The Gift of Love

To meet others we first have to be willing to meet ourselves. To meet ourselves doesn’t just mean to meet the bits we like or are proud of and ignoring those aspects that we wish weren’t there. To meet ourselves means to meet it all, embrace it all, learn to love and accept it all. How can we expect to be met and to meet others if we’re not even willing to go there ourselves. It not an easy journey, learning to meet all parts of ourselves but the process lightens the load and brings peace and freedom into the heart. We're then no longer in a cage of avoidance and denial, we're no longer afraid of what lurks in our shadows because we bring light to it all, we bring love to it all. We bring space so there’s room for it all. For some the idea of bringing all of ourselves, even our shameful dirty hidden parts out into the light of awareness all at once will feel like too much of a task, too big, too soon. Maybe thoughts will come like “It's too overwhelming. I don't know where to start. I don't even know where to…

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Celebrating the Expressions of Life

In all that I write and share I only ever want to invite you to explore, discover and ultimately accept the entirety of your experience. To standing in YOUR truth, YOUR self... not mine and not anyone else's. To encourage and support you to see more and more of the beauty of your expression, even when that expression isn't how you thought it 'should' be.. to accept even that too! It's never been about knowing or being anything. It's never been about gaining or loosing anything. It's never even been about changing or fixing anything. It's never been about being more than or less than. It's simply about coming to see all that you ARE. It's an accepting, it's a recognition, it's the very act of living and being ALL that you ARE. Taking the binds of limitations off and taking a full breath of life. It's about walking through life step by step, moment by moment, learning to love all aspects of it. Learning to love even the hate, or the fear, or the shame, or the frustration; even the sadness, or wrongness and definitely the messiness too. Learning to see it's all there as part and parcel of…

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Finding A Crack

It's those moments where we are hardest on ourselves that actually call for the most kindness, for the most understanding, most forgiveness, the most self love. But sometimes that feels like an impossibility, the moment feels too heavy, too overwhelming to bring kindness into the equation. It feels like too much of a leap and too far to go. In those moments where self love and compassion can't be found maybe it's possible to look instead to the ways in which we're being unkind and too hard on ourselves and loosen the grip just a little, for just a moment. Let some space, some breathing room into the moment. Take a momentary pause and feel the relief and space and peace that that brings. Sometimes it's not a case of completely flipping the script, sometimes it's just the case of simply finding the tiniest of cracks to what is already there. Those cracks can be found anywhere and are waiting and willing to be found. Sometimes the kindest thing that can be managed is to find that single crack in life to take a momentary respite.

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When You Find a Friend

When you find a friend where there is no pretence, no mask, no holding back. A friend that you can laugh and cry and shout and be with no matter what flavour of you is shining through. A friend who can see you at your messiest but still see your beauty and your love. A friend who is a safe haven of fierce loyalty and kindness when it feels like the whole world is against you. A friend who inspires you to grow and stretch into the best version of yourself, but doesn't scold you for being at your worst too. A friend that you have no fear of judgement or rejection with. A friend that tells you straight when you're drifting off course but never judges you for it. A friend that holds space for you even when you can't hold space for yourself. When you find that friend ... cherish and nurture them, don't take them for granted. For true friends who love you for exactly who you are are hard to come by and a blessed gift of life. -- To all those friends who have walked this earth with me for however long or short... thank…

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A Call Into the Unknown

Fear is a call into the unknown beyond the known, and the mind hates nothing more than the unknown. The mind is the realm of the known, the content of life, but our essential ground of Self is beyond that, it's prior to the known content. It's not the object, it's the subject - the seer, or awareness of the object or content. And so fear arises because the mind cannot grasp the magnitude and scope of what lies beyond it. It can't find the edges and boundaries that it looks for. This is because objects have edges but Being has no edges, no start, no finish, no physical attributes for which the mind can grasp on to, categorise and 'know'. So arises this fear. This panic. This free-fall into the unknown. The fear that it will never get 'it'. The fear that it can't control 'it'. But there is no 'it' so both of those fears in a way are very well founded in Truth. Fear isn't something to circumnavigate, something to avoid. It's just a sensation, often intense, arising in awareness. It shows us where our boundaries lie still, it shows us what has already been lit up…

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Conversations & Questions: 14/11/19

Q: Can you tell me how to get rid of attachment and aversion? It's not about eliminating (getting rid of) anything but seeing that it's all arising in you - consciousness. This is awakening. Experiential focus or identity is shifted from the foreground (phenomena) to the background (consciousness). When this is recognised to be true in your experience the need for elimination of ANYTHING disappears. All is accepted as an arising in you, and this is true freedom. From this, peace is found and suffering is eliminated. Suffering is the lack of acceptance of WHAT IS. Let me give an example to illustrate why this recognition is actually the most fundamental recognition of awakening. Just as the clouds appear and disappear in the sky, phenomena (thoughts, feelings, sensations, etc.) are appearing and disappearing in you. Is the sky any less the sky just because it has clouds, or a storm in it? No. Are you any less YOU if there's something arising in you? No. We become either attached or averse because we mistake the phenomena for ourselves. We believe we are good or bad, right or wrong if we have certain experiences (phenomena) showing up and so we try…

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Let Your Heart Sign Its Own Love Song

Don't be tempted to listen to another's heart as each heart has its own way, its own movement that when allowed to fully shine sings its own song. Your song is unique and makes you YOU. No wrong notes, no right notes... just YOUR notes. More often than not all it takes is simply getting out of your own way, getting out of the mind and taking your hands off the tight grip of needs and wants. It takes a willingness to get quiet and innocently listen. The song of the heart never stops singing, we just get good at ignoring it under the weight of expectation. So let your heart sing with the fullness of its voice, the fullness of its love.

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Beyond Imogen

Martyn took this photo of me the other day and have to admit, I don't really recognise myself - and this was a bit of a shock at first.   So much has shifted these past years and months that the image that I once had of myself, is no longer there, it no longer fits.   Now I see a lioness, a strength, a power, a vulnerability, and an openness and it's beautiful to see. I see someone who is sitting in the pocket of who she is, finally comfortable in her own skin. That process has been amazing to watch and certainly very intense to live.   As I write this I get a flash of collective 'should' saying "You shouldn't say things like that out loud, you should be more modest and humble, you're being egotistical and attention seeking." But the truth is that to not acknowledge this is to dishonour life and the changes and growth that we all go through. To take a moment to really sink into this acknowledgement, to take stock of the shifts and changes in life is a good thing. It brings with it so much gratitude to life, gratitude to…

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Scars

I wear my scars not like armour that I'm proud of or a badge of honour that I boast about, but as acknowledgement and reverence for what I have experienced. For the lessons I have learnt and as a reminder of what I have gone through. I'm neither proud or not proud They depict the humbling life showed me. They are just a part of me A part that I once tried to hide A part that I was once ashamed and avoidant of A part that I have now learnt to embrace and love. My scars tell a story But it's just that A story. They don't define me.

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Some thoughts on World Mental Health Day

There's a tendency to avoid dealing with the subject of mental health in some spiritual traditions and teachings. To poo poo inner work and growth, to try to meditate away 'negative' emotions, reactions, thought patterns and conditioning. But spirituality and spiritual awakening is not a panacea, it is many things and in some ways a lot of the "problems" of the mind do in fact disappear. But in some ways post awakening the work and cleanup becomes intensified and it can become even more important to address and give attention to anything that's still arising. This can be when some of the true work begins, because the strategies that have stopped you from looking beneath the covers of the mind dissolve. It is the embracing not the running away that allows one to look at where the stored traumas, memories, reactions, conditioning and energetic imprints are having an impact on the current moment, your current experience of life. So in some ways it's only then that you can truly move through and on from the issues or patterns that may have plagued your life. We all know someone, or maybe ourselves that have experienced mental health issues, and yet it's…

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Unshakable Stability

Letting go of a specific image of safety and security is so tricky. But life calls this of us again and again when we get too comfortable putting our stability and sense of security into objects and ideas that in their fundamental nature can't provide that for us except temporarily.   Can you find your home, your safety, your energy and the warm embrace of love in something far more stable... your SELF?   It's to deepen and sink fully into that recognition and then all the other phenomena can and does come and go without the 'need' for you to depend on the ephemeral for any derived sense of stability and peace. Find that which is unchanging in your experience and it will lead you home to an unshakable okay-ness and acceptance of all that Grace presents you with on your path of life. True freedom.

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The Sweetness of an Open Heart

There are none so bright and full of love than those that have allowed life to penetrate them fully. Cracked open so immensely and felt so deeply the depth and breadth of their experiencing. Leaving no stone unturned, no shadow unseen, no feeling unmet. Those that have surrendered so tenderly to the acknowledgement that they know nothing. That they are but a whisper on the lips of life, carried in the arms of Grace, and held in the groundlessness of Being itself. Their cracked open heart laid gently to rest at the feet of their very own beloved Self.

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Resistance

If resistance shows up, then let that resistance in too.   Let it wash over you and into you without any sense of wrongness.   Even resistance in all its glory is held tenderly in the depths of Being.   So fall, fall darling one into the heart of surrender and let life all the way in.   Even if only for a moment, this moment is all it takes.

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Divine Humanness

Your humanness is a gift to be cherished not a dirty little secret to be hidden It is divinity in it's expression ALL . OF . IT . Don't be tempted to run from it Embracing the fullness of your experience reveals the fullness of love it reveals the emptiness of your core and reveals that there was never anything to run from and nowhere to run to

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In the Embrace of Love

One of the biggest helps for me to move beyond my conditioned responses and traumas and to heal and integrate them has been learning how to cope with strong and intense emotions - which for the record I was pretty fantastic at avoiding for most of my life! I would say that when all the strategies for avoiding no longer worked the only way to turn was through and into them. It was a case of let go or be dragged but turning into them was definitely the last thing I would have originally thought would be of help, go figure ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ For me this was learning to hold emotions and energetic arisings like you would a small child in a loving embrace, to pull them closer and say, "It's okay you can be here. I don't need you to change or be gone, you don't need to be fixed or healed. You can be just as you are for as long as you need. You are also free to leave if and when you're ready to as well." It was Adyashanti that first introduced me to this idea of embracing not running away from difficult experiences. To lovingly hold…

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I Have a Secret

I have a secret to tell... I sound like I know what I'm talking about but in truth I live entirely in the unknown No stakes to place No walls or ceilings or floors to hang on to life is a free-fall of continuous newness It's a leap of faith and trust and it's the ever present continuation of acceptance I have no opinions and no agenda nothing to rely on or anything to lay claim over I see life as a gift and all the content that shows up in it part of that gift Most people are so quick to try and pin down life to make rules to live by find positions to take and opinions to have But to step into the unknown is to step out of the mind of conception and into the realm of Grace into the realm of Self into the realm of awareness logic will do you no good here

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By Grace

Life is not some beast to be tamed, a project to be mastered, or your b$*%h to be controlled. Life is a gift. The gift of Grace. And with this recognition I bow to the feet of life in gratitude. Grace courses through us in everything we touch, in everything we experience. There is nothing that isn't Grace. "It's all by Grace" For me is the most powerful and humbling recognition. The acknowledgement that I have no control. That I am here, all of me, all of my experiencing by Grace. And so in this it's all seen as a gift. -- Some call it God. Some call it Consciousness. Some call it fate. There are many names all pointing to that ineffable impersonal activity of life. I call it Grace. The infinite actions and endless possibilities of life playing life in the ocean of life. Wild and unpredictable. Plenty of variation, but no separation. Just as the sun shines on all, Grace is in all. There are no distinctions of good or bad, no questions of right or wrong. Everything that happens, everything that doesn't, all by Grace. Every whisper of a thought, every flash of a memory, every…

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The Heart of Life

Please don't forget to save some love for yourself It's so easy to give so freely  so that you avoid the heartache that pulses inside To focus on the other to love the other to help the other To have the attention be so fully on the outer actions of life so that the inner shadows can be hidden and forgotten Those inner shadows and pains yearn for your attention yearn for your love yearn to be accepted Don't forget that the kindest thing you can do for humanity is start from you and radiate from there Nourish and hold that beautiful heart in the fullness of love Let it shine with abandon Let it sing it's heart song A loved heart is the most powerful thing to behold A loved heart is unstoppable Start from you You are the key to the heart of life

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Own Your Power

Do not shrink into smallness Let yourself roar and feel fully into your inherent power. Your power is found in the courage to be you, to fully present ALL of you. To cease with the judgements and accept all of your wholly divine messy humanness as your own. To not second guess and hide yourself for fear of shame and judgement from others. To let them see you, really see you in all your glory, in all your power. Power is not an 'evil' blunt instrument that gets indiscriminately wielded around. Power has many faces. Power is found in full on vulnerability and openness Power is found in the soft tenderness of heart Power is found in the depths of sadness and heartbreak Power is found in all the bits of yourself you can’t yet met Power is found when living on the knife edge of exploration Power is found saying no in order that you follow your yeses In love and acceptance, there power resides. So don’t be afraid to stand in your power. Don’t be afraid to turn up to your life in a completely unapologetic way. Own your power, don't shy away from it.

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Scary Beautiful Love

In relationships we have to trust and we have to communicate. It's a constant leap of faith to say the things that we think they won't want to hear and we won't want to hear the answer to, to constantly face the fear of rejection and hurt. But if you do take that leap of faith and trust, then it's my experience that life constantly surprises you. It's such a beautiful thing, but it's scary, terrifying in fact. I've been with Martyn for 15 years and it's STILL scary. I still have to take a breath at first sometimes before I say something that is tender and edgy for me, something that I'm not sure of his response to. This feeling of fear doesn't disappear over time, you just get used to it. You learn to know it, you even learn to love it because it tells you where your edge of comfort is. It never fully feels safe to share those things that you don't want to share, because it's NOT safe. It never feels safe because when you reach an edge of yourself it's ALWAYS scary. It's not about the other person, it's about you. It feels scary…

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Courageous Openness

When we show ourselves to others, fully open and vulnerable with our hidden tender aspects, without self censoring and hiding, we step into the conversation, into the relationship in a new way. Through this we also invite others to free themselves of their constraints and speak their tender truth too. It's a true gift, the gift of openness and love. Come as you are, no agenda and no expectations, heart open and ready to be met. There are no boundaries between us, no gulf to be filled. Meet me in this moment where you are, without pretence, without posturing or needing to be anything or anyone. Without judgements of good or bad, better or worse, just tender openness. If you find yourself being uncomfortable been seen fully without a mask of pretence take a breath, it's in those moments that it takes great courage to stay open, to stay present, to stay vulnerable and trust. There is a great strength in vulnerability and openness, a strength and power that brings with it such freedom and sweetness that all else melts away in that moment. This is my invitation to you, to meet your fear of being seen and judged with…

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A Call To Be Present

When we experience a strong emotion or felt response to life there is a call to be present, a call to sink into it. It's not the moment to run away and avoid. It's not the moment to reject and try with all your might to change the course of life. Life is giving you a gift, an opening, the natural call to Self, the great unknowing by which all becomes known, accepted and loved. Don't be afraid, the call into the unknown is the call home, the call to the ground of your Being, it's the natural call of freedom and peace. In this moment attention is your true power, your place of healing. The only doing is the seeing, is the accepting. Tender loving attention embracing the aliveness of life.

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Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off

Sometimes life brings you to your knees. Floors you with it's strong wisdom. Shows you where the shadows still lie. Where the aspects of yourself are that still go unmet.   It's a calling that when ignored screams and kicks and shouts to be seen, to be heard.   It's a gut punch of a moment one that takes the breath away and leaves all else quivering in its wake.   All else stops.   So you stop with it close the eyes and listen.   Listen to where life is taking you. Listen to what life is showing you. Listen to your heart, to your soul, to your Being.   No more strategies No more solutions No more resistance No more avoidance Just simply what is.   And in that silence all is found.   All the mess all the heartbreak all the mistrust being met fully.   All the darkness comes into the light.   The opening of yourself so vast that the edge is never met The melting of all the hurt and violence into acceptance and love.   Love wins out.   And so you pick yourself up and dust yourself off and on you go…

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The Head or the Heart

There's a constant exploration of life that is immediate. To listen to your body, your physical response to life, your intuitive knowingness. The pull towards yes or no. Not on an intellectual level, but on a physical level  of what's right or wrong for you in that moment. And we are conditioned to override this all the time. There's a bravery and a risk to listening to that intuition. Your heart, your physical response and reaction to life. Often it can go against everything that you think you know. But it's screaming for your attention. Will the head win? Or will the heart? Will you let the conditioning and the head run the show? Or will the naturalness of life win out? This can be a big battle for most. The intuition and the heart eventually will win the war, but it can take time.

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A Place to Contemplate

We've lost the focus of a spiritual centre in communities and culture today. Don't get me wrong I am not advocating for religion in its traditional sense, but what I am noting is that life used to have a balance of both the practical or material and spiritual. At the heart of our communities used to sit a church or maybe a temple or synagogue, a mosque or even a shaman's huts. These were places to contemplate deeper and bigger ideas, bigger aspects than the day-to-day practicals of life. They also provided sanctuary of contemplation and silence, a place to look inward. Currently Martyn and I travel around almost constantly never staying in places for more than a month or two. In each of our adventures we seek out these places of quiet. It's in someways strange that I'm drawn to these spaces of worship because my parents never brought me to church (or to a synagogue as the case maybe) as a child. But in later life I have been drawn to the silence and contemplation that I find in these spaces. If you look around they are actually the only places where one can sit quietly, no phone…

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