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.


Monday, 25 October 2010


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!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Parliament? It's all in the mind

Today is a big day for politics and people in the UK. George Osborne, the new government's Chancellor of the Exchequer, is announcing cuts to public spending of £83bn as I write. That's a lot of money! I'm sitting on the sofa, listening to a long, long list of cuts that are to take place in my home country: 490,000 jobs are going in the public sector. (He's also drinking a lot of water as he speaks; thirsty work, I imagine).

No doubt, the press are going to have a field day, as will the Opposition. For days and weeks now, the tabloids and the broadsheets, the morning's news and the evening's will focus heavily on the impact that this man's decisions are having on your Everyday British Person.

The scene I am watching on the TV is utterly ludicrous - rows rows of green leather seats, filled with bodies, with lots more bodies who arrived a bit too late to get a seat having to stand on the green carpet. On one side sit the coalition government, and on the other, Labour and the rest of the opposition. Half of the people who were lucky enough to get a seat look stoic, sitting completely and defiantly still, their expressionless faces staring stonily across the ornate room, eyeballing their enemy with venomous disdain. Murmurs and tuts can be heard at various points in Mr. Osborne's speech, verbal outcries of disapproval at what he is announcing (no surprise there, then). 
Opposite them, MPs sitting behind the PM and the Chancellor are hollering "hear, hear", waving bits of paper at the Opposition, making hand gestures deliberately designed to irritate them, mocking and jeering. And these are the people running our country? This looks like a poshed up version of a class at school! (Notice my ego judgment here!)

What amuses me about this scene is that both sides are in ego. It's not a face off between spirit and ego, even though each political party would love to convince you and me and themselves otherwise. What I see in politics that I hate in myself is a self-righteousness that sneers and looks down on just about everybody else. It's a veneer of benevolence that poorly masks the vicious and poisonous attacks constantly taking place - in my life, it sometimes shows up as a spiritual mask, in which I like to portray that I am good and kind but really I am judgy and spiteful. 

Underneath my attack, I am always, always feeling sad, or lonely, or afraid, or ashamed, or guilty. The attack is my way to try to get rid of these icky, yucky sticky feelings, and the mask is my way of trying to stop the world from seeing the attack. Perfect! Just the way my ego likes it. 

But I digress. The scene I'm witnessing in Parliament  - a scene so common in this environment (geddit?!) that it's never even questioned - is not about truth, or forgiveness, or healing; it's just one part of the ego mind attacking another part, successfully detracting from the moment, from the presence of miracles, from accountability, and from each person's ability to choose their state of mind for themselves.

Powerlessness is such an insipid state of mind, and one which political decisions seem to catalyse, if not outright instill. The crucial word here is 'seem'. Because in the middle of these budget cuts, in the middle of redundancy, in the middle of VAT increases, of mass consumerism gearing up for yet another Christmas, I really do have a choice about how - and with Whom - I respond.

Sitting here on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon, listening to financial decisions that will impact the lives of everyday people - listening to the fear - I am firm in my decision: I choose love, and I choose peace. I can sense inside of me the wavering, the nudging of my mind towards the big red button that says PANIC, and the physical and emotional sensations that come with that: tightness of chest, shallowness of breath, an inability to see clearly, and an impending darkness that starts on the periphery but quickly encroaches until it covers my life with a film of black and grey like an oil spill does the ocean.

I know that there is another way. My very being knows it, because it's walked a different path so many times now. Although I can't see where my income is going to come from next month, although I am still dogged by fearful thoughts that issue various edicts detailing my demise, I choose this very moment to dive deeper into my practice, into my time in silence, into my studies of the Course, into my commitment to the Voice that I'm learning to give more and more of my attention to.

The only question to ask today is: 
Is this a time for fear, or is this a time for faith?

And the rush of relief that swamps me as I make my choice for faith - for life - comforts me like a mother to her distraught child. I am enveloped in soft folds of velvet and silk, but my vision isn't clouded; I am crystal clear. For just a second, I see. I see the sky, the spider webs half-ruined by the wind and the rain, utterly exquisite in their state of disrepair, the detail in each piece of furniture around me, and the moment becomes HD. My life for this moment is being lived in high definition.

Somehow, I don't need to go away from watching the budget cuts and learn every single thing about politics. I turn to the Course, and read words that remind me that the political battleground is truly within me, not outside of me, that whatever I'm seeing in the world is the result of a collective projection, and that I made it all up, which means that I can unmake it, too:

The body is the ego's home by its own election. It is the only identification with which the ego feels safe, since the body's vulnerability is its own best argument that you cannot be of God. This is the belief that the ego sponsors eagerly.

Yet the ego hates the body, because it cannot accept it as good enough to be its home. Here is where the mind becomes actually dazed. Being told by the ego that it is really part of the body and that the body is its protector the mind is also told that the body cannot protect it. Therefore, the mind asks, "Where can I go for protection?" to which the ego replies, "Turn to me."

Brother, there is another way to turn for protection. It's called inward. I'm taking that journey today, in tiny, seemingly invisible ways, and I'd love to be your companion on the journey home, too.

Here is my declaration. I hope you will find one that works for you.

I declare that I stand for the Truth of Innocence.

I think it's time for a bike ride. Ho!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The Bond

What is this bond, this mother-daughter fusion of heart and soul and mind?
What is this terrible sadness, this heaving of chest and tightness of breath, this can't breathe can't speak can't see you or me or anything now?
What is this bond so strong that it can survive days and weeks and months of drought, only to find two roots entwined as closely as the day of being born?
What of this wide-eyed disbelief, this recollection of bygone days, of lemon sorbets in a cone, of newspapers, of hearth, of home,
And what of jerky twitchy damsel in distress, and who is who in this meshy messy mess?
This slurry topsy-turvy groaning moaning lonely person is a person who I love so much it hurts to see her hurting,

Detaching's never easy but they tell me I must do it
For my sanity and suddenly I'm finding my way through it
And the pain is for me aged thirteen and her aged fifty years plus three
For all the mislaid days and dreams, for keys that lay in her Hades,
For love she never knew when young, wisp of times long gone live on
What is this sadness? Endlessly is
Rolling in and out in me - a tide of love that only seemingly
Retreats out to periphery?

It is the mother-daughter bond.
It is the mother-daughter bond.
It is the mother-daughter bond,
Naive to think it been and gone.

It is the closest of the close,
the harshest of the pains,
the well that runs not dry in hope
yet witnesses no change.
It is the mother-daughter bond.
It is the mother-daughter bond.
This pain, this love, where's mummy gone?
It is my mother-daughter bond.

Saturday, 16 October 2010


I think everyone deserves a friend like Nige.

Nige is a mighty companion. (He is my tea companion, too; we must have drunk gallons of the stuff together - green, Earl Grey, or simply the breakfast kind.)

I could probably write about him for days, but I will restrict myself. What I will tell you is that he is a gifted actor (here he is, playing the Bedlam, an autistic, crippled beggar, in "The Roses of Eyam" back in July). He is also an incredible photographer, a powerful group facilitator, a funny writer, and an inspirational personal trainer, previously a natural bodybuilder. For an insight into the man from his own perspective, take a look at his blog - Rebel with a Cause.

I am not exaggerating one iota when I say that from the moment I saw Nige, I felt something akin to an electrical charge between us (he didn't look like this when I met him!). A split second of eye-contact, and I knew that I could easily fall in love with this man. For the first few years, Nige was a group facilitator and I a participant in A Course in Miracles-based experiential process group; for that reason, and also because he was in a committed relationship at the time, our relationship had a very different form to the one it does today. Indeed, some days, I still have to pinch myself to check that I am not dreaming, that this man is actually in love with me.

The work he did with me in those first three years, I will be grateful for always. His presence, his skill and his ability to allow himself to be of service resulted in many, many miraculous moments in that small room above the Victoria pub in Paddington.

Fast forward from 2004 to 2010, and this evening, I am at home, and Nigel Atkinson, my best friend and boyfriend (!!) is treading the boards at his local theatre company. Go Nige! I am so proud of him. I have decided to write and dedicate a blog post to him, because my heart tells me to.

Sometimes I think that in a way, each one of us is just like the wounded, shellshocked soldier Nige is playing in "My Boy Jack" at the theatre tonight. We are deeply affected by the things we have seen, the places we have been to in our minds and hearts, and the ways we keep encountering our deepest fears. Stop for a moment and ponder on this - does it not seem strangely coincidental to you that the same situations keep arising in your life, time and again? It seems that no matter how hard we try to avoid our wounds or pretend they don't exist, attempting to buck up and be strong, they simply keep reappearing, taking on countless different forms. Thankfully, I am surrounded by people who are learning to soften and surrender around their wounds, and are paving a new way, learning a different way to live.

The concept we are given by the world of what it means to be strong and have our shit together is flawed; we think that we have to brace ourselves against the world, against all the potential threats out there, against all the hurt, deception, evil and betrayal that lies snapping at our heels, waiting for our first moment of vulnerability before attacking us, sinking its claws into our flesh, tearing our very safety apart. I read a great line the other day by Stephen Levine, who says that the people who act like they've got their shit together are usually the ones standing in it.

To protect ourselves, and to try (futilely) to get rid of our own sense of guilt and shame, we fight back. The ego mind believes that if only it points the finger and lays the blame somewhere else, it will be gone from within us - the battleground will have moved location.

So, we fight. We fight anyone and anything: the state (bastard politicians); prejudice and injustice (protesting and signing petitions); we fight policies and procedures, things happening in the world, pretty much anything that somebody else is doing (have you every listened to Jeremy Vine's show on BBC Radio 2?). This morning, I returned from a run only to notice that the local council are putting an additional lamp post on the street where I live, between two trees so it will hardly make any difference, and I ranted out loud, "What a f**king stupid place to put a lamp post!" The ego will get its satisfaction any way it can: I mean, really - lamp posts?! Have I nothing better to focus my energy on?

Even sadder, we fight ourselves, harming and damaging the bodies we were born in; we fight our mothers, our brothers, our children, and especially, our husbands, wives and partners - if not overtly, then covertly.

It may appear that I digress, but I haven't: the reason I write that I think everyone deserves a Nige in their life is because Nige is a true friend to me. He doesn't join in when I slag off the world, but asks me questions to help me see my part, my side of the street, my 50%. He knows that I am bigger than all my ranting and raving. He also knows that the tantrums I throw are cries for love, God love him.

Nige's presence in my life - and mine in his - reminds me that I cannot ever, ever make another person change - no matter how much I yell or shame or point the finger at or persuade or cajole or encourage them - but I can make a different choice for myself. Nige's friendship means that he will support me in doing the work I need to do to forgive, but will not join me in bitching about every him, her, this or that. That to me is true friendship. It's not always pleasant or comfortable, but I know that while Nige might outright challenge me, he really has my peace of mind at heart, and I (usually) trust that he sees my innocence in the middle of it all.

Oh, and do you know what else? He is so much fun! We ride bikes together, we dance, we giggle, we listen to great music (what a collection he has!). We go on daytrips to places like Newhaven Fort, we go to the cinema, we stop to smell the late blooming roses in his garden, we hunt for shells on the beach, we go on epic roadtrips in Winston (his car), we meditate together, we read the Course, we make sweet love, we eat brown rice, we plan adventures, we dream dreams, we massage each other's shoulders, we sometimes even go to the gym together. Nige is creative, eccentric, and captivating. He is so much more besides, too. I absolutely love being around him (except for when I find him annoying, and that is when the above paragraphs really come into play).

He and I also try to give each other "a soft place to land". This is a phrase that Nige uses a lot. To me, a soft place to land means a place of safety and gentleness. There have been lots of occasions in the last couple of years when, world weary, I have projected my mum or my dad onto Nige, resulting in our relationship being another place of discomfort, reminding me all too much of my childhood abandonment experiences.

To maintain the softness, it's essential that I keep accountable for my thoughts and feelings, doing whatever I need to do to make that happen. Sometimes I need time alone. Sometimes, a clearing process (a 20 minute four-step process of fully owning and exposing the ego mind, the wounded child and the mistaken beliefs in order to return to a place of love and peace). I might need a run, or a sleep, or simply to connect. When I connect, the illusions, the thoughts, the lies I have been so emphatically pervading, all fall away, and I'm left with a person in front of me, who despite everything, is still 'ere, still hanging in there for me, still seeing my innocence.

The ego is, ACIM says, "suspicious at best, and vicious at worst". Left to its own devices, it quickly instills misery and a vast sense of separation into my life, into my very being. Having Nige as my friend is a beautiful gift and sure evidence that only the love is real in any situation.

I hope we walk together for many years to come.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Clearing during sex

This blog post is about being careful what you wish for.

For example, yesterday I said to Nige that I didn't know what to write about in my next blog post. After a brief silence, he responded with, "Clearing during sex".

Oh shit. Now I have to take a major risk. Writing about my sex life? On the internet? Well don't worry dear reader, I am not about to do myself the indignity of providing all the sordid details. But I will say this: being in a relationship where honesty - sometimes brutal honesty - runs through as the Thames does London means that in order to get from fear to love, sometimes honesty is required at really inconvenient moments. Like during sex.

Another reason to be careful - or perhaps more accurately, conscious - of what you wish for, is evidenced in the fact that as I keep surrendering the relationship with Nige to the Holy Spirit for the purposes of healing and love, I keep being presented with unusual and challenging moments in which I am presented with a choice. My choice is always simple, though it often appears to be very complicated - fear, or love; control, or surrender; my way, or another way.

A Course in Miracles, the backbone of my not very sturdy but getting there spiritual practice, teaches that there are two thought systems in the world - love and fear - and that we humans are completely aligned with one of these thought systems at any one time. The undoing of fear and return to love is the journey that I am on in this life; the more I focus on my spiritual 'program', the more clearly I see each circumstance, chapter and season in my life from this awe-inspiring, beautiful perspective that makes so much sense to me. While I care about where I live, how I look, and what I do for a living (currently - nothing! Soon I will need to start earning some money again - help me universe!), these things are not what drives my life, although occasionally I lapse into extended periods of fear and these things are, for a short time, at the forefront of my attention. (Recently, for example, I've been quite scared about my future because in twelve days' time I'll be unemployed. Yikes!)

Most of the time though, what drives my life is a something that started many years ago really, when I was at school: miserable, in love with a boy who didn't love me back (isn't that so painful when you're 15?!), full of self-hate and empty of self-worth. At eighteen, I experienced the first of many rock bottoms, and a sweaty, paranoid, fear-infested surrender that lay the foundation for the rest of my life to date.

Today, in October 2010, life is beyond recognition from where it was in October 2001 (although oddly, I am living in Sussex, the very place I was 9 years ago when I spiralled out of control at university). Among other astonishing things, I am in a beautiful relationship with a man who I used to have high up on a spiritual pedestal. This in itself is a miracle! He is a mighty companion, a soul mate, and no longer an idol but a Teacher of God and an inspiration.

My best friend said to me recently that a few years ago I was "battered by life", and I laugh - somewhat uncomfortably - at such a succinct and accurate description of how I used to be. Nowadays, I'm generally pretty stable, able to conduct my life on a day-to-day basis, able to be around people, able to function.

And yet, there are still layers and layers of the onion to be peeled; I know that. Last night, during sex, I started to experience a kind of distancing from the moment, a sense of disgust overwhelming me quietly as I looked at my body and judged it and attacked it. The moment arrived when I couldn't hold it in any longer: "Can I show up?" I asked Nige. We stopped. We took about fifteen minutes. I cleared, using the four-step getting real process I learned in Clearmind. And afterwards... let's just say that I was clear, grounded and present again.

More and more in my life, I am being called to truly Be Present. I have done a lot of work on healing the past, and it seems that a new path is opening up before me, one which invites me to enter into the magic, the mystery and the unexplainable beauty of the present moment, the eternal Now.

It's bloody fantastic, to be honest with you. I get the hugest amount of pleasure and joy from the simplest little things, things which our consumerist society always distracts us from - the squirrel scurrying on the roof ... the branches of a faraway tree being rustled in the morning by birds ... the wind on my face as I cycle ... the feel of Nige's skin against mine.

If I have to have occasional meltdowns about my stupid Princess Diana hair (a whole other story), or stop mid-sex to clear, then so be it. I will continue to wake up in the morning and thank God for the grey skies, the breeze, and this beautiful, beautiful life that I have been given in such abundance. I will continue to surrender my days into His care. And I will continue to love, love, love. I will not jump ship. I will not run away. I will stay and face every single one of my demons until I can truly say that I have forgiven them, or until my time is up - whichever comes first.

So, I'm being conscious what I wish for. I'm learning that anything standing in the way of it may well be brought to my attention, for my attention, in order to clear the way and allow me to return to a state of love and peace.

So... What is your experience of surrender, especially in relationships? Can you relate to what I've written about here? I'd love to hear....

Love always,
Elloa xxx