Do you trust your own rhythms? Do you allow yourself to do nothing and stare into space just because you feel like it? If a rush of creative ideas wakes you up at night, do you get up and start scribbling or smother it down because ‘you must get your sleep’? When all your energy has vanished, do you force yourself to get on with some work or allow yourself to rest?
Observing the ebb and flow of my creative energy here at the wild field has prompted me think about this. When we first moved, it was easy to see why I wasn’t dreaming up any new workshops or enthusiastically promoting my latest inner wisdom product – I was knackered! Then the weeks went on and I settled deeply into my inner world – wanting to do little more than meditate and write.
After a while, I started to get a bit concerned. What if all that creative juice has gone? Should I try to drum something up? But no matter how I looked at it, I just did not feel like it. I know from hard experience that it’s counter-productive to exhaust myself trying to swim against the tide, but it’s not always easy to keep the faith. None-the-less, this time I managed to wait and trust that the change would come naturally.
Then, a week or two ago, it happened – a huge uprush of creativity and inspiration came bursting through. Ideas, excitement, enthusiasm and energy aplenty – fully formed and in such abundance – and my new workshop was conceived. A couple of phone calls were made and the people and resources I wanted fell into place beautifully. There was a quality of effortless co-operation with a power so much greater and wiser than myself. My job was to be switched on enough to notice the turning tide, fit enough to get on the surf board and keep my balance, and from there-on-in simply have a wonderful ride!
And so I can announce to you with enormous enthusiasm and excitement that I’m taking my new workshop to Glasgow in Scotland next month. Wake Up Your Wisdom – a day retreat for entrepreneurs and professionals ready to develop red-hot intuition and learn the secrets of mind-to-mind marketing. My fabulous colleague, Rachel Elnaugh (former Dragon on BBC TV’s Dragon’s Den), has agreed to give a presentation on her experience of using inner wisdom for business success. I can’t wait to give my first ever workshop in my home city! More details here – www.srimati.com/events
To me, one of the greatest gifts of my self-determining lifestyle is the delicious opportunity to follow my natural rhythms more truly. Sometimes its an emotional rhythm – feeling slow and sad or fast and excited; sometimes its intellectual – clear as a bell or dull as dish water. Then there are physical rhythms prompted by hormonal changes or meal, exercise and sleep patterns. And of course there’s the environment – the light, the dark, the sun the moon, the seasons, the weather, the surroundings…
Our bodies and psyches are fantastically engineered sensing machines. Should you pay attention – simply pay attention! – you get all the bio/psychic feedback you need in a nano second and you will KNOW what’s right for you at every turn. However, if you override this awareness by getting too busy and out of touch with yourself (or giving too much of your power and freedom away to an over-demanding person or job), you lose one of your most precious abilities – to regulate a happy, balanced lifestyle for yourself. What’s more, regulating yourself like this is your primary responsibility in life. No one else can do this for you or be blamed if you do not do it for yourself.
I’m quite impressed with Paul McKenna’s work with regard to this. Paul McKenna www.paulmckenna.com is a British hypnotherapist who has written many excellent self-help books including I Can Make You Thin. The core principle of this book is that to eat appropriately (and therefore lose excess weight) you simply need to tune into this self-regulating ability. By slowing down and paying deep attention to what food your body really wants, you naturally find your optimum weight. I used this method myself last year and effortlessly shed 20 lbs in so many weeks. (I seem to be in a ‘putting it back on’ phase at the moment – but that’s another story!).
However, there’s another whole dimension of rhythm in our lives – the ebb and flow of INSPIRATION – our spiritual rhythm. When you are inspired you feel a creative energy rising up within you, giving you the ideas, direction and impetus to make something new happen. It seems to bubble up from inside you even if its triggered by an external source like a stimulating talk or a sublime piece of music. Sometimes it just seems to come from no-where.
The Buddha taught that inspiration can only be experienced when you have prepared yourself to receive it. When you first start to meditate, it can take a while to draw all your disparate energies into some sort of coherence. That’s what meditation does for you first of all – it helps you feel less scattered and more focussed and more whole and complete. This is the initial stage of INTEGRATION (bringing together).
Only then – when you have a sense of being in possession of your whole self – can inspiration start to come through into an adequate container. This second stage, not surprisingly, is called INSPIRATION. Having pulled yourself into some sort of shape, your natural creative energy has a place to arise and a vehicle through which to express itself. It feels like you have a well-spring within you, constantly bubbling up from your deep inner source.
I explain these two aspects of meditation in this video – Meditation for Integration and Insight
As a coach, I’ve always preferred to work with inspiration rather than motivation. As well as being a carrot rather than stick approach, it is a much more empowering and graceful way to work. Helping people ignite their own natural joyful impetus is more independently sustainable for the client than trying to push them up a mountain they’d rather not climb.
Sometimes I think we’ve got it all wrong – that we think we have to ‘make’ ourselves do stuff because it’s ‘good for us’. No, no! Spend the time to develop the self-love and find the thing you really want to be doing because you were meant to be doing it! Then its just a matter of lighting the touch-paper and standing back while an inspired new lifestyle takes off!
Inspiration is a massive force for the good. When you are inspired you are in touch with who you truly are and feel moved by love and joy rather than fear and dread. One of my favourite tips is the one that tells us how to know when you are making the right decision. By asking yourself , ‘Am I making this choice from love or fear?’ you can discern whether you are doing things for the best (the best way is ALWAYS the one that is inspired by love rather than avoiding fear). If you are making a choice based on love, you feel expanded and free. If you are making the choice from fear, you feel contracted and strained. You can feel that expansion or contraction in your body – often in your tummy area. There’s a reason why we use the term ‘gut instinct’.
I go into the art of following the right inner promptings in this video – ‘Which Voice in Your Head Do You Trust?
So please do keep the faith, dear people – you do know what’s best for you. Your only responsibility is to cultivate sensitivity to your rhythms and allow inspiration to flow. Of course many of us have busy lives with many demands, but even within that, it’s possible to invest a little time developing awareness. Meditation is a brilliant way to do this. Just ten minutes a day – sitting quietly, feeling your breath move through your body – is a wonderful start. For superb meditation guidance, try www.wildmind.org
September 19, 2010 | Categories: Dragon's Den, inner guidance, inspirational coaching, intuition, meditation, metaphysics, Rachel Elnaugh, spiritual coaching, spiritual intelligence, telepathic marketing, Wildmind | Tags: entrepreneur, guided meditation, gut feelings, Inner experience, inner wisdom, inner world, inspiration, inspired entrepreneurs, intuition, making clear decisions, meditation, metaphysics, spiritual guidance, spiritual intelligence, spirituality, spirituality in business, telepathic marketing | 2 Comments
Well, my lovelies, it seems I’ve had a bit of blog writer’s block! I have continued to write a daily journal and have recorded a few videos for future consumption, but it’s been hard to know what to share with you for this episode of Raw and Real. I’m guessing that this is because I’ve been deep within an inner process that’s hard to write about whilst inside it. It’s still in happening, but it’s now two weeks since my last post, so I thought I’d at least let you know what’s been going on.
I’m writing this from the wild cliffs of Cornwall instead of the wild field in Devon. Pat and I have been here at our caravan on the atlantic coast for a few days – suddenly hungry to be here after a four month block in Devon. We were partly influenced by the change in the weather – beautifully sunny and fine again after an intense spell of rain. It is incredibly beautiful here. The views over the ocean are just awesome and the psychic quietness of the atmosphere totally liberating. It feels like there’s space for your inner world to expand out and fly-dance in the sky.
About three weeks ago I embarked on a 40 day spiritual programme. It’s a simple thing really – daily reading, reflecting and writing on the themes – but the effects have been profound. I’m no stranger to this sort of thing (I spent my twenties engaged in full time study, meditation, right livelihood practice and retreats on the lead up to becoming an ordained Buddhist) but its been a while since I’ve taken up a such a purposeful, purely spiritual, exercise.
Recently, things have been very settled at the wild field. We’ve been there for a couple of months and all the pandemonium is over. Pat’s bad neck is much better, Jamie has been enjoying a renewed social life after his relationship break up and I’ve re-established my coaching, meditation and writing practice. I’ve been waking up every day, looking out over the peaceful meadows, feeling my wonderful family close by and counting my blessings. What a fantastic, beautiful, quiet, retreat-like haven of a life-style! Almost without realising it, I’ve been dropping deeper and deeper into the richness of my inner world.
And so its not surprising that the spiritual programme is biting. I recognise the pattern. At first there’s excitement and inspiration at the juicy wisdom being studied. Then times of uncomfortableness and resistance because an unenlightened part of me feels threatened (usually hanging on to some ingrained and unconscious way of being that’s really not necessary or useful any more).
After feeling tense and unhappy for a while (can be hours or days) it becomes clearer what’s being challenged and what needs to let go. It helps to allow myself to feel my upset emotions (have a rant or a cry or whatever) and talk to someone who understands the process or write it all down in a journal without judgement. Eventually the realisations come and I end up feeling cleansed, renewed and aligned with a more peaceful, happy way of living than ever before.
I’m now 25 days into the programme and having my third wave of uncomfortableness. (I’ve been really happy and carefree in between, honest!) I’m reminded that at times like this the best thing we can do is simply accept ourselves just as we are – and without the need to analyse why we are feeling out of sorts. A great exercise when you feel like this is to write a long list of “I love me when….(and finish the sentence)”. Write about loving yourself – good or bad – until you have a feeling of accepting every last part of yourself unconditionally. For example “I love me when I’m inspired”, “I love me when I’m depressed”, “I love me when I know what I’m doing and why”, “I love me when I’m lost and confused”.
Unconditional acceptance of oneself is always the beginning of the end of unhappiness. It’s so simple. Even when you are feeling utterly wretched it is possible to step outside and look back upon yourself compassionately (just as you would look upon a crying child who has broken a beloved toy). The trick is to remember to do so! Once, when I was upset about something and unable to feel compassion for myself, Pat fetched a mirror and tenderly held it up in front of me. Looking at the poor crying face in there made me feel rather sorry for the girl and my heart melted.
I think Eckhart Tolle’s masterful book, The Power of Now, captures the simplicity of this acceptance process beautifully. I always say that the Power of Now is one of my ‘desert island books’. I have read scores and scores of spiritual and personal development books over the years, but this one captures an essence of them all. If I was stuck on a desert island with only a few books, I’d want this to be one of them. I thoroughly recommend it. Here’s his website:
There’s also a brilliant loving kindness meditation that I learned many years ago and still practice and teach with relish. It’s a Buddhist meditation called the Metta Bhavana, or cultivation of loving kindness. (Not surprisingly, it seems to me that most spiritual traditions have similar contemplations or prayers.) The meditation begins by fostering love for oneself, then a friend, then a stranger, then an enemy, then the whole world. In my experience it is deeply transformational as well as gently nourishing, no matter what state you are in when you begin. You can find a led Metta Bhavana meditation on CD and MP3 on the amazing Buddhist meditation and resource website, Wildmind. (One day I’ll record one myself, but I haven’t so far).
Wildmind was founded by a lovely colleague of mine, Bodhipaksa, a fellow Scot who I first met at the Glasgow Buddhist Centre 25 years ago when we were both rookies. He now lives in the USA with his young family and writes and teaches in addition to running Wildmind. His latest book – Living As A River – is being launched next month. Recently I’ve been guest blogging for Wildmind (so you’ll find a few of my videos and articles on the blog page) and Bodhipaksa has been so kind and helpful in supporting my move towards publishing my books and CDs.
I have written about love (one way or another) a lot. I suppose really understanding what love is all about is the core of my practice and inspiration. Afterall, I have it on good authority that love is a pretty important thing. Once, when Jamie was sitting in his highchair as a baby, I said to him jokingly, “Oh Jamie, what is the meaning of life?” Hardly able to talk at that age, he answered clearly and emphatically, “Love.” – A baby Buddha!
One of my first articles ever published was for the Buddhist magazine, Dharma Life. It’s my story and thoughts on maternal love – having not long become a mother to said baby Buddha. I’d noticed how spiritually minded people were mixed up about what non-attachment means (still one of my favourite topics) and I was extolling us to embrace our love even if it means we also experience loss. Wildmind still carries this article on their blog page, so here’s the link.
And here’s me talking to Nick Williams of www.inspired-entrepreneur.com again (see last week’s blog). This time, he is asking me about the principle of non-attachment and I explain what I think it really means. I quote William Blake’s poem. For me it captures the spirit of non-attachment and unconditional love: “He who binds himself to a joy doth the winged life destroy; But he who kisses the joy as it flies, lives in eternity’s sunrise.”
Well, writing about all this compassionate and love stuff has cheered me up no end! I guess “I love me when I’m deep in challenging process”, “I love me when I have writer’s block” and “I love me when I’m writing inspiring stuff about love” Just a little tenderness does the trick…
September 4, 2010 | Categories: inner guidance, inspirational coaching, intuition, meditation, metaphysics, metta bhavana, Nick Williams, Raw and Real, spiritual coaching, spiritual intelligence, Wildmind | Tags: calming emotions, Eckharte Tolle, guided meditation, how to love and let go, Inner experience, inner wisdom, inner world, inspiration, intuition, love, maternal love, meditation, meditation CDs, metaphysics, Nick Williams, Non-attachment, self help, spiritual guidance, spiritual intelligence, spirituality, stopping bad habits, The Power of Now, Wildmind | 2 Comments