it is not about mushy warm feelings … but an acknowledgement of shared suffering.  In in a way this is bringing a sense of fairness to the situation, a combination of the recognition that we are all conditioned by our upbringing, and reason – that we are part of larger cycles of suffering that stretch over time, moving from state to state, and the heartfelt desire to bring relief from suffering that having suffered ourselves, we understand.  I bring these elements into my mind, and bring it to the woman, to the bystander, to the perpetrators, to those who must have found her and felt panic and horror and will never forget it, and those who tried to save her, to those who feel the echo of horror in their hearts and march for legal change, and those who are so numb, it seems to touch nothing.  To those who believe she was stupid to take a bus without protection.  To her family. To her boyfriend.

To my own fear, of such a violation of the most intimate aspect of being a woman, that aspect that in relationship, we give in trust and hope and often, have it violated.  That is such a terrible fear that has had its hold over us for… ever it seems.  It was that fear that led me into martial arts – several men had attempted over a few years, to drag me off.  Each time I got away, but I got angrier and angrier.  One day I decided to take up Aikido, and later I decided to study Karate.  I did really well, moving swiftly through the colours to black belt.  At the same time I learned massage and Tai Chi.  One day I was doing a beautiful Kata… a series of movements of  different punches, kicks and locks turned into a graceful dancelike movements.  Then our teacher said it was time to learn the applications of the movements: breaking necks in 8 different ways.

I started practising with a partner.  And then, during one of the drills, I froze, staring down at the fragile nape of my practise-attacker.

“Why am I learning this?  I wanted to protect myself, not kill someone!”  I realised that my anger and fear had led me to this point.

At the end of the class, I left the school and haven’t practised any of the killing martial arts since.  A couple of years ago, during a discussion on community and safety, I told this story.  A man looked at me sincerely and said, ‘I am sorry that you had to learn this in order to protect yourself, that you had to go that far.’  At the time I was amazed, thinking ‘But that’s reality!  Women are raped daily on this planet, in numbers! What else could I do?’.  Now I realise what he meant.

There are more stories of disconnection: friends and work colleagues that betray, getting caught up in intrigues and losing your sense of right, people who didn’t do things as expected, leaving a man, having a man leave you, finding out about another woman, being the other woman.  Creating a relationship then having them dissolve into nothing, or move and so becoming distant in time eventually, meeting up again and things being completely different, unexpected, all change.  All change.

There is risk in everything we do.  There is risk in everything we don’t do.

As I meditate, (and as I write too) the awareness of all those patterns, all those cycles, brings me to the awareness of samsara, of this existence, and of the deep, underlying weariness I have with it.

I see you samsara, I see your gaping jaws, your spinning wheel, your endless pleasures and horrors… and even that is empty, a print of a painted thangka I see regularly in a meditation centre that I visit weekly.

I can hear the invisible audience that I am writing to, plead with me, c’mon, you have to focus on the positive, you have to give your heart to the world, you have to pick yourself up and strive, chin up, don’t let it get you down, breathe, believe in angels, God loves you… and so on.

All of it is imprints of stuff that I have drifted through as I have lived on this planet. Meditation and awareness has made me realise that I just can’t have faith or trust in any of it.  ‘Test everything.’ said the Buddha.  Including his own teachings.

I bring everything into awareness, physical life, emotions, the thoughts of my mind, the experiences of relationships, and the sayings and teachings of all the religions, and still… the only thing that seems real is the moments that I recollect breath.

Not the breathing itself – a dance of atoms in space… but the moment of recollection… of breath.

Awareness.

What is it?

I realise, I have no idea.

I want to know it.

Everything up to now has just been preliminary exercises.

So now, as I end this meditation, and writing, a new challenge for 2013 presents itself: meditation on awareness.

I will spend 2013 honing my concentration, insight and lovingkindness, but I will add a meditation on Buddha nature, consciousness, awareness… whatever you call it.

I’ve just realised that this was what I was headed for all along, in 2012, and that I’ve barely begun.

—-

Dedicated to the 23-year-old Indian medical student.  Sister, you are resting in peace. x

Om Tare Tutarre Ture So Ha. Om mane padme hung.

Four days of preparing for celebrating, feasting, recovering and then cleaning. All the way through, only time for short meditations.
What struck me on the curious juxtaposition of relative time, of Christmases past, of present and of course, the big, wobbly indeterminate future. I’m swamped by memories of childhood excitement of finding that Santa had brought presents, of the gathering of dozens of cousins and recent times, new family and friends, and now, those family and friends now scattered around the world. As I put up lights, wrap presents, open cards and phone or text Christmas wishes, at moments, I feel a connection with all the times past that I have done this, or watched others doing the same.
I find myself pausing in the middle of it, and sinking into that moment and connecting with all those getting on with the festivities, and then deeper into it… bringing awareness into that knot of time, experience and memory… the biblical stories, even the films and songs that are always on at this time. From spraying fake snow on windows at 36 degrees in the Southern Hemisphere to praying for real snow in Ireland, for a white Christmas.
It is a real mind bender, I realise as I’m mindfully dish-washing, and the thought clears the fog of the ghosts of Christmas. It’s a day like any other. Earth below, near full moon and Jupiter above in the indigo night sky.
Today, overcome by it all and no doubt, a bit cabin feverish, I went for a mindful walk, and for most of it, felt full of emotion, heart swelling.
Sharon’s advice on dealing with emotions during meditation came to mind: by attaching to positive or averting the negative, we create tension in ourselves. But if we let it all arise and let it flow away as it will eventually, just like in meditation, facing it with equanimity as it arises, then we won’t suffer.
So, I’m feeling a real cocktail of thoughts, feelings and sensations, with past memories and current longings and the pressures of New Year’s resolutions, the highs of connecting with people, the weird guilt of being on legitimate leave and feeling like you should be working, with the undercurrent of anxiety adding a base line… It’s difficult to manage so I walk in the moonlight, remind myself of what is happening in that moment of stepping … Relief.
I can’t solve all that all at once, but the moon is always there and reassuring, as is the earth beneath my feet. I find my mind relaxing and letting go.. Letting be.

A flicker of thought: is it really that easy to just let go?

No, each breath afterwards is also a restart, let gooo. Let gooo.

Something has shifted about the concept of Christmas, as it was held in my synapses, it seems to have stretched into a more balanced perspective.

May you find solace in the ordinary moments.

Loving-kindness meditation is not just a fluffy, pink glowing cloud of happiness that we sink into and float away to the sound of angels playing harps.

It is the art of facing all parts of yourself, the good, bad and ugly, and choosing the path of equanimity in the face of everything that we possess, consciously and subconsciously.  Mostly it is a relief, but sometimes it can be incredibly hard, particularly if we’ve been used to reacting in a certain way.  Emotions are like drugs, we can become addicted to them, and when we try to stop it, the normal reaction is like cutting off a drug to an abuser:  withdrawal follows where emotions can get aggressive and manic.

It is hard because for a while, our negative, warrior-like responses have been our protection and escape, our armour for that which has been too much for our seed of consciousness to take.  The emotions can be dark and heavy, dragging you down, or too bright and fiery and make you giddy.  It is so hard to break it.  Or having had a breakthrough, there’s still time for it to re-emerge, to fall back into a rut.

Recently, as has been common on this blog in terms of timing, I’ve had to face what I’ve been writing about: being able to feel and extend compassion and understanding to some people who have, for whatever reason, decided to express all that aggression.  Some do it because they do not understand that non-aggression is not admitting weakness, some because it has been the standard pattern and their prerogative in the relationship.  And some because they didn’t know or understand better, they were just ignorant.

I remember a teacher saying to me once, that after 14 years of meditating in a Thai forest, he returned home on holiday, and learned that he knew nothing of equanimity when his father started his usual ‘talk’ at the dinner table.  Those closest to us do have an incredible emotional, mental and behavioural charge that seems to swallow up any attempts at practising loving-kindness. And we even face anger when our new behaviours challenge the status quo. Family Christmas is fraught with such tensions, and that awful mix of needs, role-plays  judgement and things unsaid.

When it gets overwhelming, it’s a case of being grown up enough to look after ourselves, (thanks T.) take time out and look inwards.  I did, and the first thing that came up was the Dalai Lama’s statement: first, send yourself loving-kindness  for in this moment, it is YOU who is suffering.  You can send loving-kindness to the others, later.

As long as you are caught in the ego, nothing can be done that will be useful anyway.

I keep forgetting that step…!

Will be keeping on the lovingkindness until Christmas day.  Have a merry one, you’ve all been great.  x

Lovingkindness mantra:

May I be safe, may I be happy, may I be healthy may I live with ease.

Apply this when you find yourself berating yourself for whatever reason you have decided to do so.  After a while, you find yourself being kinder and more understanding to yourself, when life’s events strike.  Without this key factor, we cannot help anyone else except from a place of lack, which leads only to expectation and resentment.

May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be healthy, live with ease.

Apply this first to those you love.  See how it increases goodwill in yourself.  Picture the people you love the most smiling back, happy.  Notice how we all strive for freedom from suffering, and how we wish that for those most cherished in our lives as well as ourselves, and how that wish increases our general positivity.

Then, wish exactly the same to those you don’t know so well, or even a stranger.  Wish them the same positive things.  From the miserable looking beautiful woman, to the screaming toddler, the bored looking man in the queue to the people sitting stone faced during the daily commute… remind yourself of the goodwill you feel towards those you love and care about, and pretend (at first) to have those same feelings to the stranger(s).  See in them, the same desire of freedom from suffering, the same desire for happiness.  Wish it for them.

May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be healthy, live with ease.

Now – perhaps more difficult, a person you are struggling with, be it personal or a historical figure who misused power… and wish them the same.

Why, you ask?

Because they require compassion (not complicity) the most from us.  They are ignorant and do not understand that the patterns they follow, only engender more suffering.  Wish them a moment of enlightenment, of release, of realisation – like Saul on the road to Damascus, who later became Paul, founder of Christianity in Rome, the Buddha under the Bodhi tree, Mohammed in the Cave; to set them free from the pain of their negative self-fulfilling prophecies.  Try to direct that goodwill towards those you love, towards those that trouble you.

Again, why?

Because feeling goodwill in the face of the lack of it, protects YOU.  Prevents the cycle of negativity continuing.  When you start to feel hate, notice it, accept it, investigate it, then watch it go… let it go.  Don’t feed it, let it go.  This saves YOU.

The Dalai Lama says that this practice is ultimately, a very selfish one, because it frees you from suffering, with positive side-effects to others and the world, in that cycles of violence are halted, ended, never start.

After years of practising this, I have slowly begun to see the nature of my relationships change from negative to positive.  By seeing the potential good in others, I allow myself to see the good things in life. Anxiety and stress are alleviated in this positive light, which has been good for my health.

Then, see all the possible suffering in the world and universe, and heartily wish it safely healthy, happy and easy.  Every being as vast as space.

Do it at home, in meditation, but also out in the street, to those that walk past you, towards your colleagues at work, to everyone in the queue, to the dog waiting outside the shop, whining for its owner.

I also say it every time I hear an ambulance or cop car wail past.  I wish all of them the same things.

I’ve been doing it constantly the last three days – to myself, on the bus, with those around me at any moment, and it does really help to open the heart, yet at the same time, remain present and calm.

Being able to face anything in life with this kind of open, kind, useful, truthful energy is more healing than anything else I know.  Except maybe a genuine hug.

Dedicated to the other children of the world, also suffering from war, famine and disease, in all parts of the world, as well as Newtown Connecticut. 

May you find peace.

It seems peculiarly fitting to be writing about the art of compassion at this time. The tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut has struck a deep chord with many. President Obama had tears in his eyes as he imagined… what if it were his children, and so opened himself and us all up to compassion.
An article titled ‘I am Adam Lanza’s Mother’ took the compassion deeper, as another mother described what it was like to raise a son with mental health issues, and how he hurled abuse as she had him committed.
And deeper still… that pain of madness that possessed him, cutting off the natural light of humanity, being so dark and alone.
If we cannot begin to imagine, we can find an echo of it, in the very shock, horror and pain we experience when we see it.
This is the work of developing compassion. All-encompassing. Building conduits of light that keep those darknesses away.
The Dalai Lama reveres and praises an Irish man who was shot by an English policeman during the Troubles, but who then forgave him, despite losing his vision as a result. They are now friends, and it is held up as an example to all.
So, let’s not get caught up in the sensationalist reports about the gunman, or pick sides and fight for a point of view. Let us sit in meditation and bring first the children to mind, the bereaved families, the last moments of Adam’s mother’s life, the brave teachers who protected. Feel the energy of compassion flowing… The feel of the heart. Now gently bring in the gunman, and notice the numbness, distracting banter and the pressure of it getting so much, the pain of consciousness reasserting itself and the sheer horror he must have felt, that moment when perhaps he realises how far down and deep in the dark he is. The overwhelming guilt making his arm move to pull the trigger and annihilate himself. The pain of existence far sharper than the desire to live.
Can you imagine that aloneness, and those children – both stories equally utterly awful.

This week is doing just that, transmuting the negative emotional charged states, healing them so that no cycle is perpetrated in the future.

It’s the hardest thing, especially with personal stories that make us sad or angry. That is an echo left of the pain the other feels.

In the run up to Christmas, in my daily meditations, I will bring in these different relationships to send love and healing, using my powers of concentration and insight to keep an even keel, develop my equanimity:

Think of a loved one, see their suffering, send them love.
Think of someone in need,
Think of a stranger hardly known,
Think of a person who you might call ‘enemy’ or simply evil, see their suffering as they commit these dreadful deeds, note that like you, they too want to be seen, loved and understood, and escape suffering. That they will do anything to achieve that freedom… Feel compassion, love even, then send it.

Even as I write those last words, I feel that hurt tension ebb, and the possibility of hope blooming.

May you be safe, may you happy, may you be healthy, live with ease.

When you are done, try to bring this skill into your daily relating towards others, especially those trickiest ones.
We are not so different, sharing suffering. Comforting is the balm that calms and ends the condition of mental dislocation and isolation. Including relating to ourselves.

Meditation on positive emotions. 

‘Allow yourself to have some fun, this Christmas!’ said a lovely friend.  So, operation ‘Have Fun’ commenced.  According to  Sharon Salzberg, the ability to focus on and appreciate the positive in life, without getting attached, but still being in the moment with those happy, joyous feelings, gives us resilience.  Resilience for those times in life that are tough, or for when we feel dragged down by the daily grind of work.

Sitting… I close my eyes, breathe deeply, and call to mind the lovely evening and day I’ve had.  A Christmas party, with presents.  The fun as everyone lets off the steam of the year in cheers to the boss, giving his usual quirky speech.  A sense of community wells up in my heart, and the buzz of happiness pervades… there is a lightness, a slight squinting of the eyes as if the joy is like very bright light… the corners of my lips expand into a slight smile… and that area around the heart, a rush… a tingle of enjoyment that almost becomes a shiver… breakfast with friends this morning in a newly found cafe with a lovely proprietor who welcomes me with a smile and who clearly loves his work and the space he has created.  The place is full of it.  The veggie breakfast is delicious, familiar, and the friends full of smiles… this is fun.  I feel it pouring into my cells like refreshing water, clearing out all the creaky bits, loosening my joints and filling my body with a lovely frisson of energy that becomes soft relaxation.  After, I walk to choir, feeling the ground solidly beneath my feet… and I recall the sense of freedom I had, expanding my spirit out around me, I feel six times taller… the joy of that moment is still sitting in my centre of gravity, just below the belly button, a taut, buoyant energy that almost makes me bob along.  At choir, the building and swelling of harmonies around me, as I take a ‘sound bath’ at the centre of our circle, hearing the different voices, luxuriating in the beautiful harmonies, making my feet stomp, hips swing, arms flick out in rhythm and my head roll back to open my throat and sing out each note with as much energy as I can.

Even the first song we sang, for those killed in the shooting in Connecticut (om tare tutare ture sarva dara sarva dukka brasha mane ya pe so ha) was full of the healing beauty of compassion.  The song floated up into the air and joined with the wave of love and healing being sent to those children and their families.

We ended with a wonderful song of love and tenderness… and we were all smiling and chatting, getting on with our Saturdays.

Now I’m feeling a kind of calmer happiness… and I can feel the desire to cling onto it grow… surely I can bathe in this happiness for longer… now watching it ebb to a calmer state… my sternum relaxes, the fizzy feeling gently flattens… my eyes squint less… thinking of the few very good friends I’ve had over the years, their friendship at key points in my life… supporting me, helping me, and times I’ve been able to help too.  A kind of warm glow and yet at the same time, a colder feeling in my sternum… the expectation of the inevitable… we can’t always live in such warm fluffiness… it feels like a dream, unreal… and yet… it is real.

How is it that the cold and hard aspects of life can feel more real than this warm, soft feeling? …

I take a deep breath, and reach for another positive memory – a fantastic holiday in Africa, seeing a lioness hunt for her cubs… their lovableness and their fragility.  I remember meeting my oldest friend in class 28 years ago, and feeling, knowing we were going to be friends.  The warmth and joy of that relationship acknowledged recently, and creating joy in my heart.  Some things can last… some things are eternal… this surge of joy brings more memories… moments with family, incredible moments in nature – sunsets, animals, wild storms, starry nights, beautiful vistas, warm seas, bucolic beauty…

at the same time… surely it’s not possible to feel such joy and pleasure for such a long time?  We have to get back to reality… something is going to suck the joy out of my heart… something will happen and this will be a faint imprint…

And yet, how deep the capacity for joy and fun!  How deep the capacity is for its opposite too… and yet each time, it can be a choice… or it can be calmly paid attention to… with clear, gentle awareness.

I feel myself charged to bursting… like the satiated feeling of a healthy meal, or the end of a glass of water when thirsty.

Time ticks on… and I’ve been able to feel the positive emotions of happiness, warmth, compassion, joy, excitement and fun for a straight 20 minutes, (and day too) without feeling guilty.

As I finish writing this, the corners of my mouth are still tugging up in a gentle smile…

Oh – may YOU find such acceptance of happiness, dear reader! x

—-

Dedicated to all those facing a tough time this festive season: the families of those children in Newtown, and all families suffering loss, starvation, war and disaster.  May they find their way back to the positive, the happy memories and the compassionate. x 

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