Personal development, Spirituality

An introduction to mindfulness and meditation

In my line of work I speak to so many people from all walks of life, some are new to their spiritual journey, others are at a similar point to me and others are far more advanced and I seek their guidance, which I eventually pass to others. One thing, no matter how far into your journey you are, remains the same and that’s meditation… Of course this changes as you change, you can enter deeper states of trance, you can quieten your mind more easily, you can venture further, explore different planes and visit past lives to gain a deeper understanding of yourself, the possibilities are endless.

Meditation doesn’t have to be a long and drawn out process, it’s something that needs to be built up gradually over time, 5 minutes of  focused concentration, is far more beneficial and enlightening than half an hour of meditation where your mind wanders and picks at all the things that may go wrong over the following week, month or year. Trying to jump straight into a lengthy meditation will only drive you bonkers, so start off small and take pleasure in finding your own sacred mental space.

Meditation and setting intentions holds a deep personal power and gives each and every one of us the opportunity to connect with not only our higher self, but our guides too. It is when we can relax into a meditative state, whether that’s sitting or laying down inside, or walking through a place that brings inner calm. For me this is the forest or near any body of water that has little footfall, the quieter the better for this task. It is in this time that we can truly relax and see the beauty of our world and the lives that we are forging for ourselves.

If you receive our newsletter, you will be aware that I have been playing about with YouTube and have created a new channel for recordings. After much head scratching, cursing, testing and countless google searches, I have created and uploaded a short morning shower meditation, which would be perfect for beginners as you don’t need to make time to fit this one into your busy life, simply hit play and hop into the shower and you’re good to go.

The aim of this guided meditation is to help kick start your day with great energy and focus, to cleanse yourself of any residual energy from the previous day and to get a head start on being grounded and centred for whatever may come your way.

Please note that any type of hypnosis / meditation is intended for entertainment purposes and is not a replacement for traditional medical care. Regular meditation can bring about positive change and allows you to get in touch with your higher self.

This particular meditation has 5 minutes of speaking followed by relaxing music, which will give you the time and space to carry about your normal shower routine, although I recommend listening to this recording in the morning, I appreciate that all of our lives are very different and this can be used at other points in the day as you see fit.

 

If you have an idea for a guided meditation, feel free to get in touch, as some of my best ideas come from talking to people just like you.

Brightest Blessings,

Nicky

Personal development

My mind and I part 2

In this blog I would like to dig a little deeper into fixing Brian after someone else broke him, poor Brian.

There are 2 types of people in this world, there are those that want to be happy, listen to good advice and want to get the best from life and there are those who claim they want to be happy, yet never listen to any advice and will always find things to complain about.

We have all experienced the vampires of the world, the people who take, take, take till there is nothing left to give, the ones who make you feel drained merely at the mention of their name, they have this innate ability to lower your mood regardless of how you felt prior to bumping into them. This could be because they are a miserable so and so, it could be one of those characters who has to be in control of everything, including you, the classic narcissist.

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The most simple and effective tool at your disposal is the ability to say NO, this doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you smart, it allows you to set clear boundaries and keep yourself protected from negative, draining and damaging energy.

When every ounce of you is screaming no, but you go against your better judgement and do it anyway, just to appease someone else.

You really need to take a step back and ask yourself why you are allowing this behaviour, both from yourself and them. There are always patterns when your encounter this type of person, the trick is to break those patterns, which means stepping outside of your comfort zone and having complete faith in yourself. Challenges like this only strengthen you in the long run , even though at the time you feel like a train wreck and can’t possibly comprehend what possible good can come from it.

The mind is only capable of processing one thought at a time, which makes it slightly easier to manipulate dear old Brian. I say slightly easier, because it takes time, practice and 150% commitment to overcome any type of negative thought pattern, especially when it’s been left to it’s own devices for a long period of time, or when you are at a point to undo damage inflicted by others.

The implementation of mantra’s coupled with becoming an observer really does hold a power like none other. In Sanskrit “Man” means mind and “Tra” means freeing, so a mantra is designed to free the mind and over time and with consistency this is exactly what a mantra can achieve. The great news is they are really simple to use, check out the examples below and feel free to add your own in the comments.

  • I am strong and loveable

  • I am worthy of being respected

  • I like myself

  • I love myself

  • I am in charge of my thoughts and you have no place here. (For when your brain is on self destruct mode)

As you can see mantra’s don’t need to be long and complicated, the idea is to replace the negative thought with a positive one, over time this changes the way you think about things. After a lot of practice, I found that my negative voices were amplified, this makes it really easy to stop them. You have that whoa where did that come from moment, then you look at the build up to the voice coming through, breath and say a mantra and repeat the process as needed.

Inner dialogue is something we all need to be mindful of, when you’re constantly putting yourself down, criticising, judging or being plain mean, something needs to change. Take a look at how you talk to yourself, do you remind yourself how amazing you are? of all the things that you have achieved, do you thank yourself when you do something nice? do you tell yourself that you love yourself? that you’re a great parent, partner? Talk to yourself like you would with others, be kind and patient and if you have done something great, give yourself a pat on the back, as you may be the only person who congratulates you. Words of encouragement should also be a part of your plan, even if it feels like the odds are stacking up against you, or you feel as if you’re reaching your limit, whether that’s mentally or physically, give yourself the encouragement that you would to others and be kind always.

Education, Uncategorized

My first festival

Festivals are exciting! For some it’s an experience to look forward to and for others it’s a step outside of the comfort zone, for me it was somewhere in between. I was nervous due to the lack of communication from the organisers, I didn’t know what to expect other than a field, which was in a very windy part of the country, with people whom I did not know. What I do know, is that it was an amazing experience and one I’m keen to repeat… Next time will be different… Next time I will be prepared and here is how…

My first festival was a serious learning curve, for the most part I was huddled up trying to preserve heat, with large bulky layers leaving little room for manoeuvre and despite many comments from bemused festival goers I was far from warm… As this was a working weekend we knew that our equipment would be put to the ultimate test. End result one dead gazebo, frost bite *** (perhaps a slight exaggeration on my part), an abundance of truly wonderful people, willing to help the newbies out, hey it wasn’t that long ago that they were in our position and I now know what to take to help others like us, taking those first tentative steps into unmarked territory.

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It wasn’t all bad, for starters we got the tables right, we got the table cloths so right that they were complimented by veteran festival goers, our set up was eye catching, with different heights to give potential customers and browsers different area’s to focus on, we had small change, we had business cards and most importantly we had a smile, despite the cold, it was difficult not to smile. Here we were at a Beltane fire festival, going back to basics with like minded people, starting our days with mindfulness exercises, surrounded by bright hippie clothing, ukulele and guitar playing, singer songwriters all to keen to share their talent, which was amazing around the fire each night.

Our clothing needed some serious reconsideration, base layers and thermals are an absolute must, especially when your festival is in the UK and in April, we are off to Iceland next year and plan to build all of our kit around arctic conditions, the UK can’t beat us, next time we will be snug as a bug, so crack out the snoods, insulated boots, long johns, pixie hats and cloak (yes, serious cloak envy at this event, they have sooo many uses, amazing idea, pretty and warm, and let’s face it, who hasn’t on some level wished for a good excuse to own a cape, without having to keep it a secret for fear of being considered a weirdo).

Our gazebo is a story in it’s own right, it was clear we had made a rooky mistake as soon as we put it up, fortunately a more seasoned stallholder could see our mistake and kindly loaned us a couple of ratchet straps and dog tie out stakes to secure (a must have for all stalls) without these I am convinced that we would have lost said gazebo well before the final day. I’m sure that this delightful structure would be perfect in a back garden and a great choice for an afternoon tea party, however for coastal areas, prone to high winds, this is not the way to go. We decided to try and glean as much information and advice from the seasoned pros as possible and here is our top list of must have accessories.

Batteries… For when you’re all prepared with torches, only to find that the batteries are dead… Yes personal experience taught us this.

Head light… For going to the toilet at night, it’s difficult enough for us women to hover in such a small space, add in the bulky layers and feeling like the abominable snowman, whilst trying to hold a phone with a torch app in your mouth sounds entertaining but in reality a head torch would have made life that huge bit easier.

A workspace… I do not recommend a gazebo, options are vast and are dependent on finances. A day tent would certainly work for soft surfaces, as would a tunnel tent, which would give you the option of having your sleeping quarters in the same structure as your shop, meaning you don’t need to pack up each day. Gala tents are one of the more expensive options, however they are solid and with extra ratchets to secure it down, you can rest easily knowing nothing is going to get blown away., or collapse.

Here is a list of little odds and sods, that can really make the difference, sadly I didn’t have all of these, but I’ll be sure to take them next time.

  • Cable ties

  • Duct tape

  • Tarpaulin to throw over stock should the conditions change, or just a little added extra protection overnight.

  • Blankets

  • Capes… Capes are cool, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, they double up for extra bedding too, win win.

  • Loo roll

  • Lip balm

  • SPF for summer festivals

  • Thermal clothing / Thin layers

  • A woolly hat in case you didn’t go for a cape

  • Gloves

  • Snood / Scarf

  • Lighter / Matches

  • Folding chairs

  • Tin opener

  • Dining equipment for the luxury festival experience; pans, gas, cutlery, paper plates are awesome.

  • Water carrier

  • Bedding

  • Tent

  • Cash

  • Bin bags

  • Wet wipes

  • Ear plugs if you’re looking for some sleep, maybe push the boat out and grab an eye mask.

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There you have it, a list that may not be fully completed yet, but I sure wish I’d had some of these items, especially the cape, a nice lined one, with a hood to hide under whilst watching the flames of the fire dancing in the night sky.

Personal development

My Mind And I

Brian and I have been lifelong friends, our relationship has had many ups and downs over the years, but one thing has remained consistent, my willingness to control and manipulate Brian for my own personal gain.

Whilst this sounds like typical narcissistic behaviour, Brian is actually my brain. So take a deep breath in… Yes, actually do this, and relax.

Brian is someone I have come to love and respect over the years, our relationship has been far from easy, but we have an understanding and so do those around me. As an empathic person, I can sometimes get overwhelmed in social settings, a simple solution was to give my mind a name and so Brian was born. When that social anxiety flairs up, the last thing you want is to explain yourself, so by telling my partner who is almost always with me in such settings, that Brian is playing up and I need to get home, ensures that I have an immediate get out clause, without the fear of ridicule. In fact we are so connected within our relationship, that all I have to do is mouth Brian and the rest is done for me, I’ll be whizzed away and given the time and sanctuary I need to repair and the best thing is, no one suspects a thing.

Brian and I have done all sorts of mindfulness exercises together and do so on a daily basis, the first thing on our list it to be grateful, we don’t always write a list, but we always work together to find the best from our day, on bad days it could be something as simple as,

“I am grateful for waking up”

“I am grateful for having the energy to get washed and dressed”

“I am grateful for being able to walk my children to school”

“I am grateful for being able to observe”

By taking the time to be genuinely appreciative of the small things, it gives us a sense of empowerment, it allows us to send positive vibrations out into the universe and we all know that what you send out, you get back, so by remaining grateful even when you really aren’t feeling it, is a valuable asset in Brian’s tool box.

Now I mentioned being able to observe, this to me is such a crucial tool, mastering this one opens up so many doors and all it takes is a little practice. You’re feeling stressed, anxious worked up… Take a mental step back and take a good look at what is happening, there is always a reason for feeling out of place, the key here is to work out the cause and to work towards removing it.

For example, years ago I would get worked up over speed signs, the ones that flash your speed as you go past, I wouldn’t get a little bit irritated, I would be overcome by a full on rage… I’m doing 27mph and it’s telling me I’m doing 33… That’s a speeding ticket on the wrong camera! I knew that this was irrational, yet still I played this game and felt increasingly angry with this particular screen, sometimes I would drive past faster just to be defiant, then I learned this little observer trick and it changed my perspective, not just on the speed sign, but in other more important areas of my life.

I would and still do take a deep breath in and allow my body to fully relax, slump back in a chair and relax. If you’re a smoker, you’ll be familiar with the feeling you get when you take that first drag on a cigarette when you’re stressed, you breath in so deeply, filling your lungs and as you do, you get an almost immediate sense of calm and an “ahhh that’s better” sensation. Now that you are calmer, take a look, what caused the issue?

It’s by recognising patterns and observing them, that you can then work out your triggers, with that in mind you can then work on finding solutions that fit your needs. A big one for me is being late, if I’m running late, I can feel my blood pressure rise and the stress is unreal, so I tend to leave the house 10 minutes earlier than I need to, if I get caught in traffic, it’s OK, I still have the time to make my journey, arrive in good time and still be un-fashionably early. It’s little tweaks like this that have a positive knock on effect for the rest of the day. I wasn’t late, I was early, I was able to grab a glass of water and go through my notes, I was able to talk to that person before everyone else arrived, I was able to go and run errands based on my conversations in my meeting, I had a really positive experience and it was all down to knowing how my Brian functions best.

By establishing a good relationship with your mind and understanding how it works, you put yourself in a great position, it allows you to recognise what’s OK and what isn’t OK, how others impact your mood and what you can do to stay in control to aid your personal growth and shape yourself into the person you want to be.

In my next blog I will write about the effects that others have on Brian, the true narcissistic and abusive characters out there and how you can start to repair you mind, take control and learn to be stronger as a direct result from these once negative experiences…. In the mean time I highly recommend starting the above mentioned techniques. Do let me know how you get on and if you have any alternative suggestions for keeping your Brian in line.

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Spirituality

A Spiritual Goodbye

May is always a tricky month for me, it’s the month of my son’s birthday, an event to celebrate, it’s also the month which marks my late fathers anniversary, you may have read my previous blog, picking up the pieces from a parents suicide, it’s been a long road to recovery, but in the grand scheme of it I guess I‘m lucky to have recovered as well as I have in the space of 5 years.

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I was sitting down last night and I realised that this year I had the date of his anniversary wrong, I had the 12th in my head, actually it’s the 11th, a small oversight on my part? No, I don’t think it is, this my friends is progress and I’ve made a lot of progress in the month of May.

It all started on a blustery night… Ok I made that bit up, but it did start in the evening, every night at bedtime, we put a meditation on and that’s how I fall asleep, I have been fortunate enough to work out the point that I fall asleep, when you’re awake, but can’t actually function unless absolutely required, or the cat decides to use your head as a scratching post… My cat isn’t allowed in my bedroom any more… It is at this point that I tend to receive the clearest messages from guides, angels and my higher self, I am not always able to remember these conversations in great detail the next day, but when I do, I can be sure to take from the experience in a positive way.

It was on one such night, that my late dad popped by, he often makes his presence known, his death was the start of my spiritual journey, he opened up doors that I could never have comprehended before he passed over. This visit was different to any I have ever experienced, this was a goodbye and a passing of spiritual guides. He told me that he was ready to move on to his next life now, I felt incredibly sad at this revelation, but before it could take a hold, another figure came into focus, as this figure became clearer, I realised it was my uncle, dad told me that my uncle would now be guiding me, I was feeling emotional as I knew that this was the end of our chapter and then I had an overwhelming sense of love and pride which vanished as my dad moved on to his next destination.

Dad made many references to a bridge, my partner feels it’s something to do with his death, or the underlying cause, I’ve felt that it’s a metaphorical bridge and since this experience, I think it was my dad’s way of telling me that he was nearing the end of his stay in the spirit realm, I have a strong sense that our paths will meet again in my current lifetime, in fact 20 minutes after his final call, a friend of mine became an aunty to a little girl… Coincidence?

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The spirit energy has been very different around me since that night. Shortly after my uncle passed over, he popped in to see me and I felt his presence immediately, he has a very strong energy, which leaves me feeling cold and shivery and I haven’t heard a peep from dad, I don’t expect to, surprisingly I’m OK with that. In the space of 5 short years I have healed to the point of being able to let go, to leave the victim persona behind and to actually deal and recover from the trauma that his death caused.

Education, Uncategorized

Is the education system failing our kids

I’m sitting here wondering how my beautiful children are doing on their SATS tests, I have explained to them that these tests are to measure schools performances and not their own, that yes they need to work hard at school and learn to the best of their abilities, but that all people, regardless of age, are individuals and we should be celebrating that rather than testing their academic abilities just to appease a governmental departments annual statistics.

I mean, what good is English literature to an athlete? Their focus will be on sports and maybe nutrition, what good is sports to a historian, science to a future entrepreneur, maths to an artist? The point is we are all different and perhaps our outdated school system needs to start reflecting this, rather than labelling all children as a statistic and teaching a curriculum, which is about as outdated as the dinosaurs.

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The current educational system covers one area, academia. What about life skills, how to run a household, how to deal with difficult situations, we have geography but aren’t taught to read a map, we have religious education but religions like paganism, “The old religion” are missed out entirely, clearly nothing came before Christianity.

If we wanted to test the effectiveness of heart surgeons, would we place the patients under inordinate amounts of stress to see if the surgeon was capable? No, we wouldn’t, because we would be risking lives. The surgeon would have undergone many years of education, training and observing prior to gaining their right to practice, this training although mandatory in this particular field and rightly so, isn’t for everyone, imagine if schools only taught us the skills to become a heart surgeon, how would this impact our kids mental health? My son, the future songwriter, my daughter, a future devoted teacher, who will be teaching the same curriculum that she learnt some 20 years ago. The world around us is fast paced yet our education is static and to add insult to injury, they test our kids, put them under huge pressure and for what? Figures, statistics!

How about teaching compassion? Nursery aged children are taught to share and to be kind to the other children, what lessons on compassion are taught to our children as they grow? A few posters dotted around, reminding one another to be kind to each other, is it enough, personally I don’t think it is. How about anger and emotional control? If you get angry you lash out and get punished, how about trying to find out why the child is angry, teach them how to take control of their emotions? Teach them to breath through it, teach them meditation and how to quiet their minds so they can be clear headed and focused, as this has more benefit than being punished time after time.

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A system update is well overdue, schools are the perfect platform to equip our kids with the tools they need as an adult, how to have a handle on life. Algebra and English literature, Romeo and Juliet still play a prominent part in the educational system, how exactly will this teach our kids? When they are 30 years old, will the lesson of Romeo and Juliet be more memorable than current politics and what opportunities politics can present when used with compassion, will it be more memorable than being taught how to breath through anger, to recognise when they are being taken advantage of, to know their self worth and the most important one, will it teach them that they are individuals and that their quirks define them as a person, that by being different to others is perfectly acceptable and there is no shame in that.

SATs have no place in our kids lives, they simply cause stress that children of this age shouldn’t have to encounter, not to mention the stress on the teachers who also have no faith and no say in the education system…. It’s time to coach and grow our youth, to teach them how to actually live a fulfilling life without the fear of being judged because someone is academically more advanced, measuring against statistics set out by politicians who have no respect for anyone, let alone our kids, after all it’s not like they are an important asset in our future, they’re just kids, how important could a child be?