I had a conversation which would have been impossible only a week ago. I felt calm, centred and grounded. I came from a place of willingness. At the other end of the phone, there was a tight voice, and as the conversation developed, it relaxed, became gentler, and the words flowed. There was space, on the line, for creating peace.
Hitting The Spot
I got to wondering about the times in our lives when nothing hits the spot. D’you find that you become disenchanted and bored with the contents of your fridge. The food you’ve been eating which once fulfilled you, is now boring. You yearn for something else, something to get your teeth into, to excite the taste buds and maybe even test your culinary skills.
I wondered then if perhaps we get bored with some of the interactions we’ve had with others and whether that affects us similarly. I know that this particular relationship is one which is too often trying, it’s monotonous in its predictability. It was time for something new. It just took a new recipe, and maybe a new shopping list of skills.
Peace … Again
Whatever it took, I’m going with the ease of today, and not resting on my laurels that it will continue unaided, it needs to be tended and nurtured. There’s much pain to undo, there’s a whole new relationship to be built, it might or might not be possible. My dearest hope and wish is that it doesn’t go back to the monotony of bitterness. If it were all up to me, I could guarantee it.
This is the challenge I have. If I’ve learned my lesson, the previous troubles should now fall away. What if the other person has lessons to learn which makes it continue? Or is it really going to be true that it won’t bother me anymore, it will be water off a duck’s back and that alone is what will create the peace? Ah, yes I think that’s it.
It’s hit the spot between the eyes, the third eye! I see it all clearly now.
Wow, this is even better than I thought at the beginning of the post and it’s nowhere near 800 words, but I’m done for today – my creation was in my conversation, live outloud writing!
Darkness/light; dry/wet; here/nowhere; fear/safe – life seems to be taken on such contradictory terms. Over the last few days I’ve been reading blogs and stories from the 215800 tribe, all of which are so moving. Moving me, the writer and other readers, from one place to another. The movement is a journey, a step. Can we go from here to there, without touching the space in between? I’m not sure, I think that no matter how short, there’s always an in between, it’s the formless, unnameable place often.
That in between is like the gray between black and white. Even if we jump from one place to the other, there’s a time lapse which creates in between. Even though time might be an illusion, we still, as humans, use it. We can refer to the future and to the past, as easily as we can to the now.
I heard a story about a man who was going through such awful personal pain that he decided to jump off the Forth Road Bridge. It made me wonder. What if he changed his mind, or it was changed for him, in the split second between jumping and landing. He only shattered his leg so something intervened. Maybe his unconscious mind turned his body sufficiently to help him land with the least damage.
How often are we put in situations which have absolutely no return. There are truly very few. Things will never go back to exactly where they were no matter what. Even if nothing changes, everything changes every second, doesn’t it? That’s why I don’t really understand the fear of change on a logical level. I understand it though on a level of stretch, on a level where I’m pushing myself to go further, to try something I haven’t done before. And now, on those occasions, I stop and ask myself if it’s right for me to do so.
I can feel disquiet in my heart which is different to the anticipatory nervous kind of feeling I get of the butterflies fluttering in my tummy if I’m doing something new but right for me.
I answered a question on Facebook today, it asked Who Are You? There are many responses to that but I let it sit for a minute, and I answered I’m peace. I’m not sure that peace is exactly the word I was looking for but it’s close. If I’m being true to myself and exploring new things, as long as I feel peace in my heart, I’ll continue. If I feel that something isn’t congruent to my peace, I stop.
I promised to stretch myself during this project and today I wrote the first chapter of the short story. I’ve never written a fictional piece before. It was interesting to see the story unfold, to be in charge of what happens next, but d’you know I don’t think I was in charge of it at all. Sure I mapped out the ideas, the characters and some key points, but when I sat down to write, none of what I’d mapped was used. Out came this very different story all together!
Somewhere in between the kitchen table where I mapped and the desk where I wrote, was a space that changed what was to be.
I’ve surrendered gratefully to let whatever is in the space know better than I what is needed. If the space is telling my body and that’s what I feel in my heart then I’m doubly grateful that I get a conscious reminder and a bit of a nod and a wink. My guess is that we all have these we prods, it just takes us some time and awareness to tune into them.
I was reading through loads of the other 215800 blogs and while doing so, burned my oven chips – I know, I don’t usually eat them, but the cupboard is bare today and so’s my tummy after burning the chips! As I sat eating my chicken, salad and remaining chips, it came to me. There’d been a man in my room last night. He came through the window.
Oh and before I go any further – the update to the fitness side of this blog that I also promised to keep up – I’ve kept up my gym attendance as promised – 3 times last week, and today I was there again. The cardio stuff is getting easier and the wee lights on the cross trainer don’t scream ‘Heart attack ready to happen’ until I’m well ready to get off, and not before any more! I see that as progress and am feeling very proud that I’m even still going. I’m not yet enjoying it, but I’m becoming better, maybe that’ll lead to enjoyment!
Consistency is the word that I was given today and I can honestly say that consistency is proving to be so worthwhile – it’s giving me some time off this week too – what a great task master!
But now I want to explore this man. I do my savasana in bed, maybe I shouldn’t but last thing at night, I don’t want to fall asleep on the floor and wake up hours later to climb into bed, so I combine the two!
At some point in the middle of the night I remember a man coming through my curtains and sitting on my bed. I remember being pleased to see him. He was well dressed, good looking, dark hair, well spoken and it seemed perfectly normal that he came through the window unannounced. We spent ages chatting, I’ve no idea about what. Then he left, the way he’d come in.
I don’t even remember wondering who he was, he just was, who he was.
Some time later he came back, wearing different clothes as I recall. This time I wasn’t in bed, but I was in the room, it wasn’t me now, but me then, and that’s not past it’s to come. It wasn’t my room as it is now, it’s as it will be. Again, I have no idea what we talked about but I know he helped me with some advice and then he was gone. He was a busy guy and made a deliberate effort to come and spend time with me. I felt very cherished.
Patently I needed a lot of help last night, he was back for a third visit! This time it was a very different meeting. Much more intimate, much more affection, closeness and there was a depth and meaning to our relationship. He was laughing as he came back through the window. Light hearted, warm, funny and very welcome. I noticed the change and I remember asking him about it, he reassured me. I raised my eyebrows and felt myself relax and be at ease. All was well – he said so.
How could I have forgotten this wonderful presence until now? I think I might have to have an early night 😉
I loved Status Quo but I don’t think I very often thought about the words I was singing along to. Often we don’t, especially if it’s an upbeat tune … we’re more likely to listen and remember words to love songs, or sad songs as we’re drawn to them to help find meaning in our own worlds. When we’re happy and upbeat we tend not to look inside, or even outside, for meaning but just accept the feelings of fun, peace, happiness – however you like to feel.
This last week, at the start of the 215800 challenge, I began to have old issues come up to the surface – was this the yoga, the meditation or was it just a repeat pattern? A seven year old pattern I thought I’d dealt with and put to bed to be precise. Or was this the time to go even deeper?
None of the changes and doors which I’ve shut this year have been about my family life. To date they’ve addressed – career, self belief, finances, training, knowledge, health, friends and trust – all needing a depth charger. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that family would be added into the mix at some point.
After 4 days of handling the first issue, insult was added to injury – or perhaps more likely, because I didn’t handle the first blip well, I was given an even bigger issue on top of the first in the same context. It was only when this happened that I began to realise that it wasn’t a repeat pattern, it was a depth charged door shutting exercise.
How did it go so wrong? After all, I’m an experienced and able therapist and tend to my own needs on a very regular basis. I’m also a human being with human failings, human needs and human learnings. I say this often in my blogs. Anyone who believes they are above and beyond the realms of being tested or willing to work on themselves and able to go deeper will stop evolving and learning.
I found myself angry, very angry. I thought I was being dis-respected, controlled, belittled, judged and excluded. That’s quite a list! I was in conflict with myself too. I knew I knew better than to react and after doing some work around this, found that I was responding calmly and rationally. I was actually very proud of how I was handling the situation.
That was until the second one came along and really took the wind out of my sails! Ok, I thought, this is now a bit bigger and requires a different approach. I reached out to a friend for some help and asked what I was missing. I knew it was me that needed to change my approach, but what I couldn’t see was the lesson and without the lesson, I couldn’t change. Is that just me, or do others find that the lesson has to be learned first?
I started to ask myself ‘What’s the worst that could happen’? and then ‘What’s the best that could happen’? When you truly can’t answer the first question, you know you’ve got the result you need, or you haven’t really got a problem!
I began with, ‘I’ll be treated like this for the rest of my life, or at least for the next 4 years’. When I realised we’d already made it through 7 years, 4 years was quite easy!
I then asked if that was actually true. Had it been 7 years of this, or just specific times in the 7 years? Was it really so awful? Was I making some of it up? Was I perpetuating my myth?
That meant I could then start to concentrate on how I could make a difference to helping the best to come to fruition.
Did it really matter what I thought about this person’s attitude? Could I create more flexibility? Could I look at this as their reaction to something and not take it personally? How could I disengage and let go while continuing to care and be available? How easy would it be for me to feel at peace and for what reason was I not letting it happen?
I made the choice to disengage and be at peace within myself. To test I’d made the right choice, I was presented with a phone call yesterday with a friend who isn’t into self development and there’s always a good chance that my way is not his!
It sure wasn’t and as I found myself listening to his solutions to my problem – fight fight fight. I could feel myself shaking my head, my stomach was giving little cramping signs, and I was silently saying ‘No, no. That doesn’t fit with me and my way’. After then being criticised for being a therapist and not handling my problems, I knew for sure that the chosen solution for my peace was absolutely the right one. I smiled and said thank you. I reminded myself that as a mediator I had just been given yet another wonderful lesson to use and practice.
All conflict is internal. Whether we are facing world, community, work, school, or relationship conflict – we must first look at the conflict we have within. When we are able to find what we really want instead of conflict, we are then able to work towards that.
I’m blessed to be able to mediate with my own inner conflicts, this one took very little time once I realised what I was dealing with. Bang, another door is shut!
As I sat to type the title Day 6 for my fitness and Day 1 of the 21:5:800 challenge, it dawned on me that there’d been a King James I (England) and VI (Scotland). He was the son of Mary Queen of Scots.
I wondered then how I could incorporate this into today’s writing. Without going into his full history and impacts as that would require too much research which I don’t have time for, what I gleaned from skim reading the Wikipedia page was that he was a very scholarly man, wrote masses, had strong religious feelings, commissioned a translation of a compilation of the approved books for the Bible (King James Bible). During his reign he orchestrated a crackdown on witches; the Gunpowder Plot was thwarted and the colonization of North America commenced.
Busy man!! Perhaps the most notable legacy though was his wish and intent to bring both Scotland and England under one crown and one parliament – then, as now, it met with opposition from both sides.
It’s the seeming disparity which I’m drawing on. When two things which seem to link don’t.
Perhaps it’s more to do with the veil of illusion and how we choose to translate things. How often do we wind ourselves, and others up, by seeing what we believe to be true and expressing it, feeling it and acting upon it.
Harnessing that truth is what sets people apart, it also brings them together – but only when we meet those who think the same way. We can be villified in one quarter and lorded in another. We can have ideas which are different and be mocked for them. We can be slow on the uptake because we need to understand more, and be mocked for it.
We put obstacles in our own path to stop us from changing and embracing new ideas, possibilities and solutions.
It doesn’t look to me like King James was that kind of person and neither am I!!
The veil of illusion fell upon me earlier though as I rattled off a new article for Ugli Mediation , ironically (or not) addressing the issues of criticism from self and others. Whooppee, it meant I’d completed my 800 word count for today (it’s not posted yet)!! I yoga’d after that and felt the stretch in my legs, my shoulders, my hips and my core.
I then read Hiro Boga’s utterly amazing blog, Tsunamis in the House of Wholeness with a cup of tea, having smugly completed my day. I’d only just finished the yoga and was feeling very open. It brought me back to earth with a bump.
That’s when the veil descended over me. The illusion was two fold – my writing wasn’t good enough, and I hadn’t entered into the spirit of the project as the 800 words I’d written were work related.
As I stripped back the illusion I found the disparity – the link between the 200+ writers in this challenge is our participation, our pleasure in taking part in the project, it is not what or how we write.
I allowed myself to recognise that I had created an excellent article and where I’d really let myself down was by believing it would count towards my 800 words. My intention in this project is to learn to express myself in a more creative manner, to stretch my writing as well as my body, but above and beyond that it’s to peel away the layers of illusion.
Obviously I won’t be doing them simultaneously, or will I? My guess is that it’s quite likely … although not physically writing you understand, more like allowing the ideas and content to flow in.
Today my great friend Amy Palko highlighted a new writing project to get involved in. It’s being organised by a lady called Bindu Wiles who seems to have had one of those extraordinary lives, challenging might be an understatement, and she’s found her way through. This project has a twist, and I love twists!
For 21 days, we’ll be doing 5 days of yoga a week and 800 words of writing per day.
This has come at just the right time because at the weekend I didn’t do any exercise. Hence this is Days 3-5 all wrapped up in one blog!! Against my better judgement, God gave me rain, and more rain and yet more rain. My intended bike ride in the Borders was a wash out and so I let go of the notion and decided that the weekend could be rest days, unless it was sunny and I wanted to get out.
It’s a strange thing isn’t it when you commit to something and you start making excuses like – it rained, this is meant to be pleasure, I need a break occasionally. I pondered those and wondered if I was repeating an old pattern. But … what I learned was that I’d let go of the need to wear a hair shirt, to beat myself up for not doing something and I knew that I’d be back to the gym. And as if by magic, here now is a chance to add even more variety to the act of getting fit – and it keeps me attending my blog at the same time …. what a stroke of brilliant luck!
This afternoon, I’ve been back and done my full workout. It was a bit of a techno challenge on some of those machines knowing which handle to pull and where to put it. I worked out that if it felt awkward it was in the wrong place. The only time that wasn’t the case was for the ‘Abductor’ …. I tell you, it’s nearly as evil as it’s name suggests and exercises those bits that Heineken can’t reach on your inner thighs.
For the days when folk are feeling a bit burned out, or in my case, done enough exercise for one day, Bindu kindly includes something called Savasana (the corpse pose)! This is a resting posture done at the end of yoga practice in a prone position on the floor for 20-40 minutes listening to relaxing music. That sounds just perfect for days like today when a bit of peace and stillness is needed instead of more stretching and exercising.
For the writing part of the project, in addition to keeping these blogs going, I’m using this as the perfect opportunity to enter the Guildford Book Festival Short Story Competition which is being sponsored by the lovely Tom Evans, The Bookwright. This short story is just about ready to burst forth into reality and when it’s complete, it’ll be available from our site Ugli Mediation – there are a few twists and turns in it which make Ugli the ideal platform for it given that the work we do involves transforming ugly situations.
No pain (ok just a few twinges in my abs) after my first day in the gym – which possibly means I didn’t do enough!
I considered going back to the gym and pushing myself just a bit further, but it was such a lovely day and I really fancied a decent walk in the fresh air. I live at the very edge of the Pentlands and can walk up into the hills from my house. So at lunch time, I headed out of the door and up the hill behind the house. It was beautiful and the walk I’d intended being for 30 minutes turned into an hour and a half! It wasn’t a hill walk per se, but it did include a long and steady upward climb which satisifed the cardio element I so need to get on top of!
There’s nothing like nature and fresh air to give you a new lease of life and energise you. I didn’t take my camera as I was going for exercise not to enjoy the scenery. I kicked myself for being so black and white about it! It’s perfectly possible to do both isn’t it!
Amongst the gorse bushes were sheep, many of whom were attempting to shed their thick woolly fleeces to get escape the heat of the sun. It’s so easy for us to just slip layers on and off, my fleece was tied round my waist! Bits of fleece hung on the gorse like dull tinsel, but for the most part, the sheep were looking hot and bedraggled as their fleeces were coming away in clumps. Must be shearing time soon.
Walking back home via Poet’s Glen was a joy. Dropping down through the woods, and back along the Water of Leith, it felt very Dingley Dell like! I used to do walks like this every day – when I had a dog.
As it’s already Day 3 (I forgot to post yesterday), my plan is to get my bicycle out and go for a wee cycle in the Borders when I pop down to visit my Mother. And yes, I will take my camera with me.