Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
I wanted to share a journal entry I made recently and as I'm moving out of the tough time I'd had the last 10 days or so, it felt a good place to share. Having thought it was just me, I've been fascinated to discover that so many colleagues, clients and others in similar work had recently experienced similar and acutely not ignorable exhaustion symptoms. Happy to say things are loads better but these thoughts seemed like they could be worth sharing...
My realisations have been around 'the story' for a whole and how we all buy into our story, that of others and often how the world can feel to operate at that level. We are so much more than our story, and my own feeling is both homeopathy and mindfulness can really help us to step out from the grip it has on us. So without further ado:
'I don't need to be right. I don't need to be my story in any given moment. I can just be at any time.
I don't need to know. To give. To receive. To do. Even to be. I don't need to be. Anything to anyone. Even to me.
Who am I without my story? Anything I want to be.
This doesn't have to be an exhaustion from the past. It's a now thing. It may be a sore toe, a weak arm. It's OK. Just listen. Observe. Be present. Show up.
Thank God for clarity, purity and expression of feelings.
The path is just the path. Not a dark one, a difficult one. It is just a step at a time. And if you don't want to walk it like that, that's OK! But just a step is all it takes. One thing a day.
All is as it's supposed to be. X'
As ever, with love, light and peace,
I was invited to speak recently at a wonderful study day for Natal Hypnotherapists. I suppose you never really know what the group is going to be like until you've done your talk or session but it may have been one of my favourites so far. Truly beautiful women, helping with one of the most profound steps on a woman's journey and all felt to fully be present during the session which was a real gift. The following meditation, one that I adapted slightly for the session but with the link following which details where I found it online, went down really well and I thought I'd share it with you here. Hope you enjoy and do feel free to post any comments below, via facebook or email to me.
With love and peace, Em x
Take a few conscious breaths. This is a miniature mindfulness meditation we’re going to do.
Most of the time we’re not fully present. We’re not keeping our appointment with life. We can notice this if we visit a cafe or restaurant and tactfully observe people eating. We might notice people reading a paper, or their text messages, while they’re eating. So they’re never really efficiently eating, or reading. Each requires a different part of our human physiology. Yet eating and reading are both forms of consumption, and we are by nature greedy: it’s an animal instinct.
Notice someone who eats an orange. Don’t they peel a slice while they’re eating a slice? So they’re never enjoying just one single, unique slice, as a complete experience, from beginning, middle, to end. So too do people fork their food while they’re already chewing the last mouthful. It’s as if they’re eating everything in one continuous vaccuuming up of food, like a horse putting on a feedbag.
Mindful eating, on the other hand, invites us to be aware of our animal instincts, and rise above them. In so doing, we can become aware of each bite as a messenger of the whole universe.
Just hold up one raisin in your fingers and look deeply at your raisin.
Pinching it lightly between our fingers, we can sense its juice. Looking deeper, we can see in that wateriness in the cloud that rained upon it: the raisin even looks like a miniature cloud.
Put it to your nose and see what it tells you. It smells sweet, but also with a musty, earthy smell. Indeed, looking at it again, we can sense the soil from which it grew. Put it in your palm and heft its weight: slight but palpable.
Consider that it was once a grape, now dried by the sun. Indeed, we can see the sun in the raisin, in its wrinkles. And the sun is present in its atoms thanks to the process of photosynthesis that nourished it. So eating a raisin, we are eating the earth and the sun.
By now, we might notice we’re breathing. We can consider how the raisin too has been breathing. Plants inhale our carbon dioxide, and we inhale their oxygen. So we can also see air in the raisin.
Earth, fire, water, air — all four elements of the universe have come together in this one raisin. The entire cosmos is present in the palm of our hand.
Holding the raisin now up to our ear and crinkling it in our fingers, we can hear its seeds rubbing against each other. Once it was a grape, now it’s a raisin, and the seeds can give rise to future grapes : all part of an unbroken, eternal cycle of transformation.
We’re going to prepare to eat the raisin. Holding it up to our mouth and looking at it without eating, notice our anticipation. This too is part of the raisin, for our minds. So we notice our appetite without actually acting upon it, like noting an itch without scratching it. Enjoy a few conscious breaths, aware of our instinctual urge to eat, and notice how it can dim down in the light of mindfulness. (Raisin meditation can be an evolutionary sport!)
When we’re ready, we watch our fingers placing the raisin to our lips. If we like, we might roll it around a little in our lips, before passing it into our mouth. (Still, we aren’t biting into the raisin just yet.)
Inside our mouth, the raisin meets our tongue. Probe the raisin with our tongue. Please notice how sensitive an organ our tongue is.
Move the raisin around in our mouth. Notice how sensitive our mouths can be. Place the raisin at the roof of our mouth, and suck on it for a few breaths, in final preparation. I liken this sucking to a hug.
Now, take a preliminary bite. Notice how it squishes forth a burst of raisin juice in our mouth.
Our job now is to stay with our breath, and slowly chew. Without swallowing. Notice the impulse to swallow before food is fully chewed. Keeping the raisin in our mouth, still chewing, notice how it transforms in taste as it mixes with our saliva. This way, we’re beginning the digestive process in our mouths (and taking a load off our stomach). Our goal is keep chewing until it is completely liquid.
When we’re thoroughly done chewing, we swallow the raisin. Then we enjoy a few breaths as we notice a kind of aftertaste of the raisin comes back to us. If we enjoy this moment in between each mouthful of meal, we can note when we’ve had enough.
Anyways, in general, notice how different the second raisin is. No two raisins are alike. No two snowflakes are alike. No two moments are alike. No two people are alike. Yet we all share in the present moment. If we’re present, and aware of the present moment, we can continually appreciate the wonders of just being alive. Indeed, the present moment is a wonder-full moment.
It doesn’t take a big shovel to realize this. All it takes is a thimbleful. As simple as a raisin. Conscious breathing coupled with one-pointed concentration on what’s in front of our nose, and the key of mindfulness unlocks the gates for us.
So if you’d like to try the second raisin using the same process of looking, remembering, bringing to the moment the past journey of the raisin, smelling, tasting, chewing and finally swallowing I’ll give you a few moments to do so.
Adapted from: http://www.thichnhathanhsanghas.org/NorCal/category/practices/
So said a client to me the recently when she commented on my sparkliness that day. And maybe it is. I'm 10 days into my 35 day juice fast (I'm following Jason Vale's 28 day Super Juice Me program and doing an extra week).
I'm feeling lighter (and am lighter when I opt to get on the scales). Am loving not having the dinner dilemma for a few days or having to prep food for myself each mealtime (although I do enjoy that lots but great to have a break too). My skin is generally clear and my hands are slightly less dry.
It is interesting doing this from here instead of the first time I juice fasted and had the caffeine withdrawal. Urgh! I vowed not to have to do that again and don't envy anyone going through it. But it's so worth going through.
There's probably not too much more to report and as I juice quite a lot anyway changes aren't vast. The fasting aspect is interesting and I find fascinating to watch emotions arise in a different, less suppressed way. I'll write more on that another time.
I thought lastly I'd share with you my favourite start to my day which is simply zingy, tasty and refreshing all in one:
Ginger (more you have the zingier - maybe an inch or so and adapt from there)
Stick of celery
Oh my goodness it's a good one. Sometimes the simple things are just divine. Have a try and see what you think.
Long live love and live juicing!
To judge or not to judge. Why would that be, or even could be, THE question?
Well to live without judgement is to be free I believe. To be free of the 'would of, should of, could of's is no small thing. Aside from the enormity of judging yourself as negative (or indeed positive) person in situations, which can take up so much headspace. Imagine how creative we may be able to all be if we let go of anxieties (judging) from the past or concerns (judging) for the not yet happened future. (Fully aware of the judgement there too!)
During homeopathy training there is much placed on becoming the 'unprejudiced observer'. Which is important. And yet I would say I didn't really 'get' it all until I worked extensively with the Focussed mindfulness techniques. How can we ever become, or indeed move towards becoming, unprejudiced if we're carrying around a load of our own 'stuff' from the past which colours everything we see?
To learn to practice mindfulness with clients but most of all, with myself, has been a key to my journey closer towards that goal. I still have prejudices. It's a part of being human, but bringing them into my light, to my awareness hopefully enables me to not get caught up in the drama. To observe, thank and let go of the thought as it arises.
Mind you, I still managed to get somewhat irate when I spilt smoothie on the floor yesterday. I have work to do yet :)
Don Miguel Ruiz in the Five Agreements talks about how animals don't care what they're called by others, you can call a cat a dog and they have no need to counter, to respond. They just do as they're doing. Obviously the whole language is perhaps an issue - how can we know they're not fuming?! Still though the point is there, if you tell me something that's your truth, why do I need to voiciferously proclaim my truth in response? My truth may be no more THE truth. So perhaps in the words of the Frozen song... Let it go. Or just for today - Let it Be. For being, in internal peace, even if just for a moment a day, to begin with, perhaps is where it's at.
Twitter for 10, an online introductory course for twitter, talks you through getting set up on twitter, tweeting, how to send messages, block users, use hashtags, search topics, follow people and much more. It’s a 10 day course with tasks of around 10 minutes each day to do.
Information is presented with step by step instructions, screenshots, you’re able to ask questions if you don’t understand something, and learn at your own pace.
The next sessions begin on Monday 19th January. It’s currently free to take part in (although if you feel you’ve got value from it and would like to pay it forward at the end of the course I’d love that too)!
If you’d like to book (or if you’ve questions), please email me – email@example.com and do add a line or two about where you’re at with twitter and what you’re hoping to get from the course too if you’d like.
Feedback from the first two Twitter for 10 courses:
‘It is bubbly, lovely to read and inviting to try the steps out. Keeping up with new technology can be rather a challenge and demotivating, so I think it is really great to have these lessons. People can then decide whether they want to pursue it further or not, rather than feel inadequate and not even give it a try.’ Machteld Erkelens RSHom
‘Just to put in email form how immensely helpful the twitter for 10 has been. Thank you so much for doing it, I don’t think that I would have ever made the leap on to twitter otherwise! I have found that receiving another lesson every day has been great for keeping the process going and embedding it in that way. It’s made me feel like you are holding my hand as I always believed that Twitter was a huge, scary world full of sceptics and you have helped me to see how I can be in that world and be empowered to build it and monitor it to work for me! I still feel as though I have a way to go, especially with accessing/generating content which I want to share but I definitely feel as though that world has opened up for me and that it’s there for me! I feel that receiving a new lesson every day and you being so available has been key to the success and the content of the course has been perfectly pitched. Looking forward to #homeopathyhour tonight!’ Sophie Knock RSHom
'I thought that your daily emails were absolutely fantastic, right level of detail & very helpful. Pitched at the right level & good for beginners to get to grips with Twitter.’
Dr Gary J Smyth (active twitter user and kindly supported participants on the course)
'Thank you so much for Twitterfor10, although I have been on twitter for 6 years years I never really got it - now I know how to upload images, set up lists, what a # means -pretty crucial really. I really appreciated your availability and answering of questions. All the lessons were easy to follow, although things do work differently on different devices I found. Great to have bite sized lessons and you replying to tweets rather than reading a pdf document to learn about how to use twitter.' Mike Andrews DSH RSHom
I've been wanting to share this passage from Conversations with God, Book 2 for a little while. I think (well I find myself there anyway), it can be so easy to get caught up in the story so often. And whilst I think the story is all part of our human journey here, maybe dealing with the story is a part of it too, seeing beyond the story to the glory beneath, beyond and through it all. So I thought if it made sense to me, maybe it was worth sharing... It also made up a bit of bedtime story here this evening (after Judy Blume - I can't believe we're onto Judy Blume already!) so felt a particularly good time to share it with you...
'If you derive your life's greatest happiness from experiences obtainable only in the Outside World - the physical world outside of yourself - you will never want to give up an ounce of all that you've piled up, as a person and a nation, to make you happy.
And as long as those who 'have not' see their unhappiness tied to the lack of material things, they, too, will get caught in the trap. They will constantly want what you have got, and you will constantly refuse to share it.
That is why I said earlier that there is a way to truly eliminate war - and all experience of unrest and lack of peace. But this is a spiritual solution.
Ultimately, every geopolitical problem, just as ever personal problem, breaks down to a spiritual problem.
All of life is spiritual, and therefore all of life's problems are spiritually based - and spiritually solved.
Wars are created on your planet because somebody has something that somebody else wants. This is what causes someone to do something that somebody else does not want them to do.
All conflict arises from misplaced desire.
The only peace in all the world that is sustaining is Internal Peace.
Let each person find peace within. When you find peace within, you also find that you can do without.
This means simply that you no longer need the things of your outside world. 'Not needing' is a great freedom. It frees you, first, from fear: fear that there is something you won't have; fear that there is something you have that you will lose; and fear that without a certain thing, you won't be happy.
Secondly, 'not needing' frees you from anger. Anger is fear announced. When you have nothing to fear, you have nothing over which to be angry.
You are not angry when you don't get what you want, because your wanting it was simply a preference, not a necessity. You therefore have no fear associated with the possibility of not getting it. Hence, no anger.
You are not angry when you see others doing what you don't want them to do, becuase you don't need them to do or not do any particular thing. Hence, no anger.
You are not angry when someone is unkind, because you have no need for them to be kind. You have no anger when someone is unloving, because you have no need for them to love you. You have no anger when someone is cruel, or hurtful, or seeks to damage you, for you have no need for them to behave any other way, and you are clear that you cannot be damaged.
You do not even have anger should someone seek to take your life, because you do not fear death.
When fear is taken from you, all else can be taken from you and you will not be angry.
You know inwardly, intuitively, that everything you've created can be created again, or - more importantly - that it doesn't matter.
When you find Inner Peace, neither the presence nor the absence of any person, place or thing, condition, circumstance, or situation can be the Creator of your state of mind or the cause of your experience of being.
This does not mean that you reject all things of the body. Far from it. You experience being fully in your body and the delights of that, as you never have before.
Yet your involvement with things of the body will be voluntary, not mandatory. You will experience bodily sensations because you choose to, not becuase you are required to in order to feel happy or to justify sadness.
This one simple change - seeking and finding peace within - could, were it undertaken by everyone, end all wars, eliminate conflict, prevent injustice, and bring the world to everlasting peace.
There is no other formula necessary, or possible. World peace is a personal thing!
What is needed is not a change of circumstance, but a change of consciousness.'
Neale Donald Walsch
A new year, a time to reflect, take stock and plan. Maybe a time to de-clutter on a physical, emotional, mental and surroundings level.
It certainly feels so for me. Life has been busy, some exciting opportunities and involvements and I feel very blessed to be starting the new year with some great things booked in for the next few months ahead.
I thought I'd share some plans and feelings.
- Tomorrow I get started on a 28 day plus juice fast. I'm going to play out on the Jason Vale Super Juice Me plan. Aside from my disappointment in his dismissiveness of homeopathy in several of his books, he does talk a lot of sense and I thought I'd check it out. This is his expert area after all, not homeopathy so I'm not going to hold that against him (although I would dearly love him to see the progress my beautiful last client of the year has made with her health over the past few months... Another time!).
- Exercise!!! I find it fascinating how I can know this stuff in my head and still find excuses - childcare and work are two of my most common ones. As a single parent it can perhaps be challenging, there is just me to get the jobs done and it's often easy to find a reason why not. BUT enough is enough now. No more tired excuses. My plan is to get fitter, keep fitter and just do it. Maybe not events, or particular goals but to get out there at least four to five times a week for a reasonable run/walk/ride or swim.
- Detoxing. Regular blog readers may have noticed I'm not massively into detox as a word. I think it's over done - our body is constantly detoxing bless it! But I do want to encourage clearing out of old negative stuff - my aim is to declutter a small area each day for January and reassess after the month is up. Putting less rubbish in (to our bodies and our homes) means there's less to clear out and I plan to use mindfulness work along with my physical 'detoxing'.
- More sleep. This is a biggie for me and as I love what I do I often end up working late and waking early. Rest is so vital so I plan to get more and be more productive when I'm working.
- Question more. In particular I think 'does it serve me?' feels to be one I want to work with. Food, relationships, emotions, activities and more. Time is finite, life is for living and we're all on a terminal diagnosis. To live without regret, do what empowers us, enhances our lives and those acts which are carried out from a love centred place.
- Lastly love not fear. I'm increasingly aware acts, thoughts and more are from either love or fear centred origins. To check in with myself where I'm coming from, what my intentions are and act increasingly from love.
So that's all for now. I think it's probably just all about nourishment, value, respect and love really. But I think maybe that's what it's all about altogether. Maybe.
Love, light and warmest wishes for a wonderful year ahead,
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley MARH, Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy
BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Laughter Yoga Leader
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition