Tag Archives: Real Life

Irrational Fear Will Be Our Undoing

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Most people love a label. We like to compartmentalise everything. We pop ‘it’ in its box and we feel secure in the knowledge that we now know exactly what ‘it’ now is. We don’t get it back out of the box for another look very often once it has been given its label either. We can now judge it, worship it, revile it, discredit it or love it and it is okay because we have labelled it, we know what ‘it’ is and our minds are set.

With every new report of imminent war, fingers on triggers and terror attacks we all slowly go into ourselves with fear and start pointing the finger of blame on to unseen populations. We accuse whole groups of hiding those who would harm us. Every person who has the same ethnicity will be looked upon with suspicion. We can’t continue to do this to ourselves.

Wars are started and fought over this labelling habit. Communities are split. We judge on appearances or personal preferences far too quickly when, in fact, everybody is different regardless of their skin colour, religion or sexual preference. Deep down we all know that but it is fear which can stop us from being rational about it.

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This mass labelling has resulted in groups of people and their religion being accused of the same crimes as other people who have committed them and belong to the same religious or ethnic group. This is led by fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of the hidden. Unknown because it is assumed all those people are dangerous terrorists and hidden because people think these terrorists are everywhere. Of course, this is ideal for the actual terrorists because not only does it make them look as if they are everywhere and all-powerful, it also stirs up bad feeling between innocent parties and their accusers and leads more of the innocent on the path of resentment, thereby giving fresh meat to the terrorists.

It’s a nasty, vicious cycle which only gives power away.

A habit like this is not a new thing. Those whose countries have fought others in bloody battles in the past century or so are brought up to remember those battles and the atrocities acted out by the losing side through education in schools. This helps us remember those who suffered and died for us and to also make sure we remember never to do certain things ourselves again but it also reinforces we should be afraid of that culture or blame the people still alive in the next generation for what their ancestors did. A further note on this would be for us to remember it was the government of the country who caused the war not the civilians themselves. A few people, deciding for all.

We need to remember that there is hardly a country on this planet which has led a blameless existence when it comes to warmongering and war-related atrocities. None of our leaders are above reproach and none of them made war with others just for the good of the people.

As citizens of those countries, do we take the actions of our past leaders and feel the guilt of those deeds ourselves, personally, every single day? Of course not. Yet we can often look at someone else’s geographical location and presume them evil. Hmm.

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It is what we do NOW which matters, folks! Don’t judge your neighbours and people you see in the street out of fear or conditioning. See them as the individuals they are and allow them the freedom to choose to live their own preferences, as long as it harms no other, without fear until that fear is earned and not merely speculated upon.

We must learn to accept one another if we are to save ourselves as a species.

There is nothing happy, clappy about that statement. The more we fight and the greedier we become then the more we fear and the more we misjudge and the greater the risk of our own extinction.

The change must start with us as individuals.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Finding Your Safe Place

Lots of people have already found certain places in nature where they go to regroup or relax. This can be as simple as a tree in the local park where they can stop off whilst walking the dog to take in the view and taste the air.

My favourite place is by a particular tree which is generous enough to replenish me with its energy whenever I visit. I don’t visit quite often enough for my taste but it is a difficult tree for me to get to and so I savour it when I do get there. Not even my immediate family knows of my attachment to this particular tree. I keep that knowledge close to my heart because it is special to me and holds more power than if I verbally share it and its whereabouts indiscriminately. That’s what I choose to believe and that belief has served me well.

If you are lucky enough to have a public park near to where you work then do visit in your lunchtime. Take that half hour and your sandwiches and get outside. It will wake you up, increase your productivity and your mental agility too. Even if you haven’t got a whole park to yourself then a bench or somewhere peaceful outside is ideal to replenish a weary mind. It can also be the place you go to catch your breath when the human race has been particularly trying. It will become a place of regrouping, comfort and fresh starts.

If you don’t have a few trees handy then the next best thing is putting on a pair of noise cancelling headphones on and listening to sounds of nature or, taking it one step further, imagining a forest in your mind’s eye and creating your own place to escape to during meditation. You might want to start with a guided meditation first if this seems daunting. There are plenty of options on YouTube if you want to try this. How about this one from Linda Hall?

A place to feel joy, gratitude, love and happy memories and to make new ones.

A place to go to when times are testing.

A place where you can be yourself, without judgment.

However you find your sanctuary it will serve you well.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Usually bad things happen because we were in the wrong place at the wrong time or a decision we made has led to the circumstances we now face.

It certainly isn’t because we have upset a higher power. How do I know this? Because if our chosen gods were that involved in what we do there would have been no Adolf Hitler or any other dictator of a similar ilk. Lightening, if it were to strike anyone, would surely have struck Hitler or any other past or current leader who has done or currently does that amount of harm to so many.

Bad things happen because, well, they just do. It’s part of the web of life.

I don’t believe bad luck befalls us because we have asked for it or deserve it.

Some might argue there is always a plan. That our chosen deity has put these people or difficulties in our way to challenge us individually or as a species. Hitler certainly did more than challenge and it appears very few of the lessons humanity was taught by Hitler have done anything to make a significant change in the here and now. In 2017 I would say we are even regressing when it comes to racism, bigotry and committing genocide. Hitler got in to power because he was charismatic and he pandered to greed, power and superiority complexes not because a deity put him there to teach us a lesson.

Some religions would have us believe if we don’t do as the ambassador for that religion dictates then we will be punished by deity for our actions. I don’t subscribe to this nonsense at all and believe it is simply a way for religious leaders to control those people who choose to hang on to their every word.

I have had some horrible things happen to me (and to those in my family) in my lifetime so far. This isn’t because we deserved these things to happen nor because we attracted this bad luck. They happened because we made some questionable choices which resulted in these things happening. This isn’t self-pity by blaming myself or them, this is a simple fact. Every day we face choices and every day consequences of those choices are felt. If we fall over a crack in the pavement then we should have watched where we were going. Years ago we would do these things, laugh with some embarrassment or cry with pain and move on.

These days we look to blame others and be compensated.

We are building a culture of blaming others and taking no responsibility for ourselves.

When we blame bad luck we are turning the focus from our own choices on to the Universe and blaming that instead. Anything rather than just accepting that sometimes s*** happens or that we really should have thought more about the idea which led to our present circumstances before taking action.

Next time, hey?

How we deal with an upsetting event in the here and now is what will potentially shape our next few weeks or years.

It probably won’t change the life of whom we blame. In fact blaming someone else or something else can often result in the emotional impact living with us for decades because there is often no come back, no compensation and no karmic return and this can lead to depression, shame and regret. Sometimes even going so far as to destroy lives.

What bad things do give us is an opportunity to look within and grow as people. We can use these circumstances to better ourselves as individuals and come out the other side stronger and more able to face further challenges in the future. It also gives us the tools to help others who have similar things happen to them and it gives us a clearer perspective of our own blessings. If you have ever been hungry, truly hungry, you will appreciate every meal after that. If you have been cold, you will notice and appreciate the heat of a warm home. If you have ever wondered if you have a true friend then any bad times you have will make this clear one way or the other.

If you can learn to appreciate the small things around you that bring life and sustenance then you can find joy, peace, happiness and love for yourself and for others who cross your path.

Those things are ultimately the good parts of when bad things happen. If we let ourselves look at the hard times in that way, by looking inward for growth rather than looking outward for rewards, we will become more able to see the joy and be in our truth.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Your Spiritual Cement Mix

When you are building the foundation for your life path you are going to want to make sure your cement mix is well-balanced so your cobblestones stay fixed 😉

Your mix may consist of many things, here are a few of mine, not in any particular order, apart from the first. Meditation is one of my foundation corner stones.

Meditation Aromatherapy
Mindfulness Flipboard Creativity
Podcasts Tarot Cards Oracle Cards
Knowledge Audiobooks Laughter
Love Herbs Hugs
Understanding Gardening Appreciation
Reiki Photography Gratitude
Crystals Films Learning

These are just some of the things which, together, see me through life and keep me walking forward. Now there are still days when this lot aren’t enough and I allow myself a pyjama day. Yes, awful, isn’t it?Awfully GOOD! Do I feel guilty because I am having a not-so-good day? Nope. Life happens. One foot in front of the other. A tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream is optional.

Getting your mix right is a lifelong challenge and when it works you won’t need to change a thing. Sometimes though you can come unstuck and then you may want to try other things. It is worth investigating potential things for your cement mix when things are going well. That way, on a difficult day, you don’t have to think too much. What about having something crafty to do on standby or go to somewhere like a park in your lunch break with a new book to read as you eat? Keep something to one side which you will see as a treat and something to fortify yourself with in times of greater need. I have a bar of Dairy Crunch on hand for emergencies. You may see a theme here…chocolate and ice cream are real treats for me and are also a bit naughty 😉

Whatever floats your boat and rocks your world.

Personally I don’t watch the news on television. I get the main headlines online and then I do some investigating if I want to know more. This not only means I choose how much negativity to bombard myself with, it also means I am more informed than I would be by just listening to one or two news channel’s narrow reporting. It allows me to read about both sides and make my own mind up rather than being told what to think.

For other news, such as science, nature or environmental issues, I simply use Flipboard to weed out the latest and then, again, research it myself if it piques my interest. It is amazing how much more you find out and, sometimes, how different it might be from what you have heard. The above video made me laugh, laughter is good, and yet the content is also so very true.

Once you have the right cement mix you can start building your path and then start trying out various things which enhance you and encourage emotional and intellectual growth whilst knowing your emotional core is strong. A strong foundation gives you the strength to be more independent in thought and more curious to try out new things. Find out what resonates with you and don’t wait for someone else to tell you what that might be.

This article is part of Your Spiritual Life series. Other articles in the series can be found in the top menu.

Your Spiritual Life

This week sees the start of a little series called Your Spiritual Life containing my musings about living a spiritual life. I am starting with the very basics of your foundation and then moving into all sorts of areas which will include articles on things which have helped me personally.

You can find this series in the menu at the top of my blog and I will put a heads-up on here when a new article has been posted.

Today you can find articles there on:

Personal Needs

Faith

Tolerance

Your Spiritual Cement Mix

Why Do Bad Things Happen?

Finding Your Safe Place

Using Tarot To Receive Answers From Your Spirit Guides

Creation and Growth

Irrational Fear of Others

Spirituality Without Fanfare

See how these play their parts in creating a strong foundation which will help you to get the most out of your spiritual life.

In fitness a strong body core is often talked about but we also benefit from a strong mental core and sometimes we may find ourselves floundering a bit when we realise something is missing from our lives but we don’t quite know what it is. I believe that missing piece is our spiritual need, regardless of whether we have a religion we follow or not.

One point I must make is that I follow no named religion and have not written this to preach or turn anyone away from what they believe in already. My musings are to spark ideas and give tools to those who want to enrich their lives. It is for those who wonder and have a curiosity but don’t know where to start.

I respect all religions and the right of anyone to believe in what or whom they wish as long as they harm no other or themselves.

I hope you find the series of value 🙂

When The Menopause Bites Back

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I am feeling quietly pleased with myself as I have just changed the keyboard on my laptop all by myself. I grant you it isn’t a really difficult task for a normal person but I am menopausal…tying my shoelaces on my own these days is a real achievement!

I’m joking…kinda 😀

Today I wanted to talk about the menopause. I thought I was nearing the finish line since Mother Nature hadn’t paid me a visit since last July. Then on the 6th of the month she called unexpectedly and overstayed her welcome. I was not exactly thrilled. Yesterday she popped in for a quick coffee yet again and now she has gone…with a flea in her ear, let me tell you!

There is plenty of information out there telling us about some of the symptoms of a looming menopause but not many websites talk about the days or even minutes of numbness, the crying for no reason and the crazy lady syndrome which can beset some of us. Now, let me be clear. Depression is a long lasting condition which needs medical care. If you have it, you will know it. The type of low mood I am talking about is one which comes and goes. The low mood, brain fog, irritability and crying we get periodically on and off in the months/years leading up to the menopause is very different from full on depression and is very similar to PMT at its worse in my experience. It is just more irregular in appearance and can strike at any time and go away just as quickly, sometimes even in a day.

With changes in our bodies and also possibly in our life circumstances emotionally and family wise such as children leaving home for university and parents needing care, this is a time for many changes not just THE change and we can be thrown off balance far more easily. We are still warrior women but we do have to remember this is a time to be kinder to ourselves and less judgemental of what we feel we ought to be. The Crone is emerging, the wise woman with decades of life experiences to share is settling in. We look to grandchildren now, the next generation to teach and nurture. We look to ourselves and our own needs a little more and this we MUST do, with no guilt attached, if we are to find joy and contentment with what our bodies and minds now offer us. Do you know who you are? Are you who you want to be?

Sometimes it can be difficult to maintain your Zen. I think it is important to be honest about how we feel rather than trying to make out these things are below us (makes it easier for the next woman who comes along to know she isn’t alone too) so let me share the following with you. Two weeks ago I was an absolute mess. The flu, migraines, anxiety, tears whether sad or happy (fluffy bunnies set me off!) and increased pain levels by about a good half. All a prelude to a time of the month I didn’t know I was expecting but it scared the heck out of me. I battled down with herbs, crystals, a blankie and a lot of mental thumb sucking and rode the wave out but, gals, I thought I was losing it at the time until the reason became clear when my period started. It was just PMT and a wash of hormones.

This week I mostly feel as I usually do (the flu is lessening…one hopes!) and what a relief it is! I also bought myself a copy of Susun Weed’s Menopausal Years and found it to be the perfect companion. Susun tells you about all the nitty gritty stuff and gives you the confidence to know that things will be alright even when you are drowning in the emotional riptide.

Your hormones are such fun companions but if they really start to bully you for more than two weeks then do get yourself to the doctors and find out what is available to help you. Get yourself informed about herbs and natural supportive treatments. Meditate. Do what you can to stay in the moment and don’t allow yourself to linger on unhelpful thoughts of guilt, shame and any other negativity which rears its head. Keep away from the news, social media and any other potential trigger of a drastic mood change and wait it out. If it lasts longer than a couple of weeks then seek help. The menopause is a natural transition, it is not something to suffer for.

Do yourselves a favour and buy a copy of this book. It is an absolute must for the shelf of the personal library of every women from 30+ years old and will save you from a whole heap of trouble later. Trust me. 

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Amazon UK

Amazon US

The best book on menopause is now better. Herbal solutions for osteoporosis, hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, flooding, fibroids, low libido, incontinence, anxiety, depression.

Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones.

Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD.

One of the world’s best selling books on menopause still comes on strong. Called “indispensable,” “incredible,” and a “treasure trove of information,” Menopausal Years is the “bible” for the 87% of American women over the age of fifty who want nothing to do with hormones.

Includes information and remedies for problems with premenopause — flooding, erratic periods, fibroids, spotting, water retention, muscle soreness — as well as menopause — hot flashes, sleeplessness, mood swings, headaches, palpitations, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and much more. Final chapters speak to post-menopausal women’s concerns: including ways to maintain heart health, prevent and reverse osteoporosis, deal with dry vaginal tissues and incontinence, ease aching joints, and maintain healthy libido.

The soothing, wise voice of Grandmother Growth guides each woman through the book and through her own menopause metamorphosis. Ritual interludes interweaves a spiritual dimension often lacking in other works.

Includes superb resource lists for menopause information, index, glossary, directions for using (and preparing) herbal medicines, complete descriptions of the most-used menopausal herbs (including nettles, ginseng, dong quai, red clover, oatstraw, and motherwort), recipes for heart- and bone-healthy dishes, and lots of illustrations. 

 

It Starts With One Ripple…

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Now the holidays are over and everyone in the family is returning to their normal routines, I took a moment to reflect on how the holidays went and the lessons which had been learnt. I was pleased to note that despite our large family being all together in the same house there were no disagreements this year…for a family as large and extended as ours that is quite an achievement. We all love each other but personalities can clash, especially after one too many mince pies!

The other lesson which stands out for me is one in the wider world. There are a lot of people out there who just need a hug. As part of my spiritual service for the holidays I wanted to reach those people who were having a hard time and just needed to know that someone somewhere was hearing them. I thought the easiest way to do this was to use my long distance healing techniques to send them a bit of a boost. I decided Facebook was the simplest way to find them.

On two of the Facebook groups I belong to I posted a simple message stating my intention to do a mass energy healing session in a couple of hours time and asked that anyone who needed a hug, who was in pain or who was lonely to add their names in the comments and I would name them and channel energy for them in a group healing session. Within half an hour I had hundreds of responses. Their needs ranged from those who were indeed having a hard time just because it was the holidays to those who had loved ones in hospital. By the time the two hours came to a close I had well over 400 people asking to be included.

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This may have seemed like a impossible amount to cope with but it was very doable. I had devised a plan in advance which would allow me to hold the energy in a cone shape and then simply allow that energy to touch each person as they were named. I trusted my reiki guides would do the rest. It worked very well and I had excellent feedback.

A couple of healers who were also online at the time joined in by holding space and sending energy too and it was a joyous connection for all, with some participants having very noticeable positive results.

Now to the sceptics among us, I would simply say I don’t mind how this is viewed to have worked…either in full belief of the reiki working its magic (which is what I think) or simply by the placebo effect…to me it was a clear indication that this type of group healing CAN be beneficial and is worth doing. At the very least it soothes those who need it most as it makes them feel heard and valued. A bit of a win all round, I think 🙂

I will be looking to do more of these types of group healing sessions in the near future and on a regular basis. At this time I think it is important we all do what we can to help other people. It is easier to batten down the hatches, draw our family to us and hope the lightening doesn’t hit but there is work to be done by all of us out in the wider world  for those who are less fortunate than ourselves, for those who are oppressed…and for anyone who just needs a hug.

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Anybody can send healing to another. You can do so using prayers, keeping them in your thoughts in a positive way, sending them positive affirmations and seeing them in your minds eye interacting in their own lives in a positive way by using visualisation to that effect. If you wish to try hands on healing you can have a look at this post I did in 2016 Reiki For Self Love which will show you how easy it is. You could then adapt this to send distance healing if you wish. A wonderful way to do this is to hold a crystal in your hands and visualise the crystal as being the person to whom you are sending healing energy. Talk out loud by speaking positive, healing affirmations and direct all your positive energy at the crystal. Sounds a bit ‘out there’ but what it really does is simply focus your thoughts and the energy whilst giving you something tactile to centre on. And it works.

I am an extremely lucky woman – I have a loving family, enough food to eat and a roof over my head. I am going to make 2017 the year my healing activities are my abundance – with humbleness and kindness, for free and with good, powerful intention.

I ask you to join me. We aren’t as helpless as we may sometimes feel. One ripple added to another and another and another can be very powerful.

Together We MUST Stand

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I have tried to write something light for my blog for the past few days and I am getting nowhere.

I know exactly why that is.

I want to write about Standing Rock and about how important that water supply is to the lives of those people and the animals on the land they have sworn to protect. I want to say how disappointed I am that President Obama (who isn’t my president but whom I thought was a good man) hasn’t made this his last humanitarian drive before he leaves office. I guess there is money to be made in after dinner speeches to these companies in the future which can’t be put at risk.

I want to write about ALL the indigenous people who have had the land that sustains them ripped away from them by corporations who want to make money from the resources and therefore (with the governments backing…thanks to a backhand reward or two, no doubt) they get to ride roughshod over any complaints made by people who know nothing of money and greed nor have the capacity or knowledge to fight back.

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Photograph – Reuters

I want to write about the Chagos islanders who were moved from their homes in 1971 by gunpoint so that the UK government could give the land to the USA to base a military post there years ago. The base lease is up for renewal, wildlife devastation has been left behind and now the government have turned the island into a nature preservation area thereby preventing the return of the islanders. It was the islanders who protected and conserved the wildlife and the military base which damaged it. There is room for about 5,000 people in the homes on the military base and about 10,000 islanders and their descendants currently living in the UK, Gibraltar and Mauritius who may want to return.

The UK government has recently ruled that they cannot return, not least because it would cost around £100m to make it happen. Where they get that amount from I have no idea although I am guessing they aren’t planning on dividing that sum between the islanders as an apology for what is said to be the worst and most shameful colonial cock-up since the second world war.  Let the islanders back so they can repair the damage and reclaim the home of their ancestors!

I want to stop the greed, the lies, the bullying and hate which is gradually consuming our species based on skin colour, gender, sexual preference, geographical location and religion.

I want to ask why the heck we still see homeless people on the streets? Why are they homeless in 2016?! What are we DOING?

And yet I am one person, a drop in an ocean and all I can do is send a ripple of discontent by publishing it on my blog and hope the next person who reads it does the same so that ripple travels and grows. Give them all a voice and maybe, just maybe, it will gather enough momentum and volume to become a shout loud enough to be heard above the noise of the corporate wheel.

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The Perfect Meditation For You!

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When I first started meditating I found using guided meditations to be the best way to begin. Even now, especially when feeling a little weary, I will use a guided meditation rather than relying on my tired mind to keep the rhythm and flow going.

There are a few things which I wanted to start working on for self-improvement and none of my current guided meditations were ticking all the boxes so I thought why not record one myself? This was surprisingly easy to do as my iPod (it’s old but it still works!!) has a voice recorder on it. All I had to do was read from a self-penned script and fill in the blanks with what I felt was needed. I used rose quartz for unconditional love and black obsidian for protection as my two crystal companions for this meditation. Both strong and uncomplicated crystals which do what they are supposed to do.

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This is my basic outline –

  • Take a deep breath in for the count of four, hold for a count of four, out for a count of five. Do this cycle three times.
  • If you need extra help with relaxing then you could talk yourself through tensing and relaxing your body in sections from your toes to head as you wish.
  • Visualise a TV screen in your mind, see and mentally count down each number from 12 to 1.
  • Do a protection exercise here such as imagining being encased in a spinning pyramid of golden light which deflects anything which is not for your highest good. Ask for the protection of your spirit guides and helpers who love you unconditionally. They will come at your invitation even if you are not aware of them yet.
  • Here is the place in the meditation where you will state your intentions, say your positive affirmations, talk with your spirit guide or whatever else is the purpose of your meditation.
  • When that is done and you feel the tasks are completed it is time to ground yourself. Visualise a column of light coming up from the ground and exiting out of the top of your head. See the healing energy coming up from the Earth and send that energy to every part of you from head to toe. Healing, soothing and cleansing your core and your soul. Scan your body mentally and put any heaviness, tightness or emotion which no longer serves you into the column of light, sending it into the Earth to be cleansed and neutralised. Then reverse the energy back down into the Earth and visualise sending roots from your feet down into the centre of the Earth to anchor you and keep you connected to the soil and Mother Earth.
  • Next count yourself up from 1 to 12, seeing each number on the TV screen as before. Then wiggle your feet, stretch your body, open your eyes and bring yourself back into the room.

You will notice there is quite a bit of time spent on cleansing and body housekeeping, as it were. I think it is worth it when undergoing any meditation. This is your quiet time, your time to regroup and relax whilst working on those things your spirit craves you to find peace and closure on. Make the most of it and do a little spring cleaning whilst you are in the right frame of mind and place to do it.

It is very important to ground yourself when meditating. I choose to do it whilst still relaxed and in the meditative state because I feel at my strongest then and I know I am completely focused on the task at hand and will therefore be more successful. Intention is everything. Do everything in a way which you feel is the right way for you. There is no right or wrong way as long as all the ingredients are there somewhere. If it doesn’t feel right for you one way then try another.

I followed my above pattern and I now have a 30 minute mediation to use daily which is specific to my needs. I can tailor it again to whatever my needs might be in the future just by altering the portion of the script above in italics to reflect this and re-recording it at any time. The more often I use the meditation the easier it will be and the more successful the outcome.

As you read above, I enhanced my energy field with crystals. I lit a patchouli, cinnamon and sandalwood incense stick to connect to the Earth and sipped an infusion of catnip and lemon balm tea before the meditation. I do these rituals routinely to focus my mind and enhance the experience. Everything in its place.

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Easy, hey? And not as daunting as you might first have imagined. Keeping it simple but direct and tailored just for you.

You can use this meditation in times of stress, anxiety, worry or uncertainty. I hope some of you in America will find it particularly useful today. Written with my love and all my hopes.

Many Blessings!

On My Soapbox: Thank You For Sharing!

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We now live in a culture where we are encouraged to overshare our day to day lives but undershare our emotions. We are expected to show the world our positive, monetary, materialistic sides with glee and florid abandon.

I am terribly old school. All this lack of privacy online and via smartphones irritates me. I don’t want my browsing behaviour sent to a third party. I don’t want everything I write to be put on Cloud or Dropbox or wherever. I especially don’t want all my emails, my contacts, my shopping list for Tesco or anything else transferred automatically from one device to another unless I ask for that to happen. I have had old and defunct contact numbers turn up on new devices before now which begs the question of where did that number list actually came from and where has it been stored?

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I turned my location off on my phone and tablet too after rather freaking a friend out when a map of his approximate location at that moment popped up during a conversation in messages on Facebook. I told him exactly where he was or, at least, where he had just been. I don’t know whether you can still see people like that as I don’t have Facebook anymore but I could back then and, from what I hear, Facebook is even worse with its privacy settings these days unless you know where to turn it all off and remember to check every few weeks in case they update it all and reset your previous efforts.

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Some people really don’t seem to care if their personal information is going off somewhere to be sifted through by a computer program or, worse still, sold on to someone else to use for marketing etc. How about the case of a mobile phone provider who offered to copy a friend’s contact numbers to their new phone whilst face to face in one of their shops and then proceeded to text or phone each of those numbers about an hour later trying to sell them products. You see that sort of thing annoys me, especially if I am one of the contacts which gets my number placed on yet another system so I get yet more cold calls I don’t want. Mysteriously just after the numbers had been copied over I received more cold calls in a week than I had done in a month. Coincidence? Yes, apparently, it was or so they said.

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It seems to me many people have been brainwashed in to thinking all this information oversharing is a good thing, a useful thing and the best thing for us. Is it? Have you heard of the TV which is voice controlled and so sends the whole of any conversation had near it to a third party as it tentatively listens out for the words to turn it on? Yes, Samsung, you. I don’t know about you but I prefer to have conversations with my family which can’t be used to try and sell me something in the future when we have all accepted that ‘little bit more’ helpful technology in our lives and, more importantly, I like my conversations to be private.

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And, of course, if we haven’t anything to hide then what does it matter, they say? The younger generation is so used to it they happily share absolutely everything without safeguarding themselves at all. Even what they had for dinner and where they are going to be in an hour. They also broadcast when they will be away on holiday and therefore tell anyone online that their houses will be empty. I suppose that is because they are confident they can blame it on someone else and get compensated for anything which ‘isn’t their fault’ which happens as a consequence. Maybe I am just a little cynical and more than a little harsh…or am I?

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Is it all because we live in a world and in a time which seems to encourage no responsibility for self and no real need to think for ourselves most of the time? Some choose not to be curious and they just accept what they are told in a five minute news clip. We are all told what to think, what to feel, what to eat and what to do. I stopped watching the news on television and reading it in newspapers years ago. I still keep myself informed but prefer to come to my own conclusions on important matters. I’m as ‘off grid’ as I can possibly be to this sort of shepherding and read every piece of news with some caution until I have found out more about it.

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So what is next? Neural interface, everyone? It’s coming. Just think of the shopping experience we could all have if we just think of something and an advert appears for it on the large wall screen beside us. That’s if enough of us are still capable of stringing two thoughts together without being guided and still capable of making our own decisions. We can download our following days tasks and a few false memories about a lovely holiday we didn’t have so we don’t actually have to go on holiday. Perhaps we can be reminded how perfectly lovely our leaders are to us all too as they show us how good life is with them in charge. All that can be ours as we sleep peacefully through our designated seven and a half hours. We will be a happier, more productive species. No?

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I suppose it all depends on how much and how slowly we are spoon fed all this stuff which is supposed to be good for us, our families and humanity in general and how many of us go on to actually swallow it and not spit it out…