Just Be

create5Life is spent so much doing. Working, learning, moving, talking, cooking, cleaning….

How often do we really spend just being. That is just doing nothing.

This is one of the things I love about yoga, especially a yin practice, where you get into a pose and just be in it. No movement apart from your natural breath. Sometimes in a day I will just sit on the floor and just close my eyes to just be. Then more often I get busy and forget to!

Another aspect of being is just being yourself. Dropping the striving to be somebody, to prove your value in this world, to be a better person, to be enough.

We’ve all been created perfectly just as we are. Just as we are has special qualities and talents that we have to share in this world, our purpose in life.

It’s so easy to forget this though. I know I have a tendency to keep learning new things, I love learning and developing myself. Whilst it’s amazing to learn, somewhere under this though could perhaps be a seeds of not feeling enough with what I’ve got already. Just being aware of this can serve as a signal to centre myself and remind myself of all the wisdom I have within already.

As I have got older and been on this evolutionary path of yoga and self awareness for 10 years I can notice that I am more myself now than I have ever been. What has highlighted this to me recently is being in a new relationship where I am completely being myself.

I can see how that my past relationships have all been preparing me for this one. There were elements in all the past experiences where I didn’t feel quite enough for who I was with. I needed to exaggerate or diminish part of my personality.

I cut down to a minimum drinking, in general but especially on dates, a few years ago, when I was younger I found I used alcohol to give me confidence and to open up more. I don’t hide behind drink now and I love getting to know someone completely consciously. I hardly wear any make up now, another thing I know I used to hide behind.  I’m now sharing the things I would have been scared to tell a partner for fear they would go off me. To put it simply I am just being me, and if he doesn’t like it he can go but what is amazing is that I have never felt such love from a man as I do from him. And because I am just being myself I know he really does love me for me.

For me right now my intention is to JUST BE around my work and through out each day. As I have written about before I have a tendency to get into busy/ striving mode. So just being is a reminder to stop each day and do nothing.

I know when I do this I create space for my body to relax, creativity to flow and the ability to listen to my higher self/ God.

So for now, just be.

Namaste

Louise x

 

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Create Space. Breathe.

Create SpaceI’ve been experiencing tension recently, in the body and mind. Of course over the years I’ve learnt that it’s my thoughts that create the tension in my body.

It’s the times when I am feeling in a rush to get something done, to get somewhere, to achieve that my middle back and tummy tenses.

It’s worries about the future when  I feel it in my shoulders, neck and lower back.

I am sure these must be common tensions of people working for themselves. Being self employed is a constant practice in patience, determination, faith and being in the moment.

I love what I do and couldn’t imagine doing anything else now. I wouldn’t swap it for the world but every now and then I need a reminder to stop to create space. To breathe into any tensions.

Thankfully being a yoga teacher I am continually being reminded to pay attention to my breath, which helps to expand and create space. Mindful, expansive movement frees up space in the body.

My flat is feeling cluttered, I am sure it’s all that time I spend in more over the winter. It’s time to have a sort out and throw out!

My mind has been a bit overwhelmed with fearful thoughts. It’s time to meditate, breathe into the tensions and release the thoughts that do not serve me.

The breath is amazing. I know this isn’t any ground breaking news but just stopping, closing your eyes and focusing on your breath is just so calming. It lets the brain and body know everything is ok in this moment. If I wasn’t you wouldn’t be able to be sitting there breathing deeply and slowly, would it?!

Creating space helps me to think more clearly. To not be attached to things being a certain way. To trust the flow of life. To free up my body. To be open to the unknown. To relax.

Create space. Breathe.

Namaste

Louise x

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Forgiveness

Easter time makes me think about forgiveness, after all that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?

Over the years I have experienced the freedom of forgiving others. That it’s never really about them, it’s not condoning what they have done, it’s more about freeing myself up from the angst of being angry at someone else.

It’s having the compassion to know that sometimes people are not in a healthy state of mind and they do things to hurt others, like we all do sometimes. That doesn’t make it ok but it’s acknowledging our human imperfections.

It’s saying I am not going to close my heart just because what you have done.

I’m not going to put barriers up and let my future be affected just because of you.

I am willing to forgive so that I can move on from this.

One aspect of forgiveness that has been bought to my attention recently though is forgiving myself. Some how I have found it easier to forgive others but when I have done something that’s ended up causing myself pain I’ve beat up on my self. My self talk was like “I should have known better!”, “why did I not see that coming?!” , “how could I let that person into my life?” and so on.

We all know how damaging our self talk can be don’t we?

So I am suggesting an Easter intention of forgiveness. A helpful exercise to do is to write down all the things you are cross with yourself about and run through them, saying “I forgive you” for each one. Doing it in the mirror will be even more powerful!

Perhaps there is someone in your life that you are still holding some kind of grudge towards. For your peace of mind, your future and your blessed heart, practice forgiveness this Easter and see what happens.

Namaste

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Spring has Sprung!

photo (13)The energy of the solar eclipse last week and the Spring equinox has given me the boost I have been waiting for to recreate this site and begin working on my Intention book again.

Spending time in UK over the past 2 years and not escaping for sunnier climes in the winter has really given me insight into the natural cycles of myself and nature. I don’t think I have ever been so aware of it before.

I’ve enjoyed noticing how I get that “new” “creative” energy in Autumn and Spring, to allow myself to slow down and hibernate a bit in winter and then fully embrace the fun in the high energy of summer.

So much has evolved since I first started writing this blog back in 2011. My yoga teaching has grown into a full time pursuit, along with my coaching which has progressed to incorporate intention and spirituality. I’ve developed a deep faith in God. I am in a relationship that I know I have manifested through clear intention and experiencing this now is true confirmation on how powerful this work is.

I have learnt that no matter how much we want to create something in our lives to a certain deadline, sometimes we get into action and make it happen, then other times no matter how much action we take we have lessons to learn first, before we are ready to experience it. It’s all part of the flow of life, we can’t force it but we can be present to it, open and learn along the way.

It’s important not to get fixated on the end result, missing the delicious and sometimes tough bits in between. Whilst vision is important to manifest our dreams so is learning. If we don’t learn the lessons we simply attract more or the same until we do.

So as we move into Spring I invite you to set a new intention for this next cycle? What do you want to achieve? How will you be being through out your days? What’s your focus?

Choose now to create what you want for your life.

Namaste

Louise

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Peace & Love

peace and loveI’ve been going down to the beach early, around 6am, to meditate whilst the mornings have been so beautifully sunny and warm. It’s been lovely and by the time I am finished I’ve been feeling so inspired, in a state of gratitude and love.

This morning I stopped to consider how really lucky I was to be sat there in the sun, staring out to sea, after having a time of meditation and prayer. There are people in the world who are being killed because of their faith, there are innocent people dying in war zones and there I was just sat there feeling blissful. Could you imagine being killed for what you believed in?

Those poor school girls in Africa being kidnapped and forced to become Muslims.

Haven’t we got the right to believe what we want?

I’ve been praying for the people in Gaza, Ukraine and Africa. I can’t say I fully understand in detail exactly what is going on there but I do know innocent people are being killed, and that people must just be in a constant state of fear.

We are energy, everything on this planet is energy, the universe is energy and our thoughts are energy. So if we all take a moment out of our days to send loving, peaceful thoughts towards people that need it it’s bound to make a difference right? We all know the power of intention.

Let’s create a group intention of peace and love for all and spend a few moments each day focusing on it.

Namaste

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Happiness

photo (63)It’s been a while since last writing, life after Vipassana suddenly got rather busy which was a bit of a shock to the system after being in stillness for 10 days!

It’s been an interesting journey since I left the course in March. Coming back into every day life after complete silence was quite overwhelming. Even sending a text seemed hard. I realised how life is a complete bombardment of stimulus and how much energy everything takes.

By that I mean the energy we need to do things but also how much I give away my energy. Which is only natural with the work I do but a reminder to make sure I keep my energy levels stocked up to be able to have it to give it.

After about a week of being back I started to experience numbness down my left hand side, from my rib cage down to my big toe. Interestingly this was the side I felt pain when sitting through the meditation and not moving. A couple of months later I am not sure what it was that caused it still but I have noticed it still flares up now if I go into over busy mode. It’s almost like my body signalling to slow down!

What worked for me to heal the numbness was to lie on the floor in “constructive rest position”  to release my psoas which was incredibly tight, I suspect from sitting up right so much! This position is wonderful though if you have any tension around the hips, gluts, into the legs. Just lie there for at least 20 minutes and allow everything to release.

The lesson here for me as I often get is to just slow down and relax. :-) I have been loving just stopping every now and then through out the day to drop into silence and stillness.

My journey of Faith is deepening more and more each day. I can feel God working within me, guiding me and looking after me. It’s so hard to describe but I get a strong sense of knowing now what is the right thing for me to do, or not to. I have a sense of trust that things really are working out for my own good and it’s all part of a bigger plan for me. Every day I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me and I actually feel it, warm energy coming down in through the palms of my hands and my heart feels filled up.

It amazes me that I have got to this stage after resisting God for so many years. It’s so true though once you ask him into your life he does start to change you. It can be challenging as I was thinking one way for so long and now I am seeing some things in a different light.

My intention recently has been happiness. By this I mean true inner happiness, not the external happiness we think we’ll achieve when we get something. I am running a 2 day workshop, The Happiness Effect, purely based around this in June so my time at the moment is spent talking and reading about happiness…..and what is so amazing is that the more you focus on happiness the more you experience it. As with any intention of course….

If you’d like to get daily doses of happiness please so sign up to our Facebook page or regular emails via the site.

Happiness is also embracing sadness too, it’s not just all about positive thinking to get you through the day. After all you can be in a job you hate or a relationship that’s not right but thinking “positively” to get through it.

Taking the lesson from Vipassana, just allowing yourself to be with any feeling and then watching them pass with out being attached in away is one of the keys to inner happiness.

Taking time to think about the things that really make you happy and asking yourself how often you actually experience them can be quite revealing. A few things that make me really happy are…

  1. Watching the sun sparkle on the sea
  2. Going for tea & home-made cake with a friend for a catch up
  3. Being with animals (esp cats!)
  4. Holidays
  5. Swimming in the sea
  6. Dancing in the sunshine
  7. Going somewhere new on my own and exploring
  8. Laughing out loud
  9. Learning new things
  10. Going home to my parents
  11. Practising yoga
  12. Hula hooping on the sea front
  13. Living in Hove

What makes you really happy?

Namaste

x

 

 

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The Intention Has Paid Off!

I started this journey on 1st May 2011 with the intention of living with intention for 12 months and then writing a book about it.

If you have been following my journey since then you’ll know it has taken me to India, to become a yoga teacher, to leave London to move to Hove and has developed with in me a faith in God.

Yesterday, after much procrastination and determination, I finally sent in my book proposal for A Journey of Intention to Hay House! Hay House is the publishing house I dream of working with as they are the leaders in self help and inspirational books. I didn’t think it would take me so long to get it done, but it has and I am now going to celebrate!

I didn’t even know what a book proposal was when I first began this project. At almost 10,000 words it’s felt like being back at Uni writing my dissertation. I feel like I have gone through a huge learning curve and what ever happens after this I feel this in itself is an achievement.

Having the intention to write this book has carried me through the past 3 years, it’s led me to keep writing this blog. Plus of course the lovely feedback I have had from all the people who read it.

Again another reminder, that intention creates your thoughts, your way of being and therefore your experience of life.

I don’t know what will come next, I am open to seeing where this takes me. If I don’t get a publishing deal this time around I will keep submitting my proposal and perhaps even self publish one day.  Who knows.

That’s the thing with having a specific goal orientated intention, you also have to be able to set it free, to be flexible around it and trust everything is happening in it’s own perfect order. The moment you find yourself clinging on to something being a certain way the more chance you have to actually pushing it away from you.

My intention right now is to just relax and enjoy Easter. That is it. Very simple.

Namaste

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Vipassana and the Ginger Cat

vipassanaOn arriving at Dhamma Dipa the Vipassana meditation centre nr Hereford I was greeted by a very charming ginger tom cat. Relief washed over me, I instantly relaxed, there is just something I find about a presence of an animal that makes me feel at home.

An hour later in our orientation meeting we were told to not “encourage” the wandering tom as he doesn’t actually belong to the centre and his owner is getting upset. This looked like it maybe my biggest challenge ahead!

Humphrey (I heard his owner calling him one afternoon from a near by field and guessed that must be for him) is such a character. Most days he shows up by the benches near the dining hall where everyone congregates to drink tea, with a peaceful, content smile on his face. Happy to receive strokes from anyone who dare to break the rule and happy not to, either way is just fine for him. Sometimes he just sat in the sun in the flower bed, grinning from ear to ear, happy in the moment as if meditating.

He embodies the peaceful energy of the centre, just being, no attachments to whether or not he gets any attention. He is not even aware that people have been told to ignore him, or maybe just are not cat lovers. Which got me thinking about how in life we can find ourselves attracted to people and when we don’t get the same attraction in return we can have some kind of reaction to that. We have no idea what is going on in their minds, maybe they have been told, or told themselves, to avoid someone like you, or maybe they are just not “cat people” and prefer dogs instead. We all have different preferences are are drawn to different qualities in others after all.

Humphrey did how ever break one of the 5 precepts of life at the centre; to abstain from killing any being. He was a natural hunter and over the last 3 days of the course he was seen with a mouse, a bird and finally a rabbit!

Vipassana is run entirely on donation, once you have experience the course you are invited to donate so that others can experience it too. It doesn’t have to be a huge donation, it could even be your time, but it’s the energy you give it with. The intention to be helping others be free from their unhappiness too. This is called Dana.

With Humphrey’s little offerings, by the benches where we sat, of a smaller animals body parts it became clear, he was just practising Dana!

Did I abstain from any contact with Humphrey? Of course not! One night I had to get up in the night to go to the toilet, everyone was a asleep and who should walk along but Humphrey. As I crouched down to stroke him, he climbed up and lay across my shoulders nuzzling my neck with his head.

I did notice though as the time went on there I was looking out for Humphrey less and when I did see him I only gave him a little stroke just to acknowledge him. My attachment to want contact with him lessened, even though I still could love him from afar.

Vipassana is an experience. It’s hard to find the right words to describe what kind of experience it is as it’s not a holiday, it’s not fun, and the days are long; you are required to “work” on your meditation for 10 hours at given slots between the hours of 4am – 9pm. By the time we finished at 9 I could not get into my bed fast enough.

There are 3 hour long “strong determination” sessions through out the day where your aim is not to move. The concept of the technique is that all of our suffering comes from attachment; either to aversion, wanting to do anything to avoid feeling something, or craving, wanting something so much that you don’t have in the moment right now. Usually when we feel a painful feeling we react to avoid it or if it’s something that makes us feel so good when it’s not there we crave it, which can also lead to unhappiness.

Through the Vipassana mediation technique you experience your body as a field of energy, and all the difference sensations that arise with in that moment by moment. Sometimes it’s blissful, my experience was like light flowing energy, sometimes with lights flowing up and down my entire being. Then the pain arises which I found could completely overwhelm every part of me, afterwards feeling like I’d been through a trauma. The idea is not to react to pleasure or pain, to just be with what is and know that it will pass.

As Goenka the teacher says it’s being in a state of “perfect equanimity” – where no experience disturbs the balance.

As I have written many times before after learning it in India, we are all organic beings constantly evolving. We are always changing, life is always changing, and this is what happens with the sensations in the body.

Those “strong determination” sittings of not moving no matter what (of course if it gets too much you can move, and the trick is not to get attached to that either, it’s just what is) really gave me insight to how determined I really am and also to embody the truth that everything is always evolving. Every time I felt intense pain I would just tell myself it will pass and just to be with what is, a great sense of calm would come over me even though it hurt like hell.

Reactions are called Sankara’s and every time we react we add to all the reactions we have had before that leads to our behaviour and thought patterns. By not reacting any more you begin to change your habits. By not creating any more new sankara’s your old ones begin to come to the surface through the meditation to be released. So you know whilst feeling the pain or lovely sensations you are healing from within.

If you feel drawn to doing Vipassana I suggest just giving it a go. It’s not easy, but I found it very powerful, a really effective meditation technique that you can then practise daily back home and the experience of silence for 10 days for me was bliss.

Coming out of silence was a shock to the system, as people left the meditation hall on the 1oth day and began to talk I could sense my energy shifting. As soon as I walked out into all the noise I felt completely overwhelmed, I didn’t even feel like I could talk if I wanted to! It’s a three days later now and everything still feels a little overwhelming, I am just taking things slow. We are surrounded by so much noise in our daily lives that creates so much energy, without us even being aware of it. It’s good to just stop every now and then to take a break from it.

So what is my intention at the moment…..to be EQUANIMOUS of course :-) Just being with what is, in a balanced state of mind and of course very present. You have to be present to be able to notice when things start to get out of balance.

I was listening to Mooji this morning and he described it perfectly “it’s not that you don’t care, it’s more that you don’t mind how life is unfolding because you are in your true nature”.

There is so much more to say about it but I think I will leave it here for now.

If you’d like to ask me any questions about Vipassana, if you’re thinking of doing it, please do feel free to get in touch; [email protected]

Namaste

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Be Still – a post pre Vipassana

ssshhh
I am on a countdown now, 3 days until I start my first Vipassana course in Hereford.

Vipassana is a meditation technique, and way of living life, that is taught over a 10 day course, in complete silence. As they explain on their website;

 

Vipassana means “to see things as they really are”. It is a process of self-purification by self-observation.

You are told to leave at home; any reading/writing materials, music, technology including mobile phones. During the 10 days you do not speak, gesture, smile or look at anyone apart from a couple of hour long slots each day if you have a burning question about the course to ask the teacher. I can’t practice yoga, the only exercise being available is to walk around the grounds on the breaks. This will be my schedule for the 10 days, and my thoughts about it….

4:00 am Morning wake-up bell  …..fine I am an early riser anyway

4:30-6:30 am Meditate in the hall or in your room  ……2 hours?! before food?!

6:30-8:00 am Breakfast break …..phew, I will make sure to eat as much as possible

8:00-9:00 am Group meditation in the hall …..nice, although I have heard in these group sessions you are not allowed to move?! What if my leg goes dead?

9:00-11:00 am Meditate in the hall or in your room according to the teacher’s instructions…phew if I do it in my room I can at least move a little if I need to

11:00-12:00 noon Lunch break …..isn’t that a bit early for lunch?!

12noon-1:00 pm Rest and interviews with the teacher ……..rest, yay! Wonder if I can sneak a downward facing dog in somewhere, my body will need a stretch.

1:00-2:30 pm Meditate in the hall or in your room …….cool

2:30-3:30 pm Group meditation in the hall ……..meditating in a group will be easier

3:30-5:00 pm Meditate in the hall or in your own room according to the teacher’s instructions  …..I think I may be a bit bored of meditating by now

5:00-6:00 pm Tea break …….tea, yay! Hope there are some biscuits with that.

6:00-7:00 pm Group meditation in the hall ……sure will be glad to be back in the group. What if my leg goes dead?!

7:00-8:15 pm Teacher’s Discourse in the hall  …….good, something to listen to, a break from meditation

8:15-9:00 pm Group meditation in the hall ……more?! What if my leg goes dead?!

9:00-9:30 pm Question time in the hall ……oh good, a chance to speak, will I want to though in front of a group?

9:30 pm Retire to your own room–Lights out ……hold on, when was dinner?!

The closer I get to it the more I am experiencing longing silence, a break from my mobile, from checking Facebook, from watching TV shows, from just doing. I am also finding myself starting to question how on earth I will be able to sit still for that length of time, won’t my body ache from sitting so much and not practising my yoga. As you can see from above, my mind is already wondering if I can sneak a few downward facing dogs in the toilet, ha ha.

My mind is starting to worry a little about getting bored, what the food will be like (I have a nut allergy so have to be careful) and how will I cope with not having a meal in the evening?! The thought of having lunch at 11-12, then just a cup of tea at 6 seems impossible for 10 days. I know if I go to bed hungry I don’t sleep.

Then my soul is looking forward to all of this, reminding myself of my lovely times in the ashram in India and how I loved that time away from life, time to meditate and think about the bigger picture. I could speak to people there though. In the ashram we only had 2 meals a day, plus tea time, and I felt great for it. I found I actually didn’t need as much sleep when I ate less.

My soul is itching to turn my phone off and log off from Facebook! This is going to be a brilliant digital detox.

I ask myself why am I doing this, what is my intention of 10 days in silence? I don’t feel like I have anything to “deal with” or “to process” but I am sure something will come up that will surprise me.

My intention of Vipassana, is to just be still. To stop all the doing. To be able to hear my inner Self and God. To listen to my heart’s guidance around what is next for me. To learn a new meditation technique and learn potentially another new way of living life. It’s a progression of of my journey over the past few years, the next step.

So those are my thoughts, and concerns, 3 days before Vipassana. I hadn’t really given it much thought until I start to read the guidelines again and what to bring on their website last night. This resulted in me dreaming about it before waking this morning, there were two minutes left before we began and I hadn’t yet set my out of office or recorded a voice-mail to say I was out of touch……. funny the things that come up isn’t it? Ha ha.

So that’s me over and out, I will of course report back when I am out of the other side :-)

Namaste

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Be Present & Have Faith

flagI’ve been noticing a bit of a theme on Facebook over the past few days, that people seem to be having a bit of an emotional time right now. People’s posts have been reporting that they are feeling a bit lost, blue or facing some kind of challenge.

I have to admit I have been feeling the same over the past week. I’ve been blaming the moon! The full moon has a tendency to make me feel emotional even when there isn’t really anything to be emotional about.

I also think it’s the time of year, unless you’ve managed to escape to the sunshine February can often be a little depressing.

If you have been experiencing these waves of emotion too, please know that you are not alone.

What comforts me in times like this is that everything will pass. Just like the stormy weather last week and the beautiful sunshine we have had since. The sunshine will always come out in the end.

Life isn’t supposed to be easy. Through my tough times I have learnt to have faith in a power much bigger than me. I’ve learnt that I have peace, contentment and love with in me, I just need to be still and close my eyes to connect with it.

I’ve learnt that walking in nature helps to get things in to perspective and calms the mind.

I am aware that there are a lot more people far worse off than me and if I extend my love outside of myself to others it helps us all.

I’ve learnt that sometimes I just need a day to focus on me, to do what ever I feel like doing and to pamper myself a bit. Taking time out from all my to do list to this will help me to be more productive and creative in the end.

When it all comes down to it though anything that helps you to be in the moment right now will help. Most upset comes from the thinking about the past or worrying what may or may not happen the future. Something that helps me is to ask myself:

What am I grateful for right now?

So in this stormy weather of emotions my intention is to BE PRESENT & HAVE FAITH. To continually bring myself back to this moment when ever I find my mind wandering off (for me it’s into the future) and have faith that I am being looked after.

A great affirmation for this from Deepak Chopra is:

As I live in present moment awareness I live in the magic of syncronicity

I really find that Child’s pose helps with this feeling of being in the moment and surrendering to a power much higher than ourselves. Just kneeling, sitting back towards your heels, resting your forehead on the floor, hands by your feet, breathing deeply and letting go. Aaaahhhhhh.

Namaste

x

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