Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Reverb 10 catch up!

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Prompt: Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn't go for it?

In 2011, I would like to try....
Singing - take some lessons
Dip my toe into the water of method acting (I can't believe I've just written that!)
Drawing and making my own cards for people (watch this space)
What I know is true is: going for it always yields amazing results.


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Prompt: Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn't because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)


I'm not focusing so much on the word should as on the sense of whether there were any missed opportunities this year. Instead of 'should' : 'could'
I could have seen more of my mum this year. I could have introduced Nige to my gran, Julie. I could have spent more time with my sisters. 
Family is such a core part of who I am and such a major trigger of all the old insecurities that I avoid them to avoid having to deal with what gets brought up by being around them. Perhaps it's really much simpler than it sounds, and perhaps only the Love is real. I get the feeling that my family are more important to me than I let on even to myself.


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Prompt: Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)


Elloa.... in 2011, just follow your heart. You'll always know what to do and where to go. 
If you want a few tips, though, how about these?
Write, sing, dance, go to the beach, ride your bike, be with your tribe, love people, let yourself be loved, make love, meditate, listen out for Spirit, connect, surrender, have faith, let go, laugh that dirty laugh of yours, look deep into his eyes, listen, pay attention, appreciate the small things, see, allow yourself to be seen, travel, rest, and sometimes just do nothing at all. 
Breathe deep, beautiful woman. You are safe and loved.


To my little girl, I would say this.


To my 17 year old self, I would say: I've got you girl. Your path is set and you are heading heavenwards with every step you take. Loved, worthy and enough... just wait and see.
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Thursday, 16 December 2010

#Reverb10 - 5 minutes

Prompt: 5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

Okay... here goes (ready, set, GO!)






What a beautiful prompt! It sifts stuff to the surface... go on, your turn!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Dear Jim...

Dear Jim,

It has been a year since you passed.

He misses you.

You have been with him this year, though not in your body. You've been a central part of his healing this year (with a little help from your jumper!). I wanted to write to you Jim, to say that it's nearly Christmas time again, and in the quiet of the long, dark nights of December, your presence and your life are as important as when your body breathed.

I want to thank you, and to tell you about this year.

We said goodbye to Jenny at the end of December last year, driving carefully down your ice-laden road, her small figure receding in size, becoming even smaller in the rearview mirror. We turned the corner, and then she was gone. She was vulnerable - she'd just lost her husband - but while I was concerned for her, sure she needed comfort and support, I also had a quiet certainty inside me that she would honour you in everything that she did, and that in many ways she might continue to grow as a woman, a wife and a mother.

One year on, and I'm sure Jenny is feeling your loss as potently as your son and daughter. There's something really innocent about her, Jim, which makes it effortless to fall in love with her. I know you know what I'm talking about! Your love for Jenny was palpable, even to me who didn't know you that well. And yet, there is more. Since you passed, Jenny has taken leaps of faith that I know in my heart you are so proud of. She's tended to the garden, on her knees for hours on end, looking up in surprise to find that the sky has grown dark and the evening has drawn in. She's sold the car, but not after taking a huge risk and having the courage to consider driving again. What is perhaps more courageous is that she decided, for herself, that she didn't want to get back on the roads, despite what anybody might have said.

She went on holiday. She continued to be a central part of her church's community, and of the Age Concern shop. She put her foot down about storing other people's stuff in the loft. She let go of your clothes. She spoke on 'that Skype' with Ivy and Bob. And, one of my favourite memories of the year: she spent 8 hours on a coach from Darwen to Brighton, where I picked her up, and together we went to see your son play 'The Bedlam' in Henfield's summer production, "The Roses of Eyam". As I sat next to her, both of us moved to tears (and Nige too!), I once again felt your presence with us.

And, of course, she went to Arran. She carried you on her back, and 'oo 'eck, were you heavy! There, on land you and she were so in love with, she scattered your ashes, letting you go in body that you might be free in spirit.

No doubt about it Jim - your wife is one heck of a lady.

I haven't lived the past year in the ongoing presence of Jenny, and yet the moments that I have spent with her have been beautiful, tender, heartfelt, open moments. As Christmas approaches, I promise you this - that I will watch out for her, that I will see her innocence, that I will love her while she grieves and misses you and honours the birth of Christ.

Now, about your son.

Jim, can words begin to describe the depth of love, appreciation and intimacy I feel towards this man, your son? Sometimes when I'm with him, I just look, I just stop and look and take in the miracle that is this beautiful, strong, creative, soft, vulnerable, gentle, worthy man. As I look, I feel such gratitude that I am the one invited to walk alongside him, just as you walked alongside Jenny. He is amazing.

Let me tell you about your son, and a little bit about his year. Right now, as I write, he is playing Christmas music to an audience of Christmas trees. I am not kidding! 52 weeks ago to this day, I received a call from him at about 11.00am to tell me that you'd gone. In that moment, the world changed. It was time to ride our bikes. We rode for you, we stopped and prayed and spoke up to the sky, both crying, both pushing pedals knowing inside our beings that but for you, neither of us would have been there. Nige tells me that one day, he wants to build his own bike - just like his dad used to do - and that he will call it Spirit of Jim. I know that he will do it.

Like your wife, your son has taken thousands of risks this year, each decision bringing him a step closer, a layer closer, to remembering the Truth about himself. One of the areas that I am most proud of him - and one that I'm sure you are too - is that he's stepped right into the fire of believing that he'll never measure up to you or be as handy as you, and in spite of seemingly solid evidence, he has begun to embody the bike mechanic within him.

Yes, it took bloody hours (and there was quite literally blood at some points!) but he got those bastard Schwalb Marathon tyres on. He's fixed punctures, changed tyres, fiddled around with rear mechs, and tweaked gears. He's been on the verge of tears in his room - just him, some tools, and his bike - and he's called out to you for some help. And you were there.

I suspect that underneath the old, worn out belief that he hasn't done as good a job as you would have done, there is a little boy who wants more than anything to run up to his dad, greasy long-nosed pliers in hand, and say, "Dad! Dad! Look! I did it!" It's no substitute, but I give what I can, which is to cheer him on and remind him what an incredible person he is, reflecting back to him how strong the Spirit of Jim is that lives and shines inside of him. And somewhere inside of him is your voice, and your hand is on his shoulder, and he knows that you are proud.

I can't talk about this year without mentioning The Parts. Now, I know you weren't much of a theatre-going man, but believe me when I say that these two plays were worth watching. Nige spent six months preparing to play The Bedlam, and that journey was an intricate, intimate part of his grieving process. His performance was the culmination of every minute and every hour that he spent in preparation. That people were astonished, that people didn't recognize him, that an old man in the graveyard sped away in fright, are all testament to the integrity of his preparation. People are still talking about The Bedlam, even though he is long gone. I know you know this already, Jim, but The Bedlam was a tribute from Nige to you. It was a very personal journey that he went on, which I had an unusually intimate window into, but a window nonetheless.

Guardsman Bowe was another kettle of fish altogether, although in his own way, he too was vulnerable and alone. Playing Bowe opened Nige - and myself, interestingly - to an expanded awareness of the horrors of war. He learned much about World War I, about the men who had to leave their families, their homes and their lives, who died in battle or who returned broken men. Nige's depiction of the shellshocked guard in the second act of 'My Boy Jack' was unnerving, heart-wrenching and even a bit frightening. Moved to tears during both of the performances I watched, I was aware of the sound of other people crying, and especially of one sound that tells you the audience are raptly engaged and present - complete and absolute silence. You honestly could have heard a pin drop in the auditorium.

I was so moved by Nige's performance not only because of his life-filled characterization, but also because I knew once again just how much of himself he'd put into it, how much it meant to him to be alive on the stage. I cannot articulate it but somehow, I know that you were as intricately involved in the part of Bowe as you were Bedlam.

What's marvellously exciting is that in 2011, Nige and I will be acting alongside each other for the first time ever, playing Rooster and Lily in 'Annie!' Nige has already said that he'll be doing this for Jenny, and she's already said she'll come to see it! As I'm writing this, the Great Britain comes to mind. Nige has, of course, told me about this many times - what happened, what you said afterwards, how he felt. I just wonder whether there is more for him to hear from you about what it meant to you to see your son on stage? I wonder how it is for you to witness him shining so brightly in the theatre company, and whether he can accept the truth, for back then, for now, for what's to come?

There's not much more for me to say, Jim, other than to point out a couple of other highlights of the year. Our holiday in Somerset was beautiful; the day that Jenny was carrying your ashes to be scattered in Arran, we were in the woods, honouring your memory; Nige's experiment, "104 Days Between the Bed and the Door" is still in progress, and has touched me deeply, has taken root in his life in an extremely tangible, deep way, and has been the foundation out of which the most beautiful blog has arisen. The pieces of work he has done over the course of the year have been staggering - from changing his mind about what it would mean to 'lose' your sweater, to gently reintegrating Frank Sinatra music back into his life, to doing clearing after clearing.

Witnessing him, I have fallen ever deeper in love with this beautiful man who lives his life committed to remembering the Truth and taking responsibility for his thoughts. I've never met anyone quite like Nigel Atkinson, and I know I never will again. He is a constant inspiration, a source of pure joy in my life, a beautiful friend and absolutely Beloved to me.

And Jim, he is who he is because he came from you. I'll always be grateful to you for that. The love you showed him as a boy and as a man helped pave the way for the leader that Nige has become. At Christmas time, we are going to ride Salter Fell in honour of you. We'll eat sandwiches and holler into the wind and end the day exhausted but exhilarated, proud and hungry and content. All I ask is that you have a word with the weather and give us a nice day to ride on!

Love you always,
Elloa xxx

Sunday, 12 December 2010

This says it all...



"It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realised, somehow, through the screaming in my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn't sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it's all you've got, that freedom is a universe of possibility. And the choice you make, between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life."

from Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts


Saturday, 11 December 2010

#Reverb10 - Things

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? 

In his book, 50 Things Your Life Doesn't Need, some of the 'things' Sam Davidson writes about aren't 'things' at all, but dynamics, burdens or expectations. Included on the list are:
* Drama - most crises are needless
* Five thousand Facebook friends
* A long commute - Distance makes your heart grow angrier

Thought provoking stuff. Here is my list of 11 things my life doesn't need in 2011, and my plan for eradicating them. 

1. The Camper Van Money Box from Mum
Oh, there's guilt attached to this one. The thing is, I use it, but I don't love it. It's got to go. Anybody want a money box? 

2. Coffee
Ah, the aroma of that first morning cup. It smells pretty enticing, doesn't it? What's not so enticing is the jittery, jagged, jumpy feeling that comes with it. A cup of tea is a ritual, but a cup of coffee is a drug. I've already said goodbye to coffee, after an on-off, will-she/won't-she relationship with it spanning many years. Sure, I'll miss the multitude of options available to me when I visit a coffee shop, the glamour and seduction of a skinny wet one (oo-er), but perhaps this simplification of what I'm willing to put into my body is a reflection of what I'm intending to invite into my life. My intent for 2011 is to keep the door firmly closed to those pesky little brown beans.

3. Unforgiveness (also known as resentment, fear, boredom, gossip, judgement, loathing, jealousy, withholding, self-hatred, criticism, self-centredness, the shitty committee)
"'Love will enter immediately into any mind that truly wants it, but it must want it truly.' - ACIM"
Love... I want you! I have had a glimpse, probably just a tiny glimpse, of how possible it can be to live from a place of extending Love, rather than running on fear. I have been shown the way out of hell, and the more I practice saving myself when I'm in a place of fear and pain, the more I come to realize that freedom and peace are within my grasp - every single moment
How could I want for the ego's shabby offerings when love is available to me in every moment? And so, I declare once again that I stand for the Truth of Innocence and I invite Spirit in to help me let go of unforgiveness in all its guises: resentment, fear, boredom, gossip, judgement, jealousy, withholding, self-hatred, criticism, self-centredness and the shitty committee that seems to think it has a right to live in my head. You lot are so out of date.

4. Dirt
Note to self - must clean more often. 
Note to reader - this is mostly make up. 
Note to ego - it doesn't bloody matter!


5. Spare Set of Sheets that are living under my bed
Why are they there? Where did they come from? And what colour are they exactly? Sorry sheets - time to go.
* Turns out I already got rid of them! Victory! * What shall I get rid of instead? Oh! My ipod totally broke this morning on my run. It's four years old, been on the brink of a breakdown for a while. It's Auf Wiedersehn methinks. (It got stuck in the middle of 'Mary Jane' by Alanis Morrisette, in case you were wondering)


6. The 'Sweet Dreams' Eye Mask from Helen
Another gift, and sadly, another 'thing' that just takes up space in my life. Sorry, eye mask - it's time for us to say goodnight



7. Red Makeup Bag
Another gift from Mum. To be fair, this one's lasted a couple of years, but I do not like it, so why do I keep it in my life?!


8. Blue 'Gap' Scarf
Another gift - ouch! I really like this one, but don't ever, ever wear it. It's always there when I open my cupboard. I think I know someone who'll appreciate this though... 


9. Too many passions
Reading a few pages from Sam Davidson's book, he says some interesting stuff about having too much in your life. Every single human on the planet is equal in terms of how many hours a day we're given. The number is 24. We are recommended to sleep for 8 of them. That leaves 16 hours for work, family, friends, food, bathing, commuting, meditating, relaxing, rehearsing, writing, reading, connecting, driving, eating, having sex, bike riding, running, dreaming, crying, laughing, praying, sweating, and of course, clearing. 
Having too many passions always leaves me feeling spread very thin on the ground. In 2011, I'm going to be playing the part of Lily in Annie opposite Nige's Rooster. I'm going to be blogging. I'm going to be dancing, riding my bike, and being in Love. I'm going to be doing the work on myself. I don't think I need to learn how to play the piano just yet, or the guitar, or how to speak French. If new things come my way, that'll be marvellous, but I'm committed to not over-committing.

10. Taking myself too seriously
I commit to seeing things differently until all I see is the Love in any situation. Including myself. As a child, I was branded a drama queen, someone who thought the world revolved around her, someone who should 'get on your bike' (i.e. a bullshitter), and a cry baby. Learning to laugh at myself and just do as Frankie says has been tough, and I'm not quite there yet. (Frankie says 'RELAX', by the way.)
I will clear over and over and over again. I will spend time in meditation. I will pray. I will spend time watching the birds fly and swoop. I will look into his eyes and allow myself to be seen. I will sing like nobody's listening, even when they are. And I will forgive, laugh and let it all bloody go!

11. Needing to prove that I have done all of these things
The solid, tangible items are easily let go of. The other things are deeply rooted patterns that take time, dedication and miracles to truly transform. Like I said in my last post - what if there was nothing to prove? 
I don't want to live my life believing that I have to prove my worth. It's something I seem to 'just do', at work, in my relationship with Nige, and especially in my family. Maybe 2011 could be the year of 'Nothing to prove. If I run the half marathon, it'll be because I want to. If I do well at work, it'll be because I allowed myself to blossom rather than forced myself to perform. If my living circumstances change, it'll be because the time was right, rather than because I 'made' it happen. And if nothing changes at all... I'll take responsibility for the thoughts I think until I return to a state of love and peace.

Doing this piece of work this evening has been awesome. It was harder than I thought it'd be. What thing(s) do you NOT need in your life in 2011? How will your life change without them?

Thank you, #Reverb10!

Friday, 10 December 2010

#Reverb10 - Wisdom

Just before the beginning of this final, closing month of 2010, I stumbled upon #Reverb10, a month long deep dive into reflecting on this year and manfiesting what's next.


Reverb10 sends out a 'prompt' each day, written by a different author/creative type. So far, I've read but haven't written about any of these, and I already regret that, so I'm choosing differently this evening.


December 10 Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?


Surprisingly, what comes to mind is a decision that I made very early on in the year (I am already loving this project because it's given me an opportunity to zoom out of my life and look at just what an incredible year it's been). 


The wisest decision that comes to mind was the one I made to leave my job as a Support Worker for adults with Aspergers Syndrome. From that decision came so many incredible things:


* I chose to work a night shift because I knew I was leaving soon, and stumbled upon a beautiful blog called Love Imagine Create. I began to blog again, and encouraged Nige to do the same. Through blogging, we met Brooke and Julia, whose presences have utterly enhanced my life (and Nige's too, of that I'm sure!), bringing so much beauty and connection. What gifts these women are.


* I got to spend a few months working on a great project which was supposed to get thousands upon thousands of young people volunteering. It was scary, creative, challenging, and I met some awesome people and drove a lot all over East Sussex. I also got lots of chances to practice remembering that I am enough. Some were more successful than others.


* I got made redundant, which was a brilliant lesson in trust, and it gave me three months work-free in which I still got paid. I spent that time studying, resting, and entered into Life Coaching with the exquisite Anne-Marie. I also found out about the redundancy on holiday, which provided an extra sense of terror/liberation as Nige and I cycled through Cheddar Gorge.






* Through the new job this year that I then got made redundant from, I met Anna, who, in a flash of synchronicity, suggested I go for a cup of tea with Graham Allcott because I was beginning to study coaching. Today, I work for him! 
Graham is a productivity ninja and all-round top bloke. He gets things done very productively which gives me a perfect opportunity to face my belief that I must be perfect and a performing monkey in order to be accepted. My new job title is very grown up sounding and completely opposite to the dancing lunatic that I was last year. Today, people, I am Think Productive's Public Workshops, Finance and Back Office Manager. (Is it just me or does the 'Back Office' bit make you want to giggle like a naughty schoolchild?)


Following that gut feeling to leave that job has opened so, so many doors for me. I don't mean outward doors, although some of them were...
* Meeting Julia and Brooke, for example, has provided me with heart connection but has challenged my thinking and my beliefs too, particularly around what it means for a man I love to be close to another woman;
* Losing my job brought up lots of old beliefs that I am somehow a failure because I never stick at anything, even though everything in my life says that I am lovely and innocent, just the way I am.


Perhaps the lesson, and the point, is that there are no small decisions. Every decision I make does affect the rest of my life. Ultimately, the most important decision I will ever make is to remember the Truth, to change my mind, to return to Love (I know I say it a lot, but as my character in Annie says, "It's true"!). When I make that decision internally, how I live my life will automatically arise out of it.


And today, I am bloody bowled over with gratitude for my life. 


Thank you for being a part of it.


xoxoxoxoxox

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

What if....

What if
... there was nothing to prove? And I mean nothing.


What if
... I could feel God's presence as potently when I sped around the city as I do in the Quiet Times?


What if
... I loved each person in my life - friends, landlord, enemies, colleagues, boyfriend, commuters, strangers, - as if they were a precious child of God sent especially to me that I might simply adore them?


What if
... I chose to dedicate my life to waking up? If every morning, I sat in silence, and every evening too - what then?


Would I need to quit my job, to find one that 'suited me more'?
Would I feel the same sense of urgency about wanting to live with my boyfriend?
Would I invest so much energy in how my body looks and feels?


Or would I just be free to Love?
How different would my life look, I wonder?
I wonder... What if... ?



Friday, 3 December 2010

FEARLESS Friday

I have been given the honour of guest blogging for beautiful Julia at Painted Path. Head on over to her stunning, soft blog and immerse yourself in fearlessness!






Or, just do some yoga with your teddy...

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Vigilance

I am having one of those sort-out Sundays, catching up with 280 emails (all processed!), a bit of cleaning, a bit of clearing out of the unnecessary burdens I carry, within and without. And then I stumble upon this piece of writing that I did over a year and a half ago... enjoy.


Be vigilant for God and the Kingdom.
What does vigilance mean? In my mind, I picture it to be some kind of super-watchfulness, an alertness tinged with worry and a sense of threat that something is going to take away my peace. My peace! If A Course In Miracles is teaching that only love is real, how could this be what vigilance means?

  Perhaps vigilance is something else instead. For example, last night I felt irritable. I was struggling to see the Love in the situation I was in, unable to be present without buying into my frustration. I knew that I needed to do a chart. For a couple of minutes, I tried to think of valid excuses for not doing one. What I came up with was this: “it’s going to let him know that I am triggered if I say I’m doing a chart”. That was the best reason I could think of for not doing one – my fear of being exposed. I tried, unsuccessfully, to tell myself that it was better to go straight to bed, to not be sexual and to communicate that, and that that would in fact be a good thing because it would give me practice in asserting myself (see how slippery the ego is). I told myself that it would be gone in the morning. But as I went to the bathroom, I remember realizing very clearly that if I didn’t clear, then and there, I would be laying the foundation for dishonesty, resentment and irresponsibility, and that that would build, causing mountains further down the road from what was really not even a molehill.

  The clearing I therefore did, and I can honestly report that what came afterwards was true connection. My boyfriend and I connected, had exciting and sensual sexual connection, and then embarked on what turned into a very frank, extremely honest conversation. I went to bed and woke up next to a beautiful man who I love, instead of my parents, which is what I was projecting onto him in the moments that I was triggered.

  Further gifts came from this particular clearing. We both took time to check in this morning, and I shared what had come up for me in the second part of my clearing, which was the memory of hurting my sister when we were children, which I used as evidence to prove that I am bad and guilty. From sharing that, I was asked if there was something I could do to help myself with that belief, and the idea popped into my head of sending her a card telling her that I love her. Nige then suggested to me that I actually do this anonymously, in my non-dominant hand, and that I don’t tell her it was me even if she asks. (Funnily, I did this, and she got a bit freaked out by it, which brought me another opportunity to heal a misperception in my mind. Today, over 18 months later, I am really glad I sent it to her).

Nige told me that when he took Prac in Canada, each person became somebody’s angel and for an 8 month period, did anonymous acts of kindness for that person, putting books and crystals and concert tickets and notes and other gifts in their pigeon hole, without that person ever finding out who it was. It is like the film Pay It Forward. He talked a little about incorporating this into day-to-day life, buying a tea for the person behind you in a cafĂ© without them knowing and then leaving before they could see it was you. I thought about the story of the toll gate on the road that I recently heard on the radio, in which a car decided to pay for the car behind it, and that car was so blown away by this act of kindness that they in turn decided to do the same thing, and so did the next, and the one after that. And I bet you that as those people drove down the motorway after that act, passing and being passed by umpteen cars, they smiled to themselves and felt really good about knowing that they had done something to one of these people, perhaps even the car passing them right now…

  So, out of this one piece of vigilance for God and the Kingdom came all these gifts. Yes, I had to take responsibility for the thoughts I was thinking, but really, can I truly say that that was such a bad or painful thing? It’s quite the opposite. Doing the chart allowed me to see Nige for who he really is again, restored me to my birthright, which is peace, generated some really interesting conversation, alchemised a beautiful experience of sexual and emotional intimacy, and quietened that awful, vicious voice in my head. Not bad for a ten minute process, and nobody was hurt in the doing of it.

  I guess that this leaves me with the conclusion that vigilance is about being aware of what my ego is doing, and having enough of a commitment to listening to the Holy Spirit that when I know I’ve got a piece of work to do, I do it. No ifs, no buts, no excuses. Just do it. Or JFDI, as some friends and I used to say – just f-ing do it!

  I don’t need to roll around in my mess, analysing every little thing that I think; I don’t even need to hunt around for opportunities for forgiveness work, because they will present themselves as and when they arise. One thing is certain – the ego can pick a fight over anything! So, I commit to the work, I do the work, and especially, I do it in the moments when I know I am not in my right mind. 

What does vigilance mean to you? And how are you today, dear one? xxx

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Where have I been?, I wonder

When I can't hold my heart, can you hold it for me?
When I don't stop and breathe, will you inhale life into me?
It hurts, these times of do-do-do-do
I crave soft space, a place to rest my weary limbs awhile.

Dear God, I have forgotten.
And I feel disconnected
from the places I feel safest in: his arms, her words, those hours spent with You
And yet here I am about to teach the way
Out of my own struggle to a room full of expectant souls
And yet I am a dervish whirling,
Tornado turning,
Avalanche of emotions, thoughts, doubts, hopes and fears.
How am I going to get through this weekend, I wonder?
And gently, You whisper, "Trust in Me. Call on me. Let me lead them home."

This journey almost calls me to depart my life entirely and take up
A life-long dedication to You
To retreat! To the mountains, to the sea, to a place of quiet tranquility.

I (almost) do this.

Do you know: what compels someone to actually give it all up?

For I yearn for Him like nothing else, yet still go out in the world
To shake hands, file files, and do all the things it asks me to do.

My challenge: - oh what a game! - to live in Your presence when surrounded by machines,
to treat each moment - waiting on the platform, hunched at my desk, body wrapped up in tasks tasks tasks - as an Opportunity
To see Your face and
Hear Your Voice and
Know Your love.

And I need help! God, I am finding it really hard! I am losing this game! It is beating me hands down.
I just want to give up. I want to say, "I quit! This game is too hard for me! I can't do it. I don't know how."

But the wisdom in my life reveals itself
layer
upon
layer
and sure enough, peace begins to sneak in through the cracks in the ego's system,
through the plant on my desk, still and green and breathing,
in the moments of curiosity that come upon me, and suddenly -

time! Space! Music!

and a fleeting moment of connection, all of which reminds me
always
that
always
You are here with me, and I live and grow and love in You.
It isn't perfect. It isn't meant to be.
But I am safe. And I am free. And only the love is real.
And that is all.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Discerning Widsom From Insanity

I am so excited! Today, I have the honour of publishing my first ever guest post, written by an exquisitely beautiful, gifted woman. Anne-Marie Marron is someone who, when you're in her presence, visibly resonates the most incredible energy of love, acceptance and wisdom. 


I met Anne-Marie in Spring 2009 at the gorgeous Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Although we didn't get much time together, I knew in my gut and in my heart that meeting her was significant. She departed one Sunday afternoon, and it wasn't until many months later that we became reacquainted through Facebook. 


Then, one day a few months ago, I saw a post from Anne-Marie offering complimentary coaching in September. Her business name, "Revealing Widsom" has the strapline, "Allowing your life to be your teacher", and my wise one said, "Yes! Yes!"


What I received from meeting with Anne-Marie in that first session was almost indescribably beautiful - a vision of my life, a year in the future, which was so full of Elloaness that I was surprised I'd never encountered it before. I didn't even have to make the decision to enter officially into coaching with her; the decision just arose from within me. Working with Anne-Marie is one of the highlights of my week. The space she holds is full of everything I need: a completely nourishing sense of safety; unlimited, unrestricted permission to explore and express; a space which just naturally generates insight, a deep sense of being known, and playful connection galore.


It is my humble opinion that this woman has an incredible gift, which she is so willing to extend and share. Please take a few moments to visit her lovely website, and don't just take my word for it!


Finally, I would like to thank the ingenious people who created Skype, allowing us to meet face to face each week even though we live thousands of miles apart.


And now... drumroll please... It's Anne-Marie!




Discerning Wisdom from Insanity







“Just Rest…You Will Know When You Need to Know”

I recently participated in a Hakomi weekend; a somatic based mindfulness-training.
The message I received in the stillness and quieting of my mind was, “Just rest.  You will know when you need to know”.
As my mind spun through the various scenarios in my life that ‘need’ tending or ‘fixing’, this voice stopped me in my tracks.  What is most true is that any effort for me ‘to know‘ only prolongs my capacity to feel the gifts in my life right now.
In that moment, I dropped any agenda and felt the resting in my mind and body.
There are two gems from this experience that I want to share:
Stop and Rest:
This doesn’t mean crawl back into bed and take a respite from the world, although it sometimes can mean this.
To rest is to no longer feel flung around by the mind and its many distractions, stories and tugs that keep us actively solving and analyzing.
It takes great discipline to recognize the automatic response of the mind to interpret and commentate about our experiences rather than simply abide in our immediate experience.
When we cultivate enough awareness to investigate and witness the default patterns of the mind, we can begin to make new choices and rewire the neural pathways in the brain that impact our emotions and physical vitality.
How do you stop when the mind is spinning and guiding you down a well worn track that feels comfortably twisted and simultaneously limiting?
Do you notice the subtle default responses to work harder, achieve, understand or resolve?


Stay With the Longing:
I love to learn, explore and connect with people on a deep level.   I often find that my heart physically hurts as it longs for a particular kind of connection, community or experience.
Longing is a perfectly normal human condition.   When I can stop here, I don’t experience any distress.  When I don’t stop with the longing and I attempt to package and identify a form for these longings to take shape into, I struggle.
In my efforts to ‘fulfill’ this inspiration, I forget that the intelligence born from the longing will offer the opportunity or insight in its own timing.  I’m not suggesting we sit back, kick up our feet and zone out.
The invitation is to stay with the longing and to allow life to inform us through its mysterious and unpredictable ways.
There is an innate skill we have to attract experiences and information to guide us.   It requires quieting down, listening and receiving information from all sources that inform us.  
How do we listen to the messages from the subtle cues of our body, mind & life experiences?
For example, a chance meeting with someone we needed to meet or learn something from or a random Google search that introduces us to something that mobilizes a particular movement toward our longing.
When I bring this unconscious information into my awareness I experience an exquisite kind of freedom.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Lesson 231

Here is my lesson for the day from ACIM. I think it's beautiful, reminding me that behind every whim, every desire, every urge, every longing, is the truest yearning in my heart which is to know and abide in Love.

You might find you struggle with the language. That's okay. Perhaps just read it anyway.

Love,
Elloa xxx

Father, I will but to remember You.

What can I seek for, Father, but Your Love? Perhaps I think I seek for something else; a something I have called by many names. Yet is Your Love the only thing I seek, or ever sought. For there is nothing else that I could ever really want to find. Let me remember You. What else could I desire but the truth about myself?

This is your will, my brother. And you share this will with me, and with the One as well Who is our Father. To remember Him is Heaven. This we seek. And only this is what it will be given us to find.


Sunday, 31 October 2010

Things I don't want you to know

There are lots of things I don't want you to know about me. I have decided to share a few of them with you anyway. This is not an exercise in beating myself up. This is an exercise in revealing the shadowy ego mind, in order to remember the Truth of Innocence. 


Here goes... (hoping you will still love me afterwards!)


I pick my nose when I'm driving.


Sometimes when I'm at home I pretend I am a pop star by singing and warbling my voice.


Occasionally, I watch erotica on the internet. And yes, I get off on it.


I do not know how to cook moussaka, lasagne, or shepherd's pie. I think this makes me inadequate as a woman.


I love buying Christian music even though I am not a Christian. Today I bought some beautiful songs by Rachel Barrentine and Rachel Belman.

I am obsessed with my legs. Obsessed. I just wish they were thinner, and more toned. I dislike them very much and do not appreciate all that they have carried me through. Dear legs, I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

I am quite a jealous person. I get jealous when I see people I love connecting with other people. I think it means they are going to leave me. This is likely to show up in relationship with Nige. I think that people don't know about it when I am in jealous mode, but I'm sure that really, they do. Nige definitely does!

I am a competitive person. I want to be the best, and I hate being inferior at anything. I am a know-it-all. If I am close to you (i.e. family or boyfriend) I will put you down in order to feel better about myself.

Some days I am afraid that I still have an eating disorder.

I secretly fear that despite being a high achiever for most of my life, I am slowly heading towards a life of mediocrity, averageness and forgettability. I think I am destined for greatness, and yet on Tuesday I am going for an interview to stack shelves in a supermarket over the Christmas period.

I do not know how to do my hair and make up properly. I am 27. Women are so beautiful, and I wish I knew how to make myself look - and feel - beautiful too.

Some days I think I am much prettier than all the fat ugly women I see in Tesco. I can be very arrogant and spiteful.

Sometimes I agree to spend time with people when I do not really want to.

I think I am a selfish person.

Recently, I went for a colonic. In the morning, I discovered that there had been a tiny bit of overnight seepage. Oops.

I do not know how many people I have slept with but I think it's about the same as the number of years I have lived.

I neglected my hamster so badly when I was 18 that it went bald from the trauma of living in my drug-infested room at university.

I lost my virginity whilst drunk next to some industrial sized dustbins outside a pub, to a boy that my best friend fancied. And then I lied about it to her and said that I had not done it.

Sometimes I like the smell of my own farts.

Well, factoid hunters, that's all you're getting out of me this evening.


I love a bit of brutal honesty. It is a blustery wind blowing the cobwebs away. I dare you to share something you don't want people to know about you... whenever the time is right for you. I will love you anyway.


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Monday, 25 October 2010

Colonic

Last week I went for colonic hydrotherapy, otherwise known as irrigation or cleansing of the colon. The colon works as a sieve to separate out the nutrients from the, ahem, crap. My colon, sadly, is quite blocked up, resulting in me needing to book another session with Jenny, the nice and very pretty hydrotherapist from Manchester whose job is sticking tubes up people's bottoms. (Nige, your writing style is rubbing off on me!)

Going for my first ever colonic was quite enlightening, and it got me thinking about my mind. Whilst there is very little medical evidence supporting colonic hydrotherapy's benefits, it seems obvious to me that cleansing this vital part of the digestive system is super-necessary once in a while. I have been suffering from symptoms such as dark circles under my eyes and extreme tiredness to the point of being able to sleep 2 hours in the afternoon and 10 hours at night, for years. I drink lots of water, eat well, exercise regularly, sleep loads, and am mostly in love with my life. Jenny said something to me which I found quite unnerving; if the colon is blocked, I might as well be eating Maccy D's instead of brown rice, fish and greens, because the body can't absorb the nutrients anyway. Apparently, all the water I'm drinking isn't actually hydrating me; it's just passing straight through, hence the dark circles.

Now, I'm not about to start eating McChicken Sandwiches every day, nor am I going to stop drinking water, or exercising, or any of that. If anything, having just entered a half-marathon (woo hoo! Go me!) is making me more determined to clean up my life, my food, and my body. I am not going to be frightened into running along to the beauty salon every week for a cleanse. But I am going to do what I can to sort out the blockage in my body, just as I have taken lots and lots of steps over the years to sort out the blockages in my mind.

For me, the lesson I learned about how the body works is totally applicable to the mind. A lot of people focus purely on changing the input, moving away from the 'junk food' of the mind towards a more nourishing way of feeding themselves. They might turn to angels, or to a holistic therapy, or to meditation. However, seconds and minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and years of thoughts, judgments, fears, anxieties, guilt, shame, irritation, rage, annoyances, impatience, jealousies, comparisons, expectations, misperceptions, taking things personally, and all the other tools of the ego's trade have taken their toll on the mind.

In 12-step fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous, the "middle steps" - four through to nine - are the place where the recovering addict/alcoholic/gambler/whatever takes stock of their life and particularly of their thinking and actions. They do a life audit. They spend hours and hours working on a personal inventory of past mistakes, not for the purpose of self-flagellation (having had plenty of that in years gone by), but for the purpose of clearing out the crap to make way for a new way of living. The old, toxic roots have to be pulled out of the ground in order to create fertile soil that is able to support the new way of thinking and of living and of being in the world to take root. You can't just dump a load of fertilizer on top of the old, dead roots and plant something lovely and pretty on top of it. Spiritual leapfrogging just doesn't work.

My life's path continues to unfold beautifully and miraculously before me. As Nige was once told by a good friend of his: "You don't have to go looking for the sh*t. It will find you!" Indeed, the dregs of what Christian's call the "old man" (meaning the past self, the fear-based person I used to be) keep coming up to the surface for healing and purification. Jealousy, insecurity, fear of the future, self-centredness, bitchiness, judgmentalism, and more: I have it all inside of me.

But day by day, as I wake and meditate and listen to the birds and thank God for the chance to begin again, the sifting process in my mind occurs naturally, as it was intended to. Nowadays, I'm much better at sorting out the wheat from the chaff, and somehow, the chaff keeps transforming into nuggets of gold, while the wheat sustains me and helps me grow.

I know I have a long way to go until I see only the truth in every situation, but here, on the path of my life, with mighty companions by my side (albeit not always physically), the ground I walk is rich, fertile and life-giving. And that's something I am inarticulately grateful for.

I'm off to France now for a few days, to meet my paternal grandfather on my biological dad's side. This is a pretty massive opportunity for healing for me, as this man outright encouraged my pregnant mum to abort me. She didn't, I'm here, and I have a funny feeling that there's going to be great need for the Holy Spirit over the next few days. Really looking forward to reading and catching up on my return. In the meantime, I'm going on a three day technology fast. Hurrah!

Bon Voyage!