We spent the weekend at Simba Farm with amazing views of Mount Kili and Meru.
Ness' parents are close to 80 and are Morris Dancers, he was once their President.
When I am their age I want to have their enthusiasm and energy (and pelvic floors they do lots of star jumps usually)
They were game for a bit of Morris Yoga, we had no bells, ribbons or music just laughed, hummed and om-ed. Usually they need a really flat surface to dance on, at one point John almost ended his dancing career when he tripped in one of the many little pot holes.
I have a different opinion now about Morris Dancers.
Our 'Morris Yoga' efforts -
Bit more about Morris Dancing here -
What would you like to be doing when you retire?
Have you ever been in a room where someone is really bitching about someone else? You find yourself getting involved and then walk away just feeling 'dirty' and wondering how on earth you let yourself behave in this way, knowing full well that the minute your back is turned you'll be the next one. Or worse, you start the bitching yourself but for some reason it's OK, later does it make you feel good? I know I do all these things at times. Sometimes it is the inevitable politics of the workplace but should it be acceptable, does it create an emotionally safe place to be, could a few people not behaving in this way make a difference?
I have always appreciated honest, warm and genuine people, people who tell you as it is to your face even if it might not always be what you want to hear. Most of my close friends are like this, we reflect on what is being said to us learn and grow, I see it as a strength in them and really value their opinions and it makes me feel safe.
Paul has been away for a couple of weeks, I've had a tough week which I won't go into as it will get sorted but I sought counsel from my friends and colleagues. However someone who had seemed to want to genuinely help, not a close friend mind, went behind my back to a few people and 'bitched' and those friends bitched back and told me. It left me feeling angry and hurt and I've completely lost trust in her, and actually would have rather not known. In the meantime it is a 'problem' for me, so what do to?
Whatever I do I am treating it as a lesson, I could get angry and reactive, talk behind her back some more, or I guess talk to her face to face and be upfront. My meditation teacher once said 'when people are unkind or upset you could meditate on compassion and send out love to them' (I know the Dalai Lama also advices this and have read other similar stories).
I've got a little book called 'Don't Sweat The Small Stuff' by Richard Carlson it is one of my favourite books, Paul bought it for me ages ago and it is well read, it's just a really thoughtful and supportive book always leaving peace and calm in it's wake. This chapter stood out today -
'Transform Your Relationship to Your Problems'.
'Obstacles and problems are part of life. True happiness comes not when we get rid of all of our problems, but when we change our relationship to them, when we see our problems as a potential source of awakening, opportunities to practice patience, and to learn. Perhaps the most basic principle of spiritual life is that our problems are the best place to practice keeping our hearts open.
When life is too easy, there are fewer opportunities for genuine growth.
I wouldn't go so far as to recommend you seek out problems. I would however, suggest that if you spend less time running away from them and trying to rid yourself of them, and more time accepting problems as an inevitable, natural, even important part of life, you will soon discover that life can be more of a dance and less of a battle. The philosophy of acceptance is going with the flow'
I like the last option, is it a cop out?
Feel free to comment.x
Earlier this week my friend Linda sent me this message -
“I'm sitting on the platform at Virginia Water waiting for train this morning with headphones on doing my 10 minutes Mindspace programme. There's a gaggle of SW trains ticket inspectors harassing the commuters. I heard them approaching and in my slightly zoned out state my mind wanders to an image of one of them interrupting me mid zen to ask to see my ticket, me throwing my earl grey over him in shock and shouting "CAN'T YOU SEE I'M TRYING TO FUCKING MEDITATE". At which point I started giggling uncontrollably like a lunatic”
I think this could be all part of my resistance to sitting still & quietly... X
Another friend also recently shared that he became very angry during his first meditation and didn’t continue to do it and walked out.
So in response to both, I consulted my meditation bible ‘Full Catastrophe Living’ by Jon Kabat-Zinn and this is what he has to say -
‘During meditation we intentionally treat all our thoughts as if they were of equal value. As best we can, and with the lightest of touches, we bring awareness to them when they arise and then we intentionally return our attention to the breath as the primary focus of our attention, regardless of the content of the thought and its emotional charge. In other words, we intentionally practice letting go of each thought that attracts our attention, whether it seems important and insightful or unimportant and trivial. We just observe them as thoughts, as discrete and exceedingly transient events that appear in the field of awareness. We are aware of them because they are here, but we intentionally decline to get caught up in the content of the thoughts during meditation, no matter how meaningful or enticing the content may be for us in any given moment. We note their content and their ‘emotional charge’, then no matter how charged they are for us in that moment we intentionally let go of them and then refocus on our breathing once again and on the experience of being ‘in our body’ as we sit here. We repeat this hundreds of thousands of times, millions of times as necessary. And it will be necessary.
Letting go is not suppressing. Thinking is not bad, nor is it even undesirable during meditation. What matters is whether you are aware of your thoughts and feelings during meditation and how you are in a relationship to them.
We simply make room for our thoughts as they cascade through our mind. Observing them as thoughts, letting them be, using the breath as an anchor or home base for observing, for reminding us to stay focused and calm.
Every practice is different.
It is remarkable how liberating it feels to be able to see that your thoughts are just thoughts and that they are not ‘you’ or ‘reality’.
I remember in the early days Paul’s mum saying to me about my resistance to meditation and sitting still - ‘It is only yourself you are running away from’
For more musings on meditation visit -
and a short guided meditation from Jon Kabat-Zinn here -
What Would You THINK?
I was on the bed legs crossed, hands on knees, eyes closed, still and silent. I wasn't having a zen moment but I was in the zone.
Paul gallumphed into the room and started to ask me some questions.
I serenly ignored him and continued my mindful moment and bear in mind this is something I do practise daily and have done for months.
He continue to talk and didn't leave.
Eventually I opened one eye and said "I am meditating".
He replied "well how am I supposed to know?"