Sunday 23 May 2010

Take a Trip Down The Road Less Travelled

It used to be that the majority of people would go through life unaware. Asleep. It was more of an existence than a life well lived. Phrases like "the rat race", "nose to the grindstone" were descriptors of the working week and expectations were low. "Thank God it's Friday" also used a lot, and the weekend a time to get mindlessly drunk, overeat, watch movies and generally escape and burn off frustration built up over the grinding week.
Times are changing. You could say, this type of lifestyle couldn't go on for too long anyway, but it has done. So what is snapping people out of their sleep-like trance with life? In my opinion I imagine that sharing our experiences on a more intimate level is a big cause of this shift in consciousness. The Internet is a great way to express oneself, as I am expressing myself to you, on this blog. Facebook, Twitter etc are bringing people together with common interests who may never have otherwise met. And a thirst for knowledge. People, once they see there is more to life, want to know what the more is. It's like spreading gossip, only in a good way. Reiki, for example, is now acceptable in some hospitals in the States, for both Staff and patients. More and more people here in Ireland are going to counselling and psychotherapy, whether to save a relationship or to improve their relationship with life. Things are opening up now and people are coming out of hiding. Like the abuse victims. It's because one person has the courage to speak out, it inspires the next one, and the next one. Suddenly everybody is talking. It is so wonderful to see people who want to heal themselves and to heal others too.
Some of us have been on this healing journey, famously called the road less travelled in a poem by Robert Frost, for a while now. Some people for so long perhaps they feel that it's over, their work is done. But the work is never done as long as we are here to tell the tale. Some of us are just beginning to wake up, and it is overwhelming once our eyes open, to take in all the new possibilities that nature has to offer. And some of us are still sleeping and possibly fighting against the waking (and getting sick from it). Some people possibly will never wake.
If you take one thing from this post today I hope it is this: we are all on our own journey. No one journey is the same and we cannot presume to fully understand anyone else’s' but our own. Understanding our own journey is a life's work in itself. So I imagine the road less travelled, also called the road towards enlightenment, becoming busier as more people begin to wake up. It's a beautiful thing, and even more beautiful is the thought that those of us on the road already can lend a helping hand to those of us just beginning.
Open your heart next time you see someone who irritates or angers you and let the anger dissolve. This person may not have yet woken, or may be struggling with a thorny bush or a slippery stream on their journey. Together we can heal each other. Together we can heal the world.

Sunday 9 May 2010

That mantra just doesn't work for me!

"I cannot be fat and serene, and I don’t want to be. Thin by itself is not necessarily well, but OA is teaching me how to be both thin and serene." -Lifeline Sampler (p. 339) from Overeaters Anonymous Website

Oh my god!! I cannot be fat and serene? Surly that's exactly where the problem lies? Not allowing yourself to be serene and accepting of your body at whatever state it is currently in, is a recipe for disaster (excuse the pun). If we can learn to accept our bodies as they are, them serenity follows. The need for emotional eating dissipates when we are serene, that cream cake just doesn't look so appealing anymore because we feel content and do not "need" it. If we are not binge eating, weight loss will happen. Therefore it takes the pressure off being on a diet, off of losing weight. Losing weight then no longer dominates our lives, our thoughts, our every thinking moment. Imagine what that would be like? To wake up in the morning and feel happy?

So to say that you cannot be serene in your current physical state is like a prison sentence. You are committing yourself to unhappiness. Why not say something more like "I deserve to feel peaceful, I deserve to be happy, no matter what my body shape"? That is a greater truth. Or say "I choose to be content in the body that I have, today". For this to truly work you have to create your own mantra. We are all doing the best we can, let's be a bit nicer to ourselves.

Monday 3 May 2010

Is it better to have loved and lost?

I read the story of Marcia and Seneca today. During the time of Caligula in Rome, Marcia lost her son just before he turned 25 in a war. Three years after he was killed, Marcia was still as grief-stricken as she was the day she found out. Seneca was a philosopher who sent Marcia a letter saying "The question at issue is whether grief ought to be deep or neverending".

Feeling grief deeply is allowed and should be more commonly recognised as a need in life. But we have to give ourselves permission to grieve. All too many times this is not the case, and people carry the weight of bereavement around for years not really knowing or understanding what it is that keeps dragging them down. Feeling a deep grief for a short amount of time is healthy, and after an appropriate amount of time (but it is dififcult to define appropriate), we pick ourselves back up and continue our journey of life. Feeling grief forever is not what we are supposed to do.

One of the side effects of feeling grief in our bodies is a feeling of being alive. We block everything else out and just are our feelings, and this can be addictive as it is nice to shut the outside world off for a while. When grief is prolonged, it seeps into our bones and becomes our identity. We form new habits around it, it is like a warm, familiar blanket, maybe not too comfortable, but safe, in a strange kind of way. When prolonged grief has occured, having the ability to lift the blanket of grief aside when the time comes, can be incredibly difficult.

This is where shamanic work is so powerful. In a graceful way, shamanism helps you shed the heaviness, embrace new light and move on with your life. It does not mean that you never felt the grief, no, instead it means that you are somehow different, changed, because of it. You can leave the heaviness behind and live your life in a transformed way, all the better for having met, loved and lost.

You can find out more about Shamanism on my website,