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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