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Friday, 30 December 2011

Right in t´middle of it all: The Splendour of the Horizon between Heaven and Earth.

Parikia bay, where the three of us sat together and sang, over and over again, a healing mantra. A moment of harmony, without, within, between. 

What a wonderful morning!!!  So happy and so filled with sadness; another end.

At 10.15am I was driving Prem and Tazo (his lovely son) to the port to catch the Blue Star ferry for Athens so Tazo could reunite with his mummy.  I was sad, and I knew Tazo was too, and Prem undoubtedly: the stay was coming to an end.  It had come to an end with me.  Tazo asked Daddy if there was a later Blue Star, but it was now or never, once a day: the quarter to eleven.  So, I felt down driving the car out of the house down the country lane.  As the low brick walls flew by, I felt my heart heavy, and this knawing feeling of sadness lurking…that I was "bravely" fending off, and at the same time it fended off any happy feelings that I could be having. Prohibited them actually, by royal command. I was in a “funny” mood…trying to be chirpy, feeling false being chirpy.

And then we passed a house where they had workers outside for the garden and the olive grove…The man in the driveway really caught my attention cos his overalls, originally of worker blue, were covered, almost everywhere, by worker white paint. He was a jack of all trades, and had been doing it a long, long time; or so his overalls declared.  And as I was looking at him, he looked up and gave the most dazzling, happiest smile.  

The message came into my head like a thought: this man is brave enough to be happy.

And there you have it.

And I thought, I can´t cos Prem and Tazo are leaving on the Ferry.

The port at Parikia

And driving and mulling over it, I found myself motivated by him, as if willing me on, cheering from the sidelines. I found myself realising that he must just let go of his "stuff", and simply be. He is happy - it was unmistakeable from his smile. He choses to be happy.  And I too can chose to be happy.

And so (as an experiment only - you MUST understand!) I decided to be brave enough to shed these niggles for a time and just smile and be happy. I thought of the man´s smile and I smiled. The smiling was infectious. I told Prem how that man has no idea how is has smiled bravely to a complete stranger reminding her of the bravery of being happy.  Prem smiled and relaxed.  Prem told Tazo in Greek…

I realised…ahh!!: I had been sad because Tazo was leaving and I wasn´t really connecting to it properly.  So I said “I feel sad because you are leaving. But the painter man has shown me it is OK to be happy as well even if you feel sad.”

And we all smiled.  Wow, Tazo is a sensitive boy if he gets that so early…or maybe it is just so obvious to children, until we teach them out of it. As we lead them into our deep sleeps of adulthood.


...and felt a lot better. Of course now I was at the end and need not strive any longer.  And for an instant of eternity it was true.

The car drove into a pot hole (impossible not to: I´m sure you can image the state of Greece´s economy is not quite stretching right now to mending quiet country roads) and I thought The air in the tyres and said “I´m going to have to check the air in the tyres” and then I thought on my own…and I don´t really know where to go, or what pressure they should be, and I don´t know how to ask that in Greek and I don´t know if the machine is different, and the car tyres really do feel they need air in.
And I slumped into a funny state, of not really being either here nor there.


And I started to ruminate and feel that heavy feeling.  But because I had only just recently declared that I was to be happy forever, less than a second before, or maybe I could say because I had woken up for a short time (less than a minute) only seconds or so before, I recognised the incongruency. A miracle! I realised that I had gone back to sleep…I was drifting back into ego land of worries and grievances and problems that I was avoiding and not wanting to face etc etc. Rabble rabble cabbage useless words monkey mind lullaby go to sleep now be a good girl and think of white rabbits cabbage jangle jingle mingle mongle.

And with infinite difficulty with my strongest will under the weight of the world´s duvet, I felt myself resist going back to la-la land, like the feeling of sleepily getting out of bed as I realised: I can chose to be happy instead of this.  And as I did, I realised that I have put air in tyres one hundred million times before and I know exactly what to do: Go towards the machine in the petrol station (any will do) give it a go, get the air tube connected to a back tyre feeling professional and with confidence, look up the chart, understand nothing, and ask the nearest man for assistance who speaks English (and maybe that is not even necessary…hands up in the air, face of bewilderment will probably do it).  

So why was I getting so bent out of shape over putting air in the tyres?   

I think it was my ego kicking me back into sleep mode…and I woke up from the shores!!! For the second time in one day!! I smiled, I saw the beautiful view across the harbour of Parikia, the blue sky, the low stone walls, the pot holes…it is ok to be happy and worried. It is ok to be happy and sad. It is OK to feel. It is all OK.

And there I had it.  If you avoid being sad, you avoid feeling and you cannot feel happy either.  If you decide to be only sad, you are blocking out the happiness (and so is that a false sadness??  I don´t know).  If you decide to be only happy, it will stretch to the limit and become as false as a kodak smile and you will start to get aches and pains all over the place where the sadness, or stress, or fears will need to communicate with you, now not through your mind (which you have closed off to egative feelings) but through your body. Stubborness makes aches reducing the flexibility of joints, lower back is a feeling of lack of support and ability to create, eye represent our egos...it´s all connected somehow, somewhere.  We all are.

Alchemy talks about connecting heaven and earth, Christianity talks about the Jesus state, Muslims the Body of Light, Buddha the no ego, The Jews talk about mystical Jerusalem...ohh I could go on and on...for it seems to me to be all over the sacred texts from all cultures.  Even Father Christmas and Saint George...
We went up to this monastery over-looking the bay of Parikia and it is true! The bay is a perfect heart shape! We all had a great time, being brave on the mountain path and we suddenly felt empowerment to be happy!  Big THANK YOU to Abby for his help.  If we can climb walls outside we can climb them inside too!  Happy day.

Can it be as simple as: being happy for no other reason than we simply are. Are happy. Are alive. Are. Jung talks about re-uniting (religaré), integrating, opposites while still maintaining their relative autonomy on the path of individuation.  The final goal is to be able to see one´s own light and own shadow (for there is no light without shadow) at the same time, as a whole. To see our uni-verse.

And there, once again, me and my ego have made complicated what is so so simple.  Being brave, shedding the coat of the ego´s tricks, to be able to really feel: both sadness and happiness, both freedom and responsibility, both being attached and repelled by the same object or person or self belief system.

…whooooo!!! It was all that I really needed to hear:

It is OK to be happy.  You are fine, you deserve it even when you feel shitty, even when you´ve been shitty.  It is OK also to express sadness, no-one will attack you for it as a weakness, nor as false if you are happy at the same time.

And I smiled.  We arrived at the port.

There were more people hanging over with Christmas travellers. Prem and Tommy standing waving top left.

And I continued smiling as the boat left harbour.  There is something very definitive about a boat leaving, compared to a farewell with a train.  With a train you feel you could chase it, you could go in the same direction if you ran, if you ran to your car.  But you never would consider being able to keep up swimming.  Not really. The sea is a message: you are now separating in opposite directions. 

I stood there, one of the last on what had  only minutes before been a busy hectic port with people all over t´place rushing to get into the steel mouth of the ferry.  Now alone.  There were all the people on the ferry leaning over the side watching the “setting off”. I felt a bit exposed in front of them all, they could all see me…even still, bravely I stood with my handkerchief watching Prem watching me and declared my love for him, my pain that he was leaving, my happiness of being alone for some time…I waved my white, clean enough, cotton hankerchief like I was sending my feelings into the wind, into a whirl of others´ feelings and emotions, adding colour, some colours light - to add life - and some dark - for a depth and profile - some jolly colours some sad…and felt balanced.

I felt full of energy! I felt the energy to create, I felt light and full of light, compared to driving the car only fifteen minutes before when I felt heavy and slow using my energy to block. Instead now, I felt alive, free to be, free to express.

And I came back in the car alive and full, ready to write this article, words flying into my head as I saw the countryside around me.  I drove back along the coast road and then back along “our” road and of course I saw the same man with the painted overalls talking to a friend of his that had stopped by on a mini tractor.  I wondered if I should or not?  Would it be going over the line?  Really should I? Do you actually want to?  Yes I said to myself. Stopped the car and got out.
“Do you speak English?”
Right! Erm. Arm action required.
“Before” circling back my arms through time “I was driving” internation driving action “I was sad” I let my fingers be the tears
“Why?” he says, so he can speak a little then?
“Because my husband (not to complicate things) and his son leave on Blue Star” I flap my arms in the general direction of Athens (I think).
“But!” I continue “I see your face: Big smile” (hands make big smile) “and” (and now you cannot avoid being really true, really honest, you can´t hide behind the words) my hands point to my heart “your smile makes me feel OK, feel better.”
They both smile, such wonderful big, white smiles on their sunbrushed workmen´s faces.
And somehow (it´s strange isn´t it, sometimes you aren´t communicating with word language) somehow the man on the tractor says to me “He always smiles, he is always smiling!”
And I say “It is beautiful isn´t it?” which I hope he understood through the medium of subtitles created in the dancing light between our eyes.  And we all smiled in agreement and I got back into the car.

And as I pulled into the even less repaired road to the house, I thought: and that is it. Get into a good mood, feel happy, allow yourself to acknowledge the suffering in life too, and help others to keep “up”…to stay happy, to keep their light burning through the ever decreasing bouts of unhappiness…we need to be constantly throwing each other the golden rope that connects us to the heavens of Being, and constantly aware of the golden rope being thrown to us.

Have a great New Year.  Out with the old, in with the new.

Happiness to you friends of my heart.


Happy New Year from me, Prem and Tazo!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

We can all be heroes of our own lives!

It a funny thing being afraid of shadows.  The one that follows you around, scaring you at corners, sneaking up behind your back, is erm, well, just your own.  Funny we should be so afraid of it…its just us, but with much longer legs as the sun sinks in the sky.  The shadow is our parts we don´t seem to control so well, the one that has the tantrums or leaves the house messy, or suddenly breaks down over nothing apparently at all, and also contains our hidden talents.  But we can´t get away from it; it is still us.  

The Camino de Santiago 2007

As we yearn to be our true selves, we live in dread of our shadow rising up to the surface, creating mayhem.  As we fling our arms about in frustration and cry out, all it is trying to say is “Please listen to me”.  In a psychic jail our bad bits are doomed to non-expression, and they often have valid things to tell us, not only about our weaknesses but also about our unheeded strengths.  As we break down once again, it is normally not for the reasons we think.  What has been going on (behind our backs) that we have simply not attended to?

We find our shadows rubbing us up and down in an irritating ways and quite rightly we become irritable.  Take for example seeing an exhibition in an art gallery. Someone always seems to mutter to themselves that “I” (chest puffs out) “could have done THAT!”…in a snort of disgust.  Take Miró´s work.  He is a genius!  And we wonder what would happen if we were to throw paint tins around.  So imagine the private comments outside art exhibitions of local civic centres, you know the ones…

And yes, we can scoff…but really, maybe it is more that we are irritated because we know that we ourselves could have given it a go, and if we´d have kept at it, maybe we could have had the satisfaction of showing our creativity too…but the question is:  Did we?  Did we even try?

Cos it isn´t really the result that matters at the end of the day, but the process.

And I would like to declare my pleasure to the world, that I am pleased with myself.  I have gone out there and somehow, squeezing around the voice of my shadow self, I have managed to put myself out there even though I was sure they would think I was a weirdo!  I have started to do sessions with people with Active Imagination and to my surprise, people actually, really like it.

Of course they do.  Why not?

There is nothing to be afraid of in the world.  Nothing at all to be afraid of.  If we are being motivated to do good, for our will be the will of His will (His being any superior consciousness that you dare to believe in)…then that consciousness (if we have faith in ourselves to be able to relax enough to connect to it) will guide us.  First.  And if we don´t flow, if we really put our feet in where our noses would prefer to ignore, if we come out looking like prize donkeys…then tell this to your shadow: you will not be made fun of at all (or whatever it is we are petrified of).  People really do see how much effort is put in daring to do something, how brave it is to express to others.  Perhaps even it will be a relief for them to see that exposing oneself is not necessarily a perfect show, motivating them to have the confidence to express their own creativity.  For we all have creativity, something that we do well that creates with the material of the world…organising, listening, painting, reading, writing, cooking, understanding, climbing mountains, playing tennis.

But the journey through the shadow to be able to express myself, my beliefs, in public was not plain sailing:  I SHAT myself.  I had pre-session anxiety.  By pre-session I don´t mean the hour before, but the week previous full of short breath, mild panic at seeing time advance towards the date and yet despair as time did not advance fast enough to deliver me from this state of general fear, panic and a deep desire to fly away and live on another planet; or die. 

Many of us have read “The Secret” or seen “What the @#*€ do you know?” or have come into contact with the idea of manifesting reality.  So why would we create such disastrous images in our heads, of the things that really matter to us going absolutely haywire?  We go over and over imagines of being made a laughing stock, of it all going wrong, of our deepest fears? We do this to our OWN mind images!!

So this time I tried to control my own images and I stayed strong enough to imagine supportive images for myself.  First time!  Works a treat.  I imagined that people were happy and pleased and were patting me on the back after the session.  In moments of panic, I tried eventually to remember to come back to my breath, to come back to this moment, and realise that all is ok, I am still alive.  It didn´t work half an hour before while doing a trotting dash to the toilet.  But I handled that as well.  After the session, surprisingly enough, those supportive images came through true.

You see I can only talk for myself, but these sensations, created by fear, by lack, by lack of self belief, of self confidence, are what have been stopping me in my steps (and I suppose continue to stop me).  Fear of unpleasant sensations have acted like brake-blocks on my path, for sooooooo long.  What will they think?  Can also be translated to what will they make me think about myself?

When I was in the Manoush Jazz Group in L´Hospitalet I realised the power of sensations. It´s all in our head!  I was the worst in the group, and apart from being the only one apart from a flute player who didn´t have strings, and it being in a foreign language, and the only one not tuned to C, I have to admit I couldn´t understand a thing.  I had no idea what I had to do, so when it came to my chance to solo, I generally made a right mess of it, often giving up in the middle to stop my and the others´ ears from bleeding.  I would get SO angry, embarrassed, I would feel my face go bright, bright red, and I would hardly be able to play through the rest of the class.  But one day I had a break through…I did the same as I do in meditation.  Observe sensations.  And I realised that this red-faced discomfort only really lasted a couple of minutes, and then it was over.  It was only me keeping me in the discomfort after that!  And the others, who knew my talent better than I did, had long ago accepted (as no big deal) that I was as I was.  It was just me getting red faced angry over the chasm between what I want to be and what I am.

And there we have it.  This fear of acting in life.  This week I heard about a German scientist who has revolutionary ideas about cancer.  My hat off to him, first for exposing himself so bravely in front of a rather disbelieving and scared world of public, and secondly for doing it so well.  Cos, for one, I believe him.  He says, paraphrasing, that the brain connects the mind and the body.  Often there is a conflict between the mind and the body, the brain sends illness to help reduce the conflict, so that the mind may become conscious of the body and communication may begin.  And one of the things that he said made for good health, was having the balls to act. 

What is it that keeps us in our straight jackets?  What is it about our feelings of lack that make us stay in our safety zones with our slippers on, with our laptops at arms´ reach, or a constant fear of the bank balance…?  What is covering over our creativity?

And I think we´ll find it is ourselves.

If we act from the heart there is nothing to fear.

At all.

Not even with that shadow lurking around!  

Our shadow is not just where our fears lie, but our gifts as well.  So let us go beyond the limits of our possibilities and become heroes of our own lives!!

rough diamond

Monday, 31 October 2011

Tricking the mind out of the negative

What I´m beginning to learn is this simple: 

It´s a matter of putting your head in the right place.

Feel good, think good, remember good memories, dream of bright futures.  As simple as that…keeping your head up.

Ahh, the trees are such a wonderful green, light seems to emanate from all that is living, friends call to say wonderful things, you can´t help but give compliments to people and really mean it because you feel you just can´t resist because it is so pleasurable to make people happy and its so wonderful to find someone who is willing to spend a little time to laugh together…it flows so far that you even love the feeling of water running over your fingers and washing up becomes a joy - bliss. 

And so we feel ourselves forever changed, closer to who we always wanted to be: a steady balance of peace, love, joy … and then without warning we are thrown amidst a day dream of how factories are burning black smoke, or the mother-in-law getting right on your…, or suddenly having no money and having to live on the streets and beg to aloof passersby...or worse still having a mortgage. 

And so we come to a Y, we can either roll up our sleeves and get right to it, wallowing in our difficulties, moaning about how everything is so unfair (because it is, it REALLY is) or we go walk the other walk and stay happy, even though all around are not, even as you go out on a leg, feeling a traitor to others´ delicate feelings, and find a route back into a positive feeling of knowing the universe showers us with blessings, providing all that we need, feeling all is in perfect harmony (because it is, it REALLY is).

And there you have it: The Big Y. Choosing to live well. Keeping our heads in a nice place, where we feel loved and secure and loving and comforting, and/or confident and sparkly and supported and lit up, and/or feeling at one with the world in quiet harmony, breathing in the beauty, feeling as strong as a light house as the world rocks around us constantly connecting with this inner peace and security. 

It is SO SO SO easy to fall from there.  Being in that loving-kindness attitude, it feels so easy to be there, as if mere child's play to balance on top of that dome of ice, so sure this state of peace and harmony will last forever.

Gradually, creeping up the back of the garden path, I sense I am being attacked (like really attacked) by thoughts that are destructive. Old familiar wounds, old familiar gripes, comfortable, thought through, homelike mind-patterns.  Maybe at first I am strong enough to ignore these my 'old friends', these destructive negatives, or to reason with them, but after a time, sometimes hours, sometimes days of them telling me repetitive negative things like a radio station in my mind and cunningly weaving them into my love creating thoughts, I begin to listen to them more, god only knows why, and I start to get right inside them, and feel how cruel it is, all of this.  Positive people are so naïve, I grumble, so out of touch with reality.  Everything suddenly reminds me of injustices, desperate futures, personal inadequacy and impotence, and I fall, fall crazily or seepingly into that vertigo that Milan Kundera describes as “the fear of not being able to stop oneself jumping off.” We fall, lovingly addicted to the exhilaration of it as much as we fear the end: the crash with the sensational earth.

Ohh and days and years I have spent in there…wallowing in it, finding myself as the centre of the world and doomed for every ill there could be. I get so ego-centric I begin to have a it-is-raining-just-to-ruin-my-day sort of attitude, and at the same time feeling so insignificant, so detached…

Which is a big difference actually - when we ponder - to feeling wonderfully on top of the world, connected to a unifying consciousness and able to send out love to all beings…really very quite different indeed.

The Letter Y was a sign of discernment and choice for the Pythagorians

And so, my friends, how can we face this dilemma, to stop us yearning and collapsing into the exhilaration of jumping off?

If it´s of any use I´m learning, like a toddler, to walk in the light of happiness and as I feel the first sensations of negative attack, I am trying (sometimes successfully) to trick my mind…by snapping it out of a worn-in habit.  For example, if I am walking then suddenly I walk sideways, or with my arms ridiculously high, or if I am anywhere I try to make my eyes look up higher than they have ever looked up or make a clockwise clock, or try to make them dance to music, exterior or interior.  Or I concentrate on difficult sums like 6x7 (can you do that or is it just me being slow?) or I find ways to interlock my fingers that is not painful, or is. 

As I finish all of this (ridiculous) movement into the unknown, into seeing myself in a new light, and having quite got into skipping, or breathing funnily or balancing a pen on my nose, doing a tennis lession, forcing myself out for a run, I suddenly realise that I am quite a lot further away from those dark thoughts, or, in a particularly successful pranking about, I have found that the dark thoughts have no real influence at all on me right now.

A friend told us the other day that what she does to trick the mind out of miserable thoughts is think of wonderful things that are about to happen to her, like a yoghurt with honey and nuts and her favourite fruit waiting for her in the fridge. Food is so pleasurable it really can help us out of the negativity as our wise friend proves.

(Or sex. Or treating ourselves. Or shopping. Or playing music. Or playing sport.)

But then what happens when we overuse the pleasurable?  Instead of being a way to brighten the spirit, we have all the danger of becoming addicted to it, so that the merest sense of not-being-miserable can only come from the overly-pleasured object. I mean if we were to eat all that we 
always wanted we would be a life threatening danger to ourselves! Just take a look at Elvis. Do you get me? Or like smoking stresses us so much (more than a non smoker) that we only get relief by smoking (as its absence stresses us out even more)….ohhh wow so we have to trick the mind again, and trick the mind out of being addicted to whatever it has attached its desire to: we can do fasts or can fool ourselves saying we have already smoked, or when the bud of a negative idea pops into our heads we do a new finger movement, or a new way to sit down, a nanu-nanu greeting, or we can right look right into the eyes of the person in the mirror and say truthfully for once, “I love you” or pick up someone else´s toilet paper off the public loo´s floor, or something just to change the neural network, to change the way our minds flow.  To flow into a nicer place.

So we can flow into good. Feeling good, doing good, having a good day.

Easier said than done of course.

Filakia (kisses)
L Driver in tricking the mind.

Girolamo di Benvenuto, “Hércules en la encrucijada”, c. 1500.

Upon reaching adolescence, Hercules went away to a quiet place because he had doubts about the way forward. Then, he came upon two magnificent women. The two women were goddesses.  Vice talks first to Hercules and tries to persuade the boy to accompany her on the 'most enjoyable and easy path'.  It is to the left or sinister. Then the other woman, Virtue, proposes to convert the young man into an excellent artist of fine and venerable work.  The path is to right or the right way. It sparks an argument between the two women. Virtue accuses her rival of falsehood, showing the humiliating setback of where her path inevitably leads. On the right path which is certainly "long and difficult" it leads us to where we "have the highest happiness." (Hans van Kasteel)

Tuesday, 9 August 2011


There was a village that was surrounded by a big thick defensive wall. All felt safe within and they lived a village life that was lulling and comforting. The baker baked, the cobbler cobbled, and the children played. All was well with the world, all were happy and in peace, until one day a small child realised that he couldn’t go out and play in the woods outside. A shoemaker told him to get the key, but he couldn’t find it anywhere. His wife, wiping her hands on her apron, came out of the kitchen to help the boy find the key. It was nowhere to be found! Panic spread amongst the villagers like fire… “The key, the Key, the KEY!!” they all cried...all stopped what they were doing in a frantic search for the object that could open the big heavy wooden door to the outside world that suddenly seem so very locked shut.

The big old door to the village

For a long time normal village life stopped as each person looked under crook and cranny, under stones, in sewing baskets, in tool boxes, in the toy corners, in the stables…but alas it was not to be found!

Then one day, they heard a small voice quiver over the wall “I have the key!” and clamouring up the wall to see the source of the good news, griping on for dear life, they spotted a small boy. He said “I shall throw you the key” and lo and behold his aim was perfect! The key sailed over the top of the wall and fell into the hands of the villagers. The small boy, excited, waited outside at the door for it to open. He waited and waited and waited. Where were they? What were they doing? What had gone wrong? He waited until sundown, until he realised that the villagers had forgotten about him, and with a heavy heart, head down, went home.

Time passed and the little boy wondered about the villagers: why hadn’t they opened the door? He decided to return to the village. The door was still locked, cobwebs covered it the same as before. So he scaled heroically over the walls to discover what had happened. There in the centre of the village, in a big beautiful temple with gold ornaments to decorate and flowers to scent, they had placed the key on an altar and were bowing to it, chanting to it, praying to it to intercede on their behalf.

They had never used the key.

So, could it be that this is how we all are?  Bowing down to our keys, forgetting to use them? We have the tools to go into the unknown, to come out of our safety zones, to go into the woods of our unconscious…but we don’t. Why not? What tools do we have that we don’t use? What do we venerate which becomes our prison? Why are we afraid to walk through the door?

It’s funny because sometimes something does help, but we make it into such a dogma that it hinders us. Such as smoking, we smoke to relax, and eventually find we cannot relax without smoking. We have placed the packet of cigarettes on the altar and we are bowing down towards it. We have allowed energy to control us, rather than us controlling the energy.

And so, I would like to share with you all my lovely news! I have been given a key, and have had the support and confidence1 to walk through a doorway in my life.

At one point I felt as if I were walking through a door into absolute darkness and became somewhat terrified. My mum bought me a book once called “Feel The Fear But Do It Anyway”…you get the drift: my chest was tight, and though I felt love and happiness I was scared. Until I realised a very simple thing: the sun shines every morning! There is not an eternal blanket of darkness, in the same way there is not an eternal night.  Every day follows night, every night follows day. We may choose to join up the gaps of dark, or join up the gaps of light, and those who are well travelled on their path may even be able to integrate the days and the nights into a beautiful whole.

And so, as I walk through a new gateway, I have faith in the sun, and look forward to the velvety night of unknowing, for it is only the same material as the day without being able to see it, without wisdom1 (as yet - I hope). Nothing is so scary if we remember to step into darkness with confidence2 of the light we all carry within.

So, yes, I have fallen in love!! I choose to leave Barcelona to move to the Island of Paros in Greece. I went there for a fortnight and came back three fortnights later. It is a wonderful place, and I have been so welcomed into a centre called Taos. It feels like home, and those of you (which are most of you!) who are interested in self development and connecting more to our truer selves, to our light and to our darkness, I invite you to check out the work study programme, or to just come for a short break.
Let us celebrate Life! May we all recognise3 our keys/tools/gifts and have the wisdom1 to use them when the time is right, to move with the flow, to surrender4 to a loving, caring power and to have the peace and joy of resting on our laurels in the beauty of everyday living!

Relaxing in the Restaurant of the Taos Centre

This story has been ripped off (I admit it!!) from Uyallah’s Zen Ring Meditation. I thank her for allowing me to share it.

(1) wisdom: wise "to see," hence "to know" but I prefer the Spanish Sabiduria, which comes from being able to saber: to know and to savour.

(2) confidence: with-faith

(3) recognise: to go through our cognition again (as if we were remembering after having gone through Plato’s River Lethe (Oblivion or Forgetting of Being))

(4) surrender: "give up, deliver over". But sur is under and render: "to repeat," "give back, present, yield," could it be that surrender means a form of giving of ourselves that permits our ego to become invisible and therefore leave our present cycle of Samsara? ...just a thought.

Taos Centre

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Manual of Ourself.

One of the concepts C G Jung wrote about was the path of individuation.  The idea is, I believe, that with time, we peel off the layers of the onion skinned protection from around our soul, to find out what it is we like, what it is we naturally do, and who we really are deep down there.   

I guess a first step on the path could run around the question:  Do we enjoy life?  Are we darting around here and there, completing obligations that we don´t really want to do so that people will not reject us; compared to, possibly doing the same things, but putting our heart into it, because we like putting our heart into it, because it is what makes us feel alive, while hoping others will also be benefited.  In the latter it is when we feel realised.  We feel real.  "Doing" transforms into "becoming"; and somewhere near to the end of the path we experience our pure being.  As we step along our individual life we become more conscious of choosing to do this or that, because it is what we do, we have discovered (etymology: to free from under cover) our own personal gifts. And when we share them and we find peace and joy and more life.  For what is a performer without an audience?

Now, since this talk is of the union spirit and soul, and hearing talk of graceful loving and peaceful enjoyment of life, many I presume, like me, rush blindly ahead crashing into an imagine of ourselves levitating in the Himalayas; realise this may not happen; become aware of the massive gap between the Buddha image and our own present self image as we rush off to the next appointment, behind time, not bloody omm-ing but swearing under our breath.

But this is an error.  For Buddha was Buddha, and that is just right for him.  But not necessarily for you or for me.  The idea of the path of individuation is that we find our own one and stop doing stuff that is not on our path that we do because we think we should.  Of course we all have obligations that we have to do on our paths: paying the rent, caring for children, or standing in line to get some bloody paperwork stamped.  The question is where is it leading us?  If we are honest with ourselves we may find quite a lot of stuff is unnecessary in our lives leading us in fashionable circles; and vice versa: stuff we don´t do, for fear of being a weirdo.   

It is easy to see those who "do" because they love, compared those who "do" out of obligation: a restuarant regardless of food or price makes you feel good or not, a person regardless of the amount of trendy self development workshops every weekend makes us feel one way or the other.  I believe this attitude is one of the factors that marks the difference between a feel good to self/others/exterior and an uncomfortable empty feel.  

Becoming ourselves is the awakening of the soul, the awakening of sleeping beauty who discovers her own gifts that the fairies have given her.  What do we enjoy doing that makes our sensation of time disappear?  What gives us satisfaction?  How can we feel open enough, secure enough, to let ourselves simply go with the flow?  How do we feel our heart beating with love of being?  Where do we enjoy (being) ourselves? 

Ohh!!  It´s a biggie…we all want to know, now now, NOW!!!…we want a tarot card to tell us, a horoscope, or a stray gypsy…but we all know where the answer lies.  There are no free tickets along the path.  The thing is I wonder if sometimes, we confuse our ideal image with the image of having to be super brilliant - nothing short of a genius - that we set our sights on BIG things, where people will have to notice and applaud us (as we silently pretend humility) instead of recognising the little things that give us and our lives more worth (etymology: come to be, become, take place).  

And talking of geniuses, such as Jung, hats off to them for finding what they are brilliant at.  It would seem that they could have stridden some distance along that spiny, difficult, narrow path of finding and becoming oneself: but surely it doesn´t automatically mean to say they have.  Not those geniuses who shout at least.  Being brilliant at something outside doesn´t necessarily make you more you inside.  Could it be that a good indicator is the ability to connect with love?  (Especially if we are to believe we are essentially an expression of love.)  The answer to where each is at on their path, is within. We will never know reading Jung where he was with respect to his individuation.  We can only try to know about ourselves.

So, I dedicate this blog to Adrian Crescini´s Uncle.  When I was in Mendoza he was our mechanic.  You could tell he loved being in his workshop.  If you had seen the cars that we were driving, it´s a good indicator to how often I was there: a lot.  He never charged us as much as he should, in fact he seemed happy to see the cars again, pleased to be able to tinker with them, as if he had a personal relationship with each car that came into his engine nest.  
This was the street where we lived, when I arrived it was dirt, but they surfaced it.  It is a complimentary photo of all three - me, Adrián and the Chevi.  The back was a bit more battered up.

I would go to his workshop, and we´d eat snails that he had fed himself for days on some special food so they would taste special.  He cooked them there on a mechanic´s sort of gas burner: they were de-li-cious!!! – they tasted of his enjoyment of them.  He would do little tricks that I loved and made me laugh.  We would share maté together and try and catch each other out pretending to drop the maté gourd as we passed it to one another.   

And at the end of the day, he´d shut up shop and go home.  

He wasn´t addicted to being there, he didn´t need to be there for his self esteem, he just liked it.  He wasn´t always happy, lets not get back into the levitating image again - he had bad days - but most days he was a high energy repeater station of peaceful happiness, sat on the driveway in his deckchair, or coming out from under some old banger on a slidey back rest, with a beamer of a smile, teeth all the more white for the black oil on his cheek.  He treated me like a human being instead of gringa-got-lost and was one of the few who make the effort to hear through my impossibly thick accent.  I was almost glad when my dear little dark blue Fiat 600 broke down, because I had an excuse to go and see him.  I would come out with not only the car fixed, but me fixed.

 And that, I think, is the path of individuation.  Finding what makes us tick.  But don´t go thinking of setting up your own little mechanic workshop in Mendoza where the wine grapes grow plump.  I, for one, would go crazy in his shoes.  I don´t like getting my hands dirty.

I loved my Fiat 600 so much I painted it.

We all must find what we like, and move towards it with grace.  It is not easy.  Discovering our talents is impossible to do without discovering those things about ourselves that we would prefer to stay ignorant of.  Digging into us, brings out fear, guilt, and all sorts of complexes about being free, about being our true selves.  We must be brave enough to accept both sides of the story.

My mate Anna said to me, “If I played the trumpet, I would go down to the sea and play it there on the end of a pier, looking out over the sea.”  Crikey! I suddenly realised how uncreative I was being playing into my open wardrobe to amortize the sound…and maybe, if I have a good day, I may get up the courage to do it: just for me, because I want to, because it makes me feel realised, real.  Alive.   

For I believe we can all find, in our own individual manner, our wonderful ways to drink from the source, creating a connection with that energy giving substance that we call life.

Friday, 4 March 2011


  I don’t know why I was still sat crosslegged on the mud floor of the Nepalese orphanage´s dining room when I had long finished the dahl baht. Maybe I had free time with no duties; maybe I was sat in Mandukasana – the Frog pose – to help digestion; maybe I was just being plain lazy. What I do know is that I was sat quietly, motionless, gazing through the door and marvelling to myself how the corn seed, that had been planted around the time of my arrival, had grown to be a couple of meters tall, how the heads were beginning to look like something I could imagine eating, with butter.  
Dhananjay, Sumitra and Namita in the Ashram´s Dining Room.
Curiously they are sitting exactly where I was in this story.
The door is to their 2 o´clock (right)

Rishi had come to the ashram a month before. He had travelled a brave, difficult path, for after marriage, he had felt the need to embark on a spiritual life, which his wife was unprepared to follow. It had lead to their physical separation which, presumably especially in Nepalese culture, was an extremely delicate situation. We spoke about it a little, about his hurt, how it laced into his joy of finding this spiritual path.
Rishi, I and a few others, did yoga in the morning together under the we-would-like-to-say “expertise” eye of Doctor Gopal at 6 am: which in Nepal is late. The children, my little children as I mother-duckingly felt towards the end, were up at 5am with their yoga. I was so proud of them! I was only just able to crawl out of bed with Gopal knocking at my door at 5.45 am for communal tea and biscuits in my bedroom. That is when I realised that: 1) privacy is something that is within us, not without; and 2) always wear pyjamas. Anyway, Rishi and I were co-walkers for a while along the same path.
The children in the yoga hall, 5am.
So, I´m sat there on the mud floor looking at the green corn, and suddenly -¡click! - it is as if my vision has changed from an old grainy fuzzy film to a modern crystal clear format…the colours jump out, saturated in a greener than green, in a brilliantly dazzling green, and I don´t know if before there had been a slight breeze but I suddenly notice it, and see how the corn, so vibrant, seems to come alive and dance in that breeze, how different greens weave a pattern of sensual art, of pleasure, of being, and I am filled with joy, and want to sing the song the breeze is making. And there, in the dining room, I find that I have suddenly burst into song…I feel so connected with everything, with the corn outside shining into the shadowy room, as if live itself were right there at the doorway…and I look around, most of the children had finished eating their rice with a splattering of vegetables, and have gone to do their chores. There must have been maybe four children still - and Rishi. I look at him. He is sat with his direction towards me. I can´t remember if he has his eyes closed or not, but then we make eye contact, and I beam at him, he beams back, as if we have shared an intimate moment…and hesitatingly I say (and it is the first and last time I have ever said this to anyone):
“Have you been sending me energy?” And he replies in his Nepali accent, a little embarrassed,
“Yes, I have been sending you Reiki.” Suddenly it all makes sense!...the dancing green, the livid breeze, the burst into song. “I must apologise, you really must never send Reiki until you have sought permission. You must always ask before doing so.” He says awkwardly.
“Ohh Rishi, it was wonderful. Thank you.”

How could I have been anything other than thankful to him? And later I realise just how fortunate it was that he hadn´t asked me for the said permission - for otherwise I would have thought it was my head playing tricks again. I would never have had the opportunity to experience, innocently, those moments and the effects of someone sending me “energy”. It is an Aloe-vera soothing relief when, on that high vertigo verge of serious doubting, of wondering if this time if I really am going mad – the image of that doorway, with the corn outside, most needingly flashes back from memory in the knick of time. I can only be eternally grateful to Rishi, wherever he is, whatever he is doing, for giving me this heart-warming, sanity-saving proof. I don´t know what to call it - energy, libido (the energy of life, not just the sexual), Eros, Caritas, Spirit – who knows? But whatever it was, I know it does, it really does, exist.

Prem and Jivan collecting
cow food from the next field to the corn.