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An Irish Blessing.

 

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May flowers always line your path

and sunshine light the way.

May songbirds serenade you

every step along the way.

May a rainbow run beside you

in a sky that’s always blue

And may happiness fill your heart

each day your  whole life through!

Just for YOU!

… and yes it is possible to have all these gifts everyday of our lives I have seen many do so even in the face of painful deaths from cancer. All it takes is being able to remain in the moment and be a peaceful, joyful, contented observer of our life and  rest in the knowledge that we are here to grow in love and beauty. This is a great challenge but one many people succeed at through practising meditation or praying.  Trials are opportunities. They come and go, so often providing new or deeper connections with the people who support us at  these times. No moment lasts and the sum of them all define us as the unique, beautiful soul that we are. We write our life’s story not just by how we act but by how we react. The energy we give out not only touches those around us but also the greater energy of this world. By sending out loving kindness to all and most importantly by including ourselves, we are creating a new more beautiful world.

Namaste. Enjoy you journey and many blessings. Brita

Forgiveness

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Everyone of us makes mistakes, we are after all human. Wise people learn from their mistakes and quickly forgive the mistakes of both themselves and others, as they know that to not forgive them poisons their own inner happiness.

We cannot truly judge mistakes and this is one reason why Jesus told us not to judge others unless we are willing to be judged.

Sadly some people deliberately go against this teaching and try to impose guilt and shame onto others or in some cases themselves. They forget that making a mistake does not make you a bad person and use labels like “sinner”.  The word that sin comes from is actually an ancient archery term for “missing the mark”.  When the person shooting the arrow missed the target it was their signal to  realign and try again. It is sad and wrong that many today use the word as a label of condemnation.

We are all works in progress and it would be a much happier world if we all had  signs on us that read ” This person is currently being developed, thank you for your patience.” I know, this all sounds very simplistic. When we are hurt  it seems natural to react impulsively with anger, blame and then to sometimes impose guilt and shame on each other yet in the process of doing this we destroy relationships, sometimes forever and only increase the suffering, prolonging it and creating hell for all involved including the innocent bystanders who are frequently one’s children.

A deep sense of guilt has destroyed so many lives. People feel unworthy of forgiveness. Yet the message of Jesus in the bible is one of love and forgiveness. If he can forgive us, surely we too can forgive. It sounds easy, often it is far from that but it is worth the effort. It allows you to move on, to grow and to teach others from a place of new understanding. It can lead to new awareness and empathy and give insight into how it feels to walk in another’s shoes. It can also renew and create greater love, caring and acceptance.

A very old prayer always comes to me when I face these tough times, it says…

GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS,

I CANNOT CHANGE.

COURAGE TO CHANGE,

THE THINGS I CAN

AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.

I would like to add…

And the ability to forgive and move on TO DO BETTER NEXT TIME!

NAMASTE!

The Three Zones Of Awareness.

If we are trying to operate in a fully conscious manner in our daily life it is useful to:=

*know the 3 zones/types of awareness

* learn how to move between zones

* be more aware of where we operate from are we in one zone more than the others and how is this affecting us.

* shuttle between zones, what is happening now!

The Zones are:- MIDDLE ZONE.-thoughts, fantasies, interpretation, self-talk, include here self- criticism.( It is said that anxious people live here a lot.)

OUTER ZONE. – see, hear, touch. INNER ZONE. -feelings, emotions, body sensations (It is said depressed people live in this zone a lot.)

Once we know where we are operating from we can choose to move zones. It isn’t until we are able to identify where we are operating from that we can make conscious and often empowering choices about moving or shifting our awareness..

When we first become AWARE of let’s say a feeling perhaps we “Feel someone doesn’t like us” the next step is to OWN or take ownership of that feeling. That’s how they “may” feel. Am I OK  with it. Have I got it right, what other evidence do I have to support this feeling?” I always check my feelings and perceptions as it is so easy to get these wrong. Then if  this is how it is the next step is to ACCEPT It. Yes it is real. Next take RESPONSIBILITY for it. Acknowledge that only you can choose to do something about it or not. Finally CHOOSE!  Is this real or just someone’s perception of me that is causing this. Is it my problem or theirs. Am I choosing to let it affect me or am I choosing to move on and ignore it.  Does it matter to me. We need to be aware that some people unconsciously or otherwise use criticism as a way of control. This is wrong but it is easy to begin putting yourself down if you are constantly being blamed or criticised. Always act in your own best interests if you find yourself in this situation.

Developing awareness is a great way to take back the power in your life if it has been taken from you.

In the case of “feeling someone doesn’t like me” a simple first step would be to shift awareness to the  middle zone and self talk “Hey but x, y, and zee like me so I’m OK it’s just them!” This of course is an oversimplification but I’m sure you get the idea and will enjoy discovering more about how you operate.

Enjoy your journey! Namaste.

Rain Renews Hope!

Rain

This picture was taken by an incredible Australian, professional photographer Peter Carroll,( who waited 35 years to capture this and a series of other amazing shots of rain on the mighty rock that sits at Australia’s heart, Ularu. ( If you would like to see more of his rare and beautiful work or to get permission to use it please visit his web site, http://www.petercarrollphoto.com )

Last night it rained here, it hadn’t been 35 years since rain but it seemed that long if not longer to the farmers around her and it was, as rain always is, miraculous. This morning everything was changed, brighter, more colourful and more alive! Birds and wildlife were everywhere and the air sang with their songs of thanksgiving. Life seemed more hopeful and people had a smile on their face as they greeted each other. It will take a while yet before the really needed changes to pastures and crops are apparent and follow up rain is vital but the showers we had brought HOPE and with hope we are stronger and better able to carry our load whatever it is. A Little HOPE is always A BIG BLESSING! Can you spread some today, I will try to. We could all do with a lot more. Namaste,

Choosing Not To See

This is an actual photo taken in England c.1920 of a beggar running alongside King George V’s coach.
To me it shows how little some things change but there is always hope… Hope that more and more people will not look away from the needs of others but will sit with the discomfort they feel and work out a way to help.
“It is not what you look at
But what you see.”
Henry David Thomas.

May we all start to see ourselves in this picture and then start to see how we can change it!

Seeing Life’s Path Clearly Now The Fog Has Lifted.

Seeing Life's Path Clearly Now The Fog Has Lifted.

The Way Ahead Is Easy To See. A New perspective and time out have helped clear the way.
Please see previous two posts to understand this as I was unable to get the whole post to load as one. I still have much to learn not only on life’s journey but also on my computer skills journey. Thanks for your patience. Namaste.

Seeing The Path of Life.

 

 

If you look closely at the first picture you will see a gate, straight ahead, and just beyond the trees. It is hidden slightly by the mist but it is there waiting to be opened. Beyond the gate is a clear open field leading down to the beautiful Manning River This is one of my favourite places and if you were to go there you would find the trees are actually in straight lines making it really easy to walk through them. It is often the angle from which we are looking that changes the scene sometimes making things seem harder and more complex than they really are.

A change of perspective can change the whole picture, as you will see by the second photo.

In life there are many turning points and cross roads that present us with decisions to make. All too often the way forward appears unclear and sometimes even frightening.. A hundred scenes play out in our minds as we try to predict the outcome of our choices, we become more and more confused and the advice given by family and friends adds another layer of pressure as we try to take their expectations into the mix. At times like these I have found the only thing that works for me is to LET GO! 

I take time out, away from everyone including myself. 

You might think this is impossible in this busy world but it’s not! You don’t need to go to a tropical island, take holidays or go on a retreat, although all those would be nice, in reality all  you have to do is to make a little space in your day to have quiet time.

Once that space is made find” your special spot” and grab some paper and a pencil.

Is your special spot a bench by the sea, a quiet park or is it as close as a cushion on the floor of your bedroom.

Think of this time as “TIME OUT”, it’s not about making any decisions, they can wait. Nearly all decisions really aren’t as pressing as we feel they are, it’s just that we get so caught up in them and give them so much energy that they take us over

Let others, if there are any around you at this time, that you wish not to be disturbed. Put a sign on the door if necessary. Expect your wish for this necessary time to be respected. 

 When you sit in your spot BREATHE and as you do notice the feel of your breath on your top lip, really focus on the sensation, as you breath normally for a few minutes. Then starting with your toes clench, wiggle/shake and relax all your muscles in turn working up through your body and when you reach your eyes squeeze them shut tight and on opening them gaze softly downwards, along your nose and take a deep relaxed breath and release any last tension.

Have the paper and pencil at hand and if you feel you have to do something doodle or sketch randomly not trying to create anything but just freely letting the flow take you.

When you feel the flow stop or that you have had enough time out, put the paper away somewhere private, where you can find it next time DON’T TRY TO INTERPRET YOUR DRAWING. The action of drawing/painting itself is what provides the benefit to you as it changes the area of your brain that you are operating in.

Allowing yourself to go often to this space, even in short bursts, will help you become less stressed and allow you to take a step back from any difficulty and view it dispassionately from a distance and from varying perspectives.

I love the prayer…” God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

                              Courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

When you feel ready or have to make the decision, go to this quiet space, get out your paper and pencil and look at what you would like to achieve before you begin. Write down everything you want and then narrow it down to the most important things to you. I realise there is a focus on “YOU” here but I am assuming here that you, like most people, put yourself, your desires and needs last.

It seems that for most of us the hardest person to love and forgive is always ourselves.

Take an honest look at how much you can achieve at this time, given what you have to work with, the time, strength and courage you have and then finally look for what is the best, most positive outcome possible at this point in time. Remember time changes most things and a series of small steps can take you as far, if not further, over time than huge difficult strides.

As the saying goes “From little things big things grow.”

Then TRUST,STEP FORWARD and ACT OR…. LET IT GO for the time being or until the time is right and you feel better prepared.

If you find yourself taking the second option on important decisions ask yourself “DO I NEED TO SEEK ADVICE FROM AN OUTSIDE PROFESSIONAL TO DO THIS”

Remember you can only do your best. NO ONE GETS IT RIGHT ALL THE TIME. Accept that you like everyone will make mistakes without the world ending and that if we forgive others they will generally forgive us, if not it really is their problem, we have no control over how others choose to feel.

Setting boundaries is hard but it is vital in life to respect ourselves just as much as we respect others.

I hope this helps a little, as I said, it works for me but then we are all beautifully unique and  have such different lives, needs hopes and aspirations, so honour your own journey. Namaste The spirit in me wishes the spirit in you every blessing. Enjoy your journey!

CREATING A PERSONAL RETREAT.

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Are you time poor with too many demands from work, family or other commitments to attend a retreat or do you simply not have the money to pay for one? Whatever the reason, there is a simple solution, CREATE YOUR OWN.

With a little planning and preparation you can honour yourself and take the time to focus on renewing your spirit and getting back in touch with yourself or perhaps even reach out towards the spiritual awareness you desire.

The first thing to remember is that you are worth the effort. If that isn’t a good enough reason to make time then perhaps for some reason you haven’t yet discovered the importance of self love, in that case, for the moment, focus on the benefits a retreat will bring to everyone around you. A calmer, happier, more positive and peaceful you will be able to give them greater support.

PREPARATION.

* FIND A SUITABLE TIME.

What is the best day of the week to do it. Fewer commitments. Easier for those living with you  to support your need for silence.

Children at camp, away visiting, partner away, quieter time at work etc. If none of these are happening organise for them to happen.

*PREPARE YOURSELF.

Look forward to this time. Think what will make it really work for me? If you are addicted to coffee, tea or some other stimulant that will prevent your mind from settling cut back gradually. It will almost impossible to meditate with a screaming headache.

You might like to purchase some small item to enhance the experience for you. (This is not essential but if this is a treat you are giving yourself buying a special candle, some incense, a crystal, religious object, flowers or some special music can mark it as special and make it more significant.)

*TELL EVERYONE YOU ARE UNCONTACTABLE.

If it is difficult for you to do this for any reason, for example if you feel you don’t wish to share what you are doing at work, but need to take time out, then give a good reason, there is no need to lie simply tell the truth. “I am  going to visit a close friend who needs me and I won’t have phone/internet reception until I return.” Remember that no one is so important that they can’t be done without. It will only be for a day. If you were to die right now it may be a nuisance to some but they would quickly find a way to do those jobs. Look at it this way, at least you’ll be back and most if not all the jobs can wait till then.  If any can’t then delegate them for the day.

*DRAW UP A PROGRAMME.

Decide the length and number of your sessions. Four 30 minute sessions may be enough for a start (or six to eight 30 minute sessions).

Decide on the type/types of meditation techniques you will use. Sitting with focus on breath, object, mantra or walking.

*FIND A SUITABLE PLACE TO MEDITATE.

It needs to be quiet, not too warm and airy.

*CHOOSE SUITABLE MUSIC IF YOU ARE USING IT.

*DECIDE WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO BETWEEN SESSIONS.

If you plan to read choose suitable texts. Spend time outside if you have a quiet garden. Physical labour is also suitable as is creating a mandala or artwork. Whatever the task focus mindfully on

*PREPARE FOOD BEFOREHAND.

Keep meals simple and frugal. Fruit, salad, bread, nuts, cheese. Drink only water or fruit juice.

*PREPARE YOUR MEDITATION SPACE.

HAVE WATER AT HAND.

HAVE A WAY OF MARKING THE PASSING OF TIME.

Suitable music with timed pieces can be used or have a watch/ clock in sight so you can time your sessions.

HAVE A BLANKET OR RUG AT HAND.

If you are sitting still you may get cold and hunting for one can be distracting.

*ENLIST THE SUPPORT OF ANYONE WHO LIVES WITH YOU.

So that you can keep silent all day. If you have pets and they may distract you take steps to prevent them doing this during your meditation times.

*TURN OFF ALL PHONES AND COMPUTERS.

BEGIN YOUR PERSONAL RETREAT.

ENJOY YOUR JOURNEY!

Don’t Die With The Music In You!

71What a title to an amazing book!

The book is written by an Australian football coach. “Football coach?” Yes a rugby league  coach, but he is so much bigger than this box into which most Australians fit him (as are we all- boxes don’t work!). My husband bought the book and having seen Bennet on T.V and finding him to be a fascinating, wise, multi layered person I read it. I loved the book. It says in the introduction that he is a contradiction.

“Had Thomas Edison put enough time aside to work him out we’d still be sitting in the dark.” He’s also a Queensland Father of the Year.

 ” Wayne and his serene and beautiful wife Trish faced the heartbreak of seeing their first born son Justin become mentally disabled after an adverse reaction to immunisation. Elizabeth was their first daughter and then Katherine was born with physical disabilities that left her wheelchair bound.” People who know Wayne Bennet speak of a loving and gentle father who has been a mentor to many hundreds of young footballers over the years. A strong role model who made a promise to his mother not to smoke or drink or gamble like his father, and who has made something extraordinary of his life despite the odds being stacked against him.

The whole book page after page is a philosophy of life, his life and his wisdom. It’s quirky, funny but above all enlightening and thought provoking.

ATTITUDE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE.

Why? because a human being can alter their  life by altering their attitude.

Bennet says constant reinforcement is the key.” Where do you get it? By spending time every day, every week, listening and reading and mixing with positive people.

We can all learn from people who have turned around their lives. I have a book here called Never Give Up, and it is a good book, carefully stacked alongside Michael Jordan’s I Can’t Accept Not Trying and biographies of Muhammad Ali and Winston Churchill, Fred Daly and Weary Dunlop.

When trying to develop a better attitude, it’s important to keep away from people who continually knock what you’re trying to achieve.

Small people do that, while the greats make you feel like you too can become one of them. Hey, if you can’t keep away from small people, just teach yourself to ignore them.

Ask yourself these questions:

* Am I allowing my life to be governed by daily activities, or do I choose to live in accordance with good principles?

* Am I allowing my life to be governed by outside forces?

* Am I so busy putting out fires that I don’t have time to start any?

* Do I have important goals and dreams I am committed to, or am I creatively avoiding commitments by filling my life with daily activities?”

The quotes Bennet uses are from diverse sources, his insights life changing. His humour dry! If you can find his book I am sure it will inspire you.

Good luck on your journey!

WAYNE BENNETT -DON’T DIE WITH THE MUSIC IN YOU.  First published in 2002 by ABC Books for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Reprinted by Harper Collins Publishers Australia Pty Ltd. ISBN 978 0 7333 2219 8.