Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Be here for today, not tomorrow.


While you're striving to reach the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow you risk missing the beauty of the wondrous spectrum of colours displaying itself to you. 
Waiting for time to hurry up, working to help speed our lives along.
How sad.  
How wasteful.
All the while both the mediocre and amazing are fleeting past our consciousness as we sleep walk to the next big thing we want to experience.
What about now?  What has now done to upset you so much that you're choosing to turn your back on it?
The truth is that now is the only thing that's real.
Ssshhhh!!
Be quiet. 
Be still and just be present.
Look!  It's not so scary after all. 
Notice everything, the sounds, the smells, the colours - it's all right here in front of you right now.
No need to wait, no need to long for it - your senses are just waiting for you to join in! 
Your life is happening right now so let the body and mind become united and start celebrating your life experience! 
"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.  Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land.  There is no other land; there is no other life but this." - Henry David Thoreau





Sunday, 7 June 2015

The patchwork of life.

Patchwork intrigues me.
The bringing together of pieces of fabric from a variety of sources to create one beautiful piece of art.
Some fabrics leap out and tickle my eyes with delight, while others blend silently into the background, each piece doing a great job at making the ensemble an awesome artistic achievement.
If I look at each piece individually I notice the texture, the neatness and quality of the hand stitched joins. Some pieces are frayed, some held tightly, some are perfectly symmetrical and knowing each stitch was done by hand brings a new quality to this hand crafted gem.
As in patchwork, as in life....
Each patch of my life has a different vibrancy about it, some pieces I don't wish to look back on, other patches I want to stare at and long to re-create.
The areas where the edges are frayed and the joins worn and thin are clear reminders of times when I didn't pay attention to all the aspects that make me whole.  My physical, emotional and spiritual needs all require daily attention, if I push any of them to one side the patchwork that is my life will not be able to hide the evidence.
How is your patchwork looking?  Are the edges of each patch beautifully held together, or is there some repair work required? Take time today to decide what you could do to ensure you can look back on today with joy and delight.  You can make this moment a beautiful snap shot of  your history; a life lived in balance and harmony will  help you create the most wonderful patchwork.
With love, Kathleen x
"We do not live an equal life, but one of contrasts and patchwork; now a little joy, then a sorrow, now a sin, then a generous or brave action." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Kindness: your natural way


You should express all your emotions, including your hurt, your confusion and your anger but they should be, "moved out" from your body constructively and not destructively! Expressing how you feel going by the sensations you have in your body is far healthier and effective than listening to your ego driven head mind and spurting out with derogatory disdain all that you feel, stamping your feet over how hard done by you are! Your body can deliver the same honest expression of your emotions but in a way that is not accusatory or hurtful, and you'll feel a whole lot better if you listen to your body as you say what you need to say.
Meet malevolence with a kind smile.  Listen to gossip with muted silence, sending feelings of kindness to the perpetrator and victim.  Express what you want to say with your feet firmly connected to the ground, an awareness of your in breath and your out breath, speak slowly and clearly and behind every word, think "kindness".
Kindness is the soothing balm on a gaping sore.  It's the antidote to the most venomous of poisons; and we all have the capacity to use kindness to quell the nonsense spewing from the mouths of others.
Be in charge of yourself, don't be dragged into behaviours or attitudes that don't resonate with who you are!  Be your own kind friend and make choices from a body mind, heart felt place.
With love, Kathleen x
"Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love." - Lao Tzu

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Moving on with purpose.

I was sitting in my car in Perth, parked up while my husband Andrew went to the opticians for his annual check up and it gave me the chance to do my favourite thing - watch people go by.
There were the striders and the rushers, the, "Notice me! I'm very important" upright, limb straight, unyielding sort of walker, the meanderers not sure why or where they're going, the chatty Mums pushing their prams and sharing how long they were allowed to sleep last night, the frail couple supporting each other, but each pretending it's the other that needs the support and the troubled school pupil rehearsing his excuse for not producing his homework that he promised to hand in today.
Each step towards wherever they were headed was significant, as sooner than before they were going to reach their destination and their day would unfold in a way they couldn't predict - and that's okay.
Each step we take is significant, we can move purposefully forward, we can blindly follow the masses, or drift slowly through the crowds oblivious to all that surrounds us.  At different stages of our lives we've probably experienced one, two or all of the above!
However, as you read this now you have the capacity to decide how you want the next chapter of your life to unfold.  With mindfulness you can receive clarity on how to hear what purposeful steps you could take today to enable you to "write" the beginning of your next chapter.
Enjoy!  With love, Kathleen x
"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning." - (Little Gidding) T.S. Eliot


Friday, 24 April 2015

Live, love, cry, repeat.

In a moment our lives and relationships can change forever.  By accident or through illness in a heartbeat what we once took for granted as an immovable infallible union can become the most fragile and broken relationship we've ever experienced.  Our hearts seem to scream and race; our heads scrape around in the dusty dark cave of hopelessness for some sense or reason for the news we're hearing.
Sadly most of us will experience this state of complete shock and desperation at some point in our lives, so then why do we grieve and ache over the small stuff?
Some of the strongest people I know are those who have experienced real hardship and trauma, the daily up and downs, disappointments and failures just roll away with a simple shrug of their shoulders and a muttering of ,
"Shit happens - deal with it and move on!"
I think this is the case because they've been in that state of scrambling desperately for an answer to the really big unanswerable questions faced during a life and death scenario.  Perhaps, in a controlled environment we should be trained to deal with life's hardships at the appropriate level.  For example, the loss of a loved one would get the highest rank with the person being encouraged to cry, shout, be angry and in turn they would receive the relevant support they needed.  But they couldn't be given the highest rank of support, nor c
ould they be encouraged, or enabled to react at the highest level when they missed the last bus home from a night out!
On a day to day basis we have moments of joy, disappointment, frustration, annoyance, happiness, love and grief - that's life.
Practise the art of being emotionally honest at the appropriate level - it's far healthier than bottling things up on a day to day basis then having a massive outburst over something fairly minor in the bigger, more complex scheme of life.
"Look to this day!  
For it is life, the very life of life,
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence;
The bliss of growth;
The glory of action;
The splendour of achievement;
For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision;
But today, well lived, makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope." - Attributed to Kalidasa





Sunday, 12 April 2015

Listen...really listen!

I listen to the radio a lot.
The radio in my living room is a bit ropey, it hisses and coughs it's way through my favourite programmes and shows.
I've tried hanging the aerial in different positions, but it never really improves things.
A favourite tune comes on and I somehow manage to ignore the background distortion and pick out enough of the music to be transported on a nostalgic journey to another place.
In my kitchen however the radio is a rather fancy DAB contraption.  The clarity is second to none.
I can almost hear the broadcaster create another laughter line the precision of the sound is so exact.
I only notice the difference in the quality of the two radios when I walk from one room to another.  If I stay in the kitchen all day I get lulled into the false belief that this is the quality of my radio listening life.
Maybe this is true of many aspects of life.
We ignore the annoyances that seem to be irreversible, we tolerate the background distortion and "make do" with the quality of life we believe is as good as it can get.
Why don't I just save up and buy another DAB radio?  That is a feasible and very do-able way to fix the fluctuating quality of my radio listening life.  Is there something you're tolerating because you think this is just the way it has to be?
"Where you are, be there totally.  If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now.  Then accept the consequences." - Eckhart Tolle



Tuesday, 31 March 2015

As Taylor Swift would say...."The haters gonna hate!"

Recently, on a fairly uneventful day, I haphazardly discovered I've been the focus of someone else's hatred and determined attempts to sabotage a loving relationship  I have with a member of my family.
This revelation felt weird, confusing and disturbing.
Energy of the most negative type had been directed my way for nearly three years while I was blissfully oblivious!
Without foundation or reasonable cause this person wanted to damage me and damage a person they claimed to care about.
This left me feeling a strange mix of emotions.
On one hand I was saddened at the apparent desperateness of the individual orchestrating the hate campaign, and on the other hand I felt angry that a fellow human being could choose to instigate such a toxic plan based on their own insecurity.
I'm still a bit perplexed, and I don't expect I'll ever fully be able to understand their motives.
However, the ramifications of their master plan being exposed to my family and close circle of friends means that the lovely family member who had the strength to confide in me can now get even more love and support to prevent this sort of thing ever happening again.
Despite the attempts this person made to hurt me and my loved one, I don't hate them.  I feel sad they thought this was an acceptable thing to do, and I hope they can find a way to live a life based on being responsible for their own happiness and not continue to have expectations that their life is dependent on the input of others.
"Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace."- Dalai Lama

Sunday, 22 March 2015

The risks of retrospective gratitude.

If only we could truly be glad for what we have in this moment, right now.  Retrospective gratitude is to me the saddest and heaviest of emotions.
Reflecting back brings a rush of warmth and joy, only to be followed by a heavy hearted sadness when the realisation hits that that time is no more - it can't be brought back - it's gone forever.
Only in my mind can I  re-create those memories, there's no tangible way to grab it back and haul it into my life today!  Try though I might, even when I concentrated my efforts on remembering the minutiae detail, the lead weight in my chest drags me back to face the harsh truth; no matter how good my memory is; that place and time is fading deeper into a sentence, a page, a chapter in my history.
That elusive past.
So today I must stay focused on the reality of the quality of my life. The peaks and troughs are an inevitable part of being human. But if the main thread running through my life is strong, with only a few frayed fibres on the edges then I have little to concern myself with.
But then there's the battle with my self indulgent head. It teases me with flashes of significant experiences in a less than illustrious life, and in that moment I'm giving too much attention to the frayed, tattered, irrelevant fibres and I need to return my attention to the core strength of the thread holding my life together.
My husband, my family, my friends; bearers of so much love and loyalty that I am truly cushioned and protected from the more negative aspects of the world.
I have so much to be grateful for!
Right now find one thing in your life to be grateful for and feel that gratitude in your body and mind!
"It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures." - Ally Condie

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Let your art flow!

When an artist is crippled by the need for perfection, disabled by their own doubts and criticism that the work they're crafting and shaping from their heart is in some way deficient, a potentially debilitating situation can ensue.
A self perpetuating downward spiral can lead to that place; the loneliest of places called, contempt for oneself.
In the early stages of creating, you start to produce your art because in that moment you were inspired.  Pay attention to that sense of creative clarity that evokes a tingle of excitement in your belly, a buzzing in your head as the mind and body work harmoniously together.  
If this resonates with you - whatever your art - you must work on letting your heart win over the battle with your head, and return to that beautiful union between your emotional, intuitive, creative bodymind and the more critical, analytical headmind.  However, we must be careful not to condemn the headmind because when it's working with the bodymind the results can be tremendous.  Artists know that their best work is produced when they have a feeling about a particular piece they want to produce and they use the headmind constructively to put that idea together - bliss!
Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, whatever it is that helps quieten down the chatty headmind - do it! Do it so that you can maintain that peaceful core both in your body and mind, and then your most wonderful creations will flow from you.  Happy creating everyone!
With love, Kathleen x

"Rational thoughts never drive people's creativity the way emotions do." - Neil deGrasse Tyson
"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties." - Erich Fromm



Friday, 27 February 2015

The importance of movement.

Sometimes I forget to look up and remind myself that all is well.
So pre-occupied and busy with work related emails and concerns about my family, I get too involved with my head and ignore my body's needs to get outside and just breathe!
To feel so separate from myself and separate from the world can be catastrophic - a catastrophe caused by my own inability to stay right here, present in this moment now. I must learn to stay attached to my body and mind, not ignoring the importance of the flow between them both!
When I feel myself drifting up and up further into my head and even more distant from my body - my emotional centre - then I know I must take back control and move.
Sometimes the move is simply walking into the kitchen and making some vegetable soup, sometimes it feels right to make a bigger move and get out for a walk, a run or a bike ride - away from the house and away from anyone being able to contact me.
At times it can feel like it's an inescapable fact that I can never truly be alone - except when I'm out in the garden or out in nature.  And yet, it's when I'm outside that I stop and truly listen for the activity surrounding me and I find myself looking up in awe at the company I have.
Ironic.
The busier the birdsong, with the blackbirds, the tits, the robins, chaffinches and yellow hammers surrounding me in the garden the happier I am.
I had a buzzard accompany me on part of my bike ride recently, a union between two species I'd not expected.  I pedalled effortlessly through the crisp, clean air watching as his legs hung down, his upper body moving with a strength I knew I could never comprehend,
"I see why you love your life!" I whispered to my feathery companion.
Just a short time away from all things electronic and I feel my head clearing, my passion returning and I can rest assured all will be well.
Back in my house again, kettle on, I hear the first, "ping" of an email hitting my inbox....that's fine! My head is clear again, my body feels good too.  I want to sit down with my cup of tea and get on with helping others help themselves - just as I have to help myself.  I gently remind myself not to let things build up again, you know the signs Kathleen!  Feel what you feel and take action according to those feelings; and that message is relevant to each and every one of us!
"To keep the body in good health is a duty..otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear." - Buddha